Tag: Communism

Feb 13 2018

The House of Government by Yuri Slezkine

When it was built, the House of Government — maybe better known in English as the House on the Embankment thanks to the book by Yuri Trefonov — was the largest residential building in Europe. With The House of Government, Yuri Slezkine gives the building, its people and its first era an equally enormous treatment. The main …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/02/13/the-house-of-government-by-yuri-slezkine/

Jan 26 2018

The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes

Not all terrific books about Russian topics have to be gigantic. In The Noise of Time, Julian Barnes sketches the life of Dmitri Shostakovich in fewer than 200 pages, drawing mainly on three periods in the composer’s life while using those to look back on other times. In the first, it is 1937, the height …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/01/26/the-noise-of-time-by-julian-barnes/

Dec 25 2017

Season’s Greetings

A little light reading.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/12/25/seasons-greetings/

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/

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/