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Chocolate and Chess. Unlocking Lakatos Paperback – February 12, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 476 pages
  • Publisher: Akadémiai Kiadó (February 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9630588196
  • ISBN-13: 978-9630588195
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,066,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rudolph V. Dusek on March 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This work discusses the career of Imre Lakatos in Hungary while he was a Communist and his relation to his earlier identify once he went to England and became a right-wing Popperian. The most shocking part, that several Hungarian writers have detailed before, but which has not been accessible in English, is Lakatos' persuading a young woman to commit suicide in order not to give away the identities of her Communist cell in Budapest. The 'Chocolate' in the title is the title of a popular Russian Communist novel that celebrates a similar, fictional situation and that was popular with many Communists, including Lakatos' circle. The 'chess' refers to Margaret Thatcher's claim that in the Cold War the West played monopoly, but the Russians played chess, a surprisingly insightful quip. Lakatos means literally 'locksmith' in Hungarian, so the title reverberates with several of the theme of the book.
I unknowingly thought my way in writing my dissertation to something like Lakatos' philosophy of science in the late 1960s from reading Lukacs and Popper. I was disappointed when I found that Lakatos had made this synthesis better and a few years earlier, unbeknownst to me. I could only take partial solace in the fact that Lakatos had a two decade plus head start, having studied personally with both Lukacs and Popper, while I had only read them in a few weeks on the beaches of Ogunquit, ME.

Since the fall of Communism several Hungarian writers have investigated Lakatos' secret (at least to most of the provincial Brits in the '60s and '70s) Lukacs connection. Lakatos carefully avoided tripping down memory lane while in Britain and asked silence from some other refugees who began to talk about the darker aspects of his past.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the most informative books to read on Central Europe's communists (and re-read because it is so full of fascinating details that call for re- and re-examining) Having lived through the period in question, I always suspected that there was something thoroughly rotten and dishonest in the way most cadres related to other humans, especially to their "comrades" and -- tragically -- to their family members and friends. That feeling, however, was mostly personal and anecdotal in nature: Based on daily contact with powerful people who referred to themselves as "the fist of the working class" (regularly striking members of their own families), as well as well-meaning dreamers who became hypnotized by the mass of slogans blaring forth 24-7. As a learned and eloquent thug, Lakatos (Lipshitz) was nearly un-matched in the gallery of clerks who betrayed humanity.
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