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Enemies of the People: My Family's Journey to America Paperback – Bargain Price, October 19, 2010
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--Alan Furst, The New York Times Book Review
“Marton’s story is one of bravery, suffering, survival and vindication. She tells it in straightforward, lucid prose . . . carefully reported, almost clinical account of what it is like to live in a totalitarian state and how hard it is to escape from it. . . . It’s a terrific story, and Marton tells it very well.”
--Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
“Wonderful. . . . A family story that reads like a novel. . . . A book that is honest, frank, and true . . . recalls the best works of Koestler and Orwell, but contained within a family story, which remains for all its horrors, touching, life-loving, even, in its own unsentimental way, inspirational.”
--Michael Korda, The Daily Beast
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Her parents were international journalists in Budapest behind the Iron Curtain after WWII. Their reporting eventually led to them being imprisoned when Marton was a young girl. The author doesn't just relate her memories of the time, which are sometimes flawed because she was so young, she digs deeper. After her parents died several years ago, Marton began searching, obsessively as she states,for what really happened during those years. What she discovers is beyond anything imaginable. The result is a narrative filled in with historical documents, redacted goverment security files, FBI files, secret papers from Budapest and eye witness accounts of the nightmare the Martons endured. It gives readers an up close and personal glimpse of what those behind the Iron Curtain faced.
The author does a remarkable job of mixing personal observations, emotions and history. We know what she is going through as she is uncovering the hidden truths, and we know what she felt as a child when her parents just "disappeared" from her life for months. It is well balanced, thoughtful, and informative, but most of all, it is a story of a family's strength of heart that helped them survive and led them to freedom.
Endre and Ilona Marton (who were already survivors of World War II, especially remarkable because of their Jewish ancestry - one set of parents perished in Auschwitz) worked as journalists for the Associated Press and United Press (respectively) during the early critical days of the Cold War and were often the only line of information for "the West" present in the country. They lived in open defiance of the Soviet system and this is a detailed account of their story - based on the massive files collected by the Hungarian secret police and made available to their daughter, now a journalist herself and the author of this book. They were renowned for their excellent and honest journalism during very tough times and had much interaction with Western journalists and embassy staff - both of which brought them under intense scrutiny from the Hungarian secret police and eventually led to their arrest - leaving their children in the care of strangers for a considerable length of time.
It's really interesting to have this story told by this couple's daughter, whose own memories enhance the narrative. I'm amazed at her objectivity during the bulk of the story - the story of her family's life in Hungary. Learning the story of her parents and their journalistic integrity helps make sense of her amazing ability to not let her own feelings and biases get in the way of this important story.Read more ›
The book centers around her parents, both correspondents working for the AP and UPI behind the Hungarian Iron Curtain during the late 40s until mid-to-late 50s. Both were watched intensely by the secret police and, while allowed to live a certain life of luxury compared to average citizens of the time, both were eventually imprisoned and later released. The entire family came to the U.S. and started over once they escaped Hungary with the help of American friends.
Marton dwells on the rough years after the war, her slow realization of her family being watched by the AVI and the events that surrounded her parents arrest for most of the book, using a "look back" technique aided by papers she was given access to by both governments. One-on-one interviews and a revisit to her homeland help round out the story toward the end. As any offspring might do, she writes about her parents with a questioning viewpoint and allows us into their private family matters with a journalist's approach and a documentary style. It may seem cold to some, but when dealing with what could be seen as highly emotional events, she stays calm and almost detached. And this feels correct given the circumstances and the horrible realities she was dealt as a child. It could have easily slipped into self-pitying, psychological blather, and this reader is appreciative that she chose the cleaner path as it kept my interest going.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Superb telling of one unique family's escape from Hungary hiding their identity.Published 8 months ago by artquinn
Some interesting history of Hungary...book was not that well written.Published 10 months ago by Rita Review
Enjoyed this book very much...extremely well written and very interesting history of the writer's family's experiences during the war.Published 15 months ago by Darman
The author describes her own family's history of the holocaust and she does it magnificently. My book club is discussing it this spring.Published 16 months ago by Head Bookie