Jones’ careful, sensitive study offers a deeply intimate look into the emotional makeup of children of war.

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THEN THEY STARTED SHOOTING

CHILDREN OF THE BOSNIAN WAR AND THE ADULTS THEY BECOME

A British psychiatrist returning to the once-beleaguered Drina Valley within Bosnia and Herzegovina finds young war victims surprisingly adaptive and thriving.

In her multicase study of traumatized children then and now, Jones makes some startling and potentially controversial conclusions about children of war. The author worked in humanitarian aid and child psychiatry in the Balkans from 1991 to 1995, through four years of war and siege in Bosnia, and returned intermittently over the subsequent years to the towns of Foca and Gorazde to re-interview her charges and record updates. The two towns were made up of various percentages of Serbs, Croats and Muslims. As the war spread, the citizens were terrorized by paramilitary groups bent on “ethnic cleansing,” forcibly expelling people, displacing families, and torturing and killing suspected rivals. The Dayton Agreement of December 1995 arranged an uneasy truce, stipulating the safe return of people to their homes despite the ethnic mishmash and suspicion and indicting some of the war criminals. Jones concentrates on eight children, between 8 and adolescence, she first met in 1998 and records their experiences of displacement, violence and terror during the war years. Curiously, few had any feelings of animosity toward the other ethnic groups before the war, living closely among them in communities, but they were often indoctrinated by adults and the ongoing strife to hate the other side and justify their ill treatment of displaced neighbors. Jones tracks the children’s progress, finding that the ones who didn’t ask too many questions were the ones who thrived. Avoidance and distancing allowed the children to protect themselves emotionally.

Jones’ careful, sensitive study offers a deeply intimate look into the emotional makeup of children of war.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-934137-66-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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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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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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