Category Archives: Book review

Douglas, R.M. “Orderly And Humane. The Expulsion Of The Germans After The Second World War”

When the Allies planned the ethnic cleansing of ten million Volksdeutsche back to Germany, Douglas argues that it was similar to what the Nazis had themselves tried to implement. Attempting to be diplomatic, Churchill referred to the mass movement of … Continue reading

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Renwick, Chris: “Bread For All. The Origins Of The Welfare State”

I find it a perennial, ever-changing struggle to place myself on the political map. Like class, the definition of political labels change with time and place. The introduction, in 1601, of the Poor Law to help the worst off in … Continue reading

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Gilmour, David: “The Pursuit Of Italy”

Named after a stray bull calf, whom the Greeks dubbed Italia, that swam the straits of Messina before it was rescued by Hercules, Gilmour traces the genesis of modern-day Italy from the violent unification of eight individual states and even … Continue reading

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Niven, John: “Straight White Male”

While Niven’s 2008 debut Kill Your Friends remains a modern masterpiece, Straight White Male falls some way short of it. Beginning slowly, the prose is particularly clunky until Niven finds his flow halfway in. Primarily a critique of the publishing … Continue reading

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Koestler, Arthur: “Darkness At Noon”

Although he never specifies exactly where he is writing about, there is no doubt that Koestler is describing the Stalinist purges in 1930s Russia during what he refers to as the “diseased century” when “the individual was nothing, the Party … Continue reading

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Snyder, Timothy: “Bloodlands”

Snyder has discovered a novel way to re-tell the well-worn World War Two story – by focusing on the geographical area where most of the killing took place. Fourteen million people lost their lives in what he calls the “Bloodlands” … Continue reading

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Taylor, A.J.P. “The Origins Of The Second World War”

That rare book that makes you reconsider conventional wisdom. From the off, Taylor dispels commonly accepted wisdom such as the fact that the Nazis deliberately started the Reichstag fire. Taylor doesn’t dismiss that it as a possibility but says that … Continue reading

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