Tag: World War II

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 …

Continue reading

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

D-Day Through German Eyes by Holger Eckhertz

D-Day Through German Eyes

Holger Eckhertz’s grandfather, Dieter Eckhertz, was a wartime correspondent for German army publications such as Signal and Die Wehrmacht (The Army). Shortly before the Allied landings in Normandy, he visited that sector and interviewed quite a number of soldiers while preparing articles for the army’s magazines. After the war, he left journalism, but ten years …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2020/04/15/d-day-through-german-eyes-by-holger-eckhertz/

Forgotten Bastards of the Eastern Front by Serhii Plokhy

Forgotten Bastards of the Eastern Front

With Forgotten Bastards of the Eastern Front Serhii Plokhy delivers on his subtitle, “An Untold Story of World War II.” Not literally untold of course, but one that lived on mainly in the archived files, official histories, and small print runs of participants’ memoirs. Plokhy’s most useful source from a major publisher was The Strange …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2020/02/04/forgotten-bastards-of-the-eastern-front-by-serhii-plokhy/

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 …

Continue reading

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

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 …

Continue reading

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

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 …

Continue reading

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 …

Continue reading

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

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 …

Continue reading

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

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” …

Continue reading

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

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 …

Continue reading

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