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By Potemkin
#14867471
Has anyone read this book?
It seem pretty prescient to me, since it was written a half year before 9/11.

The problem with a unipolar world with only one hegemonic power is that that power happens to be the USA, a nation peculiarly unsuited by its history and its culture to be a hegemonic power. The only way that anarchy could have been prevented in the aftermath of the Cold War was if an explicitly and unashamedly imperialist nation were in charge. In the late 19th century, there was a unipolar world order with a single hegemonic power - the British Empire. That empire successfully created and maintained a globalised world order for almost a century - the 'Pax Britannica'. It was, in fact, the first wave of globalisation in history. But, under American leadership there will not be and there cannot be any 'Pax Americana'. The USA, after all, was founded on anti-imperialist ideas, and has always been intensely insular and inward-looking. That culture is ingrained in its people and in its ruling elites. America therefore cannot provide any coherent sort of moral or political leadership in the world. On the contrary, they obsessively stir up trouble by launching senseless invasions of regimes around the world which even try to maintain (a rather brutal) sort of order, from Saddam Hussein's Iraq to Muammar Gadaffi's Libya to Assad's Syria. And they are now itching to invade Iran, of all places. Given this dedication to smashing any attempt to impose local order on the part of the world's only hegemonic power, what else can we expect except increasing global anarchy?
By Reichstraten
#14867474
Yes. In a sense the end of the cold war was not only a loss for the Sovjet-Union, but a loss for America as well.
America has always had problems to cope with this 'new' situation.
Almost everything they do in the world outside happens to make things worse than they already are.
It's like a reverse King Midas. :knife:
By Decky
#14874372
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I got this book for Christmas as one of my ancestors served on board the HMS Amethyst corvette during the conflict. It was the only wooden Royal Navy ship to ever fight an ironclad and the battle he fought in was the first time the Royal Navy had used a torpedo to sink a ship (outside of testing).
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By Heisenberg
#14875834
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Another Christmas present - this one was from my brother. Solzhenitsyn writes about the February revolution from the perspective of more than 50 different characters, one day at a time. It was translated into English for the first time last year to mark the 100th anniversary of the Russian revolution.

The novel is split into four books - book 1 covers the events of 8-12 March 1917, and is over 600 pages long. So it's safe to say it's quite a detailed narrative. :lol: I'm about a quarter of the way through so far, and loving it. Fantastic book.
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By Potemkin
#14875857
Another Christmas present - this one was from my brother. Solzhenitsyn writes about the February revolution from the perspective of more than 50 different characters, one day at a time. It was translated into English for the first time last year to mark the 100th anniversary of the Russian revolution.

The novel is split into four books - book 1 covers the events of 8-12 March 1917, and is over 600 pages long. So it's safe to say it's quite a detailed narrative. :lol: I'm about a quarter of the way through so far, and loving it. Fantastic book.

People still read Solzhenitsyn? Lol. I have to admit, I gave up on him after reading August 1914. I loved his One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and enjoyed The First Circle (though I found his 'polyphonic' narrative to be somewhat confusing and tiresome to read). I still think that his masterpiece is Cancer Ward - it has a human warmth which his other novels seem to lack, and for once he foregoes his tiresomely moralistic Tolstoyan omniscient narrator shtick in order to focus on the individuality and humanity of his characters. I once even read his long narrative poem Prussian Nights, which I found dreary, moralistic and lacking in any historical awareness. And reading August 1914 finished it for me - he seemed to think that the best way of understanding an historical epoch was to simply pile up the subjective experiences of hundreds of 'emblematic' characters (the Radical Student, the Patriotic Soldier, the Simple But Wise Peasant, &c) rather than, you know, actually thinking about the confluence of social, economic and political forces of the time. Hence the pointlessly huge length of his dreary historical novels, and hence the sternly moralistic ignorance of his omniscient narrator.
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By Tainari88
#14875860
Potemkin wrote:People still read Solzhenitsyn? Lol. I have to admit, I gave up on him after reading August 1914. I loved his One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and enjoyed The First Circle (though I found his 'polyphonic' narrative to be somewhat confusing and tiresome to read). I still think that his masterpiece is Cancer Ward - it has a human warmth which his other novels seem to lack, and for once he foregoes his tiresomely moralistic Tolstoyan omniscient narrator shtick in order to focus on the individuality and humanity of his characters. I once even read his long narrative poem Prussian Nights, which I found dreary, moralistic and lacking in any historical awareness. And reading August 1914 finished it for me - he seemed to think that the best way of understanding an historical epoch was to simply pile up the subjective experiences of hundreds of 'emblematic' characters (the Radical Student, the Patriotic Soldier, the Simple But Wise Peasant, &c) rather than, you know, actually thinking about the confluence of social, economic and political forces of the time. Hence the pointlessly huge length of his dreary historical novels, and hence the sternly moralistic ignorance of his omniscient narrator.


