Most Read
Image 01 Image 02 Image 03

Book review: The Nesting Dolls, by Alina Adams – A Meaningful Dramatization Of Life Under Socialism

Book review: The Nesting Dolls, by Alina Adams – A Meaningful Dramatization Of Life Under Socialism

Concepts such as privacy, romance, and personal happiness are fundamentally at odds with totalitarianism.

https://www.amazon.com/Nesting-Dolls-Novel-Alina-Adams/dp/0062910949

Out of all works of fiction published in the year 2020, The Nesting Dolls by Odessa-born Alina Adams is easily the most urgent. It dramatized what American readers, especially young American readers, need to understand about the life under socialism, but are rarely told.

If discussions about the reality of it do take place, the truth is quickly swept under the rug — real socialism hasn’t been tried, they are assured. So instead of developing sympathy for those who suffered in some of the most oppressive societies on Earth, they are encouraged to imagine the impossible. Adams, on the other hand, created characters who inspire sympathy and encourage understanding.

Thematically, The Nesting Dolls is part Joy Luck Club, part Doctor Zhivago, and part Misha Shafutinsky. The latter is a Russian American and Russian singer-songwriter who made a name for himself performing in Brighton Beach restaurants frequented by the ex Soviets in the 1970’s, and 80’s. In the final portions of her book, Adams pokes fun of a certain awkwardness, and the narrow, scary outlook of the Russian émigré scene that produced Shafutinsky.

This is not why the novel is important. Like The Joy Luck Club, The Nesting Dolls is a saga of multiple generations of women in a single family. What Amy Tan did for Chinese Americans, Adams does for women of Soviet Jewish decent.

Starting in Stalin’s Soviet Union, and leading the reader through the Gulags and the dissident underground of the Brezhnev era, the writer concludes her book in pre-pandemic New York City. Because of the central position that women occupy in both the Russian and the Jewish societies, it’s about time a story like this is written.

The female perspective shines through the novel. Adams often turns her attention to mundane details that make or break a woman’s day and that are of particular interest to women of the Second World War who, even in more peaceful time following the death of Joseph Stalin, didn’t have access to consumer goods readily available to their Western counterparts. As any former Soviets would tell you, this was no trivial matter. Not when the logistics of packing for the obligatory month of collective farm labor in the countryside dominate one’s thought for weeks. And how does one travel in a box car with a poorly toilet-trained toddler?

Adams quotes a Brighton grandmother who, after a lifetime of second shifts and poor living conditions, quips that taking care of a baby in America is practically a vacation. This is the kind of opinion that the old Russian-speaking women voice frequently. The writer has a good ear for Briton Beach conversations, along with the dialect and the habits of the former Soviet Jews, and she documents it all with great precision.

The novel does not merely let the reader know how much material well-being we take for granted because its characters, like everyone else in their time and place are not just poor and hungry. What they lack most is freedom, and it’s the lack of freedom, as Adams demonstrates, that corrodes the souls of Soviet people. This deprivation most noticeably manifests itself in love triangles that became the focus of her fast-paced narrative.

You may recall from a few years back a silly American book by a silly American doctor (as in Ph.D.) Kristen Ghodsee called Why Sex Was Better Under Socialism. In it, Ghodsee confidently reassured young American women that Eastern European gals, having been taken care of by their governments, didn’t need to marry men who’d provide for them and instead had strings of affairs with interesting people, like artists. Where they found enough artists to go around, the estimable American professor did not explain.

Adams, who was born in the Soviet Union and knows the Russian émigré community and all of their grievances like the back of her hand, has a more realistic assessment of amorous exploits under socialism.

Faux Stalinist modesty notwithstanding (in the opening chapters, the author mentions the Socialist Realist ideology-driven rejection of the nude), sex did exist in the USSR. It was as tortured as the rest of the Soviet life, and while artists and revolutionaries definitely carried a cultural cache, running off with one was not advisable. Not only because of the mercurial nature of people frequently involved in such occupations, either. It’s just that women were preoccupied with more pressing issues, like survival, and men were debased by the criminal regime ruling over them.

As Adams vividly demonstrates, not only are concepts such as privacy, romance, and personal happiness fundamentally at odds with totalitarianism, but the best way to break through from the socialist mindset is by pursuing romance.

