“Aftermath. Life in the Fallout of the Third Reich 1945-1955” by Harald Jähner (published by WH Allen)

Rerbuilding hearts, souls as well as bricks, mortar

Nothing worked in Germany In the weeks of confusion that followed the end of the Second World War, not the postal service, the railways or public transport, amidst homelessness and the occasional corpse that still lay buried under the rubble. Defeat meant a “starving, ...

“Total War. A People’s History of the Second World War” by Kate Clements, Paul Cornish and Vikki Hawkins (published by Thames & Hudson)

Human stories behind the mass carnage

War is sick, war is disgusting, but who cares? The last ones were disasters but let’s have another. There’s a bit of land to fight over, or national pride, or an ideology. War is waged by lunatics, macho men, cowards and bully boys with ...

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The Beatles just can’t let it be

Getting back to a revised 1969

It took nearly half a century to come up with the idea, or at least to put it into motion, but some four years ago The Beatles organisation Apple Corps finally decided “The time has come to present the real story”, in other words ...

“Edvard Munch: An Inner Life” by Øystein Ustvedt (published by Thames & Hudson)

A-to-Z introduction to an artistic phenomenon

There is a small library of books on Norway’s Edvard Munch, including several by the art historian, critic, curator and expert on the artist, Øystein Ustvedt. His latest, “Edvard Munch: An Inner Life”, is intended to offer a wide-reaching, all-encompassing introduction for the lay ...

An excerpt from Will Sergeant’s new memoir

Echo and the Bunnymen’s first gig

Will Sergeant failed his 11-plus school exam in Liverpool, UK, and was dumped with the other thickies at a secondary modern school, where the careers master wanted him to train to be a welder. No one, including Sergeant himself, suspected that instead of being ...

“The Strangers in the House” by Georges Simenon (published by Penguin Books)

A man’s life regains meaning, as do the words that tell the tale

There is not one but two mysteries for we amateur sleuths to ponder here: first, Simenon’s actual plot, involving the obligatory killing and the natural question of whodunnit, and second, how this brand-new translation differs so much from Penguin’s earlier one (in a positive ...

“Brothers in Arms” by James Holland (published by Bantam Press)

By tank into Germany, with carnage all around

War throws up no end of horrors, and among the worst must be to fight it from within the claustrophobic confines of a tank (or submarine) that might well be blown to bits any second. Much-published historian James Holland tells the harrowing tale of ...

“Bunnyman: A Memoir” by Will Sergeant (published by Constable)

Early years of a showstopper and shopstopper guitarist

On a couple of occasions when I needed a new stereo outfit in Newcastle, NSW, Australia, in the 1980s-90s I would head down to the hi-fi shop with my copy of Echo and the Bunnymen’s “Porcupine” album and ask the salesman to play the ...

Horror writer Shirley Jackson offers a chilling short story for Halloween

A happy and loving wife is overcome by the impulse to kill her husband…

Dinner had been good. Margaret sat with her book on her lap and watched her husband digesting, an operation to which he always gave much time and thought. As she watched he put his cigar down without looking and used his free hand to ...

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“Greyhound” by C.S. Forester (published by Penguin Books)

Dogged by death in the deep

C.S. Forester died in 1966 and he is not forgotten in The Budapest Times office, where we have a nice little collection of 18 of his books. But they don’t include “Greyhound”, and in fact we were a bit puzzled when it was published ...

“John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono with contributions from the people who were there (published by Thames & Hudson)

The screams heard around the world

Come 1969, lovable fab moptop John Winston Lennon had gone a bit crazy. Schooldays sweetheart Cyn had been abandoned in favour of this weird Japanese avant-garde artist Yoko Ono, and the two of them made three albums of listenable-once noise experiments. They were full-frontal ...

“Born on the Fourth of July” by Ron Kovic (published by Canongate)

52 years in a wheelchair, so far

The Vietnam War was an American disaster. Iggy Pop, who performed in Budapest last year, avoided it by acting crazy at his draft hearing. Creedence Clearwater Revival sang about the “Fortunate Son”s of senators who were assigned at home instead of fighting in the ...

Most commented articles Books

“Greyhound” by C.S. Forester (published by Penguin Books)

Dogged by death in the deep

C.S. Forester died in 1966 and he is not forgotten in The Budapest Times office, where we have a nice little collection of 18 of his books. But they don’t include “Greyhound”, and in fact we were a bit puzzled when it was published ...

“For the Glory. The Life of Eric Liddell” by Duncan Hamilton (published by Black Swan)

God, gold and goodness

“Chariots of Fire” won the 1981 Academy Award for Best Picture, putting excitement into athletics as it told the story of two runners who won gold medals for Britain in the 1924 Olympics in Paris. Surprisingly, perhaps, this occupies only the first third of ...

“Agatha Christie, First Lady of Crime” Edited by H.R.F. Keating (published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson)

One of life’s great mysteries

Here at The Budapest Times we like to consider ourselves as moderately well-read (albeit with plenty of glaring gaps in our literary adventures), and there came a time many years ago when we decided it was high time we should sample Agatha Christie, the ...