Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Gazdig, Joan. The Kingdom of Hungary (‘Ten Arrows’ United Military Strength): the Beautiful Mistress.

Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc.. 2009. c.136p. illus.
ISBN 978-0-8059-7758-5. $21.00.

Generously- illustrated with many photographs and other reproductions (thirteen black-and-white and eighty-six color), this brief publication by Gazdig, a family genealogist, retired legal secretary, and Hungarian- North American, whose father, uncle, and their two cousins immigrated to “the new world,” (p. 2) provides an overview of Hungarian history and heritage. In fifty-one, very short chapters that average two pages in length, the author covers diverse subjects, not limited to her family’s ancestry, Hungarian history, Hungary’s kings and queens, soldiers, statesmen, liberators, famous buildings, monuments, composers, painters, wines, foods, customs, dogs, and more. While this book may serve as an introductory guide, it lacks the comprehensiveness and depth of coverage that are found in general reference resources. Also, the author uses her text as a means for arguing that Hungarian lands and cultural artifacts that were lost during and after various wars should be restored to the “kingdom” of Hungary, as it originally came to be established as early as 896 C.E.. Devoting the first three chapters of her publication to family matters, Gazdig sets forth how her family’s history fits into her approach. According to the author, her father, uncle, and their cousins immigrated when their land was dismembered by the signing of the Treaty of Trianon (June 4, 1920) in Paris after World War I. (p. 2) Gazdig prepared her text “out of respect” for her father and his desire to re-live his past and introduce his children to his ancestors as well as to “help others to re-live their heritage.” (pp. ix-x) Lacking scholarly documentation such as footnotes, an index, and a selected bibliography, but including a “Dates to Remember” timeline as well as excerpted addresses by statesmen and a message delivered by Pope John Paul II (b. May 18, 1920- d. April 2, 2005) to the Hungarian nation in August 2000, this book will best suit readers who may have some prior knowledge of Hungary, its cultures, heritage, history, peoples, and more. Sufficiently well- illustrated and thoughtfully- conceived, but not authoritative, it is recommended as an additional, supplementary resource for some large, public and special libraries serving the needs of immigrants, ethnic groups, genealogists, and others. Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book as a member of the Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team. Visit to learn how you can become a member of the Book Review Team. Availability: