Category: Germany

Dec 06 2017

Premature Evaluation: Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman

I first came to Vasily Grossman via excerpts in Ivan’s War, Catherine Merridale‘s amazing book about how ordinary Soviet soldiers experienced the Second World War. That prompted me to pick up A Writer at War, dispatches and stories that he wrote while working as a journalist near the front. I thought it was one of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/12/06/premature-evaluation-life-and-fate-by-vasily-grossman/

Dec 06 2017

The Sinner by Petra Hammesfahr

Y’all that was messed up. I’m a fan of mysteries from way back and have read or watched nearly every type of depravity imaginable, and the reason why Cora Bender, innocuous middle-class housewife, slashes the throat of a stranger on a crowded beach still strikes me as fuuuuuuucked up, even as it is thoroughly convincing. …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/12/06/the-sinner-by-petra-hammesfahr/

Sep 18 2017

A Most Wanted Man by John Le Carré

It’s a John Le Carré book, so you know that someone is going to get screwed in the end. In his Cold War books, which were on the whole more subtle in their plotting if not as deft in their characterization, it wasn’t always possible to tell who was doing just what to whom, because …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/09/18/a-most-wanted-man-by-john-le-carre/

Sep 14 2017

Europe in Winter by Dave Hutchinson

I should say two things right up front about Europe in Winter. First, intermittently during a bicycle tour across one of Europe’s smaller polities that steadfastly refuses to disappear completely is both the right and wrong way to read this book. Wrong, because it surely deserves closer attention that I was sometimes able to give …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/09/14/europe-in-winter-by-dave-hutchinson/

Jun 16 2017

Postwar by Tony Judt

Two things stand out for me about Postwar, by Tony Judt. First, it is a stupendous historical synthesis that aims to tell a mostly political history of all of Europe — East and West, North and South — from 1945 through its publication in 2005. Second, I should have been writing reflections about it as I …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/06/16/postwar-by-tony-judt/

Jun 16 2017

The Ottoman Endgame by Sean McMeekin

“So far from a sideshow to the First World War, the Ottoman theater was central to both the outbreak of European war in 1914 and the peace settlement that truly ended it.” (p. xviii) In The Ottoman Endgame, Sean McMeekin makes a strong argument that understanding the First World War without understanding the part of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/06/16/the-ottoman-endgame-by-sean-mcmeekin/

May 11 2017

Militärmusik by Wladimir Kaminer

The cover says that Militärmusik is a novel, but I suppose the main point of that designation is to relieve Wladimir Kaminer (why doesn’t he use the usual transliteration in English?) of any obligation even to pretend to be telling a true story. I mean, Militärmusik is told in the first person, the main character …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/05/11/militar-musik-by-wladimir-kaminer/

Apr 25 2017

Germany: Memories of a Nation by Neil MacGregor

Neil MacGregor was Director of the National Gallery in London from 1987 to 2002 and of the British Museum from 2002 to 2015. He is now Chair of the Steering Committee of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin. His best-known previous book is A History of the World in 100 Objects. That background goes a long …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/04/25/germany-memories-of-a-nation-by-neil-macgregor/

Feb 25 2017

Wallenstein II by Friedrich Schiller

“Schiller’s Wallenstein is so great that there is nothing else like it.” — Goethe How’s that for a blurb? Goethe didn’t just offer praise, he directed the premiere of all three parts of Schiller’s Wallenstein trilogy. The third, Wallenstein’s Death (published as Wallenstein II, as the two previous plays comprise the first volume), comes from …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/02/25/wallenstein-ii-by-friedrich-schiller/

Feb 04 2017

Wallenstein I by Friedrich Schiller

The best thing about zipping through Wikipedia’s entry on these two plays by Friedrich Schiller — the first volume of Schiller’s Wallenstein plays comprises Wallensteins Lager (Wallenstein’s Camp) and Die Piccolomini (The Piccolomini) — was learning that Goethe directed both premieres. (He also directed the premiere of the trilogy’s third part, but I am still …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/02/04/wallenstein-i-by-friedrich-schiller/