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Germinal (St. Ives)
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War and Revolution: Rethinking the Twentieth Century
War and Revolution: Rethinking the Twentieth Century
by Domenico Losurdo
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Effective demolition of Cold War liberal historiography, 29 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a political-philosophical critique of a strand of historiography. The book is composed mainly of articles from the mid 1990's that appear in English for the first time. The target is the Revisionist school of historiography that I would term Cold War liberalism - one that seeks to say, in a nutshell, that Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia are basically the same and that both stand as opposites of Western liberalism.

Losurdo follows the genesis of these ideas and the influence upon it of a variety of philosophical traditions associated with the counter-Enlightenment. He's highly adept at skewering thinkers like Furet, Nolte and the authors of 'The Black Book' with contradictions within their own texts, turning their methodologies around to use against them and highlighting the omissions they make. Losurdo's dialectical logic is unrelenting and a joy to read.

Losurdo is particularly concerned to identify the de-contextualisations and de-compartivisations that are common to this school - to take their blinkers off as it were.

The one new chapter is one taking on British imperial revivalism in the shape of Niall Ferguson and Losurdo basically gives Ferguson an intellectual fisting which is a joy to read - in fact there comes a point where one begins to feel sorry for Ferguson.


BENROMACH 10 Year Old Speyside Malt Whisky 70cl Bottle
BENROMACH 10 Year Old Speyside Malt Whisky 70cl Bottle
Offered by Shop4whisky
Price: £32.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Speysider, 15 May 2015
The aroma is light, floral fruityness - it doesn't offer much to begin with but after a few minutes there comes a distinct whiff of smoke and barbecued sweet peppers. Subsequent sniffs bring out butterscotch toffee

The mouth feel is pretty full and silky with a taste of toffee apples, roasted nuts, toasted fruits.

The finish is soot, charcoal, prunes, smoke and hints of muscovado.

This is my first Benromach and I am impressed. It describes itself as a 'Classic Speysider' which I guess it is. Very drinkable with lots going on and at C£30 is good vfm.


On the Eve of 1917.
On the Eve of 1917.
by Alexander Shlyapnikov
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Zombie Killer, 6 May 2015
This review is from: On the Eve of 1917. (Paperback)
The Reminiscences provide a useful insight into the life of an activist in the Russian revolutionary underground, the politics involved and sheds light on modern historical controversies and debates as well as factional disputes in the early 1920's Soviet Republic. It appears hastily written and poorly edited as there are sections which are repeated.

In terms of the 1920's factional disputes, Shlyapnikov was a leading member of the `Workers Opposition' faction and these memoirs, produced in 1923, are clearly part of an attempt to reinforce his position by presenting himself as a pre-eminent, if not THE pre-eminent `Old Bolshevik', as he links émigré activists across Europe with the underground in Russia - dodging police agents, agents provocateurs and spies at every turn. Maybe he's not exaggerating his role - Alexander Solzhenitsyn claimed that Shlyapnikov, not Lenin, was the real leader of the Bolsheviks.

In terms of modern historiographical disputes, `On the Eve of 1917' sheds considerable light.

On the issue of German funding via the agent Parvus, Shlyapnikov is quite clear that Parvus's role as a German agent was well known and he was shunned by Bolshevik exiles. When one Bolshevik exile took money for personal purposes from another suspected German agent, the Estonian Keskula, he was expelled from the organisation. Shlyapnikov spends a good portion of his memoirs bemoaning the lack of money the organisation has and it seems that one of the main sources of money came from personal, clandestine donations from Maxim Gorky.

The image of the Bolsheviks as a monolithic, bureaucratic party that bends to the iron will of a central committee, an image so beloved of modern Western historians as well as Stalinists, simply does not appear. There is little if any organisation worthy of the name - just collections of individuals struggling to keep contact with one another due to the actions of police agents, lack of resources and vast distances. Perhaps with an eye to the disputes of the early 1920's, Shlyapnikov is clear that alternative points of view were always acceptable with the party. Doubtless the image will continue to be pushed, especially as the centenary of the revolution approaches, but it long ago assumed the status of an ahistorical zombie that cannot be taken seriously at all.