Not because ‘the personal is political,’ but because personal matters are simply too important to squander. True liberation comes with opening of possibilities, not by political diktat.

DONATE

Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.

Comments

Too little, too late.

    This is true. It’s like reading an Austrian reading the same book in 1938, the year Nazi Germany annexed that nation without firing a shot.

    Either we begin the divorce discussions, or we become absorbed into the hell that will be the former America.

      The Anschluss was not an invasion or a hostile takeover. The Austrians welcomed annexation; they begged and pleaded for it, just as the Texians did 100 years earlier.

        Turtler in reply to Milhouse. | December 28, 2020 at 12:46 pm

        “The Anschluss was not an invasion or a hostile takeover. The Austrians welcomed annexation; they begged and pleaded for it, just as the Texians did 100 years earlier.”

        Let me count the ways this is blatantly false horse$hit.

        Firstly: this argument is a nonsequitur to start with. “The Austrians welcomed annexation” does absolutely nothing at all to prove “The Anschluss was not an invasion or a hostile takeover” *even if it is true.* Precisely because *that’s not what determines what an invasion or a hostile takeover is* and all attempts to pretend to the contrary are as vapid as Putin apologists claiming the Russian Troop deployments to Crimea and Donbass weren’t invasions by pointing to supposed election results (which are slightly less farcical than those presented by Hitler’s party in Austria) or the Communist Chinese and Arab League claiming they didn’t invade Tibet/The Palestinian Mandate because “OMG The Tibetian Peasants/Local Arabs really really welcomed us guize.” It’s incoherent gibberish that gives too much credit to totalitarian propaganda (like that Hitler used to try and justify the Anschluss).

        Secondly: No, Austrians DID NOT “beg and pleaded for annexation JUST AS THE TEXIANS DID”, because annexation to the US was government policy in the Republic of Texas in a way it was not in Austria. Texas never faced a terroristic, anti-Republic of Texas movement committing violence and assassinated the President (as the Austrian NatSocs had done in 1934).

        It doesn’t matter how much you believe Austrians wanted to be annexed to Germany (and you can believe the utter horse-wash that were the Nazi party “referendum” figures for all I care), but you don’t get to claim that the Austrians pleaded for annexation just as Texans did when one was government policy not seriously opposed (certainly not in the form of a violent terrorist minority) while the other saw several attempted coups against a government before finally being sealed by an ultimatum backed up by a marching army.

        And is there any definition of invasion or hostile takeover that *does not* encompass a foreign power marching an entire Army into a country not welcomed by its government under threat of force? Not really. The Third Reich responded to the Austrofascists declaring a Plebiscite on Austrian Independence (which probably would’ve been almost as rigged as the later Nazi one was) by launching a multi-pronged attack on the independent Austrian state, starting with said terrorist Fifth Column (the Austrian Nazis) and followed up by Hitler threatening war and sending an army across the border.

        Now, did Austrians welcome the Nazi invasion and occupation? Sure, many did. And even many that didn’t welcomed it a lot more when it became clear there would be no serious resistance either from the Austrian Dictatorship at home or from foreign powers.

        But am I supposed to believe that the main difference between 1934 and 1938 was that in 1938 the Austrians really, REALLY wanted to be a part of Germany so much more…… rather than the fact that Mussolini put several divisions on the Brenner Pass and told Hitler that if the Wehrmacht entered Austria the Regio Escerito Italiano would enter the country to oppose him?

        Clearly Hitler didn’t believe that, which is why he called off the external invasion in 1934 and made so damn sure to get Mussolini’s approval before 1938.

          Milhouse in reply to Turtler. | December 28, 2020 at 3:24 pm

          Opposition to the Anschluss was by a tiny minority. Go read the accounts of survivors, who were there, and saw what they saw. They all agree that the people were enthusiastic about it, that they willingly welcomed the Germans with cheers, to the point that even Hitler was surprised at just how popular it was. And yes, that means there was no hostile takeover; no invasion. Entering a country where you are welcome, that rolls out the red carpet for you, is not an invasion. Any claim otherwise is simply Austrians retroactively trying to wash the stink off themselves and claim they were coerced. But you can’t rape a willing victim.

        Turtler in reply to Milhouse. | December 28, 2020 at 6:35 pm

        AH, look at how the goal posts shift!!!

        “Opposition to the Anschluss was by a tiny minority.”

        True.

