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‘A honvédtisztképzés irányĺtóinak arcképcsarnoka’
Dr Tibor Balla has authored a compact, yet wonderfully exciting book on the history of the Ludovica Academy and the Commanding Officers/Directors of the Academy. The book is some 230 pages in length and is relatively easy to comprehend, even for those with little understanding of the Hungarian language (a Hungarian/English dictionary did come in handy).
The book in part commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Ludovica Academy opening and as such commences with a short history of the Academy from its conception in 1808, through completion and opening in 1872, and finally its closure as a functioning Military Academy in April 1945.
The short introduction is followed by the individual biographies of the 28 Ludovica Academy Commanding Officers/Directors in order of their appointment. Some of the biographies are short 3 or 4 pages whilst others are quite detailed and up to 10 pages in length. Each biography contains the relevant life dates, and in some cases parental information, detailed career progression data which includes promotion dates and various regimental and/or career appointments. This is followed by details the subjects’ various honours and awards, and finally, where applicable, any publication they may have either authored or co-authored. All in all, a thoroughly comprehensive overview of the individual careers of these Officers.
A detailed bibliography is included. However, there is no index, but I hasten to add that one is not needed, nor does its absence detract from the book in any way.
A very strong positive for me was the outstanding portraits of the individual Commanding Officers/Directors that accompany each biography. Not only the portraits, but also the photos of the daily life of the staff and students at work or play that are liberally sprinkled throughout the book are sharp in detail and well presented.
I would suggest that anyone familiar with Dr Balla’s previous works on the Austro-Hungarian Generals of the Great War (A Nagy Háború Osztrák-Magar Tábornokai) will find this book relatively easy to navigate and just as easy to comprehend and extract the biographical information presented.
This publication is a valuable addition to the history of the Hungarian Military and the Ludovica Academy in general. It sits very comfortably alongside the other works of the author. Dr Tibor Balla and those who assisted in the production of this publication are to be congratulated.
For anyone interested the boo can be purchased from - webshop.ludovika.hu