Like early-20th-century muckraking journalists and, more recently, I.F. Stone, Hedges makes a boisterous, outspoken...

WAGES OF REBELLION

A call for a new American revolution.

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Hedges (The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress, 2011, etc.) continues his exhortation for nonviolent rebellion in eight feisty essays drawn from or expanding upon his weekly column for Truthdig. Without a revolution, he claims, we face a dire future, “the culmination of a 500-year global rampage of conquering, plundering, and polluting the earth” by economic and military elites. Among many incendiary claims, he asserts that climate change will lead to famine, the spread of deadly diseases, and “levels of human mortality that will dwarf those of the Black Death,” a plague, the author warns, that could re-emerge. As a scholarship student at an exclusive boarding school, Hedges confesses that he developed a virulent “hatred of authority [and] loathing for the pretensions, heartlessness, and sense of entitlement of the rich,” whom he sees as democracy’s enemies. He decries the nation’s history of violence not only in wars, slavery, and persecution of indigenous peoples, but also in an astonishingly high rate of incarceration, especially of black men; its refusal to enact gun control laws, even after tragic school shootings; and its vengeance against protestors, such as members of the Occupy movement, whom he repeatedly cites as models of moral courage. He celebrates whistleblowers Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden for raising awareness of the government’s duplicity and “wholesale surveillance,” which the author believes inevitably will be used to quash dissent: “This information waits like a dormant virus inside government vaults to be released against us.” Despite his ominous predictions, Hedges sees a popular revolt imminent because “ideas used to prop up ruling elites” are being discredited, and “the vision of a new society” is taking hold in the popular imagination.

Like early-20th-century muckraking journalists and, more recently, I.F. Stone, Hedges makes a boisterous, outspoken contribution to revolutionizing the national conversation.

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-56858-966-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Nation Books

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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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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