The volume provides the fullest summary so far of how the state security service operated in 1956-90. It goes beyond the present focus on "agents" in public discourse to present the people who truly directed affairs and were responsible for them. The book contains photographs and biographies of them. The state security organization and its leaders are covered in detail down to unit level. Particular attention is given to the question of party control. Light is shed on the hitherto unseen fabric of life in the "party-state" and the "happiest hut" through a series of case studies of individual tragedies. Many of those who appear in them-perpetrators and victims alike-are still alive today.
The authors of the book are the historians Gábor Tabajdi, who specializes in the political history of the second half of the 20th century, and Krisztián, who researches the Second World War and the history of state security. Ungváry's book "The Siege of Budapest", published by Corvina in 1998 has run into six Hungarian, four German, two British and two American editions.
Relations between the state security and the communist party
The directors and commanding officers of the political police
The working means and methods of state security
The operation of the state security service in figures
Breaking up the intelligentsia: the Kovrig file
Defending socialist industry: Interior Ministry activity in the Red Star Tractor Factory
The "development history" of the III/III agents: the Feledy file
Police Lieutenant General Szilveszter Harangozó and the art of music
A classic case of fabrication: the reform communist organization of István Péntek
Ödön Málnási the "correspondent"
Cornered: Ottó Hátszegi-Hatz and the state security
Crushing the Catholic hierarchy under the Kádár regime
A show trial under the Kádár regime
Room for manoeuvre and the force of events: an outline of a church leader
An extreme left wing group: observation of Katalin Imre and her circle
The "House of Amour"
March 15 as a state security target
The Monday Free Universty
The Dialógus Peace Movement
The genesis of the prosecution: Dialógus in Pécs
Official warnings, luxury brothels, arms trading and counter-intelligence: a case from the everyday life of Kádárite elite salvaging its position