The accusation that the Bolsheviks were really a collection of intellectuals who manipulated workers for their own ends receives a blow as Shlyapnikov reveals that nearly all intellectuals left the organisation following the defeat of the 1905 Revolution and he bemoans the lack of intellectuals in the organisation. Again the `manipulative intellectuals' thesis will continue to stalk the world of the historiography of the Russian Revolution as one of the zombie theses.

A more recent debate concerns whether there actually was a clear split in 1912 between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks where each became a separate party. Here, Shlyapnikov is less clear and there is evidence that could support either side of the argument. At times, Shlyapnikov talks of Mensheviks, Bolsheviks, Bundists and Inter-District Committee members as still being part of the same party into 1915 and 1916 and the terms `party' and `faction' are used interchangeably. Anyone reading most of the book at face value would assume the existence of a single, albeit factionalised, party. This mood is contradicted with sections at the end of the book where Shlyapnikov insists that by the end of 1916 there were two distinct parties and even refers to the Bolsheviks as RSDLP(B) whereas previously the term used was simply RSDLP. This section looks somewhat out of place and the possibility arises that the text has been tampered with by later Soviet editors.


Springbank 15 year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky 70cl Bottle
Springbank 15 year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky 70cl Bottle
Offered by ewhisky
Price: £54.30

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 3 May 2015
The aroma is typical sherry cask - the caramel, vanilla, stewed fruit, molasses, muscovado, there's also chocolate and ginger. There's also a quite intense brineyness. It screams its maritime nature. The taste is all muscovado, darkest caramel with sea salt, crystalised burnt marmalade. Most of all, though, there is salt. In the background, almost indiscernible, there is a whisp of peat smoke. The finish goes on and on in waves - the mouth dries and then salivates and this repeats for several minutes.

Fantastic.

As it's 46%, I thought it could stand a splash of water. In terms of aroma, this opens up a light floral, citrus smell. If anything, the salt experience is intensified while the richness is toned down. The great experience of the finish is, alas, lost.


On the Eve of 1917: Reminiscences and Documents of the Labour Movement and the Revolutionary Underground, 1914-17
On the Eve of 1917: Reminiscences and Documents of the Labour Movement and the Revolutionary Underground, 1914-17
by Alexander Shlyapnikov
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Zombie Killer, 2 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Reminiscences provide a useful insight into the life of an activist in the Russian revolutionary underground, the politics involved and sheds light on modern historical controversies and debates as well as factional disputes in the early 1920's Soviet Republic. It appears hastily written and poorly edited as there are sections which are repeated.

In terms of the 1920's factional disputes, Shlyapnikov was a leading member of the `Workers Opposition' faction and these memoirs, produced in 1923, are clearly part of an attempt to reinforce his position by presenting himself as a pre-eminent, if not THE pre-eminent `Old Bolshevik', as he links émigré activists across Europe with the underground in Russia - dodging police agents, agents provocateurs and spies at every turn. Maybe he's not exaggerating his role - Alexander Solzhenitsyn claimed that Shlyapnikov, not Lenin, was the real leader of the Bolsheviks.

In terms of modern historiographical disputes, `On the Eve of 1917' sheds considerable light.

On the issue of German funding via the agent Parvus, Shlyapnikov is quite clear that Parvus's role as a German agent was well known and he was shunned by Bolshevik exiles. When one Bolshevik exile took money for personal purposes from another suspected German agent, the Estonian Keskula, he was expelled from the organisation. Shlyapnikov spends a good portion of his memoirs bemoaning the lack of money the organisation has and it seems that one of the main sources of money came from personal, clandestine donations from Maxim Gorky.

The image of the Bolsheviks as a monolithic, bureaucratic party that bends to the iron will of a central committee, an image so beloved of modern Western historians as well as Stalinists, simply does not appear. There is little if any organisation worthy of the name - just collections of individuals struggling to keep contact with one another due to the actions of police agents, lack of resources and vast distances. Perhaps with an eye to the disputes of the early 1920's, Shlyapnikov is clear that alternative points of view were always acceptable with the party. Doubtless the image will continue to be pushed, especially as the centenary of the revolution approaches, but it long ago assumed the status of an ahistorical zombie that cannot be taken seriously at all.

