The Price of Freedom - Reviews of the Award Winning Memoir
THE PRICE OF FREEDOMThe price of freedom is paid
in human currency
Excellent Rating *****
James Cumes, Author of "The Human Mirror: The Narcissistic Imperative in Human Behaviour. " Mr. Cumes graduated in Arts (Queensland) and Diplomatic Studies (Canberra) and is a Doctor of Philosophy (London). He has written a dozen books: on history, economics, philosophy and government and four novels.
I recall a rather chilly day in the autumn of 1956. Though the sun shone brightly, my mood was even brighter because an amazing thing was happening: a whole people had declared themselves free. To celebrate, I drove down the road from Vienna to the Hungarian border. There I was engulfed by a crowd of happy people, laughing, singing, cheering, drinking toasts to the future of the land they loved. They didn't have much champagne but that didn't matter. Anything would do - water was more than enough - for spirits that sparkled with new hopes, new visions, new horizons.
I went into Hungary that day. Shortly afterwards, as a people's freedom was being stifled for another thirty years, Alex Domokos made his way out, just in time, to find freedom in the West. Other than in spirit, we never met; until now, through his book which he calls, THE PRICE OF FREEDOM.
His flight to freedom is only a small but defining part of a life that documents, with touching sensitivity, the torments that man inflicts on man. Alex was like any of us when history took him by the scruff of the neck and hurtled him into the Second World War. A regional chief of police in Hungary, his father called the Nazis the "new pagans". Alex agreed but, as an army officer, he was fated to fight with the Germans in the defense of Budapest in 1944-45.
Captured by the Russians, he spent six years as a prisoner in the Soviet Union. On his release, distrusted by the puppet communist regime in Budapest, he was condemned to internal exile within his native Hungary. The revolution of 1956 at last provided a window of opportunity to fly to freedom but he and his wife had to leave their three-year-old daughter behind.
This fine book tells of man's struggle against his most fearsome enemy - his own kind. It is a story of man's frailty and vulnerability. At the same time, it is the story of man's greatness - how he can confront a long series of torments, endure and emerge with his essential soul and decency intact.
Domokos is a writer of rare quality. He tells, with sincerity and passion, a story whose validity is hard to question. Above all, he carries the reader with him, to share his pain, his fear, his loneliness. You are more than an observer; you walk with him and his wife, as they cross the new bridge between Buda and Pest; hear him talk to Misa, his part-Jewish boyhood friend, who joins the Hungarian Nazi Arrow-Cross party and, when the Russians make Hungary one of their east European satellites, rises to senior positions in the communist party. You participate with him in his vicissitudes, in his joys and disappointments, his victories and defeats. You are with him when events oblige him to make sensitive analyses of the characters and motivations of his friends as well as his enemies.
This is a book not to be missed. Whether you are young or old, it is a book that will live in your memory. If enough of us read it and take note of its lessons, the generations now living and yet to come might be spared some of the travail through which so many had to live in the conflicts and catastrophes of the twentieth century.
Alex Domokos is not only a writer to admire, but also a man you will wish you could have as your friend.
If I had the power to make it so, THE PRICE OF FREEDOM would be required reading in every classroom in the world--and every politician, before he or she could run for office, would also have to read the book. Mr. Domokos writes lucidly, comprehensively, and from his own knowledge of a world where freedom comes with a heavy price tag. Born in Hungary, imprisoned and tortured by both the Germans and the Communists during and after WWII, and knowing hard work and starvation first hand, he is an inspiration--and a hero. The freedom we take for granted, he paid for in blood, tears, and an anguished heart.
The bravery it took to examine his trials and tribulations, inscribe it for all to see, and give his story to the world makes me almost breathless with awe and admiration. He is magnificent in his courage and dedication to family and the truth, and yet his modesty is apparent on every page. This is not the book of a braggart. It is a book written by a loving father to his daughter, so that she would know her heritage, would know what price he had paid for his freedom and hers. Yet, it goes beyond that, touches the mind and soul, makes the reader fully aware of what a wonderful thing freedom is and why it must be kept sacred for all who seek it.
Reviewed by: Patricia White
The Price of Freedom
Reviewed by: Kim Murphy for Sime-Gen
I rarely read "modern" historicals. When I do, the book that captures my attention does so because of its truth. No words from a review can ever express what Mr. Domokos endured in The Price of Freedom. After World War II, he spent six years in a Russian prison. On his release, he was exiled internally in his native Hungary. The revolution of 1956 provided him with the opportunity of freedom at last. But it came with a heavy price. He and his wife were forced to leave their three-year-old daughter behind.
Too many people in the Western world take freedom for granted. Those of us guilty of "forgetting" about brave acts and blood spilled in the name of freedom are reminded of what's important. Readers will undoubtedly experience shock and disbelief. After all, the events of torture, forced labor, and constant police harassment didn't happen that long ago or so very far away. In spite of great odds, optimism found in the depths of the human spirit is never lost. That idealism is what leads people to take risks beyond what is believed humanly possible.
In his modesty, Mr. Domokos reveals that his autobiography serves two aims: to allow his daughter a glimpse into his past and to enlighten his adopted country, Canada, about the tragedy of his native land, Hungary. Not only does he fulfill his goals, he has left future generations a legacy. It is my sincere hope that his message of the importance of freedom will be heeded, and the lesson won't be lost among the dusty pages of history texts. Highly recommended reading for everyone!
