All Chapters


Part 1

Chapter 11,889 Words

It could have been eleven in the morning or one in the afternoon, it was hard to tell which by the hot Spanish sun. The last glimpse I’d had of the map was two nights before, too long ago to do me much good. Besides, our maps were not too dependable. I tried to recall where due north was but couldn’t. I had lost my orientation in the last bombardment and one mountain top looked very much like another. It felt still early and a long day lay ahead.

Chapter 2474 Words

In the summer of 1936 when I drove up to Madison Square Garden from Cleveland as a member of the Ohio delegation to the National Convention of the Communist Party in New York, I found the place humming. There was a festive, welcoming, even carnival air about the Garden; the sidewalks were crowded with cheerful comrades hawking party literature, shouting welcome, clustering eagerly around the entrances to greet the Party leaders. Even the “Cossacks,” the mounted police assigned to keep order, looked friendly.

Chapter 31,311 Words

Eight years before that convention, I, the “Old Bolshevik,” had little interest in politics. I was then living in Greenwich Village right in back of the Sheridan Theater, in a four-room railroad flat, drawing down a hundred dollars a week as a foreman in a fur shop. I was single, had more than enough for my needs, luxuriating in what for me was comfort, and spending my free time perfecting my English in preparation for a career as a playwright.

Chapter 43,063 Words

It was the summer of 1928, and I was starting on a new play dealing with some events of the 1918 October Revolution in Hungary. I had been an ignorant participant in those events and much to my chagrin I discovered that this ignorance, despite the intervening years, still persisted.

To turn them into a good play those incidents had to relate to universal experience and I found myself beyond my depth. The background was a historical one.

Chapter 51,884 Words

Toward the end of September, 1918, our allies manifested signs of treachery; the Turks and Bulgarians were negotiating for a separate peace. Worse still, trouble was brewing among the population right in Hungary itself.

Chapter 66,803 Words

The usual image the word “revolution” evokes is that of violent turbulence: a disturbed wasp’s nest buzzing viciously; a vortex of cascading waters that churn furiously; an onrush of drunk-maddened cutthroats with long knives dripping blood-a furious, hysterical, bloodthirsty mob jamming streets and squares, packing them solid with howling flesh that permits no one to escape.

There was no such image in my mind as, munching absently on my sausage and bread, I made my way on foot to the inner city where I expected the National Council to be.

Chapter 71,591 Words

We left the train at a village before it reached Siofok, the only town of any size on Lake Balaton. The carriage awaiting the doctor had room for only four. The sanatorium was quite a distance from the station so I had all our equipment except the rifles loaded in the carriage and sent the sergeant along with the doctor to make arrangements.

Chapter 81,833 Words

The days passed quietly and so did the nights. Although rumors reached us that this castle or that estate in outlying villages had been looted or set aflame, we were not molested. The men enjoyed themselves, they had a real vacation for the first time in their lives. They had food, women, and very little work to do. For companionship they had each other and the maids. I had neither and I was getting bored, not being accustomed to idleness.

Chapter 91,433 Words

Siofok was the largest town in that Lake Balaton area, a famous summer resort surrounded by a belt of smaller villages inshore, with a permanent population of a few thousand. (Less than a year later, it was this town where Admiral Horthy set up his headquarters to organize his march on Budapest.)

Trouble had been building up in Siofok ever since the revolution broke out in Budapest and was about to reach its culmination that evening. The revolution had raised the pent-up discontent and misery of the war in that town to a point of explosion.

Chapter 103,880 Words

When we got near Siofok, I told the drivers to take us to the rear of the Town Hall and stop a block away. It was close to seven by then and it was dark. We weren’t hungry. The men had scrounged enough bread, hard sausage, smoked Hungarian bacon from the help in the Doctor’s kitchen to have our fill on the way over. When we got to within fifty yards of the rear of the Town Hall, we got off, brushed the straw off our uniforms and I had the sergeant line the men up. The street was dark. There seemed to be some light in the square in front of Town Hall and a murmur was rising from that direction.

Chapter 112,646 Words

The next morning I went over to the Town Hall early. No one was standing guard and the cell was empty. The sergeant and his three cronies were gone and two more men with them. I discovered that a few cabinets had been broken open and I found chisel marks even on the town safe, but it hadn’t been entered.

I walked over to the depot. The freight-car door gaped wide open, the broken lock hanging from it. The car had been stripped bare. That must have been done after I left, later in the night.

Chapter 123,536 Words

As soon as I got well I went to Budapest and in January, 1919 enrolled in the Medical School of the Royal University of Budapest. I also obtained a job with the Gabor Institute, a private school for the problem children of the wealthy. Some of the pupils were backward, some came from broken homes or were unwanted, others were the unmanageable, the kind no other school in the country would take. I was hired to teach mathematics and physical culture after my classes at the University, in exchange for room and board plus a nominal pay. Since jobs were almost impossible to find, it was a most fortunate arrangement.

Chapter 131,005 Words

Working in the fur shop was exciting. It was a sweatshop but I did not know that then. I worked a seventy-two hour, six-day week. My working day started at seven o’clock in the morning. The boss would come in ahead of me and after unhooking the Holmes Burglar Alarm System he would lay out the work. When I came in at seven, I would sweep the place and wet the skins for the cutters. The men started at eight, quit at five. Afterward I finished up after them, did whatever the boss told me to do, and left some time after seven in the evening. The boss would leave with me unless something went wrong with the Holmes system, which happened often. In that event, we would have to stay and wait until the Holmes men came, checked, and mended the break. Often that took until eight or later. On Saturdays the shop would close down at twelve but the boss and I would stay on. He liked to stay late and always found enough for me to do.

Chapter 142,650 Words

The shop was fun. It was hard work, manual labor, but I enjoyed it. When other new immigrants complained about their “degradation” and cried for their old life in the “old country,” I treated them with contempt. My old life was all in the past, buried and forgotten. It was wonderful not to be idle, a pleasure to be working.

Chapter 15493 Words

That winter was tough. I had very little saved and couldn’t keep up with my cousin’s new high standard of living. He wouldn’t eat in any more, he was taking all his meals in lunchrooms and delicatessen stores, sometimes even in a real restaurant; so we separated. I moved to a filthy bug-infested room just off Tenth Avenue, not quite a flophouse but the nearest thing to it. Even though I pulled my rusty iron bed into the center of the room and sprinkled insect powder all around the legs the bedbugs still outmaneuvered me. They crawled around the ceiling above the bed and then just plopped down.

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