The Proud and Torn website is an exquisite representation of public scholarship. Its creators are giving a generous gift worldwide to all who will find this website. With words, pictures, stories, and design elements, it beautifully and reflexively showcases an intersection of personal history and world history—presenting an “alternative history” of rural Hungary and the ordinary people who lived extraordinary lives there and beyond.
Berkley Hudson, Ph.D.
Missouri School of Journalism
With nearly 1,000 images included in the form of photographs, maps, illustrations, animations, and film clips as a part of a fascinating, innovative, and moving website, the necessarily personal and enriching story in Proud and Torn should be a model for all who teach and work in the field of immersive storytelling. Oral histories from previous eras by Studs Terkel, the Foxfire program, Alex Haley, and the work of gifted graphic novelists inspire researchers to pursue their own lines of investigation in traditional interview and storytelling formats. The Proud and Torn team has taken the field to a higher level in which technological advances merge with content as never previously conceived. A startling achievement.
Paul Lester, Ph.D.
School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication
The digital interactive site, Proud and Torn, is an important and highly creative demonstration of the potentials of public digital archives. The ambition to present an interactive digital timeline focusing on not-so-famous, notpowerful, not public figures, is, to a certain extent, the modest continuation of James Agee’s and Walker Evan’s 1936, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men photographic project. Although, E.P. Thompson, Eric Hobsbawm, Carlo Ginzburg, among others, realized in the 1960s the importance of writing history of the marginalized, the peripheral, of those whom history has somehow defeated, the ambition to present the story of those, who were left on the margin of history, one’s Hungarian peasant family in the context of both global and especially national history, is a salutary and exemplary undertaking.
István Rév, Ph.D.
Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives
Proud and Torn is an outstanding project that will change the way public historians produce histories in a digital environment. Proud and Torn offers historians a way to communicate powerful historical content to public audiences in new highly interactive ways. The project's interface, its use of incredible historical images, and storyboard-style narrative animate the lives of ordinary Hungarians across multiple generations. Through contextualizing her personal past, Fabos illuminates the complex history of a central European country that has endured multiple wars, economic depression, and the heavy hand of totalitarian government. Readers experience the successes and traumas, the frustrations and triumphs of the Fábos family across time as they navigate both their country's changing political and social landscape and their own proud, but threatened, heritage.
Leisl Carr Childers, Ph.D.
University of Northern Iowa
This project is noteworthy both because it is, to my knowledge, the most extensive publically oriented digital project covering the history of the region, and because of its high quality. It integrates exceptional research and technological innovation into a cohesive narrative that links the individual (and family) to the national and international history of Hungary. It also incorporates a gendered perspective into the narrative of Hungarian history, and, therefore, contributes to building the field of women’s and gender history in East Central Europe, where it is under developed. Most impressively, by exploring the history of one family, it makes these scholarly contributions in an accessible way that engages the public in a complex history that departs from the simplistic East/West European binary, and helps build understanding of how large processes shape individual lives. I have used it in my courses on twentieth century East Central European history and plan on using it in my general modern European history survey courses. My students have also enthusiastically embraced the historical narrative in all its complexity and are invested in the lives and futures of the Fabos family.
Book Review Editor, East Central Europe
University of Cincinnati
Proudandtorn.com is an incredible contribution to the field of Visual Communication, and more broadly to digital humanities. As someone who pioneered early multimedia websites in the mid-1990s, I was blown away by this work. In many ways it opened my eyes (again) to the powerful storytelling potential of the web. The entire production, design, user experience, and narrative are masterly crafted; it doesn’t feel like an academic production (and I mean that as a big complement to Bettina Fabos and her team).