Of much interest to students of international trade, geopolitical strategy, and global economic trends.



A gimlet-eyed look at an economic miracle that may not be so miraculous after all.

China’s economic transformation since the death of Mao Zedong may be impressive. However, writes Roberts, who was a Beijing-based economics and business reporter for more than 20 years, it is incomplete, and inequality reigns. One element has been the termination of the agricultural communes of old in favor of private ownership of land, but in many instances, the effect was that farmers gave up their plots in order to move to the city and its greater opportunities. The government’s response, belatedly, was to impose controls on internal migration, meaning, in effect, that many Chinese were “illegal aliens” in their own country. Now that many farmers have left the city and returned to the countryside, it has “become apparent how much the cities and their urban residents had depended on them as restaurant cooks, waiters, and dishwashers, delivery people, drivers of Didi Chuxing (China’s version of Uber), proprietors of small shops and hairdressers, and household cleaners and nannies.” At issue is how those millions of people will make a living back home; so, too, is how money is distributed in China’s evolving financial system. Most credit is extended to state-owned enterprises, Roberts writes, crowding out private entrepreneurs. Indeed, even though government policy remains a variant on the “it’s a good thing to grow rich” slogans of old, self-employment is increasingly difficult, and the Chinese version of the “gig economy” seems to be rapidly failing. Deng Xiaoping’s version of trickle-down economics, with residents of the coasts becoming prosperous first and then people in the distant interiors following suit afterward, has not worked, either. The author concludes by noting that while the Chinese government has been able to take credit for the comparative economic successes of the past few decades, it is also vulnerable to attack “for misrule when living standards deteriorate,” to which the inevitable response will be more repression, not more economic freedom.

Of much interest to students of international trade, geopolitical strategy, and global economic trends.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-08937-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


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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