The detail is occasionally overwhelming, but Feinstein’s book is sound, timely and invaluable. Diligent readers will be...

THE SHADOW WORLD

INSIDE THE GLOBAL ARMS TRADE

A highly pertinent, deeply damning indictment of the flourishing of the world’s “second-oldest profession.”

Global military expenditure was priced at $16.2 trillion in 2010—“$235 for every person on the planet,” writes South African journalist and former ANC member of Parliament Feinstein (After the Party: Corruption, the ANC and South Africa's Uncertain Future, 2009). The trade in conventional arms, the legitimate tool of government (as opposed to weapons of mass destruction), engenders a secretive world, mainly due to enormous profits and the advance of nefarious political aims. The author focuses on the black market as well as the so-called grey market, where the government is involved “through legal channels, but undertaken covertly.” He methodically examines the construction of the global military-industrial complex, including the breakup of the British arms trade after World War II, exemplified by British Aerospace’s (now BAE Systems) courting of Saudi contracts, and the inroads of the Americans in the early ’60s. After the war, the Americans had incorporated many key ex-Nazis into the West German intelligence service—e.g., Reinhard Gehlen and Gerhard Mertins, who secured beneficial arms deals for the U.S. and Germany. Feinstein looks closely at Margaret Thatcher and BA’s deal with Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia in the mid ’80s; and the pernicious legacy of Lockheed Martin and middlemen John Murtha, Charlie Wilson and Adnan Khashoggi. The author sees the collapse of the Soviet Union as key in changing the way arms dealers did business, since small, fractured states became the new clientele of rapacious dealers, from Croatia to Africa to Pakistan. He also provides portraits of the crusading investigators who have pursued these criminal cases—e.g., Helen Garlick of the UK’s Serious Fraud Office.

The detail is occasionally overwhelming, but Feinstein’s book is sound, timely and invaluable. Diligent readers will be rewarded.

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-20838-7

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

  • National Book Award Winner

BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

more