THE PRICE OF FREEDOM
Alex Domokos with Rita Toews
"Although we walk in silence, I burn with a desire to shout, to cry, to howl, to let my feelings explode. The world around us is saturated with agony, overcome with misery. The victors live on another continent, on the other side of the globe, and they are tired of the vanquished's lamentations. The War has hardened their hearts and it has dried up our tears." Thus begins this outstanding, exceptionally well-written autobiography that touches the heart and engages the mind. A child in Hungary during the thirties, an officer in the Gendarmery in the wartime forties, a political prisoner in the fifties, Alex Domokos' payment for freedom was incarceration, torture, forced labor, oppressive restrictions, poverty, police surveillance, a repeatedly broken heart and a country ripped apart by warring political factions who cared nothing for that which they were destroying.
"Somehow, we cannot fathom the depth of cynicism of diplomatic world games where National interests outweighed moral values. I am an optimist. I refuse to believe that misfortune can strike me with such consistency." After surviving the siege of Budapest (where horsemeat was considered a banquet), Mr. Domokos was condemned to six years in a Russian labor camp at the end of the Second World War, but his torment was just beginning. Police surveillance lasted much longer, and the dreaded AVO showed little restraint in its vicious and diligent oppression of those labeled "undesirable".
"The spirit of freedom is universal. ... Fighting for an ideal and not for gain is man's supreme valor." And that is exactly what Alexander Domokos accomplished, despite formidable odds and unrelenting suffering. Separated from loved ones, forbidden a decent job or wages, but with no relief in his responsibilities to care for his family, the author reconstructs the events of his life and brings to light the destructiveness of politics cloaked as ideals.
"In a world of lies, it is impossible to find the truth." Written with depth of heart and indomitable courage, softened with enchanting bits of poetry sparsely scattered throughout the text, these lines are in stark contrast to the reality of the author's life. This is a story of extreme hardship, but also of extraordinary beauty. His life story exemplifies all that is precious to each of us as human beings: the capacity to love and, maybe just as important, to forgive and appreciate the best things which are offered to us. That this man of remarkable talent, perseverance and unfailing bravery managed to survive such terrible suffering with his integrity intact speaks to his depth of character and, in general, to the surprising resilience of the human spirit.
Filled with glimpses into the heart of the author, this book is an exceptional account of one man's life and what it's like to live and breathe beneath the jackboot of a tyrant and the struggle required to escape it. The Gulag Archipelago, by A. Solzhenitsyn, or Shindler's List are two such chronicles, and so is The Price of Freedom.
This is an important work and I most heartily recommend it.
Reviewed by E. L. Noel, award winning author of The Threshing Floor,
E.L. Noel writes for Midwest Book Review
Ratings for Inscriptions Magazine Reviews
**** Great, almost perfect, entertaining.
"The Price of Freedom" by Alexander (Sandor) V. Domokos
Reviewed by Karen Sweeny-Justice (email@example.com)
Publisher: Hard Shell Word Factory
Alexander Domokos was one of the thousands of Hungarian citizens whose life was impacted by political decisions made in eastern Europe following the First and Second World Wars. What sets him apart from others is "The Price of Freedom," a first-hand account of life under the Communist regime.
Written primarily for his daughter, this autobiography is a compelling story of a man, a family, and a country. Divided into five parts with 39 chapters, Domokos reflects upon how the division of land after World War I literally divided families and friends. Among the events that this book chronicles are his life as a Soviet prisoner of war during World War II, the hard times he and his wife experienced as they were forced to live apart for years, the struggle Domokos faced as a "deported" and undesirable person in his own country after the war, the tough time he had earning a living, the unsuccessful 1956 Hungarian uprising, and the decision to escape to the west while leaving behind a young daughter and elderly parents.
Domokos writes with vivid imagery, engaging all of the reader's senses to make his tale come to life. Consider for instance, this description of the Hungarian plain observed on a train ride: "I know the thrill of watching the waterfowl swimming on the metallic surface of the ponds, the sky lark singing high in the cloudless sky, the bushes of acacia hiding the invisible bustard and the hunting skill of the fox chasing the hare." A poet, Domokos not only writes haunting prose, but includes poetry throughout the book.
Dark and difficult to read in places because of the subject, "The Price of Freedom" serves as a reminder to western readers that similar scenes of political propaganda and fighting are taking place in the world today. In December 1956 Domokos and his wife successfully escaped from Hungary and found refuge in Canada. There they built a successful life, and in 1962, after more than six years apart, the couple was finally reunited with their nine-year-old daughter.
Domokos writes with no regard to a straight time-line of storytelling. He will be reminiscing about one experience, say in 1956, and that will trigger memories of an earlier experience, perhaps in 1944. The switch between time and scene changes is accompanied by a mix of present, past and future tenses, and while confusing, helps to keep the story moving. Toward the end of the book, Domokos eliminates the chapter scene settings, which served as a useful tool for readers.
In "The Price of Freedom" Alexander Domokos has written an autobiography that should be read not just by his daughter, but by freedom loving citizens of the world.
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