I Kiss Your Hands Many Times: Hearts, Souls, and Wars in Hungary

Marianne Szegedy-Maszak, Author
Marianne Szegedy-Maszák. Random/Spiegel & Grau, $27 (384p) ISBN 978-0-385-52485-8
Reviewed on: 05/13/2013
Release date: 08/27/2013
Compact Disc - 978-0-449-01015-0
Compact Disc - 978-0-449-01013-6
Ebook - 325 pages - 978-0-679-64522-1
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This tragic family history weaves together the lives of journalist Szegedy-Maszák’s parents and their extended families with the fate of their native Hungary during and after WWII. The author’s father, Aladár, was a Gentile civil servant in the Hungarian Foreign Ministry, whereas her mother, Hanna, came from a family of Jewish industrialists who converted to Christianity. Aladár and Hanna’s romance blossoms under the shadows of war and anti-Semitism, and continues to grow even after Aladár is shipped off to the Dachau concentration camp for voicing his strong anti-Nazi opinions. Hanna and her family, meanwhile, strike a deal with Heinrich Himmler to trade most of the family’s holdings for passage out of Hungary. In the aftermath of the war, Aladár and Hanna are reunited, and the fragile Hungarian government names him minister to the U.S. Despite his best efforts, he is powerless to prevent the Communist ouster of the democratically elected Hungarian government. Through her parents’ correspondence and other sources, Szegedy-Maszák reveals a father who is by turns “luminous” and broken, a mother who is “hilariously funny and brilliant,” and a nation struggling to find its footing after decades of war and repression. Photos. Agent: Flip Brophy, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Aug.)
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