        However,

        A: So was active support for it. Particularly at the point before Hitler used a textbook case of Force Majeure by *Invading with an Entire Army of the Wehrmacht* on the heels of attacks in Vienna by the Austrian Nazi Party. There’s a few reasons why the Austrian Nazis were an outlawed terror group prior to the Anschluss and why Hitler did not place his faith in any kind of spontaneous pro-Nazi uprising by the Austrian Public. Some of those reasons are that the Austrofascists were totalitarian scum, but at least a good portion other is because the Austrian public- while open to the idea of a union with Germany, and even (perhaps you might argue especially) one under the National Socialists- was not THAT Open to the idea. Hence again why Hitler relied on his favorite tool: overwhelming force.

        and

        B: None of this changes the fact that the Texas Annexation happened peacefully, without the threat of force from the annexing power, by the stable government of Texas and without sizable violent pressure from inside, and with American troops only crossing the border AFTER annexation was agreed to.

        None of which applies to the Anschluss. So the analogy still sucks.

        “Go read the accounts of survivors, who were there, and saw what they saw.”

        Funny. Problem for you is, *I HAVE.*

        And I’m also not afraid to talk about them.

        Including such people as G.E.R. Gedeye, Otto von Habsburg, the loathsome Schuschnigg and Seyss-Inquart, and compilations of others such as Wimmer’s and Luza’s.

        And unsurprisingly, the reality is a lot more complicated than 2 dimensional stereotypes, whether yours or the opposite “Austria as Pure Victim” one.

        “They all agree that the people were enthusiastic about it, that they willingly welcomed the Germans with cheers, ”

        Gedeye points to otherwise, and considering he *was in Vienna at the time* (which was the scene of the “major” fighting- such as it was- of the Anschluss between Austrian Nazi paramilitaries and Government Forces) he kind of knew something.

        He also pointed out that while there was quite a lot of general willingness to go along with the Nazi annexation and a sizable portion of Pro-Nazi Fanatics, there A: was still resistance, and B: a lot of the more spectacular cases (like the Nazi pogroms in Vienna and general looting) also happened *while the Luftwaffe was regularly buzzing Vienna.*

        So in other words, Hitler went out of his way to demonstrate the involvement of his military to Literally Everybody. And it’s not hard to see why. To embolden those inclined to support him and to *terrorize the opposition.*

        And since I only have to pull up one counterexample to refute a “they ALL agree” thing, case mooted.

        I’ll be the first to admit that the “Austrian Victim” story is at best only part of the story, and was used to whitewash the involvement of Austrian institutions and people in the Nazi Regime (of which they were a key role). Moreover, I’ll even note that even Hitler was surprised by the amount of Austrian support he had after his *invading forces* crossed the border, to the point where he scrapped plans to form a semi-autonomous Austrian Nazi Puppet State (sort of like the one that existed in the Free City of Danzig between the Hitler-Beck Pact and the invasion in WWII). He was encouraged to scrap that because of said support.

        But none of this changes the fact that an invading army is still an invading army, even if it is greeted by flowers. And even a cursory look at the ballots for the Anschluss referendum show that Hitler had zero interest in actually respecting local opinion.

        “to the point that even Hitler was surprised at just how popular it was.”

        True, but also

        A: Considering by this point Vienna had been first racked by Nazi surgical strikes and then buzzed by the Luftwaffe for days without the Austrian Government or any foreign power capable of intervening going to resist, is that really surprising?

        B: Since we’re on the mater of “Look at the Primary Sources”, I suggest you look at Hitler’s travelogue for Austria 1938, and where he actually went (and where he didn’t). You’ll note that the places he visited tended to be A: Already pro-Pan German (even during the Austrofascist regime) such as in Upper Austria, B: Had been passed through by military forces or Nazi paramilitaries (including Hitler’s own military escort) or C: Both.

        There’s a fair few reasons why he didn’t visit places like Tyrol or Burgenland. Part of that was because he was a busy monster running his mass murder machine from Berlin and those were out of the way, but also because it was deemed to large a risk for his security units and his own rather risk-tolerant self. Why? Knowledge that the Austrian Nazis had failed to win much support in either, and it’d take a couple years (of favorable one party rule) for them to fully get it in.

        ” And yes, that means there was no hostile takeover; no invasion.”

