Category Archives: Literature

George Orwell on Socialists in 1937

The typical Socialist is not, as tremulous old ladies imagine, a ferocious-looking working man with greasy overalls and a raucous voice. He is either a youthful snob-Bolshevik who in five years’ time will quite probably have made a wealthy marriage … Continue reading

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Book Review: Stefan Ahnhem ~ Motive X (Translator: Agnes Broome) (2019)

Scandi-Noir emerged about twenty years ago and powered across the world with a series of brilliant writers. Their stories were tightly written and usually contained ultra-violent scenes. A strong stomach is recommended for readers. Ahnhem stands in this tradition. His … Continue reading

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Book Review: G D Abson ~ Black Wolf (2019)

Thrillers should thrill. Novels set in Russia/Soviet Union are a familiar sight on book shelves and there are some outstanding examples. Abson is competing with Tom Rob Smith’s Child 44; Martin Cruz Smith’s Wolves eat Dogs; and Lionel Davidson’s Kolyma … Continue reading

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Book Review: H H Kirst The Revolt of Gunner Asch (Translator: Robert Kee) (1955)

Kirst is best known for Night of the Generals, which became a terrific film (1967) starring Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif. Kirst can be counted as an unlucky German. He was born in 1914 and was 19 when Hitler took … Continue reading

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Churchill by Daisy Suckley: Roosevelt’s confidant

She described him [Churchill] as “a strange looking little man. Fat & round, his clothes bunched up on him. Practically no hair on his head, he wore a 10-gallon hat. He talks as though he had terrible adenoids—sometimes says very … Continue reading

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Book Review: Ruth Harris ~ The Man on Devil’s Island: Alfred Dreyfus and the affair that divided France (2010)

This biography is more than a Life. Ruth Harris’s meticulous study of French politics, the Roman Catholic church, the Army, Anti-Semitism and human drama is stunning. She reveals intellectuals who took up the cause of a Jewish army officer: the … Continue reading

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Book Review: Walter Mosley ~ Fearless Jones (2001)

The Black Lives Matter campaign changed my re-read of this book. Mosley writes about the period before mobile phones videos but in such a vivid way that his images last a long time. Videos however are easy to disseminate and … Continue reading

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American children on a subsistence farm, 1919

When not in school the Borlaug children did chores, rising before dawn and working until after sunset. Boys hoed weeds, dug potatoes, milked cows, stacked hay, hauled wood and water, fed chicken, cattle, and horses. Girls tended the vegetable garden, … Continue reading

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Book Review: Philip Kerr ~ Hitler’s Peace (2005)(2020)*

Sometimes an author strikes lucky and invents a character which is utterly compelling and becomes the motif of their entire career. Lee Child’s Reacher, Ian Rankin’s Rebus are excellent examples. The reader looks forward to the next Reacher novel almost … Continue reading

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Book Review: Ted Lewis ~ GBH (1980)

Until I’d read this book I hadn’t appreciated how tame police procedurals novels are. The maverick Detective Inspector heroically cuts corners. There’s always a common-sense explanation, which everyone except the bureaucratic Assistant Chief Constable accepts. He’s standing in the way … Continue reading

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