Category: History

May 19 2019

Hitler’s Empire by Mark Mazower

In Hitler’s Empire Mark Mazower, a professor of history at Columbia University, describes how Nazi Germany ruled most of the rest of Europe. Briefly, Nazi rule was both incompetent and inhumane. In that sense, Mazower’s book does not break much new ground. Instead, it takes on several other interesting tasks. It situates Nazism “as an …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/05/19/hitlers-empire-by-mark-mazower/

May 18 2019

Barbarossa by Alan Clark

Barbarossa by Alan Clark

So I asked the friend whose copy of Barbarossa I had acquired what the virtues were of an account published in 1965. He replied that Clark wrote clearly and was particularly good on the politicking among the German generals, and between the German high command and the leaders in the field. Thus encouraged, I picked …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/05/18/barbarossa-by-alan-clark/

Apr 26 2019

The Road to Unfreedom by Timothy Snyder

I wanted to like The Road to Unfreedom a lot more than I did. The book is billed as a “chronicle of the rise of authoritarianism from Russia to Europe and America.” Snyder is a well-regarded historian with big works of synthesis to his credit — Bloodlands and Black Earth — plus a volume On Tyranny …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/04/26/the-road-to-unfreedom-by-timothy-snyder/

Apr 18 2019

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad is a hell of a book. Like Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters, Whitehead’s book was published in 2016 and takes a slightly science fictional look at slavery in the United States of America. Winters’ narrative brought slavery into the 21st century and imagined what the peculiar institution would be like in …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/04/18/the-underground-railroad-by-colson-whitehead/

Apr 15 2019

Lost Kingdom by Serhii Plokhy

Having recently written a national history of Ukraine, Plokhy turns his attention to the history of the junior eastern Slavic nation, Russia. A fair portion of Lost Kingdom describes how and why my opening sentence would outrage Russian ideologues, rulers and historians. The titles of the book’s sections reveal important aspects of his argument: Inventing …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/04/15/lost-kingdom-by-serhii-plokhy/

Apr 05 2019

Border by Kapka Kassabova

I’ve been to this border before, though I’ve never been to the particular corner of Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece that Kapka Kassabova visits. “But the initial emotional impulse behind my journey was simple: I wanted to see the forbidden places of my childhood, the once-militarised border villages and towns, rivers and forests that had been …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/04/05/border-by-kapka-kassabova/

Apr 04 2019

The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein

In The Color of Law Richard Rothstein lays out the case that segregated patterns of residence in every part of the United States are not the result of impersonal market forces, not just the result of patterns of individual choices among large numbers of people, but are instead the result, often the intended result, of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/04/04/the-color-of-law-by-richard-rothstein/

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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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/03/09/the-bridge-by-david-remnick/

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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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/01/29/the-dead-queens-club-by-hannah-capin/

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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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/12/24/don-karlos-by-friedrich-schiller/