Mitchell is careful not to ruffle too many feathers in his analysis, but many readers will wonder if officials on either...




A former U.S. senator and diplomatic negotiator considers the history of Palestinian-Israeli diplomacy over three-plus decades and what prospects for peace still exist.

Is a two-state solution still viable or a one-state undemocratic solution the grudging alternative? Mitchell (The Negotiator, 2015, etc.) is a revered, longtime peace negotiator and “special envoy” (in Northern Ireland and in Israel) and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1999), and his co-author, Sachar, is a high-level State Department official with years of experience with the Middle East. As a diplomat, Mitchell has good manners and does not attack either side, though he is realistic in his historical assessment while still representing the pro-Israel U.S. His analysis of peace negotiations begins with the founding of the state of Israel and the “special relationship” the U.S. engendered by President Harry Truman’s recognition of the founding “just eleven minutes after their 1948 declaration of independence.” The American arming of Israel during the Cold War has been key in its ability to resist attack by its Arab neighbors, who were often supported by the Soviet Union, yet the U.S. also sold arms to Arab states, such as Jordan. The U.S. has vociferously denounced Israel’s “unrealistic vision of greater Israel” and pushed for “land for peace” concessions, while in 2002, George W. Bush “became the first U.S. president to make the establishment of a viable Palestinian state an explicit foreign policy objective.” Mitchell tiptoes through the various (failed) peace negotiations, from Camp David to Madrid to Oslo to Annapolis, and the Israeli political turnover, which has greatly affected the prospects for peace. Moreover, the author is stern regarding the Palestinian National Authority leadership, the corruption under Yasser Arafat, and the strong-armed disarray under current president Mahmoud Abbas.

Mitchell is careful not to ruffle too many feathers in his analysis, but many readers will wonder if officials on either side will follow his proposals.

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5391-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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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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