Between copy and layout: Review of the book "1922" by Roland Maskoliūnas

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On the occasion of Kaunas being the European capital of culture - a book about the interwar history of Lithuania in a different way. Not a retelling of events, but these quotes!

Perhaps these days the author Rolandas is not so much talked about, but those who have been reading Lithuanian literature and watching movies for a long time will remember - after all, this is the same doctor of sciences who hosted the TV show "Videokaukas" about fantasy films throughout the 90s, contributed to the legendary "Mask"Almanacs of Fantasy…

(The author has done many more interesting things, for which one can express respect. If you are interested, I would like to google it.)

But back to the book.

Overall - this book is good. Personally, I feel better after reading it. But I don't know if everyone will like the book.

The good part is copying!

Here the author was very pleasantly surprised!

If you pick up virtually any other history book, you'll find a retelling of history based on the author's understanding: "Then and then this happened, which caused this and then...". Well, if you've read at least one historical book, you know what I'm talking about.

Rolandas Maskoliūnas is a brave author - he got out of this genre trap and presented the year 1922 simply with quotes and facts.

Well, here's an example, I'll show you what it looks like:

Oh, and if you are wondering if the sources are indicated - yes, the author very neatly presented where he collected these passages from, what he relied on. Commendable!

Literally, that's what the whole book looks like. Just quotes. The author's reflections are just a few pages in the introduction and conclusions. Which, to be honest, I really like. The author's thoughts are interesting, but the quotes... Oh, this is pure, real, raw informational power! Ouch!

The year 1922, events in Lithuania and historical figures related to Lithuania are really interesting.

by the way interview with At the time, the author revealed that he was interested in writing this book by Florian Illies' book "1913", although it is not clear that the author was more interested in the first part under this title "Summer of the century" or the second - "What else I definitely wanted to tell you". But both of these books are similar in principle - they are also collections of news from a hundred years ago, only more about Germany. (Too bad I haven't read these books yet.)

"I thought, who was in Lithuania, Europe at that time 100 years ago?" I started looking for material without knowing what I would find", the author also gave in the same interview.

The bad part is the layout.

No, not the design!!! The design of the book, the layout of the content, the printing are of the highest level and I can't find anything to cling to. The design is very good.

Instead, I just can't find another word that rhymes with "copying" and says what I want to say... What's the point? What is this book about?

Reading the book sometimes felt like looking through a kaleidoscope - so many quotes, so many characters, so many events! …But what is the connection between all this?

The book, as the author stated in the same interview, was written in Kaunas KEKS2022 the occasion Even the name is similar to the slogan of KEKS - "Temporary to contemporary" (it doesn't rhyme in Lithuanian, but it would be "from temporary to contemporary"). But where is Kaunas in the book? Kaunas is definitely not the essence of the book, because quotes and events are taken from more than Kaunas...

For example, Balys Sruoga, a nice guy at that time (probably), lived in Germany during his studies, corresponded with his miss Vanda Daugirdaite... Well, but not here in Kaunas. Not even Lithuania. The only thing related to Lithuania is that both Lithuanians are known for something. But what were they famous for during their studies? Do their love letters really connect all the other events?

The title also mentions "cannibalism". Before I picked up the book, I thought that there would be something about the politics of Lithuania, how the members of the Seimas during the interwar period ate each other and that it was easier for the Russians to occupy. But no, it turns out that we are talking about cannibalism in the literal sense - that, well, there was a famine in Russia that year...

The most confusing thing is the weather conditions in that month. What should I do with it? I'm not a smart historian to relate that, well, that's why the turnip harvest was worse here and that's why... So what?

Perhaps the same interview can give us answers here, where the author said the following: "The book's mission is to interest history and its diversity in a global context. I wrote this book for myself, and if others are also interested, I will be happy when they criticize."

So how did the author select the quotes? Didn't he put everything he found in the style of "oh, I'll put it in, it's not a pity"? I do not believe. Surely there must be some connection. Well, some kind of deeper story than just the events of 1922, which took place somewhere in the world and sometimes related to Lithuania... Am I expecting too much?

I don't know. I would love to read the second book by Roland Maskoliūnas. I wish the author would publish another book like this - even if it was around 1990 - but try to include some kind of overarching plot in the book, everything would be more connected. Even if, say, the book is about the year 1990 - let all the quotes be related to one of the Signatories, not just what the random character Kazys from Alytus ate for lunch.

Overall, 1922 is a good book. I liked the abundance of quotes, their sources. And if you are interested in the era - I would like to buy this book and enjoy. But don't expect a big novel, expect just a collection of interesting quotes packed into a really nice looking book.

The book is good, but not for everyone 😉

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