A saddening, maddening story that draws much-needed attention to crime without punishment in a remote—but not invisible—part...

THE THIRD BANK OF THE RIVER

POWER AND SURVIVAL IN THE TWENTY-FIRST-CENTURY AMAZON

Journalistic account of the rush to develop the Amazon rainforest and its cost in human lives.

When Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, or Lula, became president of Brazil in 2002, he did so, writes Brazil-born, U.S.–raised journalist Arnold, by “rallying frustrated Brazilians around a call for sustainable development and a commitment to social justice.” Those planks would not apply in the backwaters of the Amazon, for Lula also pressed for development that would make Brazil economically independent and even a power. For a while, it worked: The commodities market surged, poor Brazilians entered the middle class, middle-class Brazilians became rich, and everyone was happy. Except, that is, the undiscovered, “isolated” Indians of the interior, whose territory was overrun by miners and loggers and who were forcefully reminded continually that “poison-tipped arrows are no match for automatic rifles.” There may be as many as 100 of these isolated tribes, writes the author, a greater number than anywhere in the world. Many of them are square in the path of annihilation, not just because of that rush into the rainforest for its hidden riches, but also due to a shrinking gene pool and diseases introduced from outside. Arnold chronicles his visits with scholars who are attempting to locate and account for these people without disrupting their lives, but theirs, too, is a race against time. As he observes, one Indian village that had been identified was soon thereafter abandoned and the location of the villagers unknown, even as “intelligence on the ground confirmed invaders nearby, wildcat prospectors on a quest for gold.” The prognosis is grim. And so, too, is it for civil society in that developing outback, where, as Arnold writes, “extermination groups” and a militarized police force suppress dissent, the latter “blurring lines and rewriting laws with righteous badges in their pockets and handguns in their glove compartments.”

A saddening, maddening story that draws much-needed attention to crime without punishment in a remote—but not invisible—part of the world.

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-09894-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Picador

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 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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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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