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The month in books

History dominates this selection, from the first attempts at international government to Brazil’s recent past

By Oliver Kamm   October 2012

With October lists, publishers have an eye on the Christmas market while not yet succumbing to the dreary ephemera of books designed to be given as presents. This month’s selection contains pleasures that ought to be savoured without interruption.

In Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-56 (Allen Lane, £25) Anne Applebaum describes how the entire region from the Baltic to the Adriatic was subjugated by Stalin within a few years. With a stubborn suspicion of “totalitarianism” as an ideologically tainted term, historians have tended to overlook the extraordinary thoroughness of this phenomenon. Applebaum sets herself to explain it,…

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