The Czar’s Madman by Jaan Kross

 

spotted on Nancy’s update

Translated by Anselm Hollo from the Finish edition by Ivo Iliste: so this is a translation of a translation uh-oh!

Estonia under Imperial Russia 1850

Opening: First, let me recall the occasion that impelled me to begin this journal.

Alexander I of Russia

Schlusselburg Fortress

The ‘Mad’ Tsar, Paul I

The translation is a bit ropey, however one becomes so engrossed in the story, that doesn’t seem to matter. Started to get well and truly fed up with the journal-keeping bro’ by page 100 or so.

Toyed between 3 and 4* and went for the lower because of the translation and that annoying brother. That said, I am pleased to have read another perspective on the era that leads up to the revolution.

The Thirty Years War by Cicely Veronica Wedgwood

bookshelves: summer-2013, published-1938, war, nonfiction, history, fraudio

Read in August, 2013


Narrated by Charlton Griffin

nonfic> hist> central european war> prossies versus catlicks

The second defenestration of Prague. (The First Defenestration of Prague involved the killing of seven members of the city council by a crowd of radical Czech Hussites on 30 July 1419.)

Starting 1618, central europe errupted into a series of politico-religious conflicts that near bankrupted all of the (many) contestants, and the body count, according to wiki was, can you guess?: [8,000,000 including civilians. (hide spoiler)]

Utter lunacy.

Dense pedant-friendly text that covers all pretty well, yet some writers have a knack of drawing in a reader, so am left with the feeling that Tuchman, Massie and Fraser would have done a slightly better job. but we will never know.
4*

The Stockholm Octavo

bookshelves: paper-read, historical-fiction, sweden, gambling, bedside, autumn-2013, stockholm, paris, spies, published-2012, amusing, france, summer-2013

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Jeanette (jema)
Read from August 13 to September 07, 2013

Dedication: For Erik

French/Swedish timelines 1770-1792

Opening:

Arte et Marte(Art and War); Inscription over the entrance to Riddarhuset – The House of Nobles – in Stockholm

Chapter One: Stockholm 1789

Stockholm is called the Venice of the North, and with good reason. Travellers claim that it is just as complex, just as grand, and just as mysterious as its sister in the south.

A light-hearted and novel way to retell a significant piece of Swedish history. It is not essential to know this history before reading because it is all laid out rather well, however if the history is known there well be more ‘aaah’ moments in the reading.

Needless to say, this had all the right ingredients and I loved it; dare say that Engelmann may be contemplating a sequel, the historical backdrop for what happened next is just as scintillating a subject.

——————-

Gifted from Jeanette, and a lovely pack of tarot cards to go with it.

Thanks You J, A super gift. And of the postcards, Karin Boye is my favourite. There is such a lovely statue of her near the top of Avenyn, to the left as you climb up towards Poseidon.

Also, the photo; is that of sand dunes in Skellefteå? I see you have a swimming pool up there.