Sándor Márai’s "Memoir of Hungary, 1944-1948" captures life in Hungary during one of the most turbulent times in Hungarian history. Márai, a prolific novelist who critiqued in his novels the smugness and intellectual aridity he saw in the Hungarian middle class, describes well in this book what he saw unfolding in Budapest as his city and country moved from the horrors of the Second World War to Soviet occupation and the imposition of a communist regime controlled from Moscow. The book begins in March 1944, when Hungary is still under Nazi occupation. Very quickly, however, the book’s action moves to the fighting around Budapest in late 1944, when Márai’s Buda neighborhood became a battleground as Soviet forces fought to dislodge Germans (and their Hungarian allies) who had been ordered by Hitler to hold Budapest at all costs. Over the course of the book, Márai describes how he saw the Soviets, during the postwar period, robbing Hungary of its resources and establishing an imperial hold over the country. Márai left Hungary once for the West, but then returned, determined to continue his literary career in his own country, writing in his own language. Only when he realized that the communist rulers of Hungary not only would not let him speak his mind, but also would not allow him to be silent, did he seize the chance to leave Hungary permanently and settle in the West. Márai’s prose style – heavy, dense, laden with sometimes abstruse references – is not for the faint of heart. Yet the book provides a powerful look back at the end of World War II and the beginnings of the Cold War.