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The Steve Ditko Omnibus - Volume 1
The Steve Ditko Omnibus - Volume 1
by Steve Ditko
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed collection, of gems and duds., 17 Feb. 2012
Most of the reviews here are one sided in their appreciation -- I will offer a more balanced view of the book and try to describe its pluses and its very obvious minuses.

On the plus side, it is excellent that Ditko's DC horror work has been compiled in one volume: these stories stand up well, with their strange narratives and 'morality plays', each one replete with its own small lesson for the reader, focusing on themes such as the emptiness of materialism and greed, with Ditko championing compassion for the underdog, for the exploited, for animals and nature. There is a sensitivity in these stories, with Ditko taking a stubborn stance on right and wrong, focusing on qualities that `make us human' in a debased and amoral 'post-ideological' age in which the only 'values' are those of personal gain. Ditko makes it clear whose side he is on in the Manichaean struggle between light and dark, between right and wrong. Over the years, much has been made of the assumed influence of Ayn Rand in Ditko's work, yet since he has communicated so little with his public, it is difficult to judge the extent of that influence (which was arguably apparent in his anti-totalitarian stories of the 1950's). But one thing is for certain -- the state of gnosis Ditko points to in his art far surpasses the self serving indifference and the cold-hearted solipsism of Rand's work.

Also included here are a few stories written/drawn in the mid 60's, which are of far lower standard and are pretty much throw away, but still great fun to read. Themes include the typical `time travel, wars with dinosaurs in ancient castles, the bored 1950's office worker in a suit finds his love in another cosmos' etc, and other Ray Bradbury inspired themes.

The quality varies of course, but besides the generic throw away stories, the DC horror titles are beautiful minor gems, with compassionate `nature aware' messages that give the reader further insight into the reclusive Ditko's state of mind, with many of the narratives expressing deep cynicism about the violence, brutality, selfishness and cruelty of humanity, aspects of '20th century modernity' that Ditko has firmly placed himself in opposition to in much of his work.

'Shade the Changing Man' looked beautiful in the original comic book format, with colouring technique that, like Ditko's 50's work, showed up to fine effect,the rough grain of the paper, and 'point by point' of the ink, rendering each magical frame reminiscent of those huge pop art paintings. However, DC have gone for the 'uniform colour' treatment here, which really reduces the atmospheric specialness of Ditko's art. Still, these 'Shade' stories have much to commend them, as the reader witnesses the cosmic struggle between good vs evil, demonic vs heavenly realms, with the purity of Shade attaining love by the conclusion of the tale.

Another `plus point' is the presentation of the book -- there are well over four hundred pages here, and though the paper quality is not good, the outer binding and image reproduction on the cover and opening pages is very nicely done, with blown up frames for the reader to appreciate the `Pop Art like quality' of Ditko's work. (Of course, Pop Art did nothing whatsoever to invent these images, and Roy Lichtenstein's famous "Whaaam!" painting was borrowed entirely from the likes of Ditko, Kirby and Jerry Grandenneti's art work -- though the Pop artists have stolen all the honours and credit for the style.)

Another interesting point is that some of the DC work presented here strongly resembles the work of the great Philippino painters, Nino, Alcala, and Yandoc -- so, were these Philippino artists influenced by Ditko? Or did the influence work in both directions? Was Ditko impressed by them, and willing to take a few 'style tips' from them? Or, did DC encourage a certain uniformity and identifiable 'house style' amongst their artists, to make their comic line attractive and visibly recognisable and coherent in a competitive market?

Now for the 'not so good' points -- the paper quality is very lightweight and, frankly, bad: it is flimsy and thin, can be easily torn or ripped, and will probably yellow very quickly. It is only slightly better than cheap pulp. Secondly, the colouring here is very disappointingly done, and appears to have been adapted from the originals. Ok, the originals also were often poorly done, with smudging and rushed work, but these reprint colours are too uniform and overly 'technical', done with computer like precision, and thus completely lack the character, the eccentric quirky individuality ( even an 'amateur-ness') that we all love comic books so much for displaying. The binding of the book also, is too tight, with frames bound so closely to the spine, that in some cases you can't read the script or enjoy the frames' artwork to the full.

Also, some of the artwork is co-drawn with other artists, and whilst their work is surely good comic art -- it does not stand up to Ditko's genius.

