- 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 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,961,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hungarians & Europe in the Early Middle Ages: An Introduction to Early Hungarian History
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"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
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Hungarian
Top customer reviews
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. Whether the Vlachs were present in Transylvania when the Hungarians invaded, or whether they migrated into the area a couple of centuries later is one of the most passionate polemics of Balkan history. When Dacian Continuity Theory is still presented as fact in histories of Romania written for an international audience, Rona-Tas had an opportunity to challenge it, but he didn't.
Perhaps something is better than nothing, so I can't entirely knock the book. Certainly there's plenty of Further Reading listings, though those resources require a knowledge of Hungarian, German and other languages and so negate somewhat this book's advantage as a one-stop introduction for the English-speaking world.
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.