Tag: World War II

Sep 26 2019

The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes, pt. 1

The Making of the Atomic Bomb

“Give it what it’s worth, Doug,” said my Cockney editor one afternoon before deadline when I asked how long a newspaper article should be. Richard Rhodes takes one of the most important stories in human history — the story of the discovery of atomic structure and how that structure could be opened up, releasing vast …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/09/26/the-making-of-the-atomic-bomb-by-richard-rhodes-pt-1/

Sep 21 2019

Schellingstrasse 48 by Walter Kolbenhoff

Schellingstrasse 48

For all that it is a Millionenstadt, Munich can also be quite a small town. Literary and artistic Munich even more so. Thus it’s not very surprising that in Schellingstrasse 48 (48 Schelling St.), Walter Kolbenhoff’s memoir of the Nazi era, POW internment in America, and early post-war Munich, other authors from the Süddeutsche Zeitung‘s …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/09/21/schellingstrasse-48-by-walter-kolbenhoff/

May 19 2019

Hitler’s Empire by Mark Mazower

In Hitler’s Empire Mark Mazower, a professor of history at Columbia University, describes how Nazi Germany ruled most of the rest of Europe. Briefly, Nazi rule was both incompetent and inhumane. In that sense, Mazower’s book does not break much new ground. Instead, it takes on several other interesting tasks. It situates Nazism “as an …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/05/19/hitlers-empire-by-mark-mazower/

May 18 2019

Barbarossa by Alan Clark

Barbarossa by Alan Clark

So I asked the friend whose copy of Barbarossa I had acquired what the virtues were of an account published in 1965. He replied that Clark wrote clearly and was particularly good on the politicking among the German generals, and between the German high command and the leaders in the field. Thus encouraged, I picked …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/05/18/barbarossa-by-alan-clark/

Jun 10 2018

Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman

Everything I said here about the greatness of the first half of Life and Fate holds true for the second. What strikes me most is how consistently he captures the contradictions of humanity, in situations both mundane and extreme. Some people are pitiless one moment and turn around and show great compassion the next; they …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/06/10/life-and-fate-by-vasily-grossman/

Mar 07 2018

The Last Days of New Paris by China Miéville

I should not have taken as long as I did to get through China Miéville’s novella, The Last Days of New Paris. The main story is less than 180 pages; the afterword tacks on another 15 or so, and I mostly did not read the notes that are appended afterward. That the words “get through” …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/03/07/the-last-days-of-new-paris-by-china-mieville/

Dec 06 2017

Premature Evaluation: Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman

I first came to Vasily Grossman via excerpts in Ivan’s War, Catherine Merridale‘s amazing book about how ordinary Soviet soldiers experienced the Second World War. That prompted me to pick up A Writer at War, dispatches and stories that he wrote while working as a journalist near the front. I thought it was one of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/12/06/premature-evaluation-life-and-fate-by-vasily-grossman/

Sep 20 2016

When All the World Was Young by Ferrol Sams

When All the World Was Young wraps up Ferrol Sams’ semi-autobiographical bildungsroman trilogy that began in Run With the Horsemen and continued in The Whisper of the River. It follows Porter Osborne, Jr., from his entrance into the medical school at Emory University six months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor through his service …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2016/09/20/when-all-the-world-was-young-by-ferrol-sams/

Jul 23 2016

All Clear by Connie Willis

All Clear, which picks up right where Blackout left off and comprises the second part of an 1100-page story, would have been a brilliant book at about half or two-thirds of its 640-page length. The ending has emotional power; it resolves the main question running through the books and ties up the characters’ individual tales …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2016/07/23/all-clear-by-connie-willis/

Jul 18 2016

Blackout by Connie Willis

Reading Connie Willis is always, sentence by sentence, a delight. Her characters are sympathetic and interesting to spend time with; conflicts usually arise from misunderstandings, or from the nature of a situation. Some few people are jerks, some are hurt and acting out, but that’s just like life, isn’t it? Willis also appears to have …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2016/07/18/blackout-by-connie-willis/