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The Restless Hungarian - Modernism, Madness, and the American Dream

Narrated by: Tom Weidlinger
Length: 8 hrs and 54 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Restless Hungarian is the saga of an extraordinary life set against the history of the rise of Modernism, the Jewish Diaspora, and the Cold War. A Hungarian Jew whose intrepid spirit helped him to escape the Holocaust, Paul Weidlinger became one of the most creative structural engineers of the 20th century. As a young architect, he broke ranks with the great Modernists with his radical idea of the “Joy of Space”. As an engineer, he created the strength behind the beauty in midcentury modern skyscrapers, churches, and museums, and he gave concrete form to the eccentric monumental sculptures of Pablo Picasso, Isamu Noguchi, and Jean Dubuffet.

In his private life, he was a divided man, living behind a wall of denial as he lost his family to war, mental illness, and suicide. In telling his father’s story, the author sifts meaning from the inspiring and contradictory narratives of a life: a motherless child and a captain of industry, a clandestine communist who designed silos for the world’s deadliest weapons during the Cold War, a Jewish refugee who denied he was a Jew, a husband who was terrified of his wife’s madness, and a man whose personal saints were artists.

©2019 Tom Weidlinger (P)2019 Tom Weidlinger

What members say

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Compelling and engaging

I love Tom Weidlinger's simple way of reading, allowing the story to speak for itself. His father's life story is intertwined with the author's journey, followed the trail back in time, tracing loose ends and piecing together fragments, to complete a painful and yet beautiful story, It tells not only the life of Paul Weidlinger, but also paints a picture of a whole people - both Hungarian Jews, and really all European Jews, navigating the complexities of mid 20th century life. It is also a poignant and intimate telling of the author's own childhood.

This is intensely human, touching, and we found it a compelling story.

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A fascinating story with personal resonance

This is a compelling story of family history, immigration, engineering, architecture, and art. Highly recommended.