Budapest 1900: A Historical Portrait of a City & Its Culture

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Open Road + Grove/Atlantic, Jan 5, 2012 - History - 288 pages
2 Reviews
A distinguished historian and Budapest native offers a rich and eloquent portrait of one of the great European cities at the height of its powers.
Budapest, like Paris and Vienna, experienced a remarkable exfoliation at the end of the nineteenth century. In terms of population growth, material expansion, and cultural exuberance, it was among the foremost metropolitan centers of the world, the cradle of such talents as Bartók, Kodály, Krúdy, Ady, Molnár, Koestler, Szilard, and von Neumann, among others.
John Lukacs provides a cultural and historical portrait of the city—its sights, sounds, and inhabitants; the artistic and material culture; its class dynamics; the essential role played by its Jewish population—and a historical perspective that describes the ascendance of the city and its decline into the maelstrom of the twentieth century.
Intimate and engaging, Budapest 1900 captures the glory of a city at the turn of the century, poised at the moment of its greatest achievements, yet already facing the demands of a new age.
“Lukacs’s Budapest, like Hemingway’s Paris, is a moveable feast.” —Chilton Williamson
“Lukacs’s book is a lyrical, sometimes dazzling, never merely nostalgic evocation of a glorious period in the city’s history.” —The New York Review of Books
“A reliable account of a beautiful city at the zenith of its prosperity.” —Publishers Weekly

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User Review  - William345 -

Author John Lukacs starts with a description of the funeral in 1900 of the painter Mihály Munkácsy. The huge size of the man's funeral and its elaborateness, Lukacs suggests, says much about the high ... Read full review

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User Review  - Your_local_coyote -

I enjoyed this book and found it useful for performing the task it describes. It is well organized and provides a historical interpretation of Budapest in the 1900s. I appreciate how goodreads ... Read full review



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About the author (2012)

“John Lukacs is in many ways an old-fashioned chronicler, an ‘impressionistic historian’ as he himself says at one point, evoking with considerable artistry the vibrant colors, pungent smells and melancholy undercurrents of his native city. . . . Budapest 1900 is a special book—an eloquent tribute to a city by an urbane man of letters.” —Ivan Sanders, The New York Times Book Review

“Lukacs’ book is a lyrical, sometimes dazzling, never merely nostalgic evocation of a glorious period in [Budapest’s] history.” —Istvan Deak, The New York Review of Books

“A fascinating, and beautifully written, portrait of a colorful cosmopolis poised between the great age of the bourgeoisie, and the post-modern, post-bourgeois world.” —National Review

“Evocative, insightful, opinionated, this portrait of a city at its prime examines everything from climate and cuisine to politics and national character.” —Merle Rubin, The Christian Science Monitor

“I consider John Lukacs one of the outstanding historians of this generation and, indeed, of our time.” —Jacques Barzun

“Between the deeply evocative and poetic first chapter and the tragic and savagely dramatic last, John Lukacs has created a portrait of a unique civilization. [This] most original historian is a literary artist as well: his Budapest, like Hemingway’s Paris, is a moveable feast.” —Chilton Williamson, Jr.

“As in all the books of this remarkable man, we are treated not only to admirable learning and far-ranging scholarship but to wisdom. The implications of this book extend beyond Budapest, beyond Hungary, to the past, present, and future of Europe, East and West, and of America too.” —Eugene D. Genovese, Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences, University of Rochester

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