From Bela Kun to Janos Kadar

Miklos Molnar, Author, Arnold J. Pomerans, Translator Berg Publishers $84.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-85496-599-1
By turns sectarian, reactionary and reforming, the Hungarian Communist Party has passed through drastically different phases, from Leninist Bela Kun's 133-day ``dictatorship of the proletariat'' in 1919, through fragmented clandestine activity for the next quarter-century, to Stalinist dictator Matyas Rakosi's police state. Populist martyr Imry Nagy's short-lived pluralist experiment, crushed in 1956, was followed by pragmatist Janos Kadar's middle-of-the-road reformism, which, according to Molnar, had become sclerotic by the time Kadar was stripped of political office in 1989. Born in Budapest, Molnar is now a professor in Geneva; his fiercely eloquent account of the party's continuing metamorphosis is also, in good measure, a social and economic history of modern Hungary. He forcefully argues that the party's disintegration is inevitable because its utopianism is elitist and out of touch with the real needs of the people. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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