Category Archive: Politics

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/

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 31 2017

Lenin on the Train by Catherine Merridale

I totally judged this book by its cover. First of all, the book is by Catherine Merridale. About a decade ago, I picked up a copy of Ivan’s War and was rewarded with one of the most amazing works of history that I have ever read. It’s a chronicle of the Great Patriotic War as …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/05/31/lenin-on-the-train-by-catherine-merridale/

May 28 2017

Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly

As far as fantasy novels go, this has a great setting and characters (with one exception that I’ll get to in a minute) and above all atmosphere. Essentially an alternate world take on Weimar Berlin before the fascists’ rise to power, it depicts life lived on a razor’s age, hedonism in the maw of societal …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/05/28/amberlough-by-lara-elena-donnelly/

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/

Jan 03 2017

Landscapes of Communism by Owen Hatherley

Owen Hatherley places Landscapes of Communism at an intersection of several modes: serious but not academic architectural criticism; political and social history, as reflected in a region’s built environment; companion for both travellers and residents; and thoughts on living in cities shaped by different social systems. Hatherley writes early on that he uses the term …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/01/03/landscapes-of-communism-by-owen-hatherley/

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