The Greatest Hungarian, Irish "Nonfiction" Books Since 1900

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 270 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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  1. 1. Autobiographies by William Butler Yeats

    This book is a collection of autobiographical essays by a renowned Irish poet and playwright, reflecting on his personal and professional life. It provides a deep insight into his early life, family, influences, and the evolution of his poetic and dramatic works. The author also gives a vivid account of the Irish literary scene and the cultural and political climate of his time, including his involvement in the Irish National Theatre and the Irish Literary Society.

  2. 2. Borstal Boy by Brendan Behan

    "Borstal Boy" is a semi-autobiographical novel that depicts the author's experiences in a British juvenile detention center, or borstal, during World War II. The young protagonist is arrested in Liverpool for his involvement with the Irish Republican Army and is sent to borstal where he spends his formative years. The narrative explores themes of patriotism, identity, and the complexities of adolescence, presenting a raw and compelling portrayal of life in detention and the relationships formed there.

  3. 3. Hannah Senesh by Hannah Senesh

    This book is a collection of the diaries, letters, and poems of a young Jewish woman who emigrated from Hungary to Palestine in the 1930s, driven by her Zionist beliefs. She joined the Haganah and later volunteered for a daring military operation to parachute into Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II, with the aim of aiding Allied forces and rescuing Hungarian Jews from the Holocaust. Her writings reflect her courage, literary talent, and the depth of her commitment to her cause. Tragically captured, tortured, and eventually executed by the Nazis, she became an enduring symbol of bravery and sacrifice in the face of tyranny.

  4. 4. A Journey Round My Skull by Frigyes Karinthy

    "A Journey Round My Skull" is a deeply personal narrative that takes the reader through the author's own experiences with a brain tumor and the subsequent neurosurgery. Written with a blend of humor, introspection, and medical detail, the book explores the author's changing perceptions and emotions as he confronts his mortality and the intricacies of his own mind. It is a pioneering work in the genre of medical memoirs, offering a unique window into the psychological and physical journey of a patient in the early 20th century, as well as the evolving field of neurosurgery.

  5. 5. The Confessions Of A Haut Bourgeois by Sándor Márai

    "The Confessions of a Haut Bourgeois" is a memoir that delves into the life and reflections of a man born into the Hungarian upper middle class at the turn of the 20th century. The narrative explores the author's formative years, education, and experiences that shaped his worldview, set against the backdrop of a fading Austro-Hungarian Empire and the tumultuous changes sweeping through Europe. It is a poignant examination of the cultural and social mores of the time, as well as a personal reckoning with the loss of the author's own privileged world and the search for identity in a society undergoing profound transformation.

  6. 6. My Happy Days In Hell by György Faludy

    The book is an autobiographical account of a Hungarian poet's life during the mid-20th century, chronicling his experiences from his carefree youth through the rise of fascism and his subsequent imprisonment in a brutal labor camp. It is a tale of intellectual passion, political upheaval, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of totalitarianism. The narrative captures the author's journey through a Europe ravaged by war and political strife, his encounters with notable literary figures, and his unyielding commitment to his beliefs and to poetry, even as he endures the hardships and absurdities of a communist regime.

  7. 7. I Have Lived a Thousand Years by Livia Bitton-Jackson

    This memoir tells the harrowing story of a 13-year-old Jewish girl's survival during the Holocaust. The narrative follows her life from her quiet existence in Hungary through the horrors of Auschwitz and other concentration camps, and finally to her liberation and the struggle to rebuild her life in the aftermath of such trauma. The memoir is a powerful testament to human resilience and the will to survive against all odds.

  8. 8. Selected Stories by William Trevor

    "Selected Stories" is a collection of short stories by acclaimed author William Trevor. The book features some of Trevor's most memorable and haunting tales, exploring themes of love, loss, and the complexities of human relationships. With his signature style of understated elegance and quiet, observant prose, Trevor creates characters that are both ordinary and extraordinary, capturing the subtle nuances of their lives and the emotions that drive them. From the Irish countryside to London's bustling streets, these stories offer a glimpse into the human experience and the ways in which we navigate the world around us.

