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The third book by these collaborators (How Night Came from the Sea, 1994, etc.) is a Mayan creation myth—accompanied by colorful, primitive paintings—prefaced first by an author's note, and then by details on the Maya's respect for corn. At last the tale begins, with Plumed Serpent and Heart of Sky's disappointment that the animals they create can't praise them. They make humans: Their first efforts are soulless wooden puppets; their second try results in people made of corn who worship them. As is true of Deborah Nourse Lattimore's Why There Is No Arguing In Heaven (1989), it's grand to have fallible gods, but this story is full of distancing devices (e.g., the phrase ``the Maya believe that'') that detract from its immediacy. Useful; bound to leave readers wanting more. (Picture book/folklore. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-316-30854-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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Alexander, a former UN deputy special representative in Afghanistan, offers his view of the pathway to a resolution in that nation.

The author proposes a regional solution to the ongoing conflict, one in which both Afghanistan and Pakistan both become “subject to international supervision” as part of a settlement—a “Central Asian version of the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia.” Alexander devotes significant attention to the source of the present conflict, Britain's 19th-century strategic “great game” against Russia, and Pakistan's adaption of the tradition to its own purposes through backing Afghanistan's Taliban and other surrogate terrorists. The components of a possible regional agreement are identified in Afghanistan's 2005-6 bilateral treaties with the U.S., UK, EU, China and Pakistan, and in the March 2009 opium interdiction program adopted by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on the very same day Obama announced his strategic review of Afghanistan policy. Whether such an agreement can be achieved, by way of the destruction of what Alexander calls the “shadow government” of Afghanistan inside Pakistan border provinces, without resulting in the outbreak of another full-scale war in the area or further aggravating relations between Pakistan and India, is questionable. In the meantime, the author is an enthusiastic advocate of the adoption of long-term visions along with benchmarks for their achievement in such areas as the management of the Afghan government's finances and the development of food exports through private enterprise. He is also a supporter of World Bank counterinsurgency investment through the “National Solidarity Programme” estimated to produce 20 percent per annum returns. A controversial account that provides much historical background, along with special insight into current developments.


Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-202037-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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A careful, informed analysis of the origins, progress and disposition of the complex, high-stakes legal disputes that find...

In her first book, the National Law Journal’s longtime chief Washington correspondent examines the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court, seven years after the appointment of the youngest chief justice since John Marshall.

Along with her credentials as a lawyer, Coyle brings 25 years of reporting on the high court to this careful unpacking of select, enormously consequential, 5-4 decisions, supplying useful and colorful context about the litigants, lawyers, politics and legal precedent. She’s especially good on the maneuvering of various special interest groups to identify, frame and shepherd particular cases through the legal system, all with a hopeful eye toward eventual Supreme Court review. These ingredients come together most successfully in her smooth discussion of the right to bear arms at issue in Heller, the most important Second Amendment case ever, her handling of two cases emerging from the racial diversity plans of school boards in Louisville and Seattle, and her treatment of the widely controversial Citizens United, where free speech and campaign finance law collided. Perhaps the court’s recent momentous ruling on the Affordable Health Care Act accounts for the deficiencies of this least-satisfying chapter. There’s a richer story to tell, and Coyle doesn’t appear to have all the goods. Otherwise, this is the best popular account so far of the Roberts-led court, about the varied background and clashing philosophies of the justices, the careful crafting of arguments to secure five votes, the court’s continually shifting center of gravity and the peculiar burden that rests with the chief justice. Coyle clearly disapproves of the court’s conservative bent, but she gives all sides a fair, respectful hearing and demonstrates her own reverence for the institution.

A careful, informed analysis of the origins, progress and disposition of the complex, high-stakes legal disputes that find their way to the court.

Pub Date: May 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4516-2751-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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