Tag Archive: Russia

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 11 2017

Militärmusik by Wladimir Kaminer

The cover says that Militärmusik is a novel, but I suppose the main point of that designation is to relieve Wladimir Kaminer (why doesn’t he use the usual transliteration in English?) of any obligation even to pretend to be telling a true story. I mean, Militärmusik is told in the first person, the main character …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/05/11/militar-musik-by-wladimir-kaminer/

May 02 2017

Deathless (Leningrad Diptych #1) by Catherynne M. Valente

There’s no denying that this is a beautifully written book. Catherynne M Valente takes Russian and Slavic folktales and melds them with Russian, particularly Leningrad, history of the early 20th century. Her descriptions of falling in love and of the secret languages and compromises of marriage make for compelling, wholly believable and empathetic reading. And …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/05/02/deathless-leningrad-diptych-1-by-catherynne-m-valente/

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/

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/

Oct 05 2016

The Vanquished by Robert Gerwarth

At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the guns fell silent, ending more than four years of terrible war in Europe. First as Armistice Day and later as Remembrance Day, European (and Commonwealth) countries even now commemorate the end of the First World War nearly a century after …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2016/10/05/the-vanquished-by-robert-gerwarth/

Sep 27 2016

League of Dragons by Naomi Novik

League of Dragons brings the Temeraire series to a fitting conclusion. The story picks up right where Blood of Tyrants left off: with Napoleon retreating to the west through the Russian winter. Novik captures the terrible pity of that march, the unrelenting cold of the borderlands, and the folly of men who tried to carry …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2016/09/27/league-of-dragons-by-naomi-novik/

Sep 21 2016

Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik

The premise of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire novels is simple: Patrick O’Brian with dragons instead of ships. What’s not to like? The first three or four books are pretty much a lark. The history is alternate – dragons! – but not too alternate, because otherwise there wouldn’t be any Royal Aerial Corps, nor any wicked Napoleon to …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2016/09/21/blood-of-tyrants-by-naomi-novik/

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