January 2014 archive

1848: The Revolutionary Tide in Europe by Peter Stearns

This a subject I keep revisiting, without gaining much illumination. Much about the 1848 revolutions remains mysterious to me. It isn’t clear to me what set off the revolutions in the first place, or how or why they occurred simultaneously and independently throughout the major cities of Europe, or why they failed so decisively when …

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The Day of Battle by Rick Atkinson

The Italian campaign has been neglected by most World War II historians; Rick Atkinson brings it vividly to life. It is a story of almost perpetual tactical and strategic blunders, in which the steady application of brute force rather than brilliant leadership or maneuvering decided the contest. The rivalry among generals was horrific, and there …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/01/14/the-day-of-battle-by-rick-atkinson/

Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles by Richard Dowden

EXCELLENT book, confirms my opinion that the best writers of history are non-historians. African history is mostly a depressing subject, but this book was so well written that I could not put it down. There is a good dose of white liberal guilt sprinkled throughout the narrative, as well as a typical tendency to blame …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/01/03/africa-altered-states-ordinary-miracles-by-richard-dowden/

Taking Stock of 2013

Retconning, so as to have a copy of these online as well. This was a year of living hand-to-mouth after the move to Berlin. Forty-eight in total; one in German; three in electronic form, fewer now that I was no longer commuting on the Moscow subway. The year I read almost everything that John M. …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/01/03/taking-stock-of-2013/