A minor contribution to the academic literature, although likely to interest social-science students.

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THE WORLD IS A GHETTO

RACE AND DEMOCRACY SINCE WORLD WAR II

An arid sociological treatise on race as an “important social fact” in the postwar world.

Winant (Sociology/Temple Univ.) examines the emergence of racial politics and various civil-rights movements in the modern US, Brazil, South Africa, and nations of the European Union. He hypothesizes that shifts in the post-WWII geopolitical balance of power (especially the rise of decolonization, migration, and national liberation movements) pushed racial politics to the forefront around the world, demolishing the status quo everywhere; in almost every major social upheaval since 1945, he holds, the issue of race was central. In describing these upheavals, the author sheds light on a few contemporary matters, such as the rapidly changing face of European politics in the wake of massive migrations from North Africa and Asia. He does little, however, to formulate an overarching theory of racial politics or to develop a comparative overview that explains why Brazilian race relations differ from those of the US, say, or Holland. Contrary to the subtitle, much of the narrative here is given over to an analysis of 19th-century historical trends and movements (among them colonialism, imperialism, and abolitionism), and the author does not improve on less theoretical but better-grounded historical studies such as Eugene Genovese’s Roll, Jordan, Roll (not reviewed) and Hugh Thomas’s The Slave Trade (1997), to say nothing of such contemporary sociological work as Cornel West’s provocative Race Matters (1993). Also, Winant’s less-than-startling conclusions are couched in the jargon of the trade (“Early imperialisms balanced their accumulative economic aspirations—both as states and as a range of proto-capitalist enterprises—with politically and culturally regulatory agendas”), which makes for tedious reading indeed.

A minor contribution to the academic literature, although likely to interest social-science students.

Pub Date: July 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-465-04345-2

Page Count: 564

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2001

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SLEEPERS

An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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