After nearly three decades of dutiful service to the Communist Party, Imre Nagy led the popular uprising against the Soviet authorities during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Two years later he was disgraced and executed. How did the formerly loyal Party servant become one of its most ardent critics? How did he reconcile his own beliefs with the demands of the Party for so long - and what finally drove him to take a stand? And how should we understand his legacy for the modern democracy of Hungary? This definitive biography of the Communist leader traces his life from his conventional, petty bourgeois childhood in south-west Hungary, through his tremendous political achievements and ultimate dramatic failure. The first complete portrait of this complex and contradictory figure, Imre Nagy is vividly brought to life as an enigmatic figure whose actions shaped Hungary's destiny in 1956 and ever since.
Janos M. Rainer is the Director of the Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, Budapest. He is is a leading authority on modern and contemporary Hungarian history and the author of numerous books and documentary films on the subject. Since its publication in Hungarian this has been widely acknowledged to be the definitive Life.