I have always been fascinated with the modern history of Eastern Europe, where I was born and spent the first thirteen years of my life. So much of what happened there during the war and the ensuing years of Soviet rule deeply affected the lives of everyone in my family—even mine today—so I’m naturally drawn to writing about this corner of the world and what ordinary people experienced in countries like Hungary or Romania. A great part of my research came the old-fashioned way, from scouring history books and published research, yet it was very important to me to bring this episode in history to the reader in an intimate way; therefore, I spent just as much time (if not more) emersed in essays and personal accounts of the 1956 Hungarian uprising, including quite a bit of video footage and filmed interviews. For me, this was hugely helpful in capturing not just the turbulence of those days in Budapest, but also the hopefulness, heroism, and pride of a people rising up against tyranny and fighting for freedom. Finally, many of my own family’s stories of what life had been like under the Iron Curtain—of censorship and random arrests, of telephones being tapped and spying neighbors—gave me an extra layer of insight which I hope has added some richness to the overall story.