John Lukacs: Visionary, Critic, Historian
John Adalbert Lukacs was born in Budapest on January 31, 1924. As he likes to note, he came into the world when two of his betes noires—Lenin and Woodrow Wilson—were leaving it; they died within one week before and after his birth.
The strongest influence in his early years was his Anglophile mother. His parents divorced when Lukacs was eight and he was raised Catholic by his Jewish-born mother, a recent convert to the faith. Because of his mother’s intense admiration for the cultural history and social values of Albion—she sent him to an English boarding school before World War II—the young Lukacs not only acquired the German that educated Hungarians learned but also mastered English, a skill that would prove invaluable in the future.
Lukacs was largely untouched by World War II until 1944, when he was sent to a labor battalion during the last stages of the German occupation of Hungary. Already an Anglophile like his mother, Lukacs established contact with American and...