An uneven, meandering, and sometimes alarmist, brief on American industrial policy.

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REBOOT AMERICA

HOW THE US CAN BEAT CHINA AT ITS OWN GAME

It’s time for the United States government to vigorously challenge China’s rising economic and military power, according to this hard-nosed treatise.

Doshi (Land Acquisition in India, 2015), an Indian author and avowed “Americanophile,” presents wide-ranging criticisms of the Chinese government and its ambitions to replace the United States as a global hegemon. China, he notes, is a one-party dictatorship that allows no freedom of speech or religion and persecutes dissidents at home and abroad. It insists on free trade for its exports while closing its markets to imports with Byzantine regulations, domestic partnerships, technology-transfer requirements, and a dishonest judiciary, he asserts, while also stealing industrial and military secrets from American companies. It has pursued an expansionary policy against its neighbors in the South China Sea, he says, and propped up North Korea’s dangerous regime. A particular sore point for Doshi is that China helped Pakistan with its nuclear weapons and missile programs—which it did in order to foment nuclear war between Pakistan and India, he asserts. China may succeed in eclipsing America, Doshi warns, due to an economic dynamic that he dubs “K-Nomics,” in which the Chinese economy thrives by focusing on manufacturing and industry—the true sources of wealth—while the U.S. economy languishes as it moves toward service sectors. His prescription for “rebooting” America relies on reversing the K-Nomic imbalance. Doshi recommends raising tariffs on Chinese imports with a “Pollution Tax” that would redress America’s cost disadvantage due to stricter environmental regulations, and a “Humane Working Tax” to nullify the advantages China gains from its low wages and poor labor conditions. He further suggests a program of deregulation, subsidies, and government infrastructure investment. Doshi’s case against Chinese misbehavior is lucid and well supported by statistics and press reports on everything from trade issues to Beijing’s refusal to give Canadian beauty queen and human rights activist Anastasia Lin a visa. There are many excursions into intriguing but arcane topics, such as how statistical models relate to consciousness. The author tends to write like an engineer, with careful attention to first principles and a fondness for elaborate examples, especially in economics sections: “Now, suppose you had to put up only 20 dollars to take a position of a 100 dollars. Now your leverage would be 400%. Now if the price went up to a 110, your profit would be 50%.” Doshi’s K-Nomics framework will please economic nationalists with its celebration of manufacturing, but mainstream economists may consider his disparagement of service economies and protectionism unwise. Although there’s much common sense in the book, its recommendations for American military policy are aggressive to the point of recklessness. For example, Doshi suggests that the United States help India’s nuclear weapons and missile programs with technology and fissile material, allow South Korea and Japan to build nuclear weapons, and build artificial islands stocked with weaponry in the South China Sea to counter China’s artificial islands there. Readers concerned about Sino-American relations may have misgivings about such militancy.

An uneven, meandering, and sometimes alarmist, brief on American industrial policy.

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-79785-234-8

Page Count: 303

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2019

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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