I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Issue 108, February 2019

Police Casualties in Ireland 1919-1922

What of the young ‘Tans’, the victorious and often decorated survivors of the Great War? Now they found themselves fighting a vicious, doomed campaign within their own country, yet in a foreign land where they could trust no one and were despised. Sharing a lonely, fierce comradeship, they felt these deaths with the sting of betrayal and with a rage that was driven against other men, other families, other victims.

Estonia: A Modern History

Estonia passed from Swedish into Russian hands in the early eighteenth century. Peter the Great’s field marshal Boris Sheremetev wrote to him in 1709 boasting that not a cock crowed between Lake Peipsi and the Gulf of Riga, so complete had been his destruction. The population of Estonia in 1712 is estimated to have been well under half what it was twenty years earlier, as a result of first famine and then war. Under Russian rule, the country remained under the dominance of the large Baltic-German landowners, who had no problem about serving the imperial state.

A German Officer in Occupied Paris: The War Journals

Ernst Jünger (1895-1998) was what is sometimes called – and indeed he is called it on the dust jacket of this book – a “controversial” figure. A First World War hero who was wounded seven times, he was undoubtedly uncommonly brave. He also insisted that those who were less brave should play their part, forcing retreating soldiers to join his unit at gunpoint.

To See Paris and Die: The Soviet Lives of Western Culture

Gilburd places this period, widely known as “the Thaw” in the context of other phases of attempted Westernisation in Russia, notably that which is associated with Peter the Great. And she illustrates how Russians made sense of all this new material by invoking the notion of “translation” – “a mechanism of transfer, a process of domestication, and a metaphor for the ways cultures interact”.

Orwell on Freedom

“Such a shame, she was a good old stick” was George Orwell’s reaction, as reported by one acquaintance, shortly after he had learned of the death of his wife during what was supposed to have been a fairly minor operation. If we are charitable we will take this as a classic example of English understatement and stiff upper lip. Whatever the case, Orwell was soon on the hunt again.

Knowledge, Power and Academic Freedom

Joan Wallace Scott, the author of Knowledge, Power and Academic Freedom, sets out to offer an account of the attacks on academic freedom in the United States. She is a historian and one committed to the principle that academic freedom supports the common good. She tells a story of interference in the curriculum by wealthy donors, the political vetting of teachers and online denunciations of individual lecturers as a growing and corrosive phenomenon

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