Category: History

Dec 16 2017

The Frangipani Tree Mystery (Crown Colony #1) by Ovidia Yu

So, full disclaimer, Ovidia Yu sent me this herself as we’ve developed a quite friendly professional relationship. I super love her Aunty Lee mystery series, feeling it’s gone from strength to strength as the series progresses, so I was quite thrilled to receive the first in Ms Yu’s new series. The setting is terrific — …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/12/16/the-frangipani-tree-mystery-crown-colony-1-by-ovidia-yu/

Dec 07 2017

Conversations with Stalin by Milovan Djilas

Listening in on Conversations with Stalin involves stepping back into numerous vanished worlds: one in which Communists were imprisoned by kings’ secret police forces; where Communism is new and for large numbers of people a source of hope; where the inner workings of the Soviet Union are largely unknown; where Yugoslavia exists as both a …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/12/07/conversations-with-stalin-by-milovan-djilas/

Nov 17 2017

The Daughter of Time (Inspector Grant #5) by Josephine Tey

The premise of this novel is so inherently flawed that the fact that it convinced me of Richard III’s innocence by the end is quite the achievement. Essentially a re-examining of the history of one of England’s most vilified regents, it begins because a bedridden Inspector Grant refuses to believe that such a “sensitive” face …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/11/17/the-daughter-of-time-inspector-grant-5-by-josephine-tey/

Nov 16 2017

Wilhelm Tell by Friedrich Schiller

Wilhelm Tell, a five-act drama in verse, was Friedrich Schiller’s last major work. It tells the story of the start of the Swiss Confederation as the people of four inner cantons — Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden and Luzern — joined forces, swearing an oath to drive out a Habsburg ruler who is intent on limiting traditional …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/11/16/wilhelm-tell-by-friedrich-schiller/

Oct 16 2017

The Gates of Europe by Serhii Plokhy

The first argument of The Gates of Europe is its existence: a history of Ukrainians as a people, a nation separate from others; a history of the Ukrainian lands that is not a subset of another history, whether that other history is Russian or (less probably) Polish. In his very first sentence, Plokhy cites the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/10/16/the-gates-of-europe-by-serhii-plokhy/

Oct 10 2017

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

How to review a book by one of the most polarizing politicians of recent memory describing an election campaign and aftermath that still elicit strong feelings from large swathes of the electorate? If you think Hillary Clinton is the devil incarnate, I’d be very surprised that you’d even consider reading this book, and then I’d …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/10/10/what-happened-by-hillary-rodham-clinton/

Oct 09 2017

Revolutionary Russia 1891–1991 by Orlando Figes

Orlando Figes’ title presents the essence of his argument: The Russian Revolution should be looked at over a much longer period than historians, and the interested public, usually give it. Revolutions succeeded in February and October of 1917 because they had been brewing for a long time; the Soviet Union claimed to be a revolutionary …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/10/09/revolutionary-russia-1891-1991-by-orlando-figes/

Oct 06 2017

The Last Man in Russia by Oliver Bullough

Oliver Bullough’s first book, Let Our Fame Be Great, examined the encounters between Russia and the smaller peoples of the Northern Caucasus. They generally ended badly for the smaller nations. In his second book, he looks at how the larger nation has fared. (At the time he wrote the book, he was Caucasus Editor for …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/10/06/the-last-man-in-russia-by-oliver-bullough/

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/

Sep 13 2017

One Summer by Bill Bryson

The summer of 1927, to be precise. The summer that Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic, that Babe Ruth returned to form and led the New York Yankees to dominate baseball, a summer that Calvin Coolidge didn’t have much to say (not that that was unique to 1927), the summer that Sacco and Vanzetti were …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/09/13/one-summer-by-bill-bryson/