        As a matter of law, that is obviously not true. And while you might be able to argue the initial legal conclusions were unduly tainted by attempts to downplay Austrian complicity with the Nazis, there’s a reason why that has hung.

        Likewise with Crimea (another case you have not even addressed).

        The takeover was OBVIOUSLY hostile, as the Austrian government did not desire to.

        This hostility was underlined not just by the use of combat ready professional troops AND paramilitary terrorists (including some light fighting in Berlin), but also Hitler’s issuing of an *ultimatum* demanding that the Austrian Government surrender to the Austrian Nazis and then issuing orders to invade no matter what the Austrian Government did.

        You’re trying to reverse cause and effect.

        That doesn’t work.

        Hitler’s orders and the context are crystal clear, to those who care to admit. While even he was surprised by the degree of support he received (especially in places along his route), he also fully knew there was opposition. And on August 11-12th he first threatened the Austrian government with an ultimatum and then decided to invade regardless of its decision.

        So an invasion army was sent across the border, and was going to be sent across the border no matter whether the Austrian government caved (as it did) or went down firing.

        That’s an invasion. And as I talked about before, attempts to claim it wasn’t are legally and factually incoherent.

        “Entering a country where you are welcome, that rolls out the red carpet for you, is not an invasion’

        Except NONE of this was patently true.

        And it’s telling you are going out of your way to avoid talking about the elephant in the room. The actions of the sovereign Austrian government in Vienna (or lack thereof) and the contexts. In other words, talking about the people in charge of the “nation” with actual authority to act.

        Because any discussion of that involves talking about said government or the context makes it clear you’re blowing smoke. That the Austrian government was blatantly opposed to unity with Germany (because they wanted to retain their own dictatorship) and they were hardly alone. That the Nazis had tried to overthrow said government by violence multiple times (like in 1934). That they tried again in 1938, and this time succeeded due to lack of foreign interference leaving Hitler confident enough to issue an Ultimatum: “Surrender to Me or Face War.”

        Indeed, Hitler had to actively FORGE the supposed “legal” invitation (from his own Austrian puppet) inviting the German military in precisely because Seyss-Inquart didn’t have the power to do so.

        The US did NOTHING like this in comparison to the independent post-revolution Republic of Texas. So it’s safe to say that to the extent the Austrian Government made the Nazi Army “welcome” to its country, it was only under obvious duress (in other words, “Welcome us in or we’ll blow your head off”) and involved caving in.

        More realistically, the Austrian government did not “welcome” the Nazis in, but did surrender to them because of lack of support and the desire to avoid bloodshed. Not unlike what happened in Czechoslovakia.

        Czechoslovakia’s people had a much less torrid track record during the Nazi era (after all, they were not viewed as Aryan Germans after all), but the basics were remarkably similar, right on down to the mixture of covert terrorism and public ultimatum followed by conventional invasion.

        “Any claim otherwise is simply Austrians retroactively trying to wash the stink off themselves and claim they were coerced.”

        Claims that are stupid and wrong on all three parts.

        Part 1: An ULTIMATUM from one State to Another on threat of WAR is a classic and just about universally accepted form of coercion under the law. And this is utterly uncontroversial (and untained by Austria’s dubious track record both as an Austrofascist dictatorship and as an integral part of the Reich) in cases like Czechoslovakia in 1939.

        And the existence of such an ultimatum on March 11th 1938 is quite well attested.

        https://www.jstor.org/stable/2192795?seq=1

        As is the fact that Hitler outright threatened violence.

        “I have a historic mission, and this mission I will fulfill because Providence has destined me to do so…I have only to give an order and all your ridiculous defense mechanisms will be blown to bits. You don’t seriously believe you can stop me or even delay me for half an hour, do you?””

        Part 2: The idea that this was only done RETROACTIVELY is handily crushed by the contemporary sources involved, including the mentions of the Ultimatum.

        and

        Part 3: The idea that only AUSTRIANS think about this is handily refuted by both the contemporary documents and modern scholarship.

        Emphasizing the Nazi invasion has often been used by Austrians trying to whitewash the stink of their nation’s people and institutions in the Nazi regime and to argue they were “just” victims and didn’t do anything wrong (as if being a victim means that one can’t be a villain, like the monster of Lodz Chaim Rumkowski shows). But that doesn’t change the fact that Austria did indeed fall victim to a Nazi invasion.

