The Restless Hungarian
The Restless Hungarian is a biography of Paul Weidlinger, founder of the acclaimed structural engineering firm Weildlinger Associates, written by his son Tom. It follows his life as a Hungarian Jew facing persecution and then his rise as a world-renowned architect and engineer.
Paul Weidlinger led an exemplary life. He accomplished a great many feats in building and architecture. Many buildings on which he worked stand to this day and act as historical monuments. Paul had a tumultuous family life despite his professional accomplishments. This in part was thanks to all the secrets he had to keep. In wartime, he was a military general and was privy to many secrets concerning national security. He couldn’t openly discuss his work with his family. This secrecy, along with other factors, led to the breakdown of his first marriage.
This book is a tale of triumph against all odds. Paul was known to take on difficult challenges and, for him, no goal was unattainable. We could all use some of his fighting spirit.
This man never wallowed in self-pity. He loathed doing so, so much that he kept his true heritage of persecution a secret from his children. His son Tom once made a joke about his mother’s shopping habits which alluded to the fact that they might have been Jews, an accusation that his mother vehemently denied.
Along with Paul Weidlinger’s life story, this book also contains a wealth of knowledge on nuclear deterrence, specifically about how far we have come in building structures that can withstand nuclear explosions. You might also learn a thing or two about the arms race between the United States and Russia itself.
Tom Weidlinger tells this story mostly from a third-person perspective but also makes use of first-person narration when explaining how he felt while making the various discoveries about his father found in the book. He also includes excerpts of letters and other relevant documents to provide additional authenticity.
I enjoyed this book very much. A lot of effort clearly went into writing it, evident in the style and research. It is a worthy tribute to an exceptional human being who advanced the world through architecture. I wasn’t very keen on the subject before, but this book got me interested. My take away from this book is that we should never wait to be perfect to make our mark in the world. Rather, our gifts can be used even as we strive for perfection.
|Page Count||304 pages|
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|Category||Biographies & Memoirs|