And, some of the stories' narratives and prose are just hopeless, with very little enduring charm, and are full of clichés -- Ditko and his co authors must have rushed out many of these scripts during lunch hour, and a number of them are pretty shallow stuff, cynically churned out.

All in all though, as a devotee of Ditko, I value the book, and certainly do not regret buying it -- Ditko fans will surely want the book, and in my opinion, the excellent DC horror titles make it worth price of admission.

But be prepared for a few disappointments, the main gripes being the garish, overly uniform colouring, rendering an anonymous, characterless feel to Ditko's art work, the poor quality of some of the stories, and the cheap paper used.


The Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil War
by Paul Preston
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have book., 18 Dec. 2011
This review is from: The Spanish Civil War (Paperback)
Alan Massie wrote of Preston that he "knows more about the Spanish Civil War than any other Englishman; more, even, than those who fought it."

If you are interested in understanding why many consider the Spanish Civil War to be 'the first modern war' , and if you interested in reading about the war that represented the 20th century's first major existential struggle between all the leading ideologies of the period, then Preston's book is no less than essential reading.

Preston skillfully describes the clashes between the aims and objectives of anarchism, fascism, communism, socialism, capitalism, materialism, imperialism, elitism and racism as well as outlining the collisions between hegemonic strategies and the development of class consciousness, in a part of Europe still struggling to come to terms with the shattering effects of the Industrial Revolution and the remnants of a serf, land-owner and master relationship between the people.

Preston has done a masterful job here, demystifying, carefully analysing and assessing the sometimes bewildering array of diverse political groupings,( CNT, POUM,Stalinist, extreme anarchist, Durutti's forces, Trotksy-ite, conservative Catholic, Phalange, North African mercenary etc) and he manages to do so in an even handed, fair,unemotional,detached, scholarly and unbiased manner. Many histories of the period are slanted and biased towards the communist resistance, or they idealise the anarchist resistance, or they offer a conservative-traditionalist nostalgic whitewashed view of the war. Preston however, takes no sides, and he tells us of the successes, failures and brutalities of all the diverse factions, in a spare and unadorned prose style.

Preston has written a masterful text, which is unlikely to be bettered any time soon, and he has received praise and respect from a number of academic journals and other highly regarded historians (such as Ian Kershaw)

Especially essential here is Preston's addition of a thirty page essay on his bibliographical sources - whatever your particular area of sympathy in the conflict ( anarchist, conservative, fascist, traditionalist, socialist) then you will find a lengthy description of all the texts that Preston considers worthwhile.

Preston's text also offers outstanding analysis of war strategy and cunning, and will be of great interest to followers of neo realist historians such as Mearsheimer, Waltz, and Morgenthau.

Like Eric Hobsbawm and Raul Hilberg, Preston writes beautifully, with a meticulous attention to detail and with an unadorned narrative and prose style -- I can't recommend his book highly enough.


The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution and Revenge
The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution and Revenge
by Paul Preston
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must have book., 18 Dec. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Alan Massie wrote of Preston that he "knows more about the Spanish Civil War than any other Englishman; more, even, than those who fought it."

If you are interested in understanding why many consider the Spanish Civil War to be 'the first modern war' , and if you interested in reading about the war that represented the 20th century's first major existential struggle between all the leading ideologies of the period, then Preston's book is no less than essential reading.

Preston skillfully describes the clashes between the aims and objectives of anarchism, fascism, communism, socialism, capitalism, materialism, imperialism, elitism and racism as well as outlining the collisions between hegemonic strategies and the development of class consciousness, in a part of Europe still struggling to come to terms with the shattering effects of the Industrial Revolution and the remnants of a serf, land-owner and master relationship between the people.

Preston has done a masterful job here, demystifying, carefully analysing and assessing the sometimes bewildering array of diverse political groupings,( CNT, POUM,Stalinist, extreme anarchist, Durutti's forces, Trotksy-ite, conservative Catholic, Phalange, North African mercenary etc) and he manages to do so in an even handed, fair,unemotional,detached, scholarly and unbiased manner. Many histories of the period are slanted and biased towards the communist resistance, or they idealise the anarchist resistance, or they offer a conservative-traditionalist nostalgic whitewashed view of the war. Preston however, takes no sides, and he tells us of the successes, failures and brutalities of all the diverse factions, in a spare and unadorned prose style.