        “But you can’t rape a willing victim.”

        Laws about date rape and other stuff should be enough to tell you otherwise. Hence “informed consent.”

        But in any case, you’ve been moving the goal posts at a rapid rate.

        You originally tried to argue that Austrians craved annexation “just like Texians.”

        Now either

        A: Point me to:

        * Any Texian Republican President between the Revolution and Annexation that opposed annexation to the US (as both Dolfuss and Schuschnigg did).

        * Any violent anti-government terrorist group in favor of unification with the US between Santa Ana’s defeat at San Jacinto and Annexation.

        * Any ultimatum the US issued demanding the Texian Government surrender power to an annexationist party or face invasion.

        or

        B: Retract that statement.

          Milhouse in reply to Turtler. | December 28, 2020 at 9:47 pm

          What goalpost shifting? Opposition by a tiny minority is irrelevant, and does not change the fact that the Austrians welcomed the Germans and were not invaded. Unanimous cheering is not required for that.

          I will readily agree that the parallel with Texas is not complete. I didn’t claim it was. But how is that relevant to the topic here?

          The topic is FineReport’s assertion that reading about this book is somehow “like reading an Austrian reading the same book in 1938, the year Nazi Germany annexed that nation without firing a shot”, and that if we do not “begin the divorce discussions” we will, like Austria, “become absorbed into the hell that will be the former America”. That’s somewhat incoherent, I can’t state exactly what the assertion actually is, but whatever it is it rests on the underlying idea that Austria was lost, conquered, overrun, whatever you want to call it, and we must avoid a similar fate. And I don’t think that’s valid, because the Austrians wanted to be annexed. They didn’t resist because they didn’t want to.

        Turtler in reply to Milhouse. | December 29, 2020 at 2:22 am

        “What goalpost shifting?”

        Let’s start with the fact that you began with this nonsense:

        “The Anschluss was not an invasion or a hostile takeover. The Austrians welcomed annexation; they begged and pleaded for it, just as the Texians did 100 years earlier.”

        Yet when challenged to provide an example of an anti-Annexation-by-the-US Texan Government (like the Austrofascists were anti-Annexation-by-a-Greater-Germany), an American ultimatum demanding the Texan government surrender or face invasion, or an armed terrorist group fighting against the Texan government for annexation by the US with direct US sponsorship, you have failed to do so.

        So clearly it wasn’t “JUST AS the Texians did 100 years earlier.”

        You claim to be a lawyer Milhouse. You should goddamn know the meaning of words.

        Secondly: that doesn’t change the fact that isn’t what makes an invasion an invasion. The “Glorious Revolution” of 1688 was an invasion of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland by the Dutch. The Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia in early 1939 was an invasion. The Chinese Communist invasion of Tibet was an invasion. Putin’s invasion of Crimea was an invasion. And all would be so even if the claims to legitimacy and local support made by those doing the invading were not only True, but *understated.*

        “Opposition by a tiny minority is irrelevant,”

        Firstly: NOT when said “tiny minority” is the *government* of said country involved. Particularly as far as the law is concerned.

        Secondly: you have yet to actually DEMONSTRATE your claims that this was a “tiny minority” beyond saying I need to read the “eyewitness” accounts. Unfortunately for you, I not only have but can point to several that contradict the idea that those who didn’t “roll out the red carpet” for the Wehrmacht were a “tiny minority.” Which you have not addressed.

        Thirdly: the fact that lack of resistance was obtained by EXPLICIT THREATS OF VIOLENCE on a national scale and *actual violence* committed by the Austrian Nazis (in which- true to form- they threated gruesome retaliation against any who did not submit) seems to be something you are ignoring as irrelevant or somehow not extenuating.

        Which is ironic, especially since you’d be hard pressed to find a similar argument regarding the largely similar occupation of Czechoslovakia.

        I outright quoted Hitler boasting that he would blast Austria’s defenses apart and that no other great power would help them, and linked to a source regarding that. And we’re not supposed to consider facts such as these?

        “and does not change the fact that the Austrians welcomed the Germans”

        They “welcomed” the Germans under threat of significantly more violent invasion and retaliation, underlined by an explicit ultimatum by the German government to Austria, in order to pre-empt a plebiscite in Austria.

        Like I said, you’re intentionally ignoring context- and particularly the most concrete and easily provable matters of statecraft- in favor of referencing intentionally vague and intangible (even fi real) issues like public acceptance. Which do not actually change the fact.

