Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop All Amazon Fashion Summer Savings Up to 25% Off Cloud Drive Photos Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Oasis Learn more Shop now Learn more
Profile for Dublin 4 > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Dublin 4
Top Reviewer Ranking: 7,296,946
Helpful Votes: 72

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Dublin 4

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2
pixel
Memoirs of a Revolutionary (The Iowa Series in Literary Nonfiction)
Memoirs of a Revolutionary (The Iowa Series in Literary Nonfiction)
by Victor Serge
Edition: Paperback

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Backroom boy of the Revolution, 25 May 2010
Like any autobiography, Memoirs of a Revolutionary is bound to be self-serving - and in this it is no different.
But that along with a swathe of philosophising towards the end are perhaps its only weaknesses.
Victor Serge was the archetypal `behind-the-scenes' operator. Born in 1890 in Brussels to exiled Russian revolutionaries, he was part of the left-wing milieus in his native city, Paris (where he was jailed) and Barcelona.
His life was interesting if not remarkable until the Russian revolution.
At this point, he decided to make his way to Russia - no easy task.
Once there, he was accepted by the Bolsheviks and given a plum job working under Zinoviev at the Comintern.
Serge claims in the book that he found the Bolsheviks' savagery hard to stomach but that the alternative was worse. He also claims that he was friendly with dissident left-wing factions, such as the Mensheviks and SRs, as well as liberals and conservatives - and that he did his best to save as many as possible from the firing squad.
Without doubt, the most interesting part is the period covered between his arrival in Russia in 1919 and the beginning (of the end!) of the `Oppositions' within the Party in the late Twenties. It's really astonishing how easily Stalin's opponents fell.
Kamenev was naÔve, Zinoviev deluded, Trotsky arrogant and Bukharin greedy. These four men could have stopped Stalin but all decided to do so at the wrong moment - and never in unison.
By this stage, Serge was emasculated and victimised by the security services until imprisoned and exiled. But he wasn't executed; a fate shared by many of those who are mentioned in this fascinating book.
He died in 1947, so while he had an inkling of Stalin's crimes, he may not have know the scale of them, and he does say that he thinks they were ad hoc crimes, rather than planned, giving his own survival as evidence.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 11, 2010 11:33 PM BST


Scoop
Scoop
by Evelyn Waugh
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £9.48

4.0 out of 5 stars Timeless satire, 17 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Scoop (Mass Market Paperback)
Funny at times - hilariously so - it has aged a fair bit: it dates from 1938. Nonetheless, it's a great read. Particularly for somewhere uncomfortable like the beach. Heavily racist, though I don't know if that was meant as a satire of the times or it's just a reflection of the times. Deserving of the soubriquet 'classic'.


Peacemakers Six Months that Changed The World: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War
Peacemakers Six Months that Changed The World: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War
by Margaret MacMillan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.94

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gossipy and entertaining, 17 Jan. 2010
Quite gossipy, which is something that traditionalists may object to. Still, it's interesting to know that Queen Marie of Romania was a shopaholic man-eater rather than just a member of the British royal family married-off to a distant German cousin living it up in Bucharest. As always, Italy comes out of a war book badly.


The White Guard (Vintage Classics)
The White Guard (Vintage Classics)
by Mikhail Bulgakov
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.24

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Chronicle of a disappearing world, 17 Jan. 2010
No less than four sides vie for control of Kiev in 1918. White Guard follows the fortunes of the monarchist Turbin family during this fateful year. The order of the ancien régime has collapsed and the Turbins find that, not only have their old routines gone by the wayside, but they've actually become a threat to them.


The World on Fire: 1919 and the Battle with Bolshevism
The World on Fire: 1919 and the Battle with Bolshevism
by Anthony Read
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Revealing but overelaborate, 17 Jan. 2010
Interesting, if at times over-long, account of the Great Red Scare of 1919. The stuff on Germany and Hungary is good, particularly the extent of the post-war dislocation, such as the astonishing number of new-born children who died in cities like Vienna. Meanwhile, the sections dealing with the US and Britain are revealing but get bogged down in too much information. The 'Greatest Democracy on Earth' forgot about its constitution when treating 'Reds'. A shameful chapter in its history.


Setting the East Ablaze: Lenin's Dream of an Empire in Asia
Setting the East Ablaze: Lenin's Dream of an Empire in Asia
by Peter Hopkirk
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and atmospheric, 17 Jan. 2010
Only Peter Hopkirk could find something as obscure as this subject to write about. Set in the period from mid-way trough WWI to the beginning of WWII in Uzbekistan, Kirghistan, Mongolia, Siberia and China, it's real Boys Own stuff. However, with the Russians and Chinese involved, there are some appalling descriptions of tortures and murders.
Naturally, the Brits are the heroes and inevitably their actions are 'heroic', 'daring' and 'benign'. None of this takes away from what is a great story.


Barca: A People's Passion
Barca: A People's Passion
by Jimmy Burns
Edition: Paperback

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hagiographic, 17 Jan. 2010
Lame and biassed, and I'm a Barcelona fan. The only interesting part was regarding how poor Terry Venables' signings were.


Lenin: A Biography
Lenin: A Biography
by Robert Service
Edition: Paperback

2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Laboured, 17 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Lenin: A Biography (Paperback)
The first 250 pages are generally tedious; full of stuff about factionalism and pathetic insights such as 'there can be no doubt that Lenin loved his mother'.
After that it gets pretty good but this isn't a patch on Sebag Motefiore's Stalin bios.


Eastern Approaches
Eastern Approaches
by Fitzroy Hew Maclean
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Topsy turvy, 17 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Eastern Approaches (Paperback)
Fascinating travelogue through Soviet Central Asia in the Thirties.
Even better description of Bukharin's show trial.
Followed by drawn out descriptions of his time with the SAS in north Africa and Yugoslvia during the war.
Real Boys Own adventure stuff.


Red Cavalry and Other Stories (Penguin Classics)
Red Cavalry and Other Stories (Penguin Classics)
by Isaac Babel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.68

8 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A mystery, 17 Jan. 2010
A real disappointment. I'm still perplexed as to why this collection of short stories is so highly regarded.
The book lacks depth or even any literary merit. As a Russian history aficionado, I really looked forward to reading Red Cavalry. But the shorts are, by and large, inconsequential. They rarely capture the mood of the soldiers, or the harshness of what they had to endure. The same goes for their opponents. Some appear to be rambling vignettes of Jewish shtetls in the Pale of Settlement.
I remember reading that Budyonny or Timoshenko resented the way the Red Army was portrayed in the book. I can only asume that it's because it was not glorified. But I would not recommend this book to anyone who wants an insight in to the depravity of war, or more importantly, the Russian Civil War.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 6, 2011 2:33 PM BST


Page: 1 | 2