Wow, I can safely assume you don't like that author. You will like Wico though. Luis Rafael Sanchez. He is a blast. Boring is not the word for Wico. :D
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By Potemkin
#14876418
Wow, I can safely assume you don't like that author. You will like Wico though. Luis Rafael Sanchez. He is a blast. Boring is not the word for Wico. :D

I'm looking forward to reading Wico, Tainari. But I wouldn't say that I totally dislike Solzhenitsyn's work. As I said, I loved One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and Cancer Ward. I just think that he increasingly allowed his cranky political and social opinions to overwhelm his fictional writings, so that his work became increasingly eccentric, reactionary and drearily sermonising. Basically, he went off the rails. There were signs of it in The First Circle, and it was out of control by the time he wrote August 1914. If one purports to write a sweeping historical epic novel, then it helps if one actually knows something about history. Lol.
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By Wellsy
#14876644
I just finished reading Phillip K Dick's Ubik to wifey.
She likes sci-fi and audiobooks and I want to read more fiction.
It was interesting in leaving me confused and wondering at different moments in the plot, driving curiosity to read further.
Now going to read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? to wifey.
By skinster
#14876654
That's nice you read to your wife.

Recently:
*I read an Alan Watts book which was mainly like a stream of consciousness that had about two good bits in it :D
*Nickel and Dimed: good and obviously remains relevant for our time
*Candide, which I liked but felt weird reading, the way it was set out and how fucking old it is probably had something to do with that but I did enjoy

Now reading The Battle For Justice in Palestine. A work frand gave me the new Arundhuti Roy novel. I treated myself to a Christmas present in the form of four books from Haymarket, since they had this really cool 50% off sale over December. They're on feminism and socialism mainly. 8)
By Pants-of-dog
#14877202
I am slowly getting through State of the Art by Iain M. Banks, and The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon.
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By Drlee
#14877340
Tanari said:

*Nickel and Dimed: good and obviously remains relevant for our time


A very good book. Absolutely relevant for the times. Seeing your reference I dug it out to read again.
By skinster
#14877752
That was me who read that, not Tainari.

I suppose I can see how you're confused, since we're both brown and probably all look the same to you. :D
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By Drlee
#14877764
Sorry Skinster. Without the Hajib or straw hat I am at a loss.....
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By ThirdTerm
#14877799
Image

I thought about buying this book on January 9 but it's already sold out on Amazon and won't be available for 2-4 weeks. I was fortunate enough to find an online copy, which I have read through since yesterday. "Fire and Fury" is as good as Bob Woodward's Bush trilogy but it's wholley based on Bannon's personal accounts, making it less reliable.
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By Heisenberg
#14878005
Potemkin wrote:People still read Solzhenitsyn? Lol. I have to admit, I gave up on him after reading August 1914. I loved his One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and enjoyed The First Circle (though I found his 'polyphonic' narrative to be somewhat confusing and tiresome to read). I still think that his masterpiece is Cancer Ward - it has a human warmth which his other novels seem to lack, and for once he foregoes his tiresomely moralistic Tolstoyan omniscient narrator shtick in order to focus on the individuality and humanity of his characters. I once even read his long narrative poem Prussian Nights, which I found dreary, moralistic and lacking in any historical awareness. And reading August 1914 finished it for me - he seemed to think that the best way of understanding an historical epoch was to simply pile up the subjective experiences of hundreds of 'emblematic' characters (the Radical Student, the Patriotic Soldier, the Simple But Wise Peasant, &c) rather than, you know, actually thinking about the confluence of social, economic and political forces of the time. Hence the pointlessly huge length of his dreary historical novels, and hence the sternly moralistic ignorance of his omniscient narrator.

Thanks for the heads up on Cancer Ward - I'll definitely check it out when I get a chance.

As for the rest of your criticism, it sounds a little like you're annoyed that Solzhenitsyn wasn't a Marxist. Lol. I'm slowly working through this book (work and life getting in the way again...), and I think that the writing style works: it's not necessarily a real "study" of the Russian Revolution, so much as a collection of stories about people caught up in events beyond their control. To put it another way: is a typical illiterate factory worker in St Petersburg in March 1917, rioting over the lack of bread, going to be steeped in Marxist historical analysis and political theory? Probably not.
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By Potemkin
#14878032
Thanks for the heads up on Cancer Ward - I'll definitely check it out when I get a chance.

As for the rest of your criticism, it sounds a little like you're annoyed that Solzhenitsyn wasn't a Marxist. Lol. I'm slowly working through this book (work and life getting in the way again...), and I think that the writing style works: it's not necessarily a real "study" of the Russian Revolution, so much as a collection of stories about people caught up in events beyond their control. To put it another way: is a typical illiterate factory worker in St Petersburg in March 1917, rioting over the lack of bread, going to be steeped in Marxist historical analysis and political theory? Probably not.

Point taken. But Solzhenitsyn's level of political and historical analysis isn't much more sophisticated than that of your hypothetical illiterate factory worker. His take-home message seems to be just: "Bad stuff happened about a century ago, which probably had something to do with the Devil. Oh, and socialism too. Which is the same thing. Meanwhile, here's a Simple But Wise Peasant who knows a few folk proverbs which will probably explain everything." I'm sorry, but I just can't take him seriously. Even Tolstoy's sermonising in War and Peace made more sense. Lol.
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By Heisenberg
#14878048
Potemkin wrote:Bad stuff happened about a century ago, which probably had something to do with the Devil. Oh, and socialism too. Which is the same thing.

If the Rolling Stones have taught me anything, it's that a certain "man of wealth and taste" was very much involved in events in St Petersburg a century ago. Do you deny this? :excited:
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By Potemkin
#14878066
If the Rolling Stones have taught me anything, it's that a certain "man of wealth and taste" was very much involved in events in St Petersburg a century ago. Do you deny this? :excited:

So that's where Solzhenitsyn got his ideas from. He was a secret Stones fan. :excited:
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