Preston has written a masterful text, which is unlikely to be bettered any time soon, and he has received praise and respect from a number of academic journals and other highly regarded historians (such as Ian Kershaw)

Especially essential here is Preston's addition of a thirty page essay on his bibliographical sources - whatever your particular area of sympathy in the conflict ( anarchist, conservative, fascist, traditionalist, socialist) then you will find a lengthy description of all the texts that Preston considers worthwhile.

Preston's text also offers outstanding analysis of war strategy and cunning, and will be of great interest to followers of neo realist historians such as Mearsheimer, Waltz, and Morgenthau.

Like Eric Hobsbawm and Raul Hilberg, Preston writes beautifully, with a meticulous attention to detail and with an unadorned narrative and prose style -- I can't recommend his book highly enough.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 16, 2012 10:04 PM BST


Unexplored Worlds : The Steve Ditko Archives Vol.2
Unexplored Worlds : The Steve Ditko Archives Vol.2
by Blake Bell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £24.64

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'Must buy' book., 27 Oct. 2011
It is far better than Volume One. Whilst the first volume has consistently great artwork, the stories, narrative and prose styles are really poor for the most part.

In the second volume, all the stories are from the stage when comic books were under the thumb of the comics code regulations. Popular wisdom says that when the writers and artists had to give in to these conservative code restrictions, the integrity and value of the work was gone, to be replaced by 'safe', dull stories.

There is a lot of truth in that statement of course -- so much of the inventiveness and wit and art disappeared from comics when the new control mechanisms were in place.However, the opposite is true here -- clearly, Ditko did feel restrained -- but he reacts by producing some clever, thoughtful , reflective stories here, to compensate for the limitations placed on him,and the art work is astonishing on every page.

One to buy and value and read again and again. Looking forward to Volume Three for sure.


Eumeswil
Eumeswil
by Ernst Jünger
Edition: Perfect Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flowers of Love : the Anarch., 3 Sept. 2011
This review is from: Eumeswil (Perfect Paperback)
"(T)he political meaning is not enough: we have to go back to the snakes, the dogs, the holders of power... All the political givens are ephemeral; but what is concealed behind the demonic, the titanic, the mythic remains constant and has an immutable value..." (Junger in conversation with Julien Hervier in "The Details of Time.")

"If...we cast a glance over the World's-History generally, we see a vast picture of changes and transactions; of infinitely manifold forms of peoples, states, individuals, in unresting succession... On every hand there is the motliest throng of events drawing us within the circle of its interest, and when one combination vanishes another immediately appears in its place. " ( G.W.F. Hegel, The Philosophy of History, 1820s )

"Eumeswill" represents the heights of Junger's consciousness, revealing a much misunderstood figure that has been largely written out of memory, or, consistently smeared and misrepresented as a `dangerous fascist subversive.'

Junger was considered to be part of the Revolutionary Conservative movement in the early part of the 20Th century, a movement that grew considerably after WW1. "Eumeswill's" 'Anarch' however, is rooted in Junger's thought decades after he rejected nationalism and did away with his fascistic ideals. Junger never felt he needed to apologise for once having been a fascist, but it is clear from his literature that he had moved far away from such concerns by the end of the Second World War, and that is proven by "On The Marble Cliffs", a barely veiled attack on the Nazi Party. Junger became fascinated by anarchism during WW2, but appears to have quickly rejected it all as inconsistent, except for Max Stirner, from whom it may be argued that he borrowed , furthered , and fully developed the idea of the 'Anarch' -- Junger fully developed these ideas in the late 1970's, and that train of his thought is devoted to solipsistic resistance and anarchistic ideas - no matter how hard his detractors love to connect the figure of the Anarch with modern day national socialists, that stage of Junger's thought, represented by "Eumeswill", is not in any way, fascist or right wing.

"Eumeswill" is free of any right wing aggressive thought -- the book is given over to Junger's exploration of the Anarch, as well as investigating ideas remarkably similar to those of Angelus Silesius and Meister Eckhardt, both of whom were medieval mystics, from the areas now known as Poland and Germany. Thomas Nevin, in "Ernst Junger and Germany: Into the Abyss" discusses Junger's interest in, and identification with mysticism, saying that Junger's "notion of hidden harmonies amid apparent chaos suggests succession to Angelus Silesius." (p 277).

