The author does not doubt the revival itself. An interesting thesis, backed by a strong historical narrative.

JAPAN RISING

THE RESURGENCE OF JAPANESE POWER AND PURPOSE

The land of the rising sun is poised to rise again as a regional, and even world, power. So holds noted Japan specialist Pyle (History/Univ. of Washington).

Cultural relativists reject the notion of national character, but Pyle suggests that there is something in the homogeneous nation’s makeup that can be used to gauge the future. He approvingly quotes anthropologist Nakane Chie, who wrote, “We Japanese have no principles. . . . Except for a few leftists or rightists, we have no dogma and don’t ourselves know where we are going.” Pyle holds that this anyway-the-wind-blows pragmatism is a consequence of the leadership’s recognition long ago that Japan is a resource-poor island nation with very powerful neighbors; he writes that it has had many consequences, among them the only partial fulfillment of the postwar MacArthur equivalent of de-Nazification, since the American government feared that a resentful Japan, forced to acknowledge its bad and definitely ideological behavior, would wander into the Soviet camp. The lack of ideological firmness, by Pyle’s account, means that WWII was an aberration, “a sweeping rejection of the Japanese heritage” in the lust for national power. Chastened, Japan sat out most of the Cold War on the sidelines, Pyle writes, building economic strength in part by not having to shoulder the costs of defense. In the wake of 9/11, U.S. politicos have demanded that Japan pay those costs, which, ironically, may contribute to Japan’s revival as a power. Pyle observes that this revival is contingent on many factors and can take many forms, depending on the scenario—that old pragmatism again. For instance, an Asia with a reunified Korea will look very much different from the present one, particularly if Korea plays China off Japan. How will Japan react? And how will Japan respond if America does not remain “deeply engaged in East Asia and committed to maintaining a balance of power”?

The author does not doubt the revival itself. An interesting thesis, backed by a strong historical narrative.

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 1-58648-417-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2007

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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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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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