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A Good Comrade
Janos Kadar, Communism and Hungary
Few political lives have been as dramatic, or as marked by sudden changes of fortune, as that of Janos Kadar, Hungary's communist leader from 1956 to 1988. A reformist who at first supported Imre Nagy's 1956 attempt to distance his country from Soviet domination, Kadar eventually threw in his lot with the Soviet Union and the repression which followed Hungary's attempt at revolution in 1956. Was he an ambitious, ruthless party functionary or a tragic visionary who sought to preserve a modicum of independence for his country by abandoning its aspirations and his friends? In this, the first biography in English since the collapse of the Soviet bloc, Roger Gough paints a vivid picture of Kadar's personality and career, whilst analysing his significance for Hungary and his place in the history of European communism. "A Good Comrade" is a powerful portrait of a man who dominated Hungarian political life for three decades.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'The most profound and revealing biography which has been devoted to any Communist leader in Cold War Europe... On every page, new information is carefully sourced, much of it demolishing the walls of half-truth and folk-lore which accumulated around Janos Kadar in his lifetime. But the strength of Gough's book is its vivid prose. The author disentangles complex strands of Party intrigue, but at the same time pulls out high literary skill to describe the gruesome, sometimes surreal ironies and tragedies of Kadar's career' Neal Ascherson, author of Stone Voices: The Search for Scotland, The Struggles for Poland and Black Sea 'A fine biography of Janos Kadar that also serves as an excellent introduction to the political history of Hungary between 1956 and 1989.. .a very worthy successor to William Shawcross's biography of Kadar, which it clearly supersedes' Mark Pittaway, Lecturer in European Studies, Open University 'impeccably clear...gets as near as it is now possible to get to the thinking behind every move of every protagonist' Michael Simmons, The Guardian 'Meticulously researched, elegantly written and carefully proofed...Gough is outstanding on Kadar's last months' Tibor Fischer, Times Literary Supplement 'As Roger Gough explains in his superb 'Good Comrade', a biography of Kadar, this lifelong Communist, enabled by the party to emerge from a youth of hopelessness and poverty, was a political genius as well as a coward, a ruthless operator, and a great opportunist.'New York Review of Books; 'A superb biography of Kadar.' Istvan Deak, NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS