Friday, July 4, 2014

Bookmark: "Freedom is not Free"

Well, that's appropriate!

While sorting through some books today, I came across a red, white and blue "Freedom is not Free" bookmark tucked away inside a copy of 1965's The Land and People of Hungary by Emil Lengyel.

The bookmark, of much more recent vintage, doubles as an advertisement for the Disabled American Veterans. Some of the text on the back states: "Thank you for your generous support. These bookmarks are a gift to you and there is no obligation to pay for them. When you use them, remember that your gift helps disabled veterans."

The purpose of DAV is "to provide support, encouragement and a better life for the noble men and women who became disabled while upholding world peace and the freedom of the United States of America."

Speaking of freedom, Hungary was not free when this book was written. From 1947 to 1989, it was under the grip of Communism as a satellite state of the Soviet Union. Tens of thousands of Hungarians who opposed the Soviets during that dark era were killed or died in labor camps.

To its credit, the book does not gloss over the oppression and murder of Hungarians from 1947 through the book's publication date in 1965, and it provides good detail of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.

In fact, the author, Lengyel, was born in Budapest, Hungary, and was raised and educated in the country. According to his 1985 obituary in The New York Times, Lengyel "was imprisoned by the Russians in 1916 in Siberia, and before he escaped years later, he had learned French, German and English, the language he later chose for his literary career."

The dust jacket of The Land and People of Hungary adds that: "During World war II Mr. Lengyel wrote the first English language biography of Hitler, which earned him the distinction of being put on a Nazi blacklist." [Actually, it appears that Lengyel's book about Hitler was published in 1932, the year before Hitler's rise to chancellor of Germany. According to a short description of the book on, the conclusion of Lengyel's 1932 volume states: "For a more definitive estimate of Adolf Hitler mankind will have to wait until his work is done. His program can hold out no hope to Germany. It is a concoction to please every palate, but it contains no new fare. Its sane recommendations have been tried and its insane proposals can never be put into execution."]

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