A frank, significant look at how the proliferation of foreign military bases has “helped lock us inside a permanently...

BASE NATION

HOW U.S. MILITARY BASES ABROAD HARM AMERICA AND THE WORLD

America’s seldom thought of, and largely misunderstood, military outposts around the globe are brought into sharp relief.

The idea that it costs more than $100 billion each year to maintain the United States’ roughly 800 military installations spread throughout the world is easy enough to grasp, and there are many who will say that the hefty price tag is well worth the cost. However, Vine (Anthropology/American Univ.; Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia, 2009) effectively argues that the true costs of all those bases—whether euphemistically called FOBs, lily pads, or a host of other monikers—encompass a lot more than what is in Uncle Sam’s wallet. Ostensibly meant to protect American security at the close of World War II, Vine demonstrates how both the rationale behind the rise of U.S. military bases abroad and their implementation run counter to many closely held American ideals. Readers on the left will be particularly chagrined to learn that liberal lion Franklin Roosevelt orchestrated a plan that regurgitated and repackaged old-time colonialism in the name of national security. The author also illuminates the series of forced evacuations, expulsions, and evictions that devastated whole societies all across the Pacific, Latin America, and beyond, and he shows how little the government had learned after the Trail of Tears 100 years prior. Citizens could still wave the flag and extoll democratic principals here at home, but Vine further demonstrates how they did so oblivious to the autocrats that continued to fill the upper tiers of the American military. The powers that be may have successfully swept many previous sins under the carpet in the wake of World War II, but according to Vine, continuing to maintain U.S. military bases around the world doesn't make any sense in a post–9/11 world.

A frank, significant look at how the proliferation of foreign military bases has “helped lock us inside a permanently militarized society that in many ways has made all of us less safe and less secure.”

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-169-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 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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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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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

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