By Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty

Published by MacMillan

Used, 1974, Hardcover, 341 pages

NOTE: An extra shipping charge may be added because of the weight of this book.

The book is in good condition overall, but has a fair amount of underlining in ink which may be a problem for some readers. The dust jacket is in good condition although yellowed somewhat.


Apr 23, 2015Suzanne rated it really liked it

“This is the story of Cardinal Josef Mindszenty of Hungary (1892-1975) who was persecuted by the communist regime of Hungary.

Hungary became Communist in the wake of Soviet occupation after the Second World War. Hungary had fought on the Axis side until an armistice with the Soviets in 1944. The Soviets more or less occupied the country and brought it into the communist fold.

Cardinal Mindszenty butted heads with the Communist regime over the nationalization of all schools and the removal of obligatory religion. For this dissent, he was arrested and tortured. Then the government organized a show trial in which he was convicted of treason. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The memoirs recount the facts in detail. It was very interesting to read how simply opposing the regime led to his arrest and daily beatings and attempts at forced confession.

For seven years, he was imprisoned, first in dire circumstances, then eventually in a chateau with another bishop. The communist regime did not want to make him a martyr.

During the brief Hungarian Revolution, he was liberated. But due to the Soviet invasion, he was forced to take asylum in the American embassy where he lived for fifteen years. Finally, because of detente, he was effectively forced to leave; however, he was able to live in exile in Vienna, Austria. Finally he was essentially deposed by the Vatican in 1974 as a result of detente. The Vatican was trying to build better relations with the Eastern Bloc countries in order to safeguard the well-being of the Church. And Cardinal Mindszenty wa sacrificed for that purpose.

I thought it was a very interesting read, although the Hungarian language is somewhat off-putting to a native English speaker such as myself, and it made it difficult to remember names of people and places, and I didn’t even try to pronounce most of them.

I do believe he will one day be canonized. He showed remarkable resilience in the face of torture and imprisonment. You would think that imprisonment would be a boring topic, especially since he didn’t have a lot to do while incarcerated, but he had quite a few insights into the system. Later during his imprisonment, he began writing his memoirs, so the recollection was somewhat close to the actual events, and not many decades later as is often the case with memoirs.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about how the Communist system works, and how the Church was persecuted under communism. Very insightful.” (From Goodreads website – Review by Suzanne)