Useful reading for students of contemporary geopolitics, in which Iran has proven a constant, often destabilizing presence.

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IRAN RISING

THE SURVIVAL AND FUTURE OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC

Scholarly portrait of a nation that resists easy categorization—and containment.

Less than a year ago, writes Saikal (Political Science, Arab and Islamic Studies/Australian National Univ.; Weak States, Strong Societies: Power and Authority in the New World Order, 2016, etc.), a wave of popular protests swept across Iran, “calling for an end to theocratic rule and costly involvement in regional conflicts,” among other demands. Because the United States immediately jumped in to denounce the government of the country’s moderate—compared to past leaders, at least—president, Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian leadership convincingly charged that the protests were orchestrated from abroad and did not represent the will of the Iranian people. As a result, the theocracy imposed 40 years ago by the Ayatollah Khomeini lives on in a different guise. In studying the contemporary Iranian regime, Saikal observes that American efforts to contain Iran as a regional power have been met with blowback, not least the effect of pushing Iran ever closer to Russia, relations with which “have expanded to include a strong geostrategic dimension,” which is especially pronounced in Syria today. That nation is a point for the projection of power for both nations—and uncomfortably close to areas where American interest is strong. As the author shows, not all is well within Iran’s borders. Its uneven economic development, despite oil wealth, has been the result of numerous missteps in the last four decades, not least a savage war with Iraq that cost Iran at least 500,000 young people who could have contributed to the economy. It did not help when the Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power and mismanaged the nuclear issue, which brought substantial Western economic sanctions. Saikal notes that Iran’s future is uncertain for internal reasons, some economic and some political, including the lack of a clear plan of succession for the current government, and the Trump administration’s “gunboat diplomacy," which only raises the odds of war.

Useful reading for students of contemporary geopolitics, in which Iran has proven a constant, often destabilizing presence.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-691-17547-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Princeton Univ.

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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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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A sleek, vital history that effectively shows how, “from the outset, inequality was enforced with the whip, the gun, and the...

AN AFRICAN AMERICAN AND LATINX HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

A concise, alternate history of the United States “about how people across the hemisphere wove together antislavery, anticolonial, pro-freedom, and pro-working-class movements against tremendous obstacles.”

In the latest in the publisher’s ReVisioning American History series, Ortiz (History/Univ. of Florida; Emancipation Betrayed: The Hidden History of Black Organizing and White Violence in Florida from Reconstruction to the Bloody Election of 1920, 2005, etc.) examines U.S. history through the lens of African-American and Latinx activists. Much of the American history taught in schools is limited to white America, leaving out the impact of non-European immigrants and indigenous peoples. The author corrects that error in a thorough look at the debt of gratitude we owe to the Haitian Revolution, the Mexican War of Independence, and the Cuban War of Independence, all struggles that helped lead to social democracy. Ortiz shows the history of the workers for what it really was: a fatal intertwining of slavery, racial capitalism, and imperialism. He states that the American Revolution began as a war of independence and became a war to preserve slavery. Thus, slavery is the foundation of American prosperity. With the end of slavery, imperialist America exported segregation laws and labor discrimination abroad. As we moved into Cuba, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico, we stole their land for American corporations and used the Army to enforce draconian labor laws. This continued in the South and in California. The rise of agriculture could not have succeeded without cheap labor. Mexican workers were often preferred because, if they demanded rights, they could just be deported. Convict labor worked even better. The author points out the only way success has been gained is by organizing; a great example was the “Day without Immigrants” in 2006. Of course, as Ortiz rightly notes, much more work is necessary, especially since Jim Crow and Juan Crow are resurging as each political gain is met with “legal” countermeasures.

A sleek, vital history that effectively shows how, “from the outset, inequality was enforced with the whip, the gun, and the United States Constitution.”

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8070-1310-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Beacon

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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