The “intensely gripping story” of John von Neumann, Leo Szilard, Arthur Koestler, and six other world-renowned Hungarian Jews who fled the Nazis (The Washington Post Book World).
In this book, New York Times–bestselling author Kati Marton tells the stunning tale of nine men who grew up in Budapest’s brief Golden Age, then, driven from Hungary by anti-Semitism, fled to the West, especially to the United States, and changed the world. These nine men, each celebrated for individual achievements, were part of a unique group who grew up in a time and place that will never come again. Four helped usher in the nuclear age and the computer, two were major movie myth-makers, two were immortal photographers, and one was a seminal writer. From a Peabody Award–winning journalist and finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award, The Great Escape is a groundbreaking, poignant American story and an important untold chapter of the tumultuous last century.
“Describes the crossroads where art and politics meet, the perils of dictatorship and the horrors of war, all of it punctuated by the frantic struggle to create the atomic bomb. . . . Deserves a special place on bookshelves alongside Budapest 1900.” —The New York Times Book Review
“By looking at these nine lives—salvaged, and crucial—Marton provides a moving measure of how much was lost.” —The New Yorker
“[Marton has] a keen understanding of what it means to leave one’s country behind.” —The Seattle Times
“A haunting tale of the wartime Hungarian diaspora. . . . Marton writes beautifully.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Filled with a number of wonderful anecdotes.” —Chicago Sun-Times
“An engrossing book.” —Library Journal