Category Archives: History

Review: Kafka, Franz “The Trial”

It remains mystifying that Kafka was not writing about a totalitarian society when he penned “The Trial”. He did not have the benefit, like Orwell, of observing the Soviet Union. Yet, so perspicacious was Kafka that he imagined almost entirely … Continue reading

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Review: “Irish-Soviet Diplomatic and Friendship Relations 1917-1991” by Michael Quinn.

    Umiskin press have published a timely account of Irish Soviet relations in this the centennial year of the wholly unnecessary Russian Revolution. Quinn developed this book from a thesis that he had submitted to earn his PHD.  Ultimately, … Continue reading

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Review: Mark Kurlansky “Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World”

Introduction:     Truthfully, I cannot say that I ever envisaged myself reading about cod. In fact, anything even vaguely scientific is usually beyond my remit. This is no slight on science, you understand. Far from it. I am an … Continue reading

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Review: “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” by Haruki Murakami.

Introduction:     The true meaning of Murakami’s “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” is entrenched between multiple layers in a seabed of symbolism. Murakami mixes sharp and well written dialogue with long, lyrical, loquacious passages which explore the psychology and feelings … Continue reading

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Review: “To the Lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf

Introduction:     The story begins in September 1910 in the Hebrides as the “rooks (were) dropping cool cries from the high blue”. “To the Lighthouse” is a Brobdingnagian success. Woolf’s use of words was nothing sort of sensational. This 1927 masterpiece is … Continue reading

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Defending the indefensible. A Review of Leon Trotsky’s “Terrorism and Communism”

Introduction:     This short polemic from Trotsky was a reply to Karl Kautsky’s stinging critique of the Russian Revolution. Kautsky believed that the Bolsheviks had disregarded some of the basic tenets of Marxism by violently seizing power. Kautsky was … Continue reading

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Review: Anna Applebaum “Gulag: A History”

Introduction:   Applebaum has helped to lift the lid on arguably the most brutal regime in history. The level of systematic and institutional violence was incomprehensible. I am not sure the human brain was designed to think in these terms. I … Continue reading

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