By the time Junger wrote his stoic meditation "Eumeswill", he had moved far away from the violent brash prejudice and scorn of D'Annunzio's misogynist misanthropic avant garde fascism and Nietzschean apocalyptic visions of any form -- we need to look at much earlier 1930's Junger for that, and read and reflect on Walter Benjamin's urgent critique of Junger's thought of the time, as being lethal and extremely dangerous -- Walter Benjamin was right -- Junger was, at the time, encouraging aesthetic narcissistic fascism in his work, a commitment he moved far away from by the 1940's onwards -- by the 1970's and the release of "Eumeswill", Junger was far away from right wing thought of any kind.

`Eumeswill's" detached and contemplative Anarch reminds us of another similar flaw in the critique of Junger: nowadays Junger is still popularly and commonly (and erroneously) compared or packaged together with Evola. Junger had published in the same academic journals as Evola, but there is no record of any meaningful alliance between the two men. One may conjecture that Junger was not interested in Evola's obvious interest in the Nazi party and the Italian fascist party, and ultimately, there really is no comparison between Evola's obviously race based, elitist, violent visions, and Junger's later mystical, philosophical explorations.

"Eumeswill" has a strange and unique place in post war literature - the figure of the Anarch is arguably the true flowering of Max Stirner thought, fused with the consciousness of eternity that Meister Eckhardt and Angelus Silesius articulated so profoundly.


Erzählende Schriften III. Eumeswil
Erzählende Schriften III. Eumeswil
by Ernst Jünger
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Cosmic Anarch., 3 Sept. 2011
"(T)he political meaning is not enough: we have to go back to the snakes, the dogs, the holders of power... All the political givens are ephemeral; but what is concealed behind the demonic, the titanic, the mythic remains constant and has an immutable value..." (Junger in conversation with Julien Hervier in "The Details of Time.")

"If...we cast a glance over the World's-History generally, we see a vast picture of changes and transactions; of infinitely manifold forms of peoples, states, individuals, in unresting succession... On every hand there is the motliest throng of events drawing us within the circle of its interest, and when one combination vanishes another immediately appears in its place. " ( G.W.F. Hegel, The Philosophy of History, 1820s )

"Eumeswill" represents the heights of Junger's consciousness, revealing a much misunderstood figure that has been largely written out of memory, or, consistently smeared and misrepresented as a `dangerous fascist subversive.'

Junger was considered to be part of the Revolutionary Conservative movement in the early part of the 20Th century, a movement that grew considerably after WW1. "Eumeswill's" 'Anarch' however, is rooted in Junger's thought decades after he rejected nationalism and did away with his fascistic ideals. Junger never felt he needed to apologise for once having been a fascist, but it is clear from his literature that he had moved far away from such concerns by the end of the Second World War, and that is proven by "On The Marble Cliffs", a barely veiled attack on the Nazi Party. Junger became fascinated by anarchism during WW2, but appears to have quickly rejected it all as inconsistent, except for Max Stirner, from whom it may be argued that he borrowed , furthered , and fully developed the idea of the 'Anarch' -- Junger fully developed these ideas in the late 1970's, and that train of his thought is devoted to solipsistic resistance and anarchistic ideas - no matter how hard his detractors love to connect the figure of the Anarch with modern day national socialists, that stage of Junger's thought, represented by "Eumeswill", is not in any way, fascist or right wing.

"Eumeswill" is free of any right wing aggressive thought -- the book is given over to Junger's exploration of the Anarch, as well as investigating ideas remarkably similar to those of Angelus Silesius and Meister Eckhardt, both of whom were medieval mystics, from the areas now known as Poland and Germany. Thomas Nevin, in "Ernst Junger and Germany: Into the Abyss" discusses Junger's interest in, and identification with mysticism, saying that Junger's "notion of hidden harmonies amid apparent chaos suggests succession to Angelus Silesius." (p 277).

