Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin - Timothy Snyder

This 2010 New York Times Bestseller is a painful look back at some of humanity's most violent years, precipitated by two of history's most diabolical tyrants.
    Though not ground breaking in terms of revealing new pivotal historical facts, Timothy Snyder's five-hundred page volume is a unique and important study of the overlapping times of Hitler and Stalin from 1933 to 1945. In those twelve short years, in the "Bloodlands" -- the area that extends, Snyder explains, from central Poland to western Russia, through the Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic States -- murder-by-government took on proportions difficult to imagine, when fourteen million innocents perished, many as a consequence of nothing more sinister than simple government regulation.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway

At first I had to force myself to continue to read The Sun Also Rises, first published in 1926. Over and over again as I ploughed through scenes of the post-war “Lost Generation” drinking too much in Paris nightclubs or, around the middle of the book, fishing in the Pyrenees, I asked myself, and sometimes my friends: “So, what’s the deal with Hemmingway, anyway?”
     Spoiler alert: I ultimately fell madly in love with the book. Here’s an example of the kind of “Iceberg Theory” discussions Hemmingway used in the novel, with some very minor editing, and the teensy amount of non-dialogue phraseology eliminated by me:
     “Hope I gave him the right address.”
     “You probably did.”
     “Go on.”
     “Let’s eat.”
     “Where will we go.”
     “Want to eat on the island?”