Category Archives: Book Review

Orient Express

I want to follow in the footsteps of John Dos Passos. A century ago, just as the Ottoman Empire was smoldering and Ataturk was reassembling his Turkish nationalist forces in the East and Constantinople was occupied by French and Italian … Continue reading

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The Arabists

Wonder and curiosity. Long gone are the days when British colonialists or early American missionaries packed their meager worldly possessions into coffins to head out over the tameless horizon. T.E. Lawrence wrapped up like a marauding Arabian warlord. Gordon Liang … Continue reading

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Prester John

We from the West believe that history stopped perhaps in Moscow, picking up again maybe in Beijing but probably more realistically in Tokyo. The expanse between, a wasteland. Stories of Siberian gulags and the endless windswept steppes. Then came Genghis … Continue reading

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Dr. Zhivago

The fulcrum around which Dr. Zhivago turns occurs about 3/4 of the way through the novel. Yurii Zhivago is holed up in Varykino, a rural Ural estate where his family has onetime lived. He is on the run from the … Continue reading

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American Writers in Istanbul

“Everybody is writing their Turkey books” Rose Macaulay once wrote in her lovely travel book Towers of Trebizond. This one is Kim Fortuny’s. Kim, it seems, is a professor of American Literature at a university in Istanbul. I love Istanbul … Continue reading

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Putin’s Master Plan

“Neo-Eurasianism utilizes the methodology of Vilfredo Pareto’s school, moves within the logic of the rehabilitation of the notion of organic hierarchy, picks up some Nietzschean motives, and develops the doctrine of the ontology of power, or of the Christian Orthodox … Continue reading

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Life and Fate

This is the novel that Vasily Grossman saw “arrested”. After he submitted it to the censors, and they realized the parallels in the novel between Nazi Germany and the USSR, they seized the copy. Having learned their mistake from Pasternak, … Continue reading

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Levy, Intellectuals and Paris

This should have been marketed and sold as a booklet. Essay selections rarely work in book form, few writers can pull this off and Bernard Henri Levy is no exception. I would have been disappointed, except Levy began the book … Continue reading

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An Armenian Sketchbook

Vasily Grossman understood Armenia. And thusly, Armenia saved his live; as it did for Osip Mandelstam. As it did for me. Armenia saved his life, though he was to die only two years after visiting Armenia. Despite that “An Armenian … Continue reading

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The Prose of Osip Mandelstam

Osip Mandelstam led a tragic life. He was a poet, a writer of tremendous talent cursed to have lived in the days of Stalin’s totalitarianism. He wrote a poem about Stalin, reading it to perhaps six friends at a dinner. … Continue reading

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