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Diary of a Man in Despair (New York Review Books Classics)
Diary of a Man in Despair (New York Review Books Classics)
by Fritz Percy Reck-Malleczewen
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.07
65 used & new from $7.75

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hate Was Mutual, April 8, 2014
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A conservative German predicts the events of the end of the war with creepy prescience. Startling scenes of the aftermath of the Hamburg firestorm as experienced by average Germans. Compelling analyses of the degradation of the average Nazi and the class structure that brought a regime of insane brutes to power. Beautiful passages describing his pure hate for the Nazis and the Nazis pure hate for everyone. Powerful evidence that the average German knew full well what awaited deportees at the end of the train ride to the East. You will sit in your armchair and stare into the middle distance for a few moments after reading the last page.


The Crusades Through Arab Eyes (Saqi Essentials)
The Crusades Through Arab Eyes (Saqi Essentials)
by Amin Maalouf
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.87
94 used & new from $4.22

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MORE HISTORY YOU NEVER LEARNED IN AMERICA, December 10, 2013
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This is another of the books that would comprise the reading list of that college class I plan to teach some day that will be called something like "War From The Perspective of the Losers" or "History You Never Learned" or some such. The story of the crusades told in a way that shows the arrogance and stupidity of the Catholic armies and the extraordinary cultural insensitivity that sadly presaged the European Age of Empire all too prophetically. A necessary entry on any reading list intended to examine the roots of antipathy towards the West in the Arab world.


The Doll (New York Review Books Classics)
The Doll (New York Review Books Classics)
by Boleslaw Prus
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.11
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS IS NOT THE WARSAW GHETTO, December 10, 2013
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Think of Tolstoy set in Warsaw with a dash of Trollope and a pinch of Dickens thrown in for good measure.


The Odd Women (Oxford World's Classics)
The Odd Women (Oxford World's Classics)
by George Gissing
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.46
78 used & new from $6.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE NEW NORMAL, December 10, 2013
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I can't believe I only just discovered this book. A fascinating 19th century look at the changing social mores about marriage set in foggy middle class London. Straight clear unadorned writing, engaging characters, and a plot that illuminated the issues in a most excellent way.


School for Love (New York Review Books Classics)
School for Love (New York Review Books Classics)
by Olivia Manning
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.35
60 used & new from $1.24

5.0 out of 5 stars AND THEN I SAW THE TRUTH...., December 10, 2013
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A great example of how an author can "show not tell" the story. The reader experiences the same gradual realization of the people and events around him as does the young protagonist. A wonderful read.


The Radicalism of the American Revolution
The Radicalism of the American Revolution
by Gordon S. Wood
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.46
140 used & new from $0.68

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LIBERTY AND FREEDOM ARE NOT THE SAME THING, December 10, 2013
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The best part of this work is the description of the evolution from revolution to republic to democracy with enough provocative information thrown in to make the reader wonder whether we really ended up where we meant to go after The Declaration of Independence. It also puts many of our current debates in context, such as the labor movement, public education, and civil rights. An important book to read.


The First Frontier: The Forgotten History of Struggle, Savagery, and Endurance in Early America
The First Frontier: The Forgotten History of Struggle, Savagery, and Endurance in Early America
by Scott Weidensaul
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.00
76 used & new from $11.97

5.0 out of 5 stars AN INFAMOUS BEGINNING, December 10, 2013
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The second book in my list of books that change the received wisdom of American History. The brutality and danger that characterized pre-Revolutionary America do not square with the idealism and nobility that we are taught in school. This book represents the Native Americans as the sophisticated and effective political organizations that they were, and portrays the European colonists as venal, reactive, thoughtless, and somewhat craven. But the author manages this in a matter-of-fact and seemingly non-biased manner. The facts are what they are, and that we still fight to rise above our appalling beginnings is perhaps the real and more interesting story of American history.


The Right-Hand Shore: A Novel
The Right-Hand Shore: A Novel
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $8.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE MIDDLE TEMPERAMENT, December 10, 2013
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A literary look at the history of Maryland from before the Civil War to just before World War II. Wonderful set pieces about Catholic society in Baltimore, peach crops on the Eastern Seaboard, convent life in France, and fashions in children's education.


The Taste of War: World War II and the Battle for Food
The Taste of War: World War II and the Battle for Food
by E. M. Collingham
Edition: Hardcover
68 used & new from $3.30

5.0 out of 5 stars YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT, December 10, 2013
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A fascinating look at how the simplest of human needs -- food -- motivated so many military and political decisions in World War 2. Also a fascinating perspective on how the American need to feed its troops in far flung places like Iwo Jima and Corregidor produced the current American Big Food industry, and how war-time decisions led to the scientifically inaccurate and devastatingly misleading USDA Food Pyramid. A must read for anyone concerned about the effect of food instability in the emerging world on global politics.


The Marriage Plot: A Novel
The Marriage Plot: A Novel
by Jeffrey Eugenides
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.13
206 used & new from $0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars I'M SMART BECAUSE I KNOW BIG WORDS...., December 10, 2013
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I loved Middlesex and found this effort by Eugenides disappointing. It read as if the author were showing off his ornamental knowledge by dropping the names of as many streets in European cities as possible and summarizing the back flaps of a variety of totemic works post-modern literary theory and feminist criticism. His jaunt through Lacan, Kristeva, Lacan, and Derrida comes across as little more than name dropping. The book purports to be about the maturing of three recent college graduates but Eugenides tells and does not show how these characters evolve. There is no interior view of the three protagonists, there is nothing in the text to reveal motivations, insecurities or reactions. The discussion of bipolar is outdated and appears stripped straight from the first article that pops up in a Google search for "manic depression."

I suppose I could be biased because like the protagonists, I attended an East Coast ivy league school only a few years after the setting of the book, and I read many of these texts in my own literary theory classes and religious studies classes. Perhaps a reader less familiar with deconstructionism would find it less superficial. But I suspect instead that such a reader would simply find Eugenides's superficial treatment of semiotics inscrutable. Which appears to be one of the author's goals. In the "I could explain it to you but you wouldn't understand" mode.

I give it a big "meh" with a side helping of irritation.


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