An ambitious but shrill gathering of political jeremiads.

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TO WHOM DOES THE 21ST CENTURY BELONG?

A debut collection of essays denounces the misadventures of American imperialism.

According to Palloor, relentless American expansion and colonialism since Woodrow Wilson’s presidency is rooted in the notion of Manifest Destiny, a religiously inspired sense of moral exceptionalism. But though the world since the fall of the Soviet Union has been dominated by the unparalleled power—and unchecked arrogance—of the United States, its inevitable decline is certain to radically alter the geopolitical landscape. The diminishment of American influence can be diagnosed both militarily and economically. The U.S.’s repeated failures to impose its hegemony around the world—it keeps starting and losing wars—have undermined its credibility. And the eventual collapse of the dollar as the world’s default currency, the depletion of capitalism as a viable economic model, and the rise of China as a financial juggernaut will doom the nation’s economic supremacy. Palloor assembles 18 essays, each one perfectly comprehensible on its own independent of the others. The political terrain covered is expansive: the Arab Spring, the colonizing of Africa for the sake of plundering its mineral wealth, the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and the significance of Che Guevara to the Arab world, just to name a small representative sampling. The common thread that unites them all is the concern with imperialistic tyranny and the damage it has wrought all over the world. The author’s devotion to social justice is admirable, and the entire book is infused with a heartening solidarity with the oppressed. But the prose is as breathlessly immoderate as many of Palloor’s prognostications—one chapter is entitled “American Imperialism: A Menace While Breathing Its Last!” In addition, the author’s strident confidence in his own judgments isn’t matched by the empirical rigor with which he defends them. For example, his view that the U.S. is only interested in countering Iranian power for selfishly economic reasons is declared more than it is argued. Furthermore, some of the essays go back as far as 2001 and are dated—it seems odd now to trumpet the success of Venezuelan socialism while the nation slides into abject poverty.

An ambitious but shrill gathering of political jeremiads.

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4828-1391-3

Page Count: 122

Publisher: PartridgeIndia

Review Posted Online: Jan. 30, 2018

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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 PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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