Tag: History

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 The Unwomanly Face Of War is an exceptionally moving historical document written …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/

Apr 23 2018

The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair

The Secret Lives of Color fairly leaped off the display table at me. Once I had it in my hands, I had to own it. The book itself is an argument for books as tangible objects, thanks to the efforts of designer James Edgar and the production team at Penguin who all made it such …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/04/23/the-secret-lives-of-color-by-kassia-st-clair/

Apr 17 2018

The Gatekeepers by Chris Whipple

I read The Gatekeepers, a book about White House chiefs of staff, like the grad student and extremely minor Washington insider that I used to be: acknowledgments first, then scan the bibliography, then a look at the notes, then the main text. In this case, I also read the last chapter, which is about the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/04/17/the-gatekeepers-by-chris-whipple/

Mar 31 2018

Brick Lane by Monica Ali

This powerful book about a woman discovering her own agency through the lens of the Bangladeshi immigrant experience surprised me at how timeless it felt even though it’s set at the turn of the 21st century. It’s very much in the tradition of classics by Thomas Hardy and Willa Cather, documenting with a fine eye …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/03/31/brick-lane-by-monica-ali/