By the time Junger wrote his stoic meditation "Eumeswill", he had moved far away from the violent brash prejudice and scorn of D'Annunzio's misogynist misanthropic avant garde fascism and Nietzschean apocalyptic visions of any form -- we need to look at much earlier 1930's Junger for that, and read and reflect on Walter Benjamin's urgent critique of Junger's thought of the time, as being lethal and extremely dangerous -- Walter Benjamin was right -- Junger was, at the time, encouraging aesthetic narcissistic fascism in his work, a commitment he moved far away from by the 1940's onwards -- by the 1970's and the release of "Eumeswill", Junger was far away from right wing thought of any kind.

`Eumeswill's" detached and contemplative Anarch reminds us of another similar flaw in the critique of Junger: nowadays Junger is still popularly and commonly (and erroneously) compared or packaged together with Evola. Junger had published in the same academic journals as Evola, but there is no record of any meaningful alliance between the two men. One may conjecture that Junger was not interested in Evola's obvious interest in the Nazi party and the Italian fascist party, and ultimately, there really is no comparison between Evola's obviously race based, elitist, violent visions, and Junger's later mystical, philosophical explorations.

"Eumeswill" has a strange and unique place in post war literature - the figure of the Anarch is arguably the true flowering of Max Stirner thought, fused with the consciousness of eternity that Meister Eckhardt and Angelus Silesius articulated so profoundly.


Eumeswil
Eumeswil
by Ernst Jünger
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cosmic Eternity., 3 Sept. 2011
This review is from: Eumeswil (Hardcover)
"(T)he political meaning is not enough: we have to go back to the snakes, the dogs, the holders of power... All the political givens are ephemeral; but what is concealed behind the demonic, the titanic, the mythic remains constant and has an immutable value..." (Junger in conversation with Julien Hervier in "The Details of Time.")

"If...we cast a glance over the World's-History generally, we see a vast picture of changes and transactions; of infinitely manifold forms of peoples, states, individuals, in unresting succession... On every hand there is the motliest throng of events drawing us within the circle of its interest, and when one combination vanishes another immediately appears in its place. " ( G.W.F. Hegel, The Philosophy of History, 1820s )

"Eumeswill" represents the heights of Junger's consciousness, revealing a much misunderstood figure that has been largely written out of memory, or, consistently smeared and misrepresented as a `dangerous fascist subversive.'

Junger was considered to be part of the Revolutionary Conservative movement in the early part of the 20Th century, a movement that grew considerably after WW1. "Eumeswill's" 'Anarch' however, is rooted in Junger's thought decades after he rejected nationalism and did away with his fascistic ideals. Junger never felt he needed to apologise for once having been a fascist, but it is clear from his literature that he had moved far away from such concerns by the end of the Second World War, and that is proven by "On The Marble Cliffs", a barely veiled attack on the Nazi Party. Junger became fascinated by anarchism during WW2, but appears to have quickly rejected it all as inconsistent, except for Max Stirner, from whom it may be argued that he borrowed , furthered , and fully developed the idea of the 'Anarch' -- Junger fully developed these ideas in the late 1970's, and that train of his thought is devoted to solipsistic resistance and anarchistic ideas - no matter how hard his detractors love to connect the figure of the Anarch with modern day national socialists, that stage of Junger's thought, represented by "Eumeswill", is not in any way, fascist or right wing.

"Eumeswill" is free of any right wing aggressive thought -- the book is given over to Junger's exploration of the Anarch, as well as investigating ideas remarkably similar to those of Angelus Silesius and Meister Eckhardt, both of whom were medieval mystics, from the areas now known as Poland and Germany. Thomas Nevin, in "Ernst Junger and Germany: Into the Abyss" discusses Junger's interest in, and identification with mysticism, saying that Junger's "notion of hidden harmonies amid apparent chaos suggests succession to Angelus Silesius." (p 277).

By the time Junger wrote his stoic meditation "Eumeswill", he had moved far away from the violent brash prejudice and scorn of D'Annunzio's misogynist misanthropic avant garde fascism and Nietzschean apocalyptic visions of any form -- we need to look at much earlier 1930's Junger for that, and read and reflect on Walter Benjamin's urgent critique of Junger's thought of the time, as being lethal and extremely dangerous -- Walter Benjamin was right -- Junger was, at the time, encouraging aesthetic narcissistic fascism in his work, a commitment he moved far away from by the 1940's onwards -- by the 1970's and the release of "Eumeswill", Junger was far away from right wing thought of any kind.

