Category Archives: Stalin

Memoirs of a Revolutionary, by Victor Serge: A Chapbook

A phenomenal accomplishment, written on the run, through deportations, exile, imprisonment, and published posthumously. One of the most important books of the 20th century. Up there with Robert Conquest’s The Great Terror: A Reassessment. Victor Serge was active in Socialist … Continue reading

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Today in history: November 7, 1917

Yesterday’s post was a bit prescient, considering that today is the anniversary of one of the most seismic events of the 20th century: The Russian Revolution (or, at least, that first successful power-grab.) Look at that rogue’s gallery. I love … Continue reading

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Stuff I’ve Been Reading

– I’ve seen this linked all over the place and finally got around to reading it: How the Freaky Octopus Can Help us Understand the Human Brain. I certainly don’t want to meet an octopus out in the wild but … Continue reading

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Katyn (2007); Dir. Andrzej Wajda

In mid-September, 1939, on a bridge in Poland, groups of people flee from opposite directions. The Germans invade from behind, and the Russians approach from the front. It is utter chaos. The crowd is well-dressed, for the most part, holding … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Rebecca West

Dame Rebecca West is the grand pooh-bah on my short list of “intellectual idols”. It is her birthday today. It is hard to talk about her without referencing the generations of writers she inspired, all of whom admit their debt … Continue reading

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György Ligeti’s “Musica Ricercata” in Eyes Wide Shut

I watched Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures last night, and while I have seen all of his films there was much about him I did not know. For example, when he was a teenager, he was already becoming an … Continue reading

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2009 Books Read

A pathetic showing when you consider how much I normally read (2008, 2007, 2006, 2005), but whatever, I did what I could. I did not read a book, not one word, from about March to August. Or, that’s probably wrong … Continue reading

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The Boat Cemetery in Central Asia

Ryszard Kapucinski in his book Imperium writes: Central Asia is deserts and more deserts, fields of brown weathered stones, the heat from the sun above, sandstorms. But the world of the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya is different. Arable … Continue reading

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R.I.P. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between … Continue reading

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Master and Margarita As Graphic Novel

Fantastic idea – and take a glimpse at the artwork by Andrzej Klimowski. WOW. Beautiful! Here’s my favorite image from that slideshow. Just looking at it gives me the creeps, remembering that awful cat in the book and how much … Continue reading

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