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Hungarians & Europe in the Early Middle Ages: An Introduction to Early Hungarian History

4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-9639116481
ISBN-10: 9639116483
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The best recent comprehensive account of the early history of the Hungarian people up to their settlement in their present homeland at the end of the nineteenth century. A first-rate introduction which will be indispensable to all looking for up-to-date exact and objective information on the much debated problems of that period." -- Domokos Kosry, Historian, past President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 1999

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Hungarian

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Central European University Press (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9639116483
  • ISBN-13: 978-9639116481
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,837,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Rohit Kumar on May 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Certainly one of the best books that I have read to date. The greatest strength of the book is way the author provides exhaustive insights as to how his conclusions were reached which in my opinion elevates the book from a "lecture-book" that merely lays down the supposed facts to one that interactively engages the reader. The sources and the authenticity of the material is debated to a large extent and provides the reader with a solid understanding of how the area has been researched so far, of who the sources were and how they help in the construction of the "Magyar story".
The weakness of the book is that it does not elaborate much on the social-economic ascpects which is the only reason I ranked it 4 stars. The depth of the explanations may leave some readers lost...however each section has a clear and well structured summary that should leave him/her in no ambiguity. All in all a delight to read...it's a pity that we have so few English texts on Hungraian history.
The book is a must have for any serious student of pre-conquest Hungarian history.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Andras Rona-Tas is an Hungarian linguist who specializes in the Turkic languages. Naturally he was led to the study of early Hungarian history, as his ancestors migrated towards what is now Hungary in the company of a great many Turkic tribes. HUNGARIANS AND EUROPE IN THE EARLY MIDDLE AGES is an introduction to early Hungarian history for English-language readers, an expanded version of his book "A honfoglalo magyar nep" which appeared in 1996.

On one hand, the appearance of this book is something we should celebrate, as there has been no general introduction to early Hungarian history in English since C. A. MacArtney's THE MAGYARS IN THE NINTH CENTURY, published back in the 1960s. Rona-Tas goes even further back in time, with some speculation about the Hungarians' way of life while they were still part of the Finno-Ugrian continuum.

On the other hand, this book is a mess. Rona-Tas has a tendency to ramble, and along with considerable repetition this book is easily 200 pages longer than it needed to be. In a book that claims to focus on the era of Hungarian migrations and settlement, do we really need a detailed presentation of each and every one of the Uralic peoples, thousands of kilometres away and from whom the Hungarians had been sundered for millennia? Although in some aspects Rona-Tas presents the latest research, his classification of the Uralic languages is pretty old-fashioned and contemporary scholars reject the notion of common Ugric and Ob-Ugric families. There are also some mistakes here that I assume result from the translator's inattention.

Curiously Rona-Tas says absolutely nothing about the Romanians in this book.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The main thrust of this work is to determine the origin of the Conquering Magyars, the founders of the modern state of Hungary, and the author takes his mission seriously; he spends the first third of this book laying out the tools of his trade, from archeology records to historical references through linguistics. You can tell that the author wishes to be taken legitimately, his meticulous effort to arrive at no conclusion without careful, logical reasoning. It is therefore surprising to find that after identifying the Mongolian-Tungusic speakers as the Magyars' close neighbors, and that the name `Magyar' most likely derives from a predecessor `Mangya' or `Mancha' because the western Turks had dropped the `n' in `ng' as the transformation of `Mongol' into `Mogul,' the author made no attempt to connect the name to the Manchu, a Tungusic speaking people who share much cultural traits with the Magyars. It is even more troubling that he does not even deny the connection. However, this silence may be explained by the last chapter, `How the Magyars Integrated Within Europe.' The author elucidates that the choice of the word `Within' instead of `Into' is deliberate, for the Magyars never had to integrate into Europe from without; the Magyars were always European. Other than this detracting peculiarity, a bias which may render the research suspect, as it suggests a pre-existing agenda, the book is rich in information.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very thoughtful and informative. The best book on the subject.
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