Tag: What Is To Be Done

The Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore

The Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Even by the standards of European monarchs, many of the Romanovs were terrible people. Peter the Great had his oldest son killed by torture. Earlier, Peter’s half-sister Sophia had tried to prevent him from assuming the throne, and if he had lost that contest he might well have paid with his life. Ivan VI succeeded …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2023/01/15/the-romanovs-by-simon-sebag-montefiore/

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Not quite 30 years ago I was backpacking around southeastern Europe when something unfortunate happened: I ran out of books. Well, technically, I did not run out of books; my backpack still held what a reasonable person would probably consider more than enough books. But since I had last replenished from the freebies at a …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2022/11/30/the-brothers-karamazov-by-fyodor-dostoevsky/

The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischvili

The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischvili

A country and a century, told through what happened to a family, narrated by a member of that family’s next-to-youngest generation, dedicated to a member of the youngest generation who is trying to both escape and understand the legacy she is bearing. In The Eighth Life (For Brilka), Nino Haratischvili brings her native Georgia to …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2022/11/20/the-eighth-life-by-nino-haratischvili/

The Invention of Russia by Arkady Ostrovsky

Invention of Russia by Arkady Ostrovsky

The subtitle to The Invention of Russia — From Gorbachev’s Freedom to Putin’s War — unfortunately now has to be followed with a question: which one? Even when the book was published in 2015, his wars were already plural (Chechnya and Georgia) but the author clearly means Russia’s seizure of the Crimean peninsula and its proxy war …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2022/05/22/the-invention-of-russia-by-arkady-ostrovsky/

The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes, Pt. 2

The Making of the Atomic Bomb turns 35 this year. My copy is a 25th anniversary edition, and it opens with the words, “More than seven decades after its conception under the looming storm front of the Second World War, the Manhattan Project is fading into myth.” The book itself was written and published in …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/09/26/the-making-of-the-atomic-bomb-by-richard-rhodes-pt-2/

Red Notice by Bill Browder

Red Notice by Bill Browder

“How do you rebel against a family of Communists?” asks Bill Browder in the title of the second chapter of Red Notice. Browder’s grandfather, Earl Browder, had started as a labor organizer in Kansas and rose to be the American Communist Party’s presidential candidate in 1936 and 1940. Prior to those campaigns, he spent some …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/08/22/red-notice-by-bill-browder/

The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin by Masha Gessen

The Man Without a Face by Masha Gessen

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, Poisoner of Underpants, Autocrat of Some of the Russias, in Gessen’s reckoning probably the son of a secret policeman, was born in Leningrad in 1952. Like any proper villain — but also like anyone born in that place in that year — he has a tragic backstory. Hitler’s army completed its encirclement of Leningrad …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/02/22/the-man-without-a-face-the-unlikely-rise-of-vladimir-putin-by-masha-gessen/

Wintry Slowness

Sueddeutsche Reihe

Last February, I read 17 books in a month, which is a lot for me, if not for Doreen or Laura (or indeed Jo Walton). Now, I seem to be on the opposite side of that coin. Of the three books I finished in December, one I skimmed a great deal of, one was quite …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2020/01/23/wintry-slowness/

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: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/09/26/the-making-of-the-atomic-bomb-by-richard-rhodes-pt-1/

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: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/05/19/hitlers-empire-by-mark-mazower/