Tag: World War II

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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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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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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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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Mar 23 2016

Mussolini’s Italy by R.J.B. Bosworth

I had set aside Mussolini’s Italy for the better part of a year after writing about the first third of it, and then I picked it up again just a few weeks ago. Zeitgeist, I suppose.

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Feb 03 2015

Premature Evaluation: Mussolini’s Italy by R.J.B. Bosworth

I suppose it would be smart to wait until I got to the part where Italy can properly be said to be Mussolini’s before writing about a book called Mussolini’s Italy, but my progress through this volume has been so slow — “deliberate” would be a kinder word, if less accurate — that I might …

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Dec 23 2014

Poland: A History by Adam Zamoyski

Adam Zamoyski began Poland: A History as an update and revision to his 1987 book, The Polish Way. He found that history had gotten in the way, and that just revising the older work would not be enough. In the early modern period, the Poles failed spectacularly to build an efficient centralised state structure and …

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Dec 08 2014

Finding Poland by Matthew Kelly

Did you know there was an Association of Poles in India? Did you even have the faintest idea that there had been Poles by the thousand in India during the Second World War and in the first few years afterward? I certainly didn’t, and I know a thing or two about Poles and Poland. Which …

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Nov 26 2014

Premature Evaluation: Finding Poland by Matthew Kelly

The first chapters of this book are giving me a case of the Yabbuts. Finding Poland is mostly a family chronicle, concerning Matthew Kelly’s great-grandmother and her two daughters, and how they went from pre-WWII eastern Poland to later life in the United Kingdom. By way of Kazakhstan, Iran and India. To get to why …

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Nov 09 2014

History of the Second World War by B.H. Liddell Hart

J.F.C. Fuller and B.H. Liddell Hart are considered the two prime British military historians of the old school, and both have written well regarded books on World War II. But I found Fuller’s book rather dull, while this one was quite enjoyable. It is primarily a strategic analysis of the war that leaves out the …

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