A highly readable, instructive look at the role of the oceans in our civilization, past and present.

SEA POWER

THE HISTORY AND GEOPOLITICS OF THE WORLD'S OCEANS

A retired Navy admiral tells the history of the seas and gives an updated look at their strategic importance.

Stavridis (Dean, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy/Tufts Univ.; The Accidental Admiral, 2014, etc.) knows his maritime history, but equally important is his firsthand knowledge of the seas as a naval officer who has steered ships and served as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. The book is organized into separate chapters on each of the world’s major bodies of water: the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Arctic oceans, plus the Mediterranean, the South China Sea, and the Caribbean. Two final chapters consider criminal activity on the seas and outline a modern naval strategy for America. The author’s historical summaries are written in broad strokes, with only brief consideration of individual battles. He vividly relates what it felt like as a young naval officer taking a boat through the Panama Canal or the Torres Strait between Australia and New Guinea, and he adds personal authority to his more general points about the different bodies of water. His discussion of the South China Sea and the Arctic Ocean, the two areas he considers most likely to be the sites of future confrontations between major powers, serves as a reminder that America is far from the only nation with a legitimate interest in these areas. His assessments of the South China Sea seem especially apt. Stavridis is optimistic that global rivals can find ways to cooperate with each other and prevent serious conflict, though his citation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a likely engine for cooperation may need revision in light of the current presidential administration. The chapter on piracy, overfishing, and destruction of the environment is sobering, and the final chapter, which outlines the importance of naval power in the coming decades, is a good starting point for consideration of the strategic options open to the U.S.

A highly readable, instructive look at the role of the oceans in our civilization, past and present.

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2059-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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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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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

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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