Writer and historian

CRITICAL ACCLAIM

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

Victoria Hislop

on

Budapest: Between East and West

"This book is a delight. Elegant writing, urbane knowledge, scholarly depth, and a beautifully-sketched cast of warlords, writers and empresses, communists and kings. Not just a superb portrait of Budapest but a history of 2,000 years of central Europe."

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

Andrew Roberts

on

Budapest: Between East and West

“Victor Sebestyen’s Budapest is a compelling portrait of one of the most important cities in Europe. It is Full of sharp insights, elegant writing and vivid characters, a magisterial work spanning 2,000 years from the Romans to the present day.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar

on

Budapest: Between East and West

"This book is a delight. Elegant writing, urbane knowledge, scholarly depth, and a beautifully-sketched cast of warlords, writers and empresses, communists and kings. Not just a superb portrait of Budapest but a history of 2,000 years of central Europe."

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The New York Times: Josef Joffe

on

Lenin the Dictator

"Can first-rate history read like a thriller? With “Lenin: The Man, the Dictator, and the Master of Terror,” the journalist Victor Sebestyen has pulled off this rarest of feats — down to the last of its 569 pages."

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar

on

Lenin the Dictator

"Excellent, original and compelling portrait of Lenin as man and leader."

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

Tablet Magazine: David Mikics

on

Lenin the Dictator

"Victor Sebestyen's engaging 'Lenin'... helps explain why a century later the central amorality of the unfulfilled Utopian ideal is still with us"​

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Guardian: Daniel Beer

on

Lenin the Dictator

"Victor Sebestyen’s engagingly written biography…. hits its stride in the years of revolutionary upheaval; it captures all the drama of Lenin’s leadership against a background of imperial collapse, the ravages of war and the building of a dictatorship."

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Evening Standard: Saul David

on

Lenin the Dictator

“In his excellent new biography, Lenin the Dictator, Victor Sebestyen adds... the human side of Lenin…”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The New Statesman: David Reynolds

on

Lenin the Dictator

“Victor Sebestyen brings the man’s complexities to life in Lenin the Dictator, balancing personality with politics in succinct and readable prose.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Oldie: Margaret Macmillan

on

Lenin the Dictator

"In this new biography, Victor Sebestyen gives a vivid and rounded picture of Lenin the man… he brings to the task a gift for narrative and for describing his rich cast of characters."

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Mail on Sunday: Francis Wheen

on

Lenin the Dictator

‘“A richly readable new biography…enthralling.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Spectator: Roland Elliot Brown

on

Lenin the Dictator

"Sebestyen demonstrates with memorable examples Lenin's cold cynicism and easy recourse to terror and his seemingly pathological reliance on censorship and disinformation."

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Times: We're Reading...

on

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

“Sharp focus and racy prose capture the events and decisions that fed into the growing turmoil across Eastern Europe as the East German regime crumbled.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

Newsweek: Andrew Bast

on

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

“A must-have account. Sebestyen's brilliantly written narrative unfolds in brief, gripping episodes.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Daily Beast

on

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

“Numerous books have [attempted] to synthesize the compelling story of the fall of communism, but Revolution 1989 comes closest to being the essential volume. Sebestyen’s elegant narrative lays out in crisp episodes what was happening . . . throughout the tumultuous 1980s.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Daily Mail: Philip Jacobson

on

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

“Masterly handling of this complex and fast-moving story and its ever-changing cast.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

Slate: Christopher Hitchens

on

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

“A revealing account…..Sebestyen makes brilliantly effective use of archive material available since the collapse of the Berlin Wall.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Times: Michael Binyon

on

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

“Sebestyen's strength is his sharp focus and racy prose... Here is history written like a Greek tragedy... In Revolution 1989 nothing is taken for granted until the last triumphant page. ”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

New York Review of Books: Timothy Garton Ash

on

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

“Vivid personal glimpses and striking details... Victor Sebestyen's book is full of sharp snapshots and crisp narrative.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

Evening Standard: Peter Bradshaw

on

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

“Victor Sebestyen’s tremendous Revolution 1989 – a gripping account of how the Berlin Wall fell, taking Soviet Communism down with it. As a historian, Sebestyen is deeply immersed in his sources; as a journalist he tells a truly gripping tale.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

Daily Express: Christopher Sylvester

on

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

“A thrilling read... Sebestyen is good at sketching the leading players but he also succinctly conveys what life was like for the ordinary citizens.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Independent: Mary Dejevsky

on

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

“Rollicking mix of high drama and sordid reality... conventional history, spiced with telling quotations.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Sunday Times: Adam Lebor

on

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

“Victor Sebestyen's vivid panoramic work is a fine account... the writing is taut, the scene-setting dramatic, giving the book an almost cinematic feel."

