Fifty years ago one of the most heroic but saddest episodes of the cold war unfolded. The Hungarians, led by the Fascist sympathizer Admiral Horthy, were allied with Germany during World War II. After the Red Army "liberated" Hungary, the Soviets imposed an especially brutal, oppressive regime upon the Hungarian people. In October 1956, spontaneous resistance against both the Hungarian government and their Soviet masters exploded. Once a hesitant Soviet government acted decisively, the rebels were crushed. Using newly available resources, Sebestyen tells this story with a fast-paced narrative that shows the heroism of many Hungarians and the venality of others. As always, historical tumult created some unlikely martyrs and villains. For example, Hungarian prime minister Imre Nagy, viewed by many as a typical Soviet stooge, bravely resisted Soviet demands, ensuring his eventual doom. The American government encouraged Hungarian opposition to the Soviets but, for reasons of realpolitik, refused to provide assistance when the revolution broke out. This is an excellent recounting of an inspiring but tragic struggle for freedom against insurmountable odds. Jay FreemanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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“This is a vivid, heartbreaking account of the brutal crushing of the first armed insurrection against Soviet occupation. Twelve Days
is essential reading for understanding the great risks people will take for freedom.”
–Kati Marton, author of The Great Escape: Nine Hungarians Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World
“On the anniversary of 1956, wielding a vast array of newly released archives and completely new eyewitness testimony, Victor Sebestyen has written a magisterial but also totally gripping and fresh account of the noble, violent, and doomed Hungarian revolution: a tale of murder and battles on the streets of Budapest and in the dungeons of the KGB, and of high-level intrigue from the White House to the Kremlin. Above all, it is a story of courage and decency among ordinary Hungarians. The result is a tour de force.”
–Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar
From the Hardcover edition.