        “and were not invaded.”

        Then you’d better define “invasion” right now and find a way so that the invasion of Austria by a Wehrmacht fully geared and prepared for heavy combat operations- aided by violent fifth column terrorism inside- is not an invasion, but the invasions of-say- Czechoslovakia in 1939 and Iceland (by the British) in 1940 are not.

        I doubt you will be able to muster that, especially since you’ve been reliant on extremely poor analogies so far.

        “Unanimous cheering is not required for that.”

        Nice strawman.

        Except the issue isn’t “unanimous cheering.” The issue is that- unlike the Texas example (That YOU decided to use as a parallel) the Austrian government opposed annexation but was destabilized by both violent pro-Nazi terrorism and an ultimatum from Germany.

        The Anschluss was planned as a military campaign, with plans drawn up by Germany’s General Staff, terrorist cells of the Austrian Nazis equipped to fight (which they did, particularly in Vienna), and diplomatic measures used.

        This goes well and beyond “unanimous cheering” to pointing out the obvious that the sovereign Austrian state government (regardless of how illegitimate it might have been) did not want this and only caved under *explicit* violence both carried out and threatened along with the lack of any outside support (like the Fascist Italian one that stopped the putsch in 1934).

        “I will readily agree that the parallel with Texas is not complete. I didn’t claim it was.”

        Cute. So when called upon to substantiate an insultingly wrong parallel- including demands to actually substantiate it- you concede that the parallel is “not complete” and claim “(you) didn’t claim it was.”

        Firstly: If you didn’t want to claim the parallel was “not complete” don’t use language like “JUST AS the.” IE exactly like.

        Secondly: No Milhouse, the problem is NOT that the parallel is “incomplete.”

        The problem is that the parallel is Flatly, Provably Wrong on multiple levels. Especially the way the actual annexation was carried out. Indeed, a sober examination would show that you’d be hard pressed to find cases where there actually is a parallel between the two (especially from a legal standpoint), given the difference between a Texas that was frustrated by US Federal refusal to annex it as a slave state with Austria caving in the face of a terrorist campaign from within and an outright military invasion from without.

        “But how is that relevant to the topic here?”

        It’s relevant because YOU Chose to bring it up as an example to try and claim that “The Austrians” sought annexation by Germany “Just as the Texians did 100 years earlier.”

        That might’ve fit at a time when Austria called itself “The Republic of German Austria’ but that had been a long time past by the time of the Anschluss.

        I’ve demonstrated how thoroughly fallacious and disingenuous that claim was to the point where even you won’t try and defend it.

        That demonstration not only shows how that claim was wrong, it also should call into question how clear or accurate the rest of your analysis is.

        That might’ve fit at a time when Austria called itself “The Republic of German Austria’ but that had been a long time past by the time of the Anschluss.

        “The topic is FineReport’s assertion that reading about this book is somehow “like reading an Austrian reading the same book in 1938, the year Nazi Germany annexed that nation without firing a shot”, and that if we do not “begin the divorce discussions” we will, like Austria, “become absorbed into the hell that will be the former America”.”

        I disagree with more than a few of FineReport’s points, but nowhere NEAR to the point where *basic reality* disagrees with your claims that the invasion of an entire Wehrmacht Army (With Luftwaffe support) under threat of an ultimatum was not an “invasion” and “just as the Texians” agitated for Annexation.

        I’ve freely admitted that pro-unionist and pro-Nazi sentiment not only existed in Austria but was so strong that- even as you noted (correctly for a change- Hitler was surprised enough to change his stance. I also pointed out how that doesn’t change the nature of it as an invasion underlined by terrorism and the explicit threat of force any less than Putin’s Crimeaschluss or Hitler’s repeat in Czechoslovakia.

        Especially since- again- I apparently know of the existence of eyewitnesses to the Anschluss who talked about the parts of Austrian society resisting or otherwise not being happy being something larger than a “small minority” which is a lot closer to FineReport’s hypothetical.

        And as an expat from California, I can also testify to the threat of Leftists “reddening” the Red States as they seek shelter from their own failures.

        I’m not much for talks of a national divorce quite yet, but it’s not as provably delusional as trying to claim that Austrians wanted annexation to Germany in 1938 “just as the Texians” in 1838.

