RaveThe Financial TimesNarrating the turbulent sagas of his forebears, Mazower has composed a rich and erudite history of Europe and Russia in this centenary year of the Bolshevik revolution. A testament to the tribulations of national belonging, and the ways people react to being ‘unmoored by the storms of history’, Mazower articulates the pain of deracination … What You Did Not Tell is pitched in a haunting, elegiac key, but there is great pleasure to be taken from how Mazower constructs his tale. Above all, the book is an undeclared tribute to the historian’s tradecraft … It all reads like a very good detective novel. But at those moments when Mazower reaches a dead end and the evidence runs dry — as it does when he looks into the rumours that Max worked for MI6 — he has the humility to concede that some stories are simply unrecoverable, and best left unsaid.
RaveThe Financial TimesThe Fear and the Freedom, then, is in part a study of how the second world war constituted a moment of universal shock therapy ... Lowe surveys the major political events and socio-economic changes after 1945 ...blessedly forgoes the banal literalism of conventional history — with its emphasis on high politics and the careers of statesmen — by considering the prolonged mythological, philosophical and psychological consequences of the war ...deals with themes of justice, loss, memory, trauma and victimhood ...Lowe brilliantly reveals how, when trapped between freedom and fear, people tether their emotional and intellectual states to world events ... Lowe’s book couldn’t be more timely, either.
RaveThe Financial TimesAnne Applebaum’s Red Famine is not the first book to chronicle this appalling history. Robert Conquest’s The Harvest of Sorrow (1986) was a seminal work that documented the 'terror-famine,' and rescued the immense human tragedy from historical oblivion. But with greater access to Soviet archives, and a more elegant turn of phrase, Applebaum’s fresher work is now the definitive version. Along with her Pulitzer Prize-winning Gulag: A History (2003), and Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956 (2012), Red Famine is the third part of an impassioned triptych on the theme of Soviet atrocities ... Applebaum excels at describing the life-and-death choices people faced as a result of contradictions inherent in Soviet agricultural policy ... Red Famine balances erudite analysis of political processes at the top with fluent storytelling about their impact on ordinary people.
PositiveThe Los Angeles Review of Books...[an] intelligent and moving book ... Feigel is excellent at defining the moral and intellectual distinctions between this [vengeful] group and other writers and filmmakers who were both more forgiving and more hopeful of German redemption ... If there is one criticism of Feigel’s study it’s that we seldom hear from those receiving Allied redemption.
RaveThe New RepublicBuruma’s book is all about identity. On the surface it appears rather indulgent: a lyrical ode to family by a cosmopolitan intellectual, which has little to say to the rest of us. But below the narrative is an imaginative study about belonging, and where people choose to locate their loyalties, and how they navigate between them.