Tag: History

Oct 23 2018

Bless Me, Father by Neil Boyd

Bless Me, Father turned out to be just the thing for an autumn weekend afternoon. It’s short, light, breezily written and genuinely funny in places, which I hadn’t entirely expected — despite the recommendation that landed it in my set of books to read — from a book published forty years ago about events twenty years …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/10/23/bless-me-father-by-neil-boyd/

Oct 21 2018

Soviet Mass Festivals, 1917-1991 by Malte Rolf

Every now and then, I like to read a book that is of interest mainly to specialists. Malte Rolf’s work uses the parades and other mass events in the Soviet Union as a lens for examining how that society developed over the course of its existence. Celebrations reveal a great deal about a society — what …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/10/21/soviet-mass-festivals-1917-1991-by-malte-rolf/

Oct 14 2018

We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates

It often happens that the very best books are hardest to write about. I discovered TNC’s blog fairly early in his tenure at The Atlantic, and I made sure to keep coming back. Time zones — I lived in the South Caucasus at the time, even further from US schedules — meant that I missed much of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/10/14/we-were-eight-years-in-power-by-ta-nehisi-coates/

Sep 12 2018

London: A Life in Maps by Peter Whitfield

London: A Life in Maps began as a volume accompanying an exhibition at the British Library in 2006. (The exhibit lives on in virtual form at the Library’s web site.) The book was first published that year, and when it kept selling for more than a decade, revised for a new edition published in 2017. …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/09/12/london-a-life-in-maps-by-peter-whitfield/

Jul 24 2018

The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II by Svetlana Alexievich

I can’t even imagine the amount of work Svetlana Alexievich put into writing this book: not just tracking down, transcribing and editing the testimonies of these brave, undervalued women, but also the sheer weight of bearing witness to so much courage and heartache. The Unwomanly Face Of War is an exceptionally moving historical document written …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/07/24/the-unwomanly-face-of-war-an-oral-history-of-women-in-world-war-ii-by-svetlana-alexievich/

Jul 18 2018

Viva Warszawa by Steffen Moeller

Quite by accident, Steffen Möller has found himself one of the most famous contemporary Germans in Poland. He moved there in the mid-1990s for no particularly profound reasons — looking for work, looking for things to be slightly different, looking into a society that was changing rapidly, looking at a place that was at once nearby …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/07/18/viva-warszawa-by-steffen-moeller/

Jul 16 2018

Die Jungfrau von Orleans by Friedrich Schiller

At the opening of The Maid of Orleans, as Schiller’s five-act verse tragedy is known in English, France is divided among three parties: English troops who have taken Paris and the north in pressing their king’s dynastic claim to the French throne, southern lands held by the Valois king Charles VII, and Burgundy in the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/07/16/die-jungfrau-von-orleans-by-friedrich-schiller/

Jun 14 2018

The Royal Art Of Poison by Eleanor Herman

I’m one of those overwhelmingly practical (some would say dull,) people who, when asked which historical time and place I’d most want to live in, answers “Right here and now is just fine.” Don’t get me wrong, like any other closet romantic, I have a fancy for the decadent trappings of bygone Europe, with the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/06/14/the-royal-art-of-poison-by-eleanor-herman/

May 14 2018

Mani: Travels in the Southern Peleponnese by Patrick Leigh Fermor

Mani grew in the telling. Patrick Leigh Fermor meant it “to be a single chapter among many, each of them describing the stages and halts, the encounters, the background and the conclusions of a leisurely journey … through continental Greece and the islands.” He undertook the journey, “to pull together the strands of many previous …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/05/14/mani-travels-in-the-southern-peleponnese-by-patrick-leigh-fermor/

May 12 2018

The House of Government by Yuri Slezkine — Halftime Report

One of the unexpected pleasures of The House of Government is Yuri Slezkine’s occasional playful way with words. Given the subject matter, and particularly given Slezkine’s argument that Bolshevism can best be understood as a millennarian sect that gained control of the state, a reader would be forgiven for thinking that his prose would range …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/05/12/the-house-of-government-by-yuri-slezkine-halftime-report/