The accusation that the Bolsheviks were really a collection of intellectuals who manipulated workers for their own ends receives a blow as Shlyapnikov reveals that nearly all intellectuals left the organisation following the defeat of the 1905 Revolution and he bemoans the lack of intellectuals in the organisation. Again the `manipulative intellectuals' thesis will continue to stalk the world of the historiography of the Russian Revolution as one of the zombie theses.

A more recent debate concerns whether there actually was a clear split in 1912 between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks where each became a separate party. Here, Shlyapnikov is less clear and there is evidence that could support either side of the argument. At times, Shlyapnikov talks of Mensheviks, Bolsheviks, Bundists and Inter-District Committee members as still being part of the same party into 1915 and 1916 and the terms `party' and `faction' are used interchangeably. Anyone reading most of the book at face value would assume the existence of a single, albeit factionalised, party. This mood is contradicted with sections at the end of the book where Shlyapnikov insists that by the end of 1916 there were two distinct parties and even refers to the Bolsheviks as RSDLP(B) whereas previously the term used was simply RSDLP. This section looks somewhat out of place and the possibility arises that the text has been tampered with by later Soviet editors.


Green Spot Irish Whiskey 0.7 Litre
Green Spot Irish Whiskey 0.7 Litre
Offered by DrinkSupermarket
Price: £36.83

4.0 out of 5 stars Smooth and sweet, 12 Mar. 2015
It smells young, I think it's 6/7 yrs, fruity - apricots, but it could be apples or pears - has obviously used ex-Bourbon casks, sweet, creamy.

Tastes very smooth and thick mouthfeel - it really fills the mouth. Sweet, flowery, toffee, fudgy, vanilla, cream

Finish is continuation of above. Later sips reveal a longer finish of lingering apple crumble which has been spiced with cloves and cinnamon and covered with well vanillered custard.

Great. Good value.


Yoichi 10 Year Old Single Malt 70 cl
Yoichi 10 Year Old Single Malt 70 cl

4.0 out of 5 stars Yoichi 10 YO., 20 Feb. 2015
The smell is a strange mix of what I have come to regard as a typical Japanese whisky smell - sort of floral, peaty, smoky, sweets - sherbet or Love Hearts. Really thick creamy texture, very smooth. There's a variety of flavours that come in waves - fruit, smoke, peat. The finish is a wave of smoke.

A very Scotch like Japanese whisky.


GlenDronach 15 Year Old Revival Single Malt Whisky
GlenDronach 15 Year Old Revival Single Malt Whisky
Offered by Shop4whisky
Price: £44.43

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great sherried malt, 8 Feb. 2015
Lovely dark mahogany colour.

Aroma of sherry, spiced fruit, burnt sugar, coffee, dark chocolate, ginger, cinnamon, furniture polish - in a nice way.

Taste - rich, spicy, oaky, fruity sherry flavours, dark rum, very smooth.

Finish is medium length, rich cake, a Dundee Cake that has been soaked in sherry.

This is a great sherried whisky and its growing reputaion is well deserved.


Talisker - The Distillers Edition - 2000 10 year old
Talisker - The Distillers Edition - 2000 10 year old
Offered by Hard To Find Whisky
Price: £83.95

5.0 out of 5 stars A sweeter Talisker, 27 Jan. 2015
This is excellent. In terms of initial aroma you get all the thick peaty smells that you expect from Talisker and the initial sips don't reveal anything different from a regular 10 YO Talisker. This whisky needs to be left for 5-10 minutes to breathe in the glass. Then the rich, sweet sherry notes come through strongly and you get what you hoped for: all the powerful, peppery peat with added smoothness, deep fruityness and sweetness of the sherry finish.

Delicious. A great accompaniment to blue cheese.


The Gilded Youth of Thermidor
The Gilded Youth of Thermidor
by Francois Gendron
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £74.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Gilded Youth of Thermidor, 4 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is an in-depth study of the jeunesse doree, the middle-class youth, the well-dressed dandies who fought the sans-culottes in Paris during the Thermidorean period, their social origins and the role they played, for a while at least, as the praetorian guard of the Thermidorean regime until the regime had defeated the sans culottes and the left and the essential monarchism of the jeunesse doree then posed a threat to the regime who then turned to the army as the main crutch of the republic.


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