E Reilly

Helpful votes received on reviews: 55% (12 of 22)
Location: UK


Top Reviewer Ranking: 345,418 - Total Helpful Votes: 12 of 22
Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia by Orlando Figes
This book, like all history, and like everything published, should be read with caution, for several reasons, with the theme being, ironically, that propaganda may be mistaken for free speech:

1) The only 1 star vote is written by a Russian.
2) Orlando Figes is now well known for fabrication.
3) Historians are almost fiction writers themselves, and I especially had this feeling reading Orlando Figes - he is so immersed in the lives of Russian writers and painters that they are almost his characters.
4) A specifically cultural history is bound to throw up more myth than fact if you buy into the vision of its creators. For example, buying entirely into the visions… Read more
Sybil: or The Two Nations (Oxford World's Classics&hellip by Benjamin Disraeli
4.0 out of 5 stars Ever the Two Nations, 29 Sep 2013
As an introduction to the background of Disraeli's political thought and personal positioning in a highly stratified society, Sybil is a great success, thanks also to the Editor's brilliant notes. As a novel, it is neither as exciting nor as engaging as anything by Charles Dickens, and as an attempt at social commentary in a novel form, it is both more pretentious and stereotypical, and really speechifies.

Disraeli and Dickens share a number of similarities in autobiographical detail, and yet it is no wonder that they each eventually took the paths that they did. The storyline of Sybil is quite similar to the Bildungsromane of Dickens. The protagonist, Charles Marney, suffers… Read more
Democracy in America: And Two Essays on America (P&hellip by Alexis Tocqueville
5.0 out of 5 stars Democracy anywhere, 5 Sep 2013
A masterpiece of epic proportions. It is vast, visionary, ambitious, engaging, diplomatic, sympathetic, sensitive, diligent, reasoned, honest, organised, clear, coherent, eloquent, fluent, and a complete success. Five stars does not come close. Democracy in America is one of the few towering human literary achievements.

The introduction is an added bonus, and is worthy of such an epic classic, by putting it into the context of its day and explaining its enormous impact on the ideology and vision of itself of the United States of America. It is useful to know that in its day, Vol I was much more esteemed than Vol II, and that Vol II was a more negative afterthought. Vol I was… Read more