by Mark LeVine ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 15, 2008
Alternately inspiring and disheartening—a solid work of cross-cultural analysis.
Heavy metal embodies the rage of young people in rigidly controlled Muslim societies, offering a surprising message of hope and solidarity that contrasts sharply with its reputation.
That’s the conclusion of Levine (Middle Eastern History/Univ. of California, Irvine; An Impossible Peace: Oslo and the Burdens of History, 2007, etc.), who traveled extensively in the world’s major Muslim countries interviewing members of the unique but growing subculture of metalheads. His stories reveal that in several countries where death and violence have become commonplace, music with morbid, violent themes can provide an outlet for negative emotions and a potential avenue for cultural critique from within. The Jewish-American author used his proficiency in Arabic and hard-rock guitar to maximum advantage during his many encounters with metalheads from Palestine to Pakistan. Each chapter features a different country from the Middle East or North Africa, encompassing a wide range of political and religious opinions. Despite the many cultural differences of their respective countries, metal movements throughout the Muslim world share a few key characteristics. Because metalheads risk harassment, imprisonment and police brutality simply for playing and disseminating the music, their concerts, festivals and recordings remain largely underground, sustained by bootleg copies and clandestine jam sessions. Beyond the book’s obvious appeal to metal lovers and hard-rock musicians, it’s useful to a much broader Western audience because it depicts creative, internal resistance to some of the most oppressive regimes within the Muslim world. It also promotes talented but obscure musicians. Given the complexities of a Middle Eastern cultural survey, Levine can only skim the surface of alternative music’s position within Muslim countries. His background explanations are often patchy, his prose duller than the subject matter would suggest, but the project extends beyond mere description to a kind of empathetic activism.Alternately inspiring and disheartening—a solid work of cross-cultural analysis.
Pub Date: July 15, 2008
Page Count: 320
Publisher: Three Rivers/Crown
Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2008
Share your opinion of this book
by Ta-Nehisi Coates ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 8, 2015
This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2015
New York Times Bestseller
National Book Award Winner
Pulitzer Prize Finalist
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
Page Count: 176
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Review Posted Online: May 5, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015
Share your opinion of this book
Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.
“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.
It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.
Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019
Page Count: 432
Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019
Share your opinion of this book
More About This Book
SEEN & HEARD
Hey there, book lover.
We’re glad you found a book that interests you!