Related Subjects: Author Index
Book reviews for "Tezla,_Albert" sorted by average review score:

One Woman in the War: Hungary 1944-1945
Published in Paperback by Central European University Press (01 October, 2002)
Authors: Alaine Polcz and Albert Tezla
Amazon base price: $15.96
List price: $19.95 (that's 20% off!)
Used price: $11.00
Buy one from zShops for: $13.88
Average review score:

Extraordinary insight into postwar Eastern Europe
Alaine Polcz is the foremost child psychologist in postwar Hungary. After more than forty years of silence, she sat down one day and wrote these memoirs of her life as a young woman in Hungary during the war. The result is an extraordinary window into the decay of the German occupation of Hungary, and the "liberation" by the Soviet Red Army. There is no other book quite like this--ranking (with Agate Nesaule's Woman in Amber as one of the finest firsthand accounts of mass rape ever written.

A Testament to the Fighting Spirit
This book is an autobiographic account of the experiences of a woman in the closing months of WWII. It had a huge effect on me: the inhumanity and cruelty made me both angry and sad but at the same time, the honest voice of the narrator touched me deeply. Even the most horrible details of rape and humiliation are told in a very straightforward manner and you often wish this whole story were only made up. But the fact that it's not what makes this book so remarkable. You get to know a woman who, despite all the terrible things, survived and not only survived but had the inner strength to face and, by telling her story, re-live her past. Before reading the English translation, I was a little bit skeptical because Hungarian literature doesn't translate easily into English (or any other languages for that matter). And then came my surprise: Mr. Tezla did a perfect job with the translation! I think people all around the world would find reading this book an unforgettable experience!

Memoir of Hungary 1944-1948
Published in Paperback by Central European University Press (1996)
Authors: Sandor Marai, Albert Tezla, and Albert Tuzla
Amazon base price: $26.95
Used price: $26.61
Buy one from zShops for: $26.61
Average review score:

Marai's book is a moving memoir of live under Soviet occupat
Reviewed by Johanna Granville, Clemson University, Clemson, SC USA. Sandor Marai's Memoir of Hungary (1944-1948) provides an interesting glimpse of post World War II Hungary under Soviet occupation. Like other memoirs by Hungarian writers and statesmen, it was first published in the West, because it could not be published in the Hungary of the post-1956 Kadar era.[1]Marai authored forty-six books, mostly novels, and was considered one of Hungary's most influential representatives of middle class literature between the two world wars by literary critics. He sought his true identity both in his profession and through a geographic attachment: first to Hungary, then to Europe, and finally to the West. He decided to leave his homeland in September 1948. The English version of the memoir was published posthumously; Marai took his own life in 1989, the same year that he was awarded the prestigious Kossuth Prize, Hungary's highest award for literature.[2] Whether or not Marai intended it, this memoir makes the reader wonder what influenced Marai to commit suicide, despite his literary success. Was it due to the bleak environment of Soviet-occupied Hungary, emigration from his homeland, or the inner dreams of a sensitive and expressive man? Written in the first person, this book has certain strengths that are absent from secondary works. Marai gives the reader a keen sense of the humiliation Hungarians felt in living under Nazi and then Soviet domination. Marai also entertains as a diarist, and later generalizes about his experiences in a way that endears him to his readers. Like a good playwright, he engages the audience on several levels, but none better than the homesick artist who, ironically, had grown sick of home. These strengths make the volume an excellent choice for undergraduate and graduate courses on the history of the central European region. On the other hand, Marai's memoir does not provide a dispassionate, critical defense of a central argument with supporting evidence and dissenting opinions. Precisely because it is a diary, the book lacks a single thesis, containing several competing themes instead. One gets the impression that Marai is writing more out of an inner need to articulate his thoughts for himself, rather than to persuade or impress an audience. Thus it would be inappropriate to evaluate this work as one would a scholarly argument. Development of thesis and selection of sources are irrelevant here. Marai's ideas are original and spring from his own experiences. While he cleverly incorporates quotations from great writers and poets, both Hungarians and foreigners, these are simply tools for expressing his own thoughts. In addition, the title of this memoir is a bit of a misnomer, since the book does not discuss in much detail Hungarian politics in the 1944-1948 period. Marai never mentions such public figures as Horthy, Rakosi, or Revai. Only in a couple of places does he refer to the "returned Hungarian communists," the Muscovites. As a subjective diary, it often digresses. One whole section provides details about the daily habits of his wife Lola's grandmother; no larger interpretation accompanies the section. As traumatic as wartime Hungary must have been, Marai found it in some ways preferable to living there after 1945. According to Marai, World War II fostered a sense of human collectivity. People felt closer to each other during the siege because their lives were threatened. After the war, however, people focused on the retrieval of their material possessions, and the spirit of cooperation and unity disappeared. Marai and his wife had been forced to flee their home in Budapest for a small house in a village. There he lacked everything a writer needed: good lighting, quiet, and privacy. There was no electricity, and candles were scarce. Marai lived there with escapees and refugees from the war. After the Soviet occupation in September 1944, random groups of Russian soldiers stopped by Marai's village house, often in the middle of the night, without knocking. They stole scarce food and supplies. Others stayed for longer periods of time. Once a group of Russian soldiers set up a repair shop in his house. Noise was continuous; tools banged and a record of Ukrainian children's choir played around the clock. Marai had to sleep in one room with the others in the household. He also had to witness atrocities. Once a group of Russian soldiers shot the husband of a woman they were abusing. Marai's opinion of the Russians did not improve with this close contact, to say the least. He writes: "We lived for weeks with the thirty men like animals in a cage, slept on the same straw, did their laundry, cooked their meals and helped them with their work" (p. 85). At the same time, it would be incorrect to say that Marai despised the Russians. Instead he was curious about them, and he often pitied them. Despite these intimate living arrangements, Marai continued to find the Russians very strange. The Russians, he writes, "brought Cyrillic letters and all that 'difference,' that mysterious strangeness which Western man never understands and which even this compulsory and very intimate living together could not dispel" (p. 85). While he admired the Soviet military for defeating the Nazis at Stalingrad ("turning around the wagon shaft of world history"), he also knew that the source of Soviet military power was its inexhaustible reserves, not its organizational and technical skills (p. 36). "This Eastern army," he writes in almost Churchillian fashion, "gave the impression of some instinctive biological power--human variants of ants or termites--that had assumed a military shape" (p. 80). Unlike many Hungarians at the time, Marai knew these Russian were not liberators; they could not bring freedom because they lacked it themselves. They merely continued the thieving and murdering that the Nazis had begun. Indeed, this memoir bears similarities to the memoirs of Jewish writers persecuted by the Nazis, in particular to the recently published diary of Victor Klemperer, a Jewish professor of Romance languages in Dresden during World War II.[3] Both writers use their journals partly to substitute for their emotions, partly to maintain their sanity. Both know that if their journals are found by the wrong people, it could mean imprisonment or death. But both also sense in their Nazi or Soviet oppressors a concealed awe of writers. The dangers of journal-keeping are brought home to the reader when Marai tells the story of his friend Poldi Krausz, who in 1944 suddenly showed up outside Marai's door (in Budapest), asking Marai to safeguard his personal album. Krausz knew the Nazis would soon arrest him. Marai advised his friend to ask someone else, because his house would not be any safer than Krausz's. Indeed, literally the next day, Marai and his wife were forced to abandon their house. When they returned years later, after the siege, the house lay in ruins. Marai realizes that the Soviet military was no less ruthless than the Nazi military. Like the Soviet political system as a whole, it was not a meritocracy. Outstanding performance was not rewarded. Instead, Marai writes, "what always counted in the Soviet system was whether it could use a human being, the raw material, today, Thursday, at 4:30 p.m." (p. 83). The system subsisted primarily on forced labor. Moreover, Marai is struck by the Russians' frenzied looting, which he views as the manifestation of "some blind, biological instinct." He noted that the Soviet soldiers "pounced" on a village, a house, a family, and destroyed everything they needed or did not need. Thus "for years and years on barges, trucks, and trains, they hauled away from these rich lands the wheat, iron, coal, oil, and lard, and also human resources, German technicians and Baltic workers" (p. 69). In response, the Hungarian peasants--"just as in the time of the Turks"--took the cows into the woods, buried the potatoes in pits, and hid the women. This looting also explained Soviet military power, Marai claims, since "without the domestic and kidnaped scientists, spies, forced labor of an entire Russian generation," and American aid, "Soviet industry could not have built ballistic missiles, new airplanes, the atom bomb, and a navy" (p. 81). Indeed, Marai concludes that Soviet soldiers plundered so zealously, including property they did not need, because of the abject poverty they had endured for decades. Poverty--not ideology--motivated them, since they robbed both the proletariat and the bourgeoisie indiscriminately. Poverty also engendered corruption. Marai saw how Russians would sell a healthy horse for just one liter of brandy. For Marai the factors he notes in individual Russians' behavior--the lack of freedom, submission to compulsory labor, indiscriminate looting--help to explain Soviet behavior in world politics. For example, the Soviet leaders relied on compulsory solutions

Hungarian Authors: A Bibliographical Handbook
Published in Hardcover by Harvard University Press (1970)
Author: Albert Tezla
Amazon base price: $77.00
Used price: $5.10
Collectible price: $47.65
Average review score:
No reviews found.

Hungarian Literature: An Introductory Bibliography
Published in Hardcover by Harvard University Press (1964)
Author: Albert Tezla
Amazon base price: $43.00
Used price: $22.50
Average review score:
No reviews found.

Ocean at the Window: Hungarian Prose and Poetry Since 1945
Published in Hardcover by Univ of Minnesota Pr (Txt) (1997)
Author: Albert Tezla
Amazon base price: $34.95
Used price: $9.95
Average review score:
No reviews found.

Related Subjects: Author Index

Reviews are from readers at To add a review, follow the Amazon buy link above.