`Eumeswill's" detached and contemplative Anarch reminds us of another similar flaw in the critique of Junger: nowadays Junger is still popularly and commonly (and erroneously) compared or packaged together with Evola. Junger had published in the same academic journals as Evola, but there is no record of any meaningful alliance between the two men. One may conjecture that Junger was not interested in Evola's obvious interest in the Nazi party and the Italian fascist party, and ultimately, there really is no comparison between Evola's obviously race based, elitist, violent visions, and Junger's later mystical, philosophical explorations.

"Eumeswill" has a strange and unique place in post war literature - the figure of the Anarch is arguably the true flowering of Max Stirner thought, fused with the consciousness of eternity that Meister Eckhardt and Angelus Silesius articulated so profoundly.


Eumeswil (Eridanos Library)
Eumeswil (Eridanos Library)
by Ernest Junger
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lights of Eternity., 3 Sept. 2011
"(T)he political meaning is not enough: we have to go back to the snakes, the dogs, the holders of power... All the political givens are ephemeral; but what is concealed behind the demonic, the titanic, the mythic remains constant and has an immutable value..." (Junger in conversation with Julien Hervier in "The Details of Time.")

"Eumeswill" represents the heights of Junger's consciousness, revealing a much misunderstood figure that has been largely written out of memory, or, consistently smeared and misrepresented as a `dangerous fascist subversive.'

Junger was considered to be part of the Revolutionary Conservative movement in the early part of the 20Th century, a movement that grew considerably after WW1. "Eumeswill's" 'Anarch' however, is rooted in Junger's thought decades after he rejected nationalism and did away with his fascistic ideals. Junger never felt he needed to apologise for once having been a fascist, but it is clear from his literature that he had moved far away from such concerns by the end of the Second World War, and that is proven by "On The Marble Cliffs", a barely veiled attack on the Nazi Party. Junger became fascinated by anarchism during WW2, but appears to have quickly rejected it all as inconsistent, except for Max Stirner, from whom it may be argued that he borrowed , furthered , and fully developed the idea of the 'Anarch' -- Junger fully developed these ideas in the late 1970's, and that train of his thought is devoted to solipsistic resistance and anarchistic ideas - no matter how hard his detractors love to connect the figure of the Anarch with modern day national socialists, that stage of Junger's thought, represented by "Eumeswill", is not in any way, fascist or right wing.

"Eumeswill" is free of any right wing aggressive thought -- the book is given over to Junger's exploration of the Anarch, as well as investigating ideas remarkably similar to those of Angelus Silesius and Meister Eckhardt, both of whom were medieval mystics, from the areas now known as Poland and Germany. Thomas Nevin, in "Ernst Junger and Germany: Into the Abyss" discusses Junger's interest in, and identification with mysticism, saying that Junger's "notion of hidden harmonies amid apparent chaos suggests succession to Angelus Silesius." (p 277).

By the time Junger wrote his stoic meditation "Eumeswill", he had moved far away from the violent brash prejudice and scorn of D'Annunzio's misogynist misanthropic avant garde fascism and Nietzschean apocalyptic visions of any form -- we need to look at much earlier 1930's Junger for that, and read and reflect on Walter Benjamin's urgent critique of Junger's thought of the time, as being lethal and extremely dangerous -- Walter Benjamin was right -- Junger was, at the time, encouraging aesthetic narcissistic fascism in his work, a commitment he moved far away from by the 1940's onwards -- by the 1970's and the release of "Eumeswill", Junger was far away from right wing thought of any kind.

`Eumeswill's" detached and contemplative Anarch reminds us of another similar flaw in the critique of Junger: nowadays Junger is still popularly and commonly (and erroneously) compared or packaged together with Evola. Junger had published in the same academic journals as Evola, but there is no record of any meaningful alliance between the two men. One may conjecture that Junger was not interested in Evola's obvious interest in the Nazi party and the Italian fascist party, and ultimately, there really is no comparison between Evola's obviously race based, elitist, violent visions, and Junger's later mystical, philosophical explorations.

"Eumeswill" has a strange and unique place in post war literature - the figure of the Anarch is arguably the true flowering of Max Stirner thought, fused with the consciousness of eternity that Meister Eckhardt and Angelus Silesius articulated so profoundly.


