THE FIRST BOOK OF HUNGARY by Csicsery Istvan

THE FIRST BOOK OF HUNGARY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

What makes this more than just another social studies sampling is its calculated imbalance: everything is in, but what's interesting is emphasized. After a brief but pointed look at the lay of the land, the author tells about the people: striving for individual autonomy, they are hard to discipline, hard to dominate; they are ""not given to continuous and steady work"" and ""do not consider work their purpose in life;"" they are very emotional and impulsive (tho' less so recently); their worst trait is excessive pride. Each topic (following a short general history) is treated in historical perspective: science and technology, religion and education, language and literature, etc. The section on music includes a detailed discussion of the work of Bartok and Kodaly in collecting folk music and incorporating it into their compositions; the chapter on customs includes three staples of the curriculum--costumes, Christmas, cooking. Appropriate maps and photographs are appropriately placed (see the hooded statue of Anonymous, the author of a famous medieval chronicle); the appendix provides a long ""list of some of the more important Hungarians and persons of Hungarian origin."" Children of Hungarian origin would enjoy reading about their heritage here, and it can be recommended also for its judicious handling of the post-war political scene.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1967
Publisher: Watts