Deeply conscious of its “solidarity rhetoric,” this valuable study provokes essential questions about the conflicted...

REFUGEES OF THE REVOLUTION

EXPERIENCES OF PALESTINIAN EXILE

A stern look at how the crippling effects of material deprivation have ground down the will of the Palestinians in Lebanese exile.

A British anthropologist doing her doctoral work at Harvard on Nakba (“catastrophe”) testimonies, Allan imbedded herself in a Palestinian camp in Lebanon and a suburb of Beirut over several years in the mid-2000s to record and observe the lives of the Palestinians there. The results are stark and troubling. Having been displaced since their expulsion from Palestine by Jewish militias in 1948, about 750,000 refugees were forced into neighboring states, with Lebanon absorbing most of these; their long, troubled relationship with their hosts, in the form of PLO provocation during the civil war of 1975-1990, including a horrendous “War of the Camps” between 1985 and 1988, did not ingratiate them with the Lebanese, and the Palestinians are still a people in limbo, with no citizenship and no right to return. Pawns in the political chessboard of the Oslo Accords of 1993 and Taif Agreement of 1989, frustrated by the failure of the Intifada and lack of Israeli-Palestinian agreement, many have migrated elsewhere for a better life, underscoring the remainders’ sense of betrayal and isolation. Employing a methodology called “ethnographies of the particular,” Allan delves closely into the daily life and narratives of these haunted, destitute people. Through many moving examples, the author explores their basic survival and coping strategies—e.g., the use of collective memory, the reliance on communal credit alliances, the ubiquitous stealing of electricity, the practice of “dream talk” to access a future they have no agency over and the desire for the right to live over the right to return.

Deeply conscious of its “solidarity rhetoric,” this valuable study provokes essential questions about the conflicted Palestinian identity in exile.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8047-7492-5

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Stanford Univ.

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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