Category: History

Mar 09 2019

The Bridge by David Remnick

Because I am all about timely reading, I have just finished The Bridge, whose subtitle is The Life and Rise of Barack Obama, and which was published in 2010. As Remnick explains in the acknowledgments, his “hope was to write a piece of biographical journalism that, through interviews with his contemporaries and certain historical actors, …

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Jan 29 2019

The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin

The sordid tale of King Henry VIII and his six wives is probably the one most well-known to those with even only a passing interest in English history. As an Anglophile myself, I grew up reading Antonia Fraser’s The Six Wives of Henry VIII alongside other titles more obscure on the topic, and heartily enjoyed …

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Dec 24 2018

Don Karlos by Friedrich Schiller

The first thing to note about Don Karlos is that I noped right out of it somewhere in the middle of the second act. My disbelief had wavered early on when Don Karlos, the crown prince of Spain, unburdens his soul to his childhood friend the Marquis of Posa. Karlos (Carl in English) says he …

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Dec 21 2018

The Willow By Your Side by Peter Haynes

A few years ago, I bought a boxed set of Susan Cooper’s The Darkness Rising series, eager for the nostalgia of English children fighting evil, mythical forces in semi-allegory for real world conflicts. It was, sadly, a disappointing experience because, as an adult, the stories are frightfully simplistic in a way that they weren’t to …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/12/21/the-willow-by-your-side-by-peter-haynes/

Dec 20 2018

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Two years and some-odd weeks ago, Donald Fucking Trump — aided by the Russian government along with its witting and unwitting stooges, boosted by an FBI director he soon fired, slavered over by a national press that apparently couldn’t help itself any more than it could help spending more time on his opponent’s e-mail practices …

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Dec 17 2018

The House of Government by Yuri Slezkine

The first half of The House of Government located the Bolshevik party within a specifically Russian tradition of millennarianism. Revolutionary socialism would redeem the world, starting with Russia, and usher in a new era, a time of plenty, a time of the perfectibility of humanity. The second half of the book details what life is …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/12/17/the-house-of-government-by-yuri-slezkine-2/

Dec 16 2018

Night of Stone by Catherine Merridale

Night of Stone is a book for deep and dark December, and an amazing work of history. Carrying the subtitle “Death and Memory in Russia,” it focuses on the twentieth century, when there was more than enough of the first, and the second existed under the particular pressures of the Bolshevik revolution and Soviet governance. …

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Dec 02 2018

Night of Stone by Catherine Merridale

“We made the journey in 1997, at the end of October. The winter had set in early that year, and even St Petersburg had its first covering of snow. Outside the city, and especially as we travelled north, the snow had taken over the landscape completely, levelling the gentle contours of the forest floor and …

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Nov 29 2018

Maria Stuart by Friedrich Schiller

“Will no one rid me of this turbulent queen?” is something that Elizabeth I of England does not ever quite say in Schiller’s five-act verse drama, Maria Stuart, but the sentiment lurks behind practically everything that she does say. The play begins with Mary, Queen of Scots, under house arrest in Fotheringhay, the place that …

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Oct 23 2018

Bless Me, Father by Neil Boyd

Bless Me, Father turned out to be just the thing for an autumn weekend afternoon. It’s short, light, breezily written and genuinely funny in places, which I hadn’t entirely expected — despite the recommendation that landed it in my set of books to read — from a book published forty years ago about events twenty years …

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