ORIGINAL SINS

REFLECTIONS ON THE HISTORY OF ZIONISM AND ISRAEL

A critical and largely one-sided view of modern Zionism and the history of Israel. According to Beit-Hallahmi (The Israeli Connection, 1987), who sees the Palestinians as innocent victims of foreign colonialism, Israel is plagued by a curse—``the curse of the original sin against the native Palestinians''—and there will be no peace until it atones for its sins. The author first establishes that, in modern times, the majority of Jews have had only a vague understanding of rabbinical Judaism (which he depicts as a kind of primitive mythology). Zionism, he says, offers these ``sociological'' Jews an identity—but the Zionist movement is doomed because ``it desired national territory occupied by another national group...with its own normal existence.'' Moreover, because the Jewish people have no legitimate claim to the land of Israel, while they occupy it they can never enjoy their own ``normal'' existence. Though provocative, Beit-Hallahmi's argument is marred by inaccuracies and generalizations. He claims, for instance, that ``all Israelis have come to recognize Zionism's original sin against the Palestinians.'' A look at Israel's electorate, however, makes it clear that most Israelis assume no such culpability. Furthermore, in discussing Hebrew and Yiddish, the author contends that ``Yiddish remains the language of the Orthodox, who have always opposed Zionism.'' In fact, though, most Israeli Orthodox Jews under age 60 speak only Hebrew, and only a small minority aren't fervent nationalists. Engaging but misleading. Here again, as in too much writing on the Middle East, sincerity has replaced balanced analysis.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1993

ISBN: 1-56656-130-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1993

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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A welcome addition to the literature on immigration told by an author who understands the issue like few others.

THE UNDOCUMENTED AMERICANS

The debut book from “one of the first undocumented immigrants to graduate from Harvard.”

In addition to delivering memorable portraits of undocumented immigrants residing precariously on Staten Island and in Miami, Cleveland, Flint, and New Haven, Cornejo Villavicencio, now enrolled in the American Studies doctorate program at Yale, shares her own Ecuadorian family story (she came to the U.S. at age 5) and her anger at the exploitation of hardworking immigrants in the U.S. Because the author fully comprehends the perils of undocumented immigrants speaking to journalist, she wisely built trust slowly with her subjects. Her own undocumented status helped the cause, as did her Spanish fluency. Still, she protects those who talked to her by changing their names and other personal information. Consequently, readers must trust implicitly that the author doesn’t invent or embellish. But as she notes, “this book is not a traditional nonfiction book….I took notes by hand during interviews and after the book was finished, I destroyed those notes.” Recounting her travels to the sites where undocumented women, men, and children struggle to live above the poverty line, she reports her findings in compelling, often heart-wrenching vignettes. Cornejo Villavicencio clearly shows how employers often cheat day laborers out of hard-earned wages, and policymakers and law enforcement agents exist primarily to harm rather than assist immigrants who look and speak differently. Often, cruelty arrives not only in economic terms, but also via verbal slurs and even violence. Throughout the narrative, the author explores her own psychological struggles, including her relationships with her parents, who are considered “illegal” in the nation where they have worked hard and tried to become model residents. In some of the most deeply revealing passages, Cornejo Villavicencio chronicles her struggles reconciling her desire to help undocumented children with the knowledge that she does not want "kids of my own." Ultimately, the author’s candor about herself removes worries about the credibility of her stories.

A welcome addition to the literature on immigration told by an author who understands the issue like few others.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-399-59268-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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