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About the Author

Paul Starobin has been a frequent contributor to the Atlantic and the New Republic and is a former Moscow bureau chief for Business Week. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post among others, and he is the author of A Most Wicked Conspiracy: The Last näytä lisää Great Swindle of the Gilded Age. näytä vähemmän

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Merkitty avainsanalla


Orleans, Massachusetts, USA



This is a quick book surveying Russians who abandoned their country once Putin began his "special military operation" against Ukraine. Granted, many of those who fled were thinking more of their personal comfort, but it was uplifting to read about those who where more principled. Even more uplifting was reading about some of the exiled Russians who are working behind the scenes to help Ukraine win the war, like the physicist who helped develop defensive equipment and was honored by Ukraine for doing so, and about those who have enlisted in the Ukrainian army and are risking their lives for Ukraine's freedom. There are others working behind the scenes in Russia, assisting with sabotage. Those Russians willing to defy Putin are a small percentage of the whole. But even so, this book gives me hope that one day there might be a Russia that isn't premised on killing one's neighbors and isn't premised on treating ones own citizens as medieval slaves.… (lisätietoja)
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mskrypuch | Dec 24, 2023 |
I found this tale of how consummating the triumph of "state's rights" went from being a pipe dream, to a nightmare come to life, to be downright fascinating, and it takes a lot these days to impress me in a book dealing with the period. To a certain degree this is a "press lord" version of the story, as Starobin spends a good bit of time dwelling on the Rhett family, the owners of the Charleston "Mercury," one of the foremost fountains of secessionist spirit. However, the real guts of the book is how the Democrats' national convention, held in Charleston in the hope of demonstrating the good will of the national leadership, was torpedoed in the hopes of facilitating the break-up of the union, and how events deteriorated from there. It then becomes a tale of how a social elite, who sought to preserve what they saw as their rightful place in society, accelerated its destruction.… (lisätietoja)
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Shrike58 | Nov 18, 2022 |
Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

So not a bad historical nonfiction, just ultimately not gripping enough. Sometimes Starobin goes a bit paint by numbers with things. Only a few times does the subject matters in question come fully alive. We jump from the 1900s to the Alaska statehood and he tries to drive parallels between Alaska then and now that I really didn't see the linkages.

"A Most Wicked Conspiracy" follows Alexander John McKenzie, a lawman and politician that settled in (now) North Dakota. The book jumps around a bit, but focuses on McKenzie after he goes to what is now Alaska (Nome) in the 1900s. He sets up his own little fiefdom in Nome which allowed him to steal gold mines from the owners and have himself appointed as the owner and operators of said mine. McKenzie and his cohorts were definitely sleazy and even involves President McKinley (yeah when I was reading I found myself going wait is this Alexander or the President?) involved with this scheme. Starobin tries to set the stage a bit with going into the claim jumping that seemed the way to go in the area. You can get why people were upset though with what McKenzie did.

The setting of Alaska during the 1900s was interesting and Starobin definitely has done his research. You feel at times you are at one of the gold mines. That said, the political intrigues and the back and forths and even McKenzie's history and marriages started to go a bit stale for me after a while.

The ending leaves you a bit in the wind since there's no great reckoning (in my eyes) for some of the major players in this one.
… (lisätietoja)
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ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
you can skip parts one and two ( and probably the conclusion ) part three covers some current trends
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Baku-X | 2 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 10, 2017 |



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