Great Scream

Keith Middlemas

  • Uprising! One Nation’s Nightmare: Hungary 1956 by David Irving
    Hodder, 628 pp, £13.50, March 1981, ISBN 0 340 18313 6

This volume marks an extension of Mr Irving’s historiography: indeed, its critical reception has already provoked him to reply (in the New Statesman, 8 May) that he sees himself as ‘dedicated to the Augean task of revising modern history’. There are, of course, similarities with his earlier work: the vast mass of detail, painstakingly gathered from an impressive range of oral and written sources (although the rewards are rarely commensurate with the amount of energy used up); the same idiosyncratic use of evidence, as he proceeds from quite minor discoveries to challenging generalisations; and the same bewildering mixture of detailed narrative garnished with reported speech and snippets of broad analysis. Here, however, he tackles a subject potentially more open to revision than that, say, of Hitler’s War – one whose intrinsic drama can serve as a vehicle for rather more subtle expressions of the ideology of the ‘radical right’.

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