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Archive for 'Book Review'

Mao’s Murders

The most memorable historical book I have read in the last few years is Frank Dikötter’s Mao’s Great Famine: The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-62 about the manmade famine responsible for tens of millions of deaths in Communist China. (I reviewed the book here).  Dikötter has recently had published the prequel: The Tragedy [...]

Antisemitism: A Specific Phenomenon

Guest post by Karl Pfeifer
Antisemitism: A Specific Phenomenon by Clemens Heni sets out to analyze the trivialization of the Holocaust and in many cases the cosmopolitan character of anti-Zionism in the age of resurgent Islamism. Heni shows how old antisemitic assertions and insinuations are being reinvigorated while Jews, once again, are set up as scapegoats [...]

“I am going to annihilate you”: Five Books on Marx and Marxists

This is a cross post from Under the Ocular Tree.
Phil at A Very Public Sociologist reminds us that Sunday would have been Karl Marx’s 195th birthday. This, he believes, is something well worthwhile commemorating. The way he has done so is to list his five favourite books on Marx and Marxism.  He challenges us to also [...]

Lenny’s Lexicon

On his own blog Richard Seymour uses the nom de plume, “Lenin.” Because I do not think he would have the guts to murder as many people as his hero, I prefer the nickname “Lenny.”
I have previously mentioned that his recent book, The Trial of Christopher Hitchens, is not worth reviewing. It has been reviewed elsewhere. What is [...]

When Rushdie-bashing was in fashion

From Paul Berman’s essay/review in The New Republic of Salman Rushdie’s memoir Joseph Anton, on the years immediately following the Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa calling for Rushdie’s death because of the alleged blasphemy of his novel The Satanic Verses:
Huge portions of the British press turned against Rushdie and went on speaking contemptuously of him for many [...]

The Iranian Nuclear Programme

Book Review:
David Patrikarakos, Nuclear Iran: The Birth of an Atomic State, (I.B. Tauris, 2012) 368pp. £25.00. (£17.50 via Amazon)
The problem with the debate about Iran’s nuclear programme is that it is largely ideological, and, what is worse, Manichean: either bomb Iran, or, do anything but bomb Iran. The facts about of the Iranian nuclear [...]

A new must-read on Hungary

Book review by Karl Pfeifer
Hungary made few political headlines in the first two decades since it became part of the Western bloc in 1990. This has fundamentally changed during the last two years after the election victory of the rightwing nationalistic Fidesz party. Paul Lendvai not only has the advantage of having Hungarian roots; he [...]

It was all so unimaginably different/ And all so long ago: Tom Holland’s In The Shadow of the Sword

I loved Rubicon and Persian Fire (though I have so far neglected to read Millennium) but think In the Shadow of the Sword is possibly better still.  It’s written with panache, it’s full of pungent detail, and it succeeds in bringing some complex and perhaps comparatively unfamiliar historical events to life. Although it’s got narrative [...]

You Ought To Read This Book

Book Review
Nick Cohen, You Can’t Read This Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom (Fourth Estate, 2012) 330 pp.
Nick Cohen has something to say and You Can’t Read This Book is the edifying result of his determination to say it. Cohen is a worried man; he worries about our freedom of expression. The wealthy [...]

Alan Johnson reviews “Hate: My Life in the British Far Right”

Alan Johnson reviews Hate, Matthew Collins’s account of his life in the British far Right.
He concludes:

Collins rightly worries that few politicians are speaking to the angry and vulnerable working class. “Because they’re working class, because they are overwhelmingly white and from the football terraces,” he writes, “it’s almost as if no one wants to tackle [...]