Tag Archive: Russia

Oct 16 2017

The Gates of Europe by Serhii Plokhy

The first argument of The Gates of Europe is its existence: a history of Ukrainians as a people, a nation separate from others; a history of the Ukrainian lands that is not a subset of another history, whether that other history is Russian or (less probably) Polish. In his very first sentence, Plokhy cites the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/10/16/the-gates-of-europe-by-serhii-plokhy/

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/

Oct 06 2017

The Last Man in Russia by Oliver Bullough

Oliver Bullough’s first book, Let Our Fame Be Great, examined the encounters between Russia and the smaller peoples of the Northern Caucasus. They generally ended badly for the smaller nations. In his second book, he looks at how the larger nation has fared. (At the time he wrote the book, he was Caucasus Editor for …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/10/06/the-last-man-in-russia-by-oliver-bullough/

Sep 12 2017

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

In Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, things are not as they seem. She and her first-person narrator tell readers that from the novel’s very beginning: “Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley.” Nor is the valley’s Dragon a dragon — “he may be a wizard and immortal, …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/09/12/uprooted-by-naomi-novik/

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/

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