Tag: Soviet Union

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/

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/

Apr 29 2016

Dshamilja by Tschingis Aitmatow

Louis Aragon swore that it was the most beautiful love story in the world. Dshamilja is beautiful, and it is a love story, among other things, but I am not sure I would go as far as Aragon. On the other hand, Aragon was a committed Communist, and Dshamilja is a story of love among …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2016/04/29/dshamilja-by-tschingis-aitmatow/

Jan 09 2015

Eight Pieces of Empire by Lawrence Scott Sheets

Last autumn, Berlin celebrated the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Wall, and the peaceful collapse of the Communist order in eastern Germany. Eight Pieces of Empire: A 20-Year Journey Through the Soviet Collapse, by Lawrence Scott Sheets, reminds readers that in other places the end of Communism was not peaceful at all. The …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/01/09/eight-pieces-of-empire-by-lawrence-scott-sheets/

Sep 18 2013

The Fall of Berlin 1945 by Antony Beevor

The writing and the research of this book is first rate, but still, reading endless accounts of the orgy of mass rape committed by the Red Army in 1945 is quite disheartening. Stalin from the beginning intended that the Soviet army would reach Berlin before the Western Allies, but he deliberately misled Churchill and Eisenhower …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2013/09/18/the-fall-of-berlin-1945-by-antony-beevor/

Feb 02 2012

A Brief History of the Cold War by Colonel John Hughes-Wilson

The author argues that the Cold War’s beginning was not in 1945 but in 1917. Some of his other judgments are even more controversial. He reveals that the Cuban missile crisis was not the only time during the Cold War when the United States went on DEFCON 3 alert, he believes Diem’s assassination in Vietnam …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2012/02/02/a-brief-history-of-the-cold-war-by-colonel-john-hughes-wilson/

Oct 22 2011

The Cold War by Martin Walker

Read this book years ago, but it was worth rereading. This is mostly told from the Western and American side, chronicling the steps and missteps that American policy makers took to counter the threat of communist expansionism. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Reagan all get their share of due credit, but ironically the President on whose …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2011/10/22/the-cold-war-by-martin-walker/

Sep 26 2006

Premature Evaluation: Khrushchev by William Taubman

Wish an 876-page biography could be longer? Not often, but definitely with this one. I don’t know the literature well enough to say for sure, but it sure feels like a definitive take on an important figure of 20th century history. William Taubman combines the virtues of journalist and scholar in his biography of Nikita …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2006/09/26/premature-evaluation-khrushchev-by-william-taubman/

Jun 06 2006

Overdue Evaluation (The Prize, by Daniel Yergin)

There is not much market for reviews of books published almost a decade and a half ago, so without further ado, my thoughts on The Prize, by Daniel Yergin. This evaluation is overdue because I started reading the book when I bought it, back in 1997. I put it down around page 400 (which is …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2006/06/06/overdue-evaluation-the-prize-by-daniel-yergin/