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Independent on Sunday: Lisa Hilton

on

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

“Sebestyen's writing is as exhilarating and powerfully emotional as the events he describes... In a narrative as intoxicating as it is intricate, Revolution 1989 not only encompasses the political confrontations which fomented revolt but uses brief, skilful vignettes of ordinary lives to recreate the world behind the Iron Curtain.”​

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

T‍he Economist: Summer Reading

on

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

“A digestible and colourful history of that miraculous year.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Guardian: Angus Macqueen

on

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

“Revolution 1989 is a lucid primer on the background to, and events of that magical year. Sebestyen's narrative is clear, entertaining and sure-footed.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Scotsman: Misha Glenny

on

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

“Sebestyen has got the pace and the balance just right.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

Scotland on Sunday: Michael Fry

on

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

“Sebestyen has made an excellent job of organising his disparate material, so that the reader can recapture, with the same sense of bafflement and elation, the events that made the Europe we live in - and after 20 years he can add understanding too. "Graphic and detailed. . . Leads us right into the heart of the intimate dramas that make history . . . Excellent.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Spectator: Richard Beeston

on

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

“Victor Sebestyen brilliantly pulls together the events that led to the fall of the Soviet empire... it still takes your breath away 20 years on.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Observer: Simon Sebag-Montefiore

on

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

“It's a complex story spanning many countries, but this exciting yet deeply researched work brings it impressively to life... compelling.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Mail on Sunday: Jonathan Dimbleby

on

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

“A compelling and illuminating account of a great drama in the history of our times which showed one again that ordinary men and women really can change the world. ”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Times Literary Supplement: Vladimir Tismaneanu

on

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

“Revolution 1989 is a superbly written and impressively documented chronicle of the year John Paul II described as an annus mirabilis... Sebestyen provides a vivid portrait of the Stalinist leaders and their endless cynicism.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Daily Telegraph: Anthony Howard

on

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

“Pacy and vivid... a considerable achievement... [Sebestyen] is a writer with a gift not only for exposition but also evocation.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Economist: History Book of the Year

on

Twelve Days: Revolution 1956

“Sebestyen‍'s book should become t‍he standard work on t‍he uprising... A gripping read.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

New York Times

on

Twelve Days: Revolution 1956

“Excellent... a gripping, detailed reconstruction”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

New York Post: Professor Rodney Radosh

on

Twelve Days: Revolution 1956

“A small masterpiece that should be read and treasured by all who value mankind’s eternal quest for freedom.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

Financial Times: Stefan Wagstyl

on

Twelve Days: Revolution 1956

“Sebestyen is excellent at bringing to life the revolutionary moment. Personalities leap from his pages...”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Wall Street Journal

on

Twelve Days: Revolution 1956

“A fast-paced narrative built scene by scene, moving deftly among the key players…Steeped in detail."

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

Evening Standard: Andrew Roberts

on

Twelve Days: Revolution 1956

“Superbly researched... very well written... this engrossing book is a powerful adventure story as well as an uplifting morality tale.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Mail on Sunday: Simon Shaw

on

Twelve Days: Revolution 1956

“Sebestyen's account of the doomed uprising is utterly enthralling and almost unbearable to read. ”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Irish Times: Richard Aldous

on

Twelve Days: Revolution 1956

“Twelve Days is a triumph both of research and dramatic reconstruction... masterly account of the 1956 uprising. Such is the brilliance of the prose that the reader is lulled into the belief that somehow the idealistic students can pull it off.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Spectator: David Pryce-Jones

on

Twelve Days: Revolution 1956

“A readable, and exciting, blend of the scholarly with the journalistic, altogether a fitting commemoration of the drama.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

London Review of Books: Eric Hobsbawm

on

Twelve Days: Revolution 1956

“Well documented... and vividly written. ”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Independent: Frank McLynn

on

Twelve Days: Revolution 1956

“This lucid, highly readable account of the Hungarian Revolution... eschews all cliches to get through to what really happened.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Tablet: Marcus Tanner

on

Twelve Days: Revolution 1956

“Sebestyen dispels many cliches surrounding the uprising.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

Simon Sebag Montefiore: Author of Jerusalem the Biography

on

Twelve Days: Revolution 1956

“A magisterial but totally gripping and fresh account of the noble, violent, and doomed Hungarian revolution.”​

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Sunday Telegraph: Anne Applebaum

on

Twelve Days: Revolution 1956

“Fresh, readable and honest... the story of the Hungarian revolution also demands attention because of its almost disturbing relevance.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

Literary Review

on

Twelve Days: Revolution 1956

“Masterly... Victor Sebestyen is a marvellous guide to the Hungarian Revolution... His nuanced, intelligent account... is a first class book.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Mail on Sunday: Peter Hitchens

on

Twelve Days: Revolution 1956

“Sebestyen has done a major good deed by commemorating this hugely important event with a clear straightforward and compelling account.”

Budapest by Victor Sebestyen

The Spectator: Sam Leith

on

1946: The Making of the Modern World

"This is an exceptionally involving and horrifying book. ”