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Twelve Days

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Twelve Days

Revolution 1956. How the Hungarians tried to topple their Soviet masters


Paperback / softback

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Twelve Days by Victor Sebestyen
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"great. Changed my whole perception of this moment in history"
5 stars"
Purchased on Mighty Ape

As the author is of Hungarian origin, I found this book commendably even handed and factual, as well as being very readable. As I stated in the summary, it changed my whole perception of the Hungarian revolution, and gave an extraordinary insight into the dithering of the politburo which was seen as a monolith in the 50's. The only slight flaw was that I think that the author is a little too lenient on the UN and Dag Hammarsjold.


The defining moment of the Cold War: 'The beginning of the end of the Soviet empire.' (Richard Nixon) The Hungarian Revolution in 1956 is a story of extraordinary bravery in a fight for freedom, and of ruthless cruelty in suppressing a popular dream. A small nation, its people armed with a few rifles and petrol bombs, had the will and courage to rise up against one of the world's superpowers. The determination of the Hungarians to resist the Russians astonished the West. People of all kinds, throughout the free world, became involved in the cause. For 12 days it looked, miraculously, as though the Soviets might be humbled. Then reality hit back. The Hungarians were brutally crushed. Their capital was devastated, thousands of people were killed and their country was occupied for a further three decades. The uprising was the defining moment of the Cold War: the USSR showed that it was determined to hold on to its European empire, but it would never do so without resistance. From the Prague Spring to Lech Walesa's Solidarity and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the tighter the grip of the communist bloc, the more irresistible the popular demand for freedom.

Author Biography

Victor Sebestyen, born in Budapest, was an infant when his family left Hungary as refugees. As a journalist, he reported widely from Eastern Europe when Communism collapsed in 1989. He covered the war in former Yugoslavia. At the London Evening Standard he was foreign editor, media editor and chief leader writer.
Release date NZ
June 1st, 2007
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Weidenfeld & Nicolson
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