As comprehensive and knowledgeable as Hiro’s earlier Inside India Today (1977; reissued 2013).

THE AGE OF ASPIRATION

POWER, WEALTH, AND CONFLICT IN GLOBALIZING INDIA

An insider’s economic report on the perils and scandals of India’s precipitous drive into a market economy over the last decades.

Since 1991, India’s New Industrial Policy—reducing the “license raj” and encouraging private companies in banking, insurance, telecommunications, and air travel—has enriched many and impoverished many in the world’s largest democracy. London-based author Hiro (A Comprehensive Dictionary of the Middle East, 2013, etc.) looks at the impact of globalization both on villagers and on the institutions involved, thus encompassing both the small and big pictures. Narendra Modi, the chief minister of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, has led with the neoliberal pro-investment “Gujarat Model,” since 2001, despite being darkly tarnished by the spate of anti-Muslim violence that broke out in Godhra, North Gujarat, in 2002. Running on the slogan “India Shining,” the BJP underscored a new era of “illicit gains” by politicians and the “exponential growth in sleaze, which was related to the acceleration in deregulation and privatization.” Recently rehabilitated, Modi trounced the traditional Nehru-Gandhi dynasty of the Congress Party in 2014, ensuring a continued policy of swadeshi, or self-reliance, regarding the global economy, becoming the darling of the United States and feeding the deep chasm between the haves and have-nots. Hiro pointedly explores the miraculous growth of the satellite town of Gurgaon—at least in terms of land and property values, as it still lacks in basic public services and infrastructure (the sad but all-too-familiar “Dickensian underbelly” that is the byproduct of globalization). In subsequent chapters, Hiro examines India’s need for massive loans from Western banks, encapsulated in the Tata Group story; the incredibly powerful Indian diaspora in Silicon Valley; the “scandalous neglect of India’s agriculture”; the rise of slums; and the continued role of the Maoist Naxalites and the grass-roots efforts to combat corruption.

As comprehensive and knowledgeable as Hiro’s earlier Inside India Today (1977; reissued 2013).

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62097-130-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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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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