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Facts Are Subversive: Political Writing from a Decade without a Name

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  99 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Timothy Garton Ash is well known as an astute and penetrating observer of a dazzling array of subjects, not least through his many contributions to the New York Review of Books. This collection of his essays from the last decade reveals his knack for ferreting out exceptional insights into a troubled world, often on the basis of firsthand experience. Whether he is writing ...more
Kindle Edition, 440 pages
Published October 15th 2010 by Yale University Press (first published July 1st 2009)
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Frank Kelly
Garton Ash, the great observer and chronicler of Germany and Eastern Europe pre- and post collapse of the Iron Curtain, has compiled some of his best essay from the last ten years in this excellent new book.

Beyond being an extraordinarily gifted historian and writer, Ash covers a panoply of issues ranging from the significance (and occasional banality) of national anthems to the rise of China to the role of religion (and lack thereof) in modern Europe.

But I was particularly struck by Ash's com
Sep 02, 2012 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of Timothy Garton Ash's pieces published from 2000 to 2009. However, they concern modern world history - with a slight emphasis on Europe and the United States, roughly from the end of the second World War to today. Consequently, the subtitle is literally true, but ever so slightly misleading. As a journalist whose pieces I frequently read and have consistently enjoyed in the New York Review of Books, I saw this collection and had to give it a chance. Many of his pieces for ...more
Lorenzo Berardi
What we have here is a very good collection of articles, political essays, book and movie reviews along with public speeches turned into ink on paper by Timothy Garton Ash, one of those people teaching at Oxford University and being rather proud of it.

"Facts Are Subversive" could have easily ended up as a messy pot-pourri of intellectual exhibitionism, but luckily it stands far from it thanks to a very clever editing. The idea of putting a world map at the beginning of the book with the titles o
Sep 15, 2011 Bob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Only read a few chapters but so far Mr. Ash has hit upon a number of things that I've long believed. He doesn't recognize the "American Revolution" as a revolution at all. It was really secession. Violent revolutions never succeed. Europeans are much more aware of their history. Americans share much of that but we have forgotten it. Reagan was only a bit player in the fall of the Berlin Wall. Most of the credit goes to Gorbachev. The most important year in 20th century European history was 1989. ...more
Andy Oram
Mar 20, 2011 Andy Oram rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
Collections or anthologies face two common problems, both of which I
found in this book. First, each article was written to make a
particular point at a particular moment, and the interests of the reader
at the current moment may be different, even if only a year or so
separates the two. Second, one expects a different level of insight
and research from short articles from what one expects in a book, so the
collection is not likely to make a satisfying book. That said, I
learned some interesting things
Roberto Macias
Jan 23, 2015 Roberto Macias rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a fascinating collection of journalistic essays, including a few explorations on the subject of literature and the literary value of journalism.

Perhaps the most salient and interesting feature is the retrospective reading on the implications of some events in world politics, how they were perceived at the time of the event, and how the finally developed.

Certainly a worthy book to be read and a lesson in modern history.
Oct 09, 2010 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely a good read. I was hoping for more of a Euro centric collection of writing but was happy with the contents nonetheless as I read the only book by TGA at my local library.

Looking back at the contents however, I'm struck by how little of the book is actually about Europe or European issues. Here are the main section titles for anyone that's interested:

1) "Velvet Revolutions, continued...
2) Europe and Other Headaches
3) Islam, Terror and Freedom
4) USA! USA!
5) Beyond the West
6) Writers and
Megan Jones

I must admit that I did not realize this was a collection of essays rather than a book, and I don't tend to like collections of essays. Upon reading the introduction I thought his thesis sounded interesting and supportable. I did not find that his choices of essays were very related to his thesis. I did learn a lot about eastern European revolutions and he did have some interesting views on terrorism, but I found myself wishing he had just written a book supporting his thesis.
Jun 11, 2012 Thiago rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, borrowed
Aprendi muito sobre esta década, que deveria ser a dos fatos que mais lembro. Ler o livro me fez pensar que não sei nada. No bom sentido, de te dar desejo de ler, buscar e estudar mais, para talvez um dia chegar a saber muito.
Miguel Ángel Moreno
Numerosa colección de artículos y ensayos de TGA. Los hay más interesantes, los hay menos interesantes pero entretenidos y los hay que he leído en diagonal.
Rather good, especially on Europe, which is nice given the dearth of balance, sensible writing on the subject.
Apr 20, 2011 Linny rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
couldn't get into, essays from his writings. Conservative.
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