Archive for the ‘Laszlo’ Category

A Memorial in Hungary

Monday, December 17th, 2007

This post is about a memorial dedicated to WWI veterans in Dunapataj, Hungary. While I was there a few weeks ago, I wrote some notes about it and copied down its inscription, with the intention of commenting on it in the blog.  I realize that it is a little late to post, but I promised myself at the beginning of the semester I would write something that involves translating Hungarian. This is my last chance, so here goes. (more…)

My Trip to Hungary

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

                I’m writing this blog post about my trip to Hungary about a month ago. I wish I could say that I was on vacation, but I went for a funeral. Still, I noticed a few things there that relate to our class, so I thought I would write about them in the blog. First, I should give a little background.

                I stayed in a small town Dunapataj (pronounced with a y-sound at the end, not with a hard j-sound) in the south of Hungary. I should also mention Ordas (pronounced Ordush, with a sh-sound at the end), which is next door. They have grown together. I have family and friends in both, with my grandparents’ house in Dunapataj. The topics that follow have to do with both towns, their inhabitants, and small town life in Eastern Europe, which fascinates me. (more…)

Padriac Kenny’s Carnival of Revolution

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

By Laszlo Taba

Kenney, Padraic. A Carnival of Revolution:  Central Europe 1989 (2002)

                I have been waiting to read A Carnival of Revolution all semester. I read it for another of Dr. Kelly’s classes, and this time around I enjoyed it more and found it more thought provoking than before, especially after all of the readings and class discussions this semester.  I will keep my general comments about the book brief, as everyone in the class has read it.

                Kenney describes the Central European revolutionary movements in an interesting way. Unlike other books discussed this semester (Eastern Europe in Revolution), Kenney does not confine his discussion to top down analyses that focus on elite politics or economies. He approaches the revolutions from the bottom up, on revolutionary movements and even on single individuals.  For instance, in chapter one he introduces Wladyslaw Frasyniuk. Frasyniuk was an important member of Solidarity and played an important role in the revolutionary movement in Poland, but he is not as well known as, say, Pope John Paul II or Ronald Reagan. (more…)

Eastern Europe in Revolution

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

By Laszlo Taba

Ivo Banac, ed. Eastern Europe in Revolution, (1992)

Eastern Europe in Revolution is, as the very first sentence of its preface explains (ix), a collaborative effort by a group of Central European experts to evaluate the revolutions of 1989. After the preface, there is an introductory section, which summarizes the revolutions, and subsequent chapters discuss each country individually. The book ends with two chapters, “The Leninist Legacy” and “Social and Political Landscape, Central Europe, Fall 1990,” that offer general analyses and predict the future of Central Europe. Interestingly, the book’s copyright is 1992, which reveals how recent those revolutions were at the writing of the book. As one might expect, then, Eastern Europe in Revolution contains much speculation about the future, which is interesting to read in 2007. (more…)

A Return to Diversity and the Pitfalls of Historical Surveys

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

By Laszlo Taba

Joseph Rothschild and Nancy Wingfield, Return to Diversity: A Political History of East Central Europe Since World War II (1999)

Joseph Rothschild’s and Nancy Wingfield’s Return to Diversity: A Political History of East Central Europe Since World War II is well written, though it shares some of the typical problems of historical survey literature. For an area of history that is complex and difficult to explain, they do an admirable job of organizing their subject. The problems with the book predominantly have to do with its structure.


Jan Gross’s Neighbors and Its Critics

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

By Laszlo Taba 

 Jan Gross, Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland (2001)

Slavic Review, Volume 61, Number 3 

Neighbors is a controversial book by Jan Gross that uncovers the massacre of Jews in Jedwabne, Poland in 1941. What makes this incident so surprising is the killers were not the Germans; the killers were the residents of Jedwabne itself, who wiped out their Jewish neighbors. Gross’s book, then, threatens the strongly held conviction that Poles and other Central Europeans, caught between Germany and the Soviet Union in WWII, were innocent bystanders.  (more…)

Those Silly Hungarians

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

Hello everyone.

Before I get to the main reason for this post, I’d like to say that I’m sorry to hear about Dr. Rosenzweig’s passing. I never met him, but he sounds like a great person and a great scholar. For those who were touched by him, I’m sorry.

The main reason for this post is an article I read on the Treaty of Trianon in a newsletter my father gets from the Hungarian Reformed Federation of America. If you’re curious, their homepage is here, though I cannot find a link to the current edition of the newsletter there. At any rate, the article is a great example of the typical reaction Hungarians have to Trianon and of Hungarian nationalism. I’d love to hear what the rest of the class has to say about it. I’ve typed the text word-for-word below. (more…)

The Rise of The Radical Right

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

By Laszlo Taba 

Sabrina Ramet, ed., The Radical Right in Central and Eastern Europe Since 1989 (1999) 

            The Radical Right in Central and Eastern Europe Since 1989 brings together a group of historians, social scientists, and researchers, each writing a chapter or two, on the topic of the radical Right in European politics and history. One can roughly divide the book into theoretical and historical sections. The first three chapters deal mainly with theory. They present some of the important theoretical discussions on the radical Right. The next fourteen chapters discuss the Right in different countries. Chapter four discusses Germany, chapter five covers Polish radicalism, six is about Slovakia, and etcetera. While these chapters discuss political movements since 1989, they also look at the roots of these movements even back to the beginning of the 20th century.


Bringing Religion Back into Focus

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

Paul Hanebrink, In Defense of Christian Hungary: Religion, Nationalism, and Antisemitism, 1890-1944 (2006)

Paul Hanebrink’s book reassess the role of religion in nation building and, more specifically, in the growth of anti-Semitism and fascism in Hungary through the end of WWII. As he recounts interwar history, he clearly and convincingly describes how Hungarians defined their nation in terms of Christianity and tried to exclude non-Christian influences, which explains the indifference to the plight of the Jews by the Hungarian Church in WWII. (3) With this focus on religion, Hanebrink differentiates himself from other historians, who, he argues, treat religion as marginal to political developments. (2) They argue that political leaders used religion to legitimize their political power. (2-3) (more…)

Staging the Past — Steven Beller and Alice Freifeld

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

by Laszlo Taba

Bucur, Maria and Winfield, Nancy M., Staging the Past: The Politics of Commemoration in Hapsburg Central Europe, 1848 to the Present (2001)

Maria Bucur’s and Nancy Winfield’s Staging the Past: The Politics of Commemoration in Hapsburg Central Europe, 1848 to the Present is a collection of essays about the relationship between commemorative practices and historical memory and nationalism. They divide the book into three parts (summarized on pages 4-7). The first examines how the Hapsburg court attempted to legitimize its power by inventing traditions. The second examines local efforts to influence national identity. The third section looks at similar issues after the fall of the Hapsburg monarchy. (more…)