The Book of the Courtier (Classics)
The Book of the Courtier (Classics)
by Baldesar Castiglione
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting., 27 Aug. 2011
Castiglione, writing in the 16th century is noted as a renaissance writer, and his role was that of giving advice to the young men of the aristocracy. However, do not expect much similarity to the gems of essential wily wisdom offered by that other 16th century statesman and political scientist, Machiavelli, and do not expect pointed, shrewd and perceptive psychological insights of a similar quality to those that La Rochefoucauld offered the elite aristocrats in the 17th century.

Castiglione however, I found to be interesting for anthropological or sociological reasons. We gain insight into the roles of women, and the assumption that men were innately superior beings - Castiglione teaches that women are inferior, somewhat wretched beings, aspiring for cosmic and heavenly perfection when they form bonds with men - whilst men are corrupted and made imperfect by their bonds with women.

We also learn about men's tastes in art, and fashion - Castiglione chastises a fashion amongst the idle rich of wearing eye liner and plucking their eye brows, and behaving in an effeminate manner, whilst he advises his charge to be manly, taking care of his physical form, that should be as masculine as imposing as possible, yet, graceful and dignified. The young aristocrat should also ensure that he studies painting and classical Greek and Roman literature.

Of interest too, is Castiglione's teachings regarding how the aristocracy should hold on to their power and encourage faithfulness from his peasant class, and in these verses, we also gain insight into what newly emerging concepts of `nation', `patriotism' and `identity' meant in the 16th century - one might speculate that these national identities meant far more to the aristocrats, who had much to gain from such definitions and sense of belonging, whilst to the peasant, these notions probably meant little more than fulfilling the roles of a diligent servant and as cannon fodder in times of war and strife.

Castiglione also gives advice on a number of other topics, such as how to behave in company of ones equals, superiors and inferiors - Castiglione advises respect for the concepts of otherworldliness and detachment displayed by the philosopher and religious figures -- but the young aristocrat should realise these are not at all the correct ways for a worldly man to behave, should he wish to gain respect from fellow aristocrats, statesmen and his servants, the peasant and common man.

Castiglione's book is interesting, but as mentioned before -- do not expect the insights of others 16th century writers such as Machiavelli, whose wisdom we can still apply today to an understanding of realist schools of thought, political science and international relations.


The Jewish Century
The Jewish Century
by Yuri Slezkine
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.96

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent analysis., 27 Aug. 2011
This review is from: The Jewish Century (Paperback)
It is an excellent, thought provoking and controversial text. If you are at all interested in how Jewish culture and Zionist culture defines and expresses itself, then it's an essential purchase.

If you are at all interested in the work of other Jewish radical intellectuals such as Norman Finkelstein,(the holocaust and the ways in which it has been mis-used) Israel Shahak (Talmudic studies and how these texts effected Jewish/gentile relations in the ghetto, shtetl, and in modern urban environments), Shlomo Sand (Jews and nationalism; Jews and tradition), Ilan Pappe (Jews and the `colonial experience'), and Marx's views on the role of Jews within Capitalist society then you will also enjoy Slezkine's work.

Slezkine seeks to understand 'Jewishness' by comparing them to other groups, such as the Jains in India, or the role of the Chinese in Malaysia -- these are 'outsider' groups who are highly educated, very literate and very able, sometimes accepted by their societies, sometimes integrated, sometimes willingly choosing to separate from the dominant culture, sometimes leading those cultures, sometimes anonymous within those cultures, sometimes hated, sometimes praised.

Szelzkine looks at every aspect of Ashkenazi culture as it inter relates with gentile culture, from literature, to ideology, to business and economics and casts an anthropologists gaze on social life at a mundane level, from Kiev, to Odessa, to the Pale of Settlement, Tel Aviv and Brooklyn.

Szelzkine's book will annoy and frustrate as much as it pleases: some readers and critics have seen it as a justification for anti Semitism and anti Semitic tropes, whilst others consider it a very thorough study of the role of Jews in the 19 and 20th centuries, an area of academia which has often been played down, repressed or totally ignored because of the trauma of the holocaust. Whatever your opinion, it cannot be denied that Jews have been highly influential in every aspect of 20th century life, and Slezkine looks at that with a scrutinising honesty and openness.

And, importantly, it is well written, with an engaging, occasionally humorous narrative and prose style, displaying Slezkine's literary awareness and flair throughout.


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