Doug Merrill

Writer, editor, translator, project manager, reformed bookseller. Currently based in Berlin, following stints in Moscow, Tbilisi, Munich, Washington, Warsaw, Budapest and Atlanta. Also blogs at A Fistful of Euros, though less frequently than here these days.

Most commented posts

  1. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison — 7 comments
  2. The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin — 6 comments
  3. Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton — 5 comments
  4. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire — 5 comments
  5. Mort by Terry Pratchett — 5 comments

Author's posts

May 05 2011

Premature Evaluation: Yalta by S.M. Plokhy

Did FDR give away too much at Yalta? Was Churchill sketching out percentages of influence in Eastern and Southeastern Europe with Stalin? How far did Stalin’s plans for annexations run? And was the Cold War inevitable? In Yalta: The Price of Peace, S.M. Plokhy goes to the literature and the archives with these questions, and …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2011/05/05/premature-evaluation-yalta-by-s-m-plokhy/

Jan 11 2011

Taking Stock of 2010: Books

Undemanding reading, with one or two exceptions, appears as the hallmark of 2010. Belated reaction to the economic crisis? Lack of initiative after spending several months with Count Tolstoy in 2009? Hard to say. The exceptions: Armenian Golgotha by Grigoris Balakian, a survivor’s testimony from the time of his arrest in 1915 in Istanbul to …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2011/01/11/taking-stock-of-2010-books/

Jan 27 2010

The Discovery of France by Graham Robb

Mostly in lieu of a proper review, excerpts from The Discovery of France by Graham Robb, the best non-fiction book I read in 2009. (Tough competition, too: In Europe: Travels Through the Twentieth Century by Geert Mak, Gold and Iron by Fritz Stern and To the Castle and Back by Vaclav Havel were all top …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2010/01/27/the-discovery-of-france-by-graham-robb/

Jan 24 2010

Taking Stock of 2009: Books

Instead of a straight-up best-of list, a slightly more eclectic look back at what I read in 2009. Best large Russian book, Tolstoy’s big one; best small Russian book (and most scurrilous of any nationality) Moscow to the End of the Line by Venedikt Erofeev. Best fantasy, parts two through four of the Princess of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2010/01/24/taking-stock-of-2009-books/

Oct 27 2009

Rory the Tory?

File under “Who knew?” The Guardian reports that Rory Stewart has been selected as a candidate for the UK’s parliament from a safe (10,000 majority) Conservative seat. In one of those moves that makes me think that parliamentary systems are odd sometimes, one of his first actions will be to move so that he actually …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2009/10/27/rory-the-tory/

Jul 08 2009

Gold and Iron, by Fritz Stern

“This is a book about Germans and Jews, about power and money. It is a book focused on Bismarck and Bleichröder, Junker and Jew, statesman and banker, collaborators for over thirty years. The setting is that of a Germany where two worlds clashed: the new world of capitalism and an earlier world with its ancient …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2009/07/08/gold-and-iron-by-fritz-stern/

May 12 2009

White Eagle, Red Star by Norman Davies

Just a few short weeks after the end of World War I on the Western Front, Poland and Soviet Russia started fighting again, skirmishing on their poorly defined border that built into full-scale invasions over the next year. Davies’ book White Eagle, Red Star: The Polish-Soviet War 1919-1920 tells this complex story clearly and incisively. …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2009/05/12/white-eagle-red-star-by-norman-davies/

Mar 01 2009

Sentence of the Day

For a small break from Brussels and the economic crisis: Nothing fades so quickly or so tackily as a Soviet resort. One of the lighter observations (on p. 139) from The Spirit-Wrestlers by Philip Marsden, a journey across southern Russia and the Caucasus in search of various religious non-conformists who fell afoul of both Russian …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2009/03/01/sentence-of-the-day/

Feb 19 2009

Aid Worker Shashlik

From Geert Mak’s visit to Sarajevo in 1999: Batinic leans over and looks me straight in the eye. ‘Tell me, Geert, honestly: what kind of people are you sending us anyway? The ones at the top are usually fine. But otherwise, with only a few exceptions, the people I have to deal with are third-class …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2009/02/19/aid-worker-shashlik/

Feb 16 2009

Sentence of the Day

Describing some events in the last months of 1989: Meanwhile, an unknown KGB agent in Dresden, Vladimir Putin, had tried to pile so many documents into a burning stove that the thing exploded In Europe, by Geert Mak, p.718 I’m nearing the end of the book, and it’s living up to my initial impression. More, …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2009/02/16/sentence-of-the-day-2/