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Debra Hamel is the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

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Updated 2-6-24. [Reviews are longer and have ratings. Notices do not have ratings.]

Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Book Notices | Masquerade by Tivadar Soros

Tivadar Soros, Masquerade: Dancing Around Death in Nazi-Occupied Hungary

  Amazon  

In his memoir Masquerade, Tivadar Soros (the father of George Soros) writes about his experiences during the ten-month period between March 1944, when the Nazis occupied Hungary, and January 1945, when the Russians arrived in Soros's neighborhood in Budapest. Soros determined early on that his and his family's best chance for surviving the war would be to try to pass themselves off as Christians and live apart from one another, a plan that involved a lot of back-and-forthing with document forgers and landlords. Soros was quick-witted and resourceful, and he managed to save his family and a great number of other people besides. His account of the machinations that were needed to do so and his run-ins with different characters—a master forger, a 17-year-old German soldier, a woman on a park bench who had escaped from Germany—is surprisingly readable, and although one is hit in the face by details of man's inhumanity to man while reading, it is also a surprisingly hopeful book.

Soros was born Tivadar (or Teodor) Schwartz in 1893. In 1936, in an attempt to make themselves less of a target for anti-Semitism, Tivadar and his family changed their name from Schwartz to Soros, a name with meanings in both Hungarian ("the one who is next in line") and Esperanto ("will soar"). (This early attempt to camouflage themselves presages the tactics the family would adopt in 1944.) Tivadar had learned Esperanto during World War I and founded the Esperanto journal Literatura Mondo in 1922. Masquerade was written in Esperanto and published in 1965 as Maskerado ĉirkaŭ la morto: Nazimondo en Hungarujo ("Masquerade Around Death: The Nazi World in Hungary"). Humphrey Tonkin edited and translated this English version, which was published in 2000. Tonkin also adds an excellent afterword in which he puts Tivadar's story in its larger historical context and summarizes the author's life outside the period here described. 

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