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Good Background Reading and Movies

Budapest / Hungary Book and Movie List


  1. The Forbidden Sky: Inside the Hungarian Revolution by Endre Marton – Cold War Historical Account
  2. The Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World by Kati Marton – WWII Historical Account
  3. Enemies of the People: My Family's Journey to America by Kati Marton – Cold War Historical Account
  4. A History of Hungary by Laszlo Kontler – General History
  5. When Angels Fooled the World by Charles Fenyvesi – WWII Historical Account
  6. Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire by Victor Sebestyen (Hungarian) – Cold War Historical Account
  7. Central Europe: Enemies, Neighbors by Lonnie Johnson – Cold War Historical Account
  8. The Sword and the Crucible. Count Boldizsar Batthyany and Natural Philosophy in Sixteenth-century Hungary by Dora Bobory - History
  9. Budapest: A Critical Guide by Andras Torok, Andras Egyedi and Andras Felvideki – General History
  10. The Paul (Pal) Street Boys, Ferenc Molnar – Historical Novel
  11. The Invisible Bridge, Julie Orringer – WWII Historical Novel
  12. Under the Frog by Tibor Fischer – Cold War Historical Novel
  13. A Taste of the Past: The Daily Life and Cooking of a Nineteenth-Century Hungarian-Jewish Homemaker by András Koerner – Golden Age Historical Account
  14. Nobody Knows The Truffles I've Seen by George Lang – WWII / Cold War Historical Account
  15. The Smell of Humans: A Memoir of the Holocaust in Hungary by Ernö Szép – WWII Historical Account
  16. The Budapest Protocol by Adam LeBor – WWII Historical Novel
  17. Bridge at Andau by James A. Michener – Cold War Historical Account
  18. Budapest 1900: A Historical Portrait of a City and Its Culture by John Lukacs – Golden Age Historical Account
  19. The Envoy: The Epic Rescue of the Last Jews of Europe in the Desperate Closing Months of World War II by Alex Kershaw – WWII Historic Account
  20. Kasztner's Train: The True Story of an Unknown Hero of the Holocaust by Anna Porter – WWII Historic Account
  21. Ligeti, Kurtág, and Hungarian Music during the Cold War (Music in the Twentieth Century) by Rachel Willson – Cold War Historic Account


  1. Gloomy Sunday – WWII / Cold War
  2. Kontroll – Social Commentary
  3. Freedom's Fury – Cold War Documentary
  4. Budapest Retro – Cold War Documentary
  5. The Journey – Cold War Historical Story (1959, Yul Brynner, Deborah Kerr)
  6. Budapest to Gettysburg: One man’s new birth of freedom - Documentary
Posted by
4637 posts

I will add three more books which I recently read:
Victor Sebestyen: Twelve days - the Story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. The book is very well written by a journalist whose own family fled from Hungary.
Anne Applebaum: Iron Curtain - the Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956. Very detailed informative book. Author concentrated mostly on East Germany, Poland, Hungary. Good especially for history fans.
Arthur Phillips: Prague . The name is misleading. The book is about Budapest. I will borrow from New York Times Book Review: a novel startling scope and ambition, Prague depicts an intentionally lost Lost Generation as it follows five American expats who come to Budapest in the early 1990s to seek their fortune. They harbor the vague suspicion that their counterparts in Prague have it better, but still they hope to find adventure, inspiration, a gold rush, or history in the making.

Posted by
4 posts

Wow! wish I'd had your reading list before my Budapest visits. Didn't see your movie listing of "Gloomy Sunday," AND "Kontroll', until AFTER I posted info on 2 other threads: would be interested re your feedback of my comments.

Posted by
17303 posts

aktravlr ; What you get out of any destination is always improved upon when you show up with a little better understanding of the people, history and culture. Even if it is based on Kontroll!!! Great (strange) movie. Budapest is more of a cultural destination then a destination with a list of top ten things to be seen. Those that read even one of the books and see even one of the movies are significantly more impressed than those that show up with the TOP TEN of BUDAPEST guide book. Those that read also tend to return and return and return.