Karyl'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
Jan 30, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: library-reads, 2012, non-fiction
Read from January 30 to February 03, 2012

I'm a bit too young to have felt the fear that ran through the Cold War years. Yes, in my childhood we still had the USSR, and we still had stories of defections, but I didn't get the same sense of sheer terror that the Marton family must have lived under behind the Iron Curtain in the 1950s. I cannot even imagine being imprisoned and interrogated just for being a journalist with close ties to American diplomats, but that is exactly what happened to both of Kati Marton's parents. It's shocking and even disgusting to see the way in which secret agents in Cold War Hungary worked, the way in which they would take the most innocent statement or activity and twist it into evidence of supporting The Enemy, in this case, America. But somehow the Martons survived not only WWII and the Holocaust, though Mrs Marton's parents were exterminated at Auschwitz, but also the Cold War in Hungary, finally seeking refuge in the United States. While dry at times, this book reveals the complex characters of all involved on both sides of the Iron Curtain with plenty of evidence from the Hungarian secret police files to back up Marton's revelations.

For me, personally, I was surprised to find Marton had been married to Peter Jennings, the voice of my childhood, as we were required to watch ABC Nightly News every evening of my parents. It gives even more of a chill for me to think of the way he reported the fall of the Iron Curtain, how amazing and personal that must have been for not only his wife, but himself, his children, his in-laws. Amazing.

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Reading Progress

01/31/2012 page 15
4.0% "This brings me to an essential mystery of my childhood: having barely survived the Nazis, my parents should have kept their heads down. Yet, when the Communists took over Hungary, my parents brazenly and openly aligned themselves with the new Enemy: the Americans."

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