Sure to provoke a good deal of hissing as well as applause.

DEFENDING ISRAEL

THE STORY OF MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY MOST CHALLENGING CLIENT

The highly visible attorney seeks “to influence, in a positive direction, [the] discernible shift away from bipartisan support for the Middle East’s only democracy and America’s most reliable ally.”

Never one to shy away from attention, Dershowitz (The Case Against Impeaching Trump, 2018, etc.) has always liked a good argument, and he has found plenty of fodder in Israeli policies over the decades. Mostly, he has taken on the role of “defending Israel in the court of public opinion,” mainly in terms of defending Israel’s security and right to exist. The author writes clearly about how important the founding of the state was to him and his Zionist family: “There was never a time that Israel was not part of my consciousness.” In the late 1960s and early ’70s, Dershowitz was a part of many hot-button cases, including those involving anti-war protesters and capital punishment. (Later, of course, he was part of the “dream team” assembled to defend O.J. Simpson in his murder trial.) In fighting for Israel on the public stage, the author has often condemned the legitimization, by some elements of the political left, of Palestinian aggression—yet he also defends “the right of those who demonized Israel…to express their hateful views.” This distinction of basic civil rights has become personal in recent years, as students on college campuses have attempted to ban Dershowitz from speaking engagements. While the author maintains that “criticizing Israel’s settlement and occupation policies is fair game,” he is appalled by the disproportionality of world condemnation, as was expressed in the 2008 Goldstone Report by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, which Dershowitz skewered. Recently, he writes, “the degree of condemnation and demonization is all out of proportion to what is warranted,” especially regarding what he sees as a “new anti-Semitism” sweeping American campuses. Unbowed and proud, Dershowitz leaves readers with a singing endorsement of “the most successful new nation that has been born—really reborn—during the past century.”

Sure to provoke a good deal of hissing as well as applause.

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-17996-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: All Points/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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