A sympathetic view of Palestinians not to be mistaken for objective reporting.

PALESTINE SPEAKS

NARRATIVES OF LIFE UNDER OCCUPATION

An oral history of life in Gaza and the West Bank, obtained through interviews conducted over a period of nearly four years, lets a diversity of Palestinians speak their minds about their situations.

Hoke (English/Bethlehem Univ.) and Malek are journalists with Voice of Witness, a nonprofit organization dedicated to examining human crises around the world. With the aid of translators and transcribers, they recorded the voices of 50 interviewees and then edited the transcripts for clarity. Of the 16 people selected to tell their stories here, only two are Israelis, for the object is not to provide balance but to illustrate what life is like for Palestinians. Male and female, young and middle-aged, educated or not, mostly but not all middle class, these Palestinians narrate their experiences growing up and living next to Israelis or in areas where Israel controls major aspects of their lives. Some took part in the Intifadas, some spent time in prison, and some lived for years outside Palestine and then chose to move there. Some are resigned to the restrictions of their lives, while some are hopeful of a brighter future. About 50 pages of appