This book is a delight. Elegant writing, urbane knowledge, scholarly depth, and a beautifully-sketched cast of warlords, writers and empresses, communists and kings. Not just a superb portrait of Budapest but a history of 2,000 years of Central Europe.
[Budapest is] magnificent, a really fine history. I was completely swept up in it. It's full of fascinating insights from an author with this city in his blood. Colourful detail and anecdote make it an exciting and often very entertaining read. Victor Sebestyen brings the key heroes and villains in Budapest's history to life. It's vivid, engaging and page-turning.
Victor Sebestyen's Budapest is a compelling portrait of one of the most important cities in Europe. Full of sharp insights, elegant writing and vivid characters, it is a magisterial work spanning 2,000 years from the Romans to the present day.
The task Victor Sebestyen sets himself is to explain both the 'boundless blindness' (in the words of Crown Prince Rudolf) and the 'extraordinary courage' (in Sebestyen's own) that have led Hungary to make the choices she has. The result is highly readable ... [Sebestyen] is excellent on the interwar regent Miklós Horthy. In fact he is excellent on 20th-century Hungary generally. It is a complex subject, but Sebestyen has written about it before, and his hand is very sure.
The most accessible and authoritative history of the city in a generation.
Sebestyen's history of Budapest is full of fascinating facts ... The narrative swings back and forth between the broad sweep of Hungary's past and the almost tangible sense of the city: its streets, its people and its cafés - where the revolution of 1848 began and the words of the national anthem were written. The book ends with 1989, the fall of communism and the emergence of a young firebrand named Viktor Orbán. For anyone seeking background on Hungary's recent history, this is an excellent place to start.
Not only a rich portrait of a city but also a masterful survey of central European history