Olga's Reviews > Enemies of the People: My Family's Journey to America

Enemies of the People by Kati Marton
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's review
May 18, 2011

really liked it
Read from April 11 to May 16, 2011

It is a very interesting and touching story about a scary time in Hungarian history. The authors' parents were defiant anti-communists, mixing with American diplomats and openly expressing pro-western sentiment in an era where people were taken away for much less, yet - perhaps due to their high on the radar status being reporters for AP and UP - they escaped unscathed for a long while. By the time they were arrested, the political landscape was changing and they ended up released a few months later (the father served about a year and a half). Then the 1956 revolution broke out and we can sense the incredible promise and excitement of the time. This was cut short by a bloody response from the Soviet army. The family was in danger once again. But here the narrative becomes a little spotty and repetitive and unsatisfying, as if the author got bored of telling her own story. I was very much annoyed by her insistence on an analysis of her parents' feelings and inner struggle. Since they shared hardly anything with her while they were alive (which was a long time), she had to learn most everything from the AVO (Hungarian secret police) documents, and this of course leaves the emotional aspects unknown and forever a puzzle for the author. But, in contrast to her conclusions, I don't think a man is a particularly exceptional father or human being because he suffers immensely from not being able to see his family or hearing news about his children while locked up. And when you read it over and over and over again, it becomes tiring. Still, an interesting read but patience required for writing style.

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