  9. 9. A Vision by William Butler Yeats

    The book in question is an esoteric exploration of the cyclical nature of history, art, and the human experience, as seen through the lens of the author's unique system of symbolism and mysticism. Drawing upon a wide array of influences, including the occult, astrology, and the author's own imaginative faculties, it presents a complex framework for understanding the interplay of personal and universal forces. The work is divided into sections that delve into philosophical and poetic discussions, offering a vision of reality that is structured around the phases of the moon and characterized by a series of gyres or spirals, representing the evolution and involution of the soul, history, and civilization.

  10. 10. Essays Of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde

    This collection of essays showcases the sharp wit and insightful social commentary of one of the most celebrated writers of the late 19th century. The essays span a range of topics, from art and aesthetics to criticism and personal reflections, all delivered with the author's distinctive blend of eloquence and irony. The author's keen observations on Victorian society, his exploration of beauty and its relation to life, and his thoughts on the role of the artist make this compilation a treasure trove for readers interested in literature, philosophy, and the enduring complexities of human nature.

  11. 11. Major Critical Essays by George Bernard Shaw

    This collection of essays showcases the author's incisive wit and profound critical thinking as he delves into a variety of subjects, ranging from the intricacies of Shakespearean drama to the social responsibilities of the artist. The author's articulate and often controversial opinions challenge the status quo and provoke readers to reconsider their preconceptions about literature, theater, and society. His essays are celebrated for their intellectual rigor, humor, and the author's unwavering commitment to social reform, making them an enduring contribution to literary criticism and cultural discourse.

  12. 12. A Fanatic Heart by Edna O'Brien

    "A Fanatic Heart" is a collection of short stories that delve into the complexities of human emotions and relationships, often set against the backdrop of Ireland's lush landscapes and social upheavals. The narratives explore themes of love, betrayal, and the struggles of the human spirit through a variety of characters, from young girls to aging men, each grappling with their own desires, regrets, and search for meaning. The author's lyrical prose and keen insight into the intricacies of the heart and society weave together tales that are both poignant and revealing, offering a window into the soul of her characters and the cultural tensions of the time.

  13. 13. We Don’t Know Ourselves by Fintan O'Toole

    "We Don't Know Ourselves" by Fintan O'Toole is a collection of essays that explores the current state of Ireland and its people. O'Toole argues that Ireland's sense of identity has been shaped by its history of colonization and the struggle for independence, but that this identity is now being challenged by globalization and the changing social and economic landscape. He examines issues such as immigration, the Catholic Church's declining influence, and the rise of nationalism, and ultimately argues that Ireland needs to embrace a new sense of identity that is inclusive and forward-thinking.

  14. 14. The Complete Letters Of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde

    This compilation is an exhaustive collection of correspondence penned by one of the most celebrated writers of the Victorian era, known for his wit, eloquence, and flamboyant style. The letters provide an intimate glimpse into the author's life, covering his rise to fame, his relationships, his trials, and his time in prison. They reveal his personal thoughts on art, literature, society, and his own creative process. The collection is not only a treasure trove for literary enthusiasts and scholars but also a poignant, revealing portrait of a complex man who was a central figure in the aesthetic movement of the late 19th century.

  15. 15. Full Tilt by Dervla Murphy

    "Full Tilt" is a captivating travelogue that documents the author's adventurous bicycle journey from Ireland to India. The journey is filled with diverse landscapes, cultures, and people, as well as several challenges, including harsh weather conditions, illness, and political unrest. The author's resilience, determination, and passion for exploration are evident throughout the book, providing an inspiring and insightful perspective on solo travel and self-discovery.

  16. 16. Under the Eye of the Clock by Christopher Nolan

    This novel is a semi-autobiographical account of a young man with cerebral palsy who uses his intelligence and determination to overcome his physical disability. Despite being unable to speak or move without assistance, the protagonist excels academically, eventually earning a place at a prestigious university. The book is a testament to the power of the human spirit and the potential within us all to rise above our limitations.

Reading Statistics

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If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

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