Category Archives: Book review

Simon Sebag Montefiore “Stalin: the Court of the Red Tsar”

Reading Aleksander Wat’s “My Century” (a great read especially for Polish readers) has fuelled my appetite for Soviet history, already whetted by other books waiting on the shelf [1]. My choice landed on Simon Sebag Montefiore’s “Stalin: the Court of … Continue reading

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Jay Feldman “Manufacturing Hysteria: A History of Scapegoating, Surveillance and Secrecy in Modern America”

The US history reading binge continues. After Stephen Budiansky’s “The Bloody Shirt” (reviewed here), Daniel Ellsberg’s “Secrets” (reviewed here) and with Richard Rhodes’ “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” (a solid piece of scholarship, I don’t have anything to add, … Continue reading

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Daniel Ellsberg “Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers”

Leaking top secret documents has become a somewhat run-of-the-mill business, partly due to Wikileaks which spits out (or used to, at least) secret government memos and cables like a broken pipe. The ur-leak at the roots of the whistleblowing movement … Continue reading

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Stephen Budiansky “The Bloody Shirt: Terror after the Civil War”

(disclaimer: I know next to nothing about US history in the 19th century) The 1865’s surrender of Confederate rebel forces, marking the end of US Civil War, left the southern Negro with every reason to celebrate – the Republican government … Continue reading

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Philip Gourevitch “We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families”

“I hear you’re interested in genocide,” the American said. “Do you know what genocide is?” I asked him to tell me. “A cheese sandwich.” he said. “Write it down. Genocide is a cheese sandwich.” I asked him how he figured … Continue reading

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Lucio Russo “The Forgotten Revolution”

The Hellenistic period, between the third and the second century BC, is usually thought of (or, at least this is the picture we get from school) as the time of fragmentation and cultural decline, eclipsed by the art, literature and … Continue reading

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Graham Farmelo “The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius”

“The strangest man” – this is how Paul Dirac was thought of by many of his friends and this how the great physicist’s biography, “The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius”, authored by Graham Farmelo, is … Continue reading

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