A solid, reasonable argument in which the dismal science offers a brightening prospect for the world’s poor.

THE END OF POVERTY

ECONOMIC POSSIBILITIES FOR OUR TIME

Must the poor be with us always? Probably. But there are degrees of have-notness, and, argues UN special advisor Sachs, “extreme poverty can be ended not in the time of our grandchildren, but in our time.”

The poor, even the one billion poorest of them, are not necessarily fated to be so. In early modern times, much of the world lived at much the same economic level, which explains why European explorers could have been impressed by the sumptuousness of places such as Timbuktu and Tenochtitlan. But after 1800, writes Sachs, “both population and per capita income came unstuck, soaring at rates never before seen or even imagined.” The West outstripped the rest of the world over the space of the next 200 years, creating a vast gulf between rich and poor nations, the product of uneven patterns of growth that have many causes. Some of them are social and political; it is difficult, for instance, to foster growth when corrupt officials skim the cream, ethnic hatreds mark one group or another as outcast, and people reproduce too quickly. Some of them are also geographic; farming on exhausted soil and mining tailings are recipes for disaster. (“Americans,” Sachs exhorts, “forget that they inherited a vast continent rich in natural resources.”) Taking issue with international-development economists concerned mostly with capital and credit formation, Sachs urges an account of poverty that takes a multifaceted view of the kinds of capital the poor lack (health, nutrition, infrastructure, biodiversity, an impartial judiciary, access to knowledge, and so forth). While agreeing with those economists that private initiatives are generally more effective than state programs, Sachs also proposes a many-pronged, needs-based attack on the worst extremes of poverty that requires, yes, the rich to help the poor, but that is eminently practical and minimally pipe-dreamy—and that, he notes in passing, would help restore the reputation of the US and the usefulness of the UN in the world.

A solid, reasonable argument in which the dismal science offers a brightening prospect for the world’s poor.

Pub Date: March 21, 2005

ISBN: 1-59420-045-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2005

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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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