Tag Archive: Communism

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/

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/

Apr 23 2017

The Foundation Pit by Andrey Platonov

Where to even begin with The Foundation Pit? The author, Andrey Platonov was born in Russia in 1899, the son of a railway worker, and later worked as a land reclamation expert. He was a fervent supporter of the Russian Revolution; during the 1920s he supervised the digging of wells, construction of ponds, and draining …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/04/23/the-foundation-pit-by-andrey-platonov/

Mar 20 2017

Soviet Bus Stops by Christopher Herwig

There are not a lot of words in this book of photography, and the subject is laid out right there in the title. Soviet Bus Stops sounds like it could be terribly dry, almost a parody of narrow history, but no, it’s a glimpse into an interesting and vanishing world. Photographer Christopher Herwig bicycled from …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/03/20/soviet-bus-stops-by-christopher-herwig/

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/

May 12 2016

The Collapse by Mary Elise Sarotte

In The Collapse, Mary Elise Sarotte engages in a very close examination of the events in East Germany that led up to the opening of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, and a nearly minute-by-minute analysis of the day itself. Not quite an eyewitness to the events herself, though she is of an age …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2016/05/12/the-collapse-by-mary-elise-sarotte/

Jan 09 2015

Eight Pieces of Empire by Lawrence Scott Sheets

Last autumn, Berlin celebrated the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Wall, and the peaceful collapse of the Communist order in eastern Germany. Eight Pieces of Empire: A 20-Year Journey Through the Soviet Collapse, by Lawrence Scott Sheets, reminds readers that in other places the end of Communism was not peaceful at all. The …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/01/09/eight-pieces-of-empire-by-lawrence-scott-sheets/

Dec 23 2014

Poland: A History by Adam Zamoyski

Adam Zamoyski began Poland: A History as an update and revision to his 1987 book, The Polish Way. He found that history had gotten in the way, and that just revising the older work would not be enough. In the early modern period, the Poles failed spectacularly to build an efficient centralised state structure and …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/12/23/poland-a-history-by-adam-zamoyski/

Dec 18 2014

Odessa by Charles King

What I liked most about Odessa: Genius and Death in a City of Dreams is how clearly Charles King tells the early stories of Odessa’s founding. For while there had been a small settlement at the site under khans and Ottomans, none of the extant written records gives an unambiguous account of long-term settlement [at …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/12/18/odessa-by-charles-king/

Oct 03 2014

Just Send Me Word by Orlando Figes

From the Preface to Just Send Me Word: A True Story of Love and Survival in the Gulag, by Orlando Figes: Three old trunks had just been delivered. They were sitting in a doorway, blocking people’s way into the busy room where members of the public and historical researchers were received in the Moscow offices …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/10/03/just-send-me-word-by-orlando-figes/

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