        “That’s somewhat incoherent,”

        It’s nowhere near as incoherent as several of the analogies you’ve tried to put forward.

        “You can’t rape the willing.”

        Not only is this doubtful at best (given the standard of informed consent and the criminalization of using willingness-inducing stuff like excessive drinking or roofies), but what is the parallel to Hitler’s ultimatum here?

        “Let me have $ex with you, or I’ll rape you and have your house “blown to bits”?” Ya, good luck defending someone accused of rape who made that statement during the act in a court of law.

        “The Austrians welcomed annexation; they begged and pleaded for it, just as the Texians did 100 years earlier.”

        The Texian Government didn’t have to be “Encouraged” into the Union by US-sponsored terrorism in Texas and ultimately an explicit ultimatum followed by uninvited army movement.

        And I’ve already gone on a fair bit here.

        “I can’t state exactly what the assertion actually is,”

        That doesn’t surprise me, given the sloppiness in the use of words (for a lawyer?) and the lack of research.

        ” but whatever it is it rests on the underlying idea that Austria was lost, conquered, overrun, whatever you want to call it, and we must avoid a similar fate.”

        True.

        ” And I don’t think that’s valid,”

        As we’ve already established, your thoughts on what is valid would be far more convincing if you didn’t make provably incoherent or outright wrong claims. With the analogies being particularly bad.

        ” because the Austrians wanted to be annexed.”

        And how does one measure the wishes of “The Austrians”?

        It’s dubious even when done carefully and with examination of historical analysis, but a few pieces of evidence that Can’t honestly be overlooked are the context of Hitler’s ultimatum to the Austrian government, the decision to send troops in regardless of any answer, and the terroristic actions of the Austrian Nazi party leading up to and including the Anschluss (like the fighting in Vienna).

        Excluding those facts from consideration-as you have done- is just as dubious as excluding the eyewitness accounts of Austrians supporting or at least accepting the Wehrmacht’s entry, Austrian nationals and state institutions’ involvement in the later Third Reich’s crimes, Hitler’s decision to change plans and immediately annex Austria after his reception in Vienna, and so on. And it is far more dubious than excluding things such as the obviously-rigged “99.7%” Anschluss Referendum.

        “They didn’t resist because they didn’t want to.”

        Except this claim is provably false given how the likes of Austrofascists like Schuschnigg and Miklas, who (to the extent they “didn’t resist”- and the fighting against Seyss-Inquart’s irregulars in Vienna make that more doubtful) didn’t resist not because they wanted to be annexed but because they saw no chance for successful resistance and wanted to avoid bloodshed (at least among “Aryans” or “Germans”, obviously the Jews and other undesirables got it).

        It’s also a lot more telling than vague references to “eyewitnesses” (who don’t all say what you want) that the Nazis still felt it necessary to throw about 8% of the people on Austria’s voting rolls off them. And that was *after* nearly half a decade of political repression against democratic, communist, and minority rights voters and the establishment of a Mussolini cosplay dictatorship that made voting a fig leaf.

          Milhouse in reply to Turtler. | December 29, 2020 at 6:20 pm

          No parallel is exact. But you know what? This argument isn’t worth my time and energy, and you clearly know your subject and have extremely strong views on it that you aren’t going to change, so have it your way. I withdraw the analogy to Texas. I’m still don’t think we should have any sympathy for the Austrians; they’re just as guilty as the Germans, who also weren’t 100% in Hitler’s camp, but a big enough majority of them were that it’s a valid generalization to say that he had the Germans’ support.

        Turtler in reply to Milhouse. | December 30, 2020 at 1:07 pm

        “No parallel is exact.”

        Firstly: It became too late to use that claim when you wrote “(the Austrians) begged and pleaded for it, JUST AS the Texians did 100 years earlier.”

        That’s a claim to exactitude in parallel.

        You should know full well that is such a claim.

        And I certainly know it’s such a claim.

        Secondly: The problem was never that a second event exactly, 100% paralleled the other. The problem was that the Texas Annexation does not parallel the Anschluss exactly, inexactly, or approximately. It is simply a terrible analogy.

        One involved a democratically elected government seeking its own annexation with more or less popular support, and this being done without threats (and even with some reluctance) by the annexing party.

