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Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest, and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt (Cold War International History Project Series)

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  33 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Winner of the 2007 Marshall Shulman Prize

The 1956 Hungarian revolution, and its suppression by the U.S.S.R., was a key event in the cold war, demonstrating deep dissatisfaction with both the communist system and old-fashioned Soviet imperialism. But now, fifty years later, the simplicity of this David and Goliath story should be revisited, according to Charles Gati's new h
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published August 22nd 2006 by Woodrow Wilson Center Press / Stanford University Press
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Oct 25, 2016 Jerome rated it really liked it
A well-written, well-organized overview-type history of events in 1956 Hungary from all sides. The author argues that all parties in the affair could have resolved their differences peacefully. Instead, as Gati tells it, they all vacillated between idealism and intransigence and Gati concludes that for Hungary the whole affair was a missed opportunity. Gati also concludes that Cold War politics and geopolitics did not necessarily pre-determine the outcome.

Gati judges Nagy an ineffective politica
Aug 31, 2014 N rated it liked it
''At that time, neither the Hungarian nor the Soviet leaders agreed with Nagy's analysis. They certainly did not heed his advice. They failed to appreciate Nagy's wisdom, and they failed to recognize the centrality of his position in and out of power#-and they kept making one critical error after another. The Kremlin's first mistake was to install Nagy in June 1953, without compelling the Hungarian party to back him. The Kremlin's second mistake was to dismiss Nagy in early 1955 and return power ...more
Apr 02, 2014 Brandy rated it liked it
Read this for a grad class.
I really enjoyed the first half of this book. Gati's own experience in and ties to Hungary provide for a nuanced examination of the situation in Hungary and the Soviet Union during and leading up to 1956. I'm only going with three stars, however, because I do think that the American chapters are a bit lacking. I feel as though the American sections could have been left out entirely if they weren't going to be more in depth than they are.
That being said, I would defin
Feb 20, 2013 Jim rated it really liked it
For me this was an eye opening introduction to the political dynamics within the USSR during the post-Stalin Cold War and between the USSR and the so called satellite states. Not to mention the influence & management of Radio Free Europe. You don't necessarily have to be interested in Hungarian history to enjoy this book.

There are copious, meaningful footnotes throughout that are not to be skipped.

Mar 26, 2011 K rated it really liked it
As Gati states, his book is not meant to inspire, but to explain. At that, it is straightforward, effective, and, most importantly, it remains captivating. I consulted this book for a research paper and ended up reading the whole thing within a few hours.
Mar 20, 2013 Teresa rated it really liked it
Shelves: haveread
This is not an easy read, but it is a very good interpretation. A good mixture of a eyewitness accounts and archival material.
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Cold War International History Project Series (1 - 10 of 24 books)
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  • Marigold: The Lost Chance for Peace in Vietnam
  • After Leaning to One Side: China and Its Allies in the Cold War

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