What is it to be Hungarian? What does it feel like? Most Hungarians are convinced that the rest of the world just doesn't get them. They are right. True, much of the world thinks highly of Hungarians--for reasons ranging from their heroism in the 1956 revolution to their genius as mathematicians, physicists, and financiers. But Hungarians do often seem to be living proof of the old joke that Magyars are in fact Martians: they may be situated in the very heart of Europe, but they are equipped with a confounding language, extraterrestrial (albeit endearing) accents, and an unearthly way of thinking.
What most Hungarians learn from life about the Magyar mind is now available, for the first time, in this user-friendly guide to what being Hungarian is all about.
The Essential Guide to Being Hungarian brings together twelve authors well-versed in the quintessential ingredients of being Hungarian--from the stereotypical Magyar man to the stereotypical Magyar woman, foods to folk customs, livestock to literature, film to philosophy, politics to porcelain, and scientists to sports.
In fifty short, highly readable, often witty, sometimes politically incorrect, but always candid articles, the authors demonstrate that being credibly Hungarian--like being French, Polish or Japanese--is largely a matter of carrying around in your head a potpourri of conceptions and preconceptions acquired over the years from your elders, society, school, the streets, and mass media.
Compacting this wealth of knowledge into an irresistible little book, The Essential Guide to Being Hungarian is an indispensable reference that will teach you how to be Hungarian, even if you already are.
István Bori, who holds degrees in geography and history from the University of Szeged, has taught since 1995 at the Bálint Balassi Institute in Budapest, Hungary, where he helped establish the Hungarian Studies Division. His specialties are twentieth-century Hungarian economic history and social geography. The author lives in Budapest.
"A useful and entertaining appetizer for those who are interested in
the past and present of Hungary and the Hungarians."
--Paul Lendvai, author of The Hungarians
"An anthology of well-written, witty, and self-critical pieces, reviving national stereotypes in tasteful, if not always PC humor. . . . Like the entries of an encyclopedia, each chapter initiates the reader into a facet of Hungarian life that is more or less obvious to Hungarians, but probably either unknown to or misunderstood by foreigners."
--Dániel Dányi, Hungarian Literature Online
"Short and to-the-point snippets of Hungarian culture and history are to be found in The Essential Guide to Being Hungarian. A quick, often humorous look at what being Hungarian is all about, this book will be appreciated by family or friends of Hungarian descent who could stand to know us better, and it is an excellent source of facts for those who aren't Hungarian but long to join us."
--Imre Lendvai-Lintner, President of the Hungarian Scout Association Abroad