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Monthly Archives: March 2017

The Talisman and Other Tales by Viktoria Tokareva

This is an entertaining collection of short stories, written in the Checkov style.  It was a present from Jacqui.

 

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Inside the Stalin Archives: Discovering the New Russia by Jonathan Brent

This describes Jonathan Brent’s experiences working in the Soviet archives from the early 1990s to the present day. It correlates this to development of the modern Russian state.

It has many interesting stories. I gave a Stalin anecdote I had not heard. In this two alternative architectural drawings for a building were submitted to Stalin for his approval. They were included on one diagram and Stalin signed his approval across both drawings making it unclear which he approved.  Consequently, the building was made with both architectural styles.

Another interesting point is that from 1917 to 1953 (Stalin’s death) was 36 years, and from 1956 (Krushchev’s speech) to 1991 (end of the Soviet Union) was 35 years. So the Soviet period falls into two equal periods with a time of transition.

The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker by Katherine J. Cramer

I read this partly to understand the election of Trump (though the book predates Trump). Also I was drawn since I had some familiarity with the political events, such as the recall election. I was interested in what it might say about modern populism such as the Brexit vote.

Wisconsin has some advantages for a study such as this since it is quite racially homogenous,  I think > 88% non-hispanic white.  This means that race plays a much lower role.