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The Prague Cemetery Hardcover – Oct 19 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (Oct. 19 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547577532
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547577531
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #164,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

[Eco's] latest takes that longtime thriller darling, the conspiracy theory, and turns it into something grander… Sold to 40 countries and said to be controversial; a speed-read with smarts." - Library Journal, Pre-Pub Alert, "My Picks"

"A whirlwind tour of conspiracy and political intrigue… this dark tale is delightfully embellished with sophisticated and playful commentary on, among other things, Freud, metafiction, and the challenges of historiography." - Booklist

"Intriguing, hilarious… .a tale by a master." - Publishers Weekly boxed review "He's got a humdinger in this new high-level whodunit… a perplexing, multilayered, attention-holding mystery." - Kirkus , starred "I find this book fascinating, perhaps the best Eco has written in years. Eco takes on conspiracy theories in the feverish political activism of nineteenth-century Europe - freemasonry, the Italian Risorgimento, the Paris Commune, and above all the forgery of the slanderous The Protocols of the Elders of Zion . What if there were a single mastermind behind all these conspiracies? It's already a bestseller in Italy, and I can't get enough of it!" - Huffington Post "The Prague Cemetery is vintage EcoaǪ.Eco, the star bookworm of our times, has used his genius for excavating libraries to construct a semifictional narrative of how The Protocols might have evolvedaǪ. The Prague Cemetery is at once entertainment, education, and warning. As usual, Eco has enjoyed himself. The narrative is vivid, shocking, sometimes baffling. It's loaded aǪ.with learned Eco disquisitions on bomb-making, the Paris sewers, the history of the Commune, the taxonomical distinctions between ladies on the game ( grisettes, cocottes, biches, lorettes, and courtesans), early theories of brain function, and so forth. But as a genealogy showing how The Protocols evolved from the nightmares bequeathed to Europe by medieval heresy-hunting (the subject of The Name of the Rose ), the book is a triumph." - New York Review of Books"

From the Inside Flap

Nineteenth-century Europe--from Turin to Prague to Paris--abounds with the ghastly and the mysterious. Jesuits plot against Freemasons. Italian republicans strangle priests with their own intestines. French criminals plan bombings by day and celebrate Black Masses at night. Every nation has its own secret service, perpetrating forgeries, plots, and massacres. Conspiracies rule history. From the unification of Italy to the Paris Commune to the Dreyfus Affair to "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," Europe is in tumult and everyone needs a scapegoat. But what if, behind all of these conspiracies, both real and imagined, lay one lone man? What if that evil genius created the world's most infamous document?
Umberto Eco takes his readers on a remarkable journey through the underbelly of world-shattering events. Here is Eco at his most exciting, a book immediately hailed as a masterpiece.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Format: Hardcover
Translated from Italian by Richard Dixon

Pros: fascinating look at a period of history largely ignored by modern readers, thought provoking

Cons: lots of politically incorrect and thereby uncomfortable speeches, vivid depiction of a black mass, unlikable protagonist

Simone Simonini's personal motto is, Odi ergo sum. I hate, therefore I am. An Italian living in Paris, Simonini hates: the Germans, the French, the Italians, women, Jesuits, and most importantly, the Jews. Which is why, after years of forging documents and fermenting chaos for various government agencies, he has created his masterpiece - a document that will turn the nations of the world against the Jews.

The novel begins with Simonini having lost his memory. He starts a diary in order to remember who he is, starting with his youth. Abbe Dalla Piccola, living in an adjoining apartment, has also lost his memory, but seems to know what happened during segments of Simonini's past, adding his own notes to Simonini's writings. Are they the same person? Or did Simonini merely confess these actions to the abbot?

Simonini is not a likable protagonist, and the book is an uncomfortable read, both due to Simonini's extremely vitriolic hate speeches (against many groups but there's more anti-semitic sentiment than others) as well as for a detailed description of a black mass (modified Latin and all). The second chapter of the book serves as a litmus test for the rest, shocking the reader and daring you to read on. If you can get past chapter 2 you'll have read the worst - though not the only - hate speeches in the book.

The book takes place during the late 1800s, when racist sentiments were the norm.
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By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on May 16 2012
Format: Hardcover
This latest 'picturesque' novel by Umberto Eco - stories that portray rogue characters - is not all that it appears to be. The time and setting is Europe in the later part of the 19th century, in the grip of a fresh wave of revolutionary fervour that is threatening to shake the very foundations of traditional authority, whether it be the Holy See, Napoleon's Second Empire, jingoistic Prussia, or the fledgling Italian states on the verge of unification. Eco introduces us to a protagonist named Captain Simonini who delights in being the bugbear or anti-hero who sows dissent, plots destruction, and spreads lies, all under the artful control of the author himself as narrator or puppeteer. Like the Anti-Christ of end times, this man is the evil architect of all that modern society is prepared to do to preserve power: gossip, murder, libel, slander, rape, theft, deceit, prejudice, heresy, blasphemy and fantasy. As the incarnation of all that evil in society, Simonini manages to work under the radar to destroy life in order to preserve it. Following Simonini around on his evil errands, we quickly realize that his calling in life, as an agent-provocateur for hire by the Vatican and other states, has been to create chaos across the continent in the name of ecumenical authority. Historically, this is the period of last hurrah for the church as the modern state is about to become a reality. While everyone is at each other's throats in the defence of their territory, the sanctimonious Church can artfully and unassumingly work behind the scenes, manipulating this political farce to its ultimate advantage. Irony abounds in this novel. We see Simonini, like a Grand Inquisitor, doing all in his power to defend the truth by perverting it.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
AS you climb a mountain wherever you are on a mountain effects the way you see the world around you. The vantage point from which the author seeks to look are the nationalist movements of the nineteenth century and the forming of nations, and the soldier of fortunes who formed these nations and the other elements and they are largely religios forces social forces..and the novel which many people find difficult are a surfeit of ideas. In all these areas there are a group of people from divergent nations, filled with various loyalties, and we have a dr F..and rather than from today's standpoint he adopts a standpoint of melancholy..as a way to look back on these ancient tales.."its not that I need the money..I'm bored"(p 427)..and then there's the tale of a girl at the end..that too is melancholy...its almost unbearable to read...and if the novel was written 15 years ago it would have been written in a different way..its the problems of today..the psychology of and problems of modern life..which allow us a peep into the past and understand..the good the bad and the ugly..of yesterday...anyways thats what I got out of the novel. Not soap operish or sentimental at all..thats why people will have trouble getting into the novel..but as in most of the author's works, they are compelling, there is much to learn to accept or reject the omniscient narrator as he goes into the minds of his characters..all too real to be absurd...and the image of climbing up the mountain like Moses..the people below wondered he would come down from the mountain..or whether he wanted to but there are also positive characters among the unsavoury...and it adds some depth to modern discussions about life..many will take a different view..we can all view past however we want..but the characters we weave tales on as in this memorable novel..is the world and worlds of today..and the problems all people face today...which are the people of the past the writer harks back to
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