Tag: What Is To Be Done

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/

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: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/05/18/barbarossa-by-alan-clark/

The Road to Unfreedom by Timothy Snyder

I wanted to like The Road to Unfreedom a lot more than I did. The book is billed as a “chronicle of the rise of authoritarianism from Russia to Europe and America.” Snyder is a well-regarded historian with big works of synthesis to his credit — Bloodlands and Black Earth — plus a volume On Tyranny …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/04/26/the-road-to-unfreedom-by-timothy-snyder/

Lost Kingdom by Serhii Plokhy

Having recently written a national history of Ukraine, Plokhy turns his attention to the history of the junior eastern Slavic nation, Russia. A fair portion of Lost Kingdom describes how and why my opening sentence would outrage Russian ideologues, rulers and historians. The titles of the book’s sections reveal important aspects of his argument: Inventing …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/04/15/lost-kingdom-by-serhii-plokhy/

The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein

In The Color of Law Richard Rothstein lays out the case that segregated patterns of residence in every part of the United States are not the result of impersonal market forces, not just the result of patterns of individual choices among large numbers of people, but are instead the result, often the intended result, of …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/04/04/the-color-of-law-by-richard-rothstein/

A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka by Lev Golinkin

How did A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka turn out to be such an impossibly good book? I picked it up more or less on a whim during a visit to Texas — ok, memoir of leaving the Soviet Union as a kid and growing up in the States, could be interesting — and …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/02/08/a-backpack-a-bear-and-eight-crates-of-vodka-by-lev-golinkin/

The House of Government by Yuri Slezkine

The first half of The House of Government located the Bolshevik party within a specifically Russian tradition of millennarianism. Revolutionary socialism would redeem the world, starting with Russia, and usher in a new era, a time of plenty, a time of the perfectibility of humanity. The second half of the book details what life is …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/12/17/the-house-of-government-by-yuri-slezkine-2/