        The other involved an unelected government being undermined and then overthrown by a terrorist campaign and ultimately military invasion masterminded by a foreign power, without either side even giving heed to the people involved.

        There are plenty of parallels that- if not exactly fitting- are far closer. Many of which include Hitler himself, such as the march into the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia proper, and Memel.

        “But you know what? This argument isn’t worth my time and energy,”

        Then your claims weren’t either. So you could have saved yourself both time and energy by simply not making them.

        “and you clearly know your subject and have extremely strong views on it that you aren’t going to change, so have it your way.”

        The only really important issue of this is the first.

        Whether or not my “extremely strong views” change, the underlying reality does not. Hitler’s “extremely strong views” don’t.

        This came about because he had to have it his way, without even asking the few people he claimed he did (hence why he forged Seyss-Inquart’s request for German troops and unilaterally decided to change the idea of a satellite Austria for an annexed one based on His Own Impressions from Austrian greeting of him, rather than actually asking them).””

        “I withdraw the analogy to Texas.”

        Better late than never.

        ” I’m still don’t think we should have any sympathy for the Austrians;”

        Which raises the issue of how we define “the Austrians.”

        ” they’re just as guilty as the Germans, who also weren’t 100% in Hitler’s camp, but a big enough majority of them were that it’s a valid generalization to say that he had the Germans’ support.”

        Broadly agreed.

Thank you for the recommendation! I have added it to my “Want to Read” list.

For a non-fiction account of life under Communism, may I recommend Jung Chang’s family memoir “Wild Swans”? The book follows three generations of Chinese women (the author, her mother, and her maternal grandmother) with the bulk of the story taking place biting Mao’s cruel and brutal regime. The book is still banned in China.

Interesting review, however, the place in New York is Brighton Beach. A Briton is someone from the UK whose English, Scottish, Welsh, Manx, Northern Irish, or Channel Islands identity is not known.

Further, artists have cachet. A cache is where you store things out of doors and out of reach of the bears.

    Milhouse in reply to Kepha H. | December 27, 2020 at 11:09 pm

    English is obviously not Ms Sedgwick’s first language, and her Russian origin shows, particularly in her uncertain use of articles. Russian has no articles at all, so native Russian-speakers often have trouble with them in English.

    None of this interferes with understanding her writing, which is the important thing.

    I’ve put the book on order with my local library.

Get used to the Orwellian life, now that our votes mean zero, and will mean zero forever under the Junta that seized control of our nation.

Also get used to the slutty and scummy Kamala Harris, already showing herself to be a pathological liar, proportionate the scummy hillary clinton:

Fake Greetings? Kamala Harris Draws Flak Over Kwanzaa Wishes on Twitter:
https://www.ibtimes.sg/kamala-harris-gets-flak-conservatives-over-kwanzaa-wishes-twitter-54472

All of this – ALL OF THIS – has been brought to you by two Republicans: William Barr and Jeff Sessions.

ALL OF IT. They could have saved us, but instead they sold us, literally, to foreign fascist powers.

    Your obsession with Sessions and Barr is pathetic. And while Harris is a phony of the first water, this particular criticism of her is wrong. Kwanzaa was invented when she was only two years old, and both of her parents were actively involved in promoting it, so of course her childhood memories include celebrating it every year.

    And while I have no direct evidence that her grandparents joined in their celebrations, it stands to reason that if the family happened to be visiting one or other set of grandparents at that time of year they would have celebrated it there, and the grandparents would have joined in, even if they’d never heard of it before.

    I think some critics simply don’t understand the word “generation”, and think it’s a measure of time, and therefore imagine that Harris was claiming her ancestors had been celebrating Kwanzaa for decades before she was born. Learn English, people.

I want to read this now! Thank you for the review. You gave a good synopsis of what to expect from the book, plus some perspective.

Years ago an apartment building burned and a member of my church was displaced. A single mom with a daughter were devastated by their losses and had with no financial way to recover. The woman was new to my church and recently immigrated from Russia. Her father was visiting from Russia as well. Our church was able to provide goods to help her start over. What struck me was the way both adults reacted. Both were extremely cautious in talking to me and accepting any help. It was obvious they were both careful who they trusted. At the end the father said our church did what only family does in Russia. He was really amazed. So was I. How sad that our country is headed in that direction.

I would like to see more book reviews at Legal Insurrection!

Font Resize
Contrast Mode
Send this to a friend