The Bridge at Andau
By James Michner
Publisher: Random House; June 1, 1957
ISBN: 0449210502

Without going into details, which the book describes excellently and vividly, the book is a set of stories of the revolution by composite characters that Michner put together after interviewing hundreds of refugees from Hungary immediately after their uprising in 1956. The book is well worth reading, insightful into the nature of government in Soviet satellite countries and their relationship with Russia during the Cold War.

Given to tremendous amounts of editorializing, it reads like you would expect an American propagandist to write, and in many ways, that it accurate. Almost every abuse of power that occurs, of which there are many, Michner portrays it as a question of Communism vs. Capitalism, even when it seems clear that the problems truly lie elsewhere (fascism in general, absolute power, or just humanity's horrible natural state.) Many times throughout the book, Michner cites the corruption of Communism, or the bravery of the soldiers and their desire for freedom in the face of the Communist oppressors. It seems a bit skewed towards blaming the economic, rather than human or sociopolitical situation, but certainly portrays the reality of the revolution well.

Additionally, given the fall of Communism near the end of the last millennium, the book is mainly of historical interest, as it fails to have any particular point when seen in the light of it's original purpose. It is interesting to note, that although Michner's criticisms are well founded and interesting, eventually it was an economic failure that brought down the russian communists. Overall, I would certainly recommend the book, especially to those people (myself included,) who were not old enough to appreciate the concerns and disgust that America had for the Communist bloc.

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