THE UPROOTED by Charles Paul May


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May's purported goal sounds silly and is: he claims to be examining sixteen cases of ""forced relocation"" to see ""if some are inhuman while others are beneficial."" One of the chapters concerns abolitionist William King who had to force some of his slaves to move to Canada and freedom; otherwise only a few incidents (urban renewal, condemnation of land for the TVA, airlifts of Vietnamese orphans) are even arguably beneficial. And these aren't really comparable to black slavery, Indian removal, Nisei concentration camps, and company, towns--phenomena May is hard put even to describe, much less evaluate, in the allotted space. Some of the less familiar material is stalking: for example, Bikini islanders were told that giving up their atoll for atomic testing would bring ""kindness"" to the world. But most of these episodes are amply discussed elsewhere, and the flaccid moralizing here (""It seems to be human nature to want to play God. . . it is hoped that North America will never have a Hitler or a Stalin. . ."") can't cover up the intellectual rootlessness of the undertaking.

Pub Date: April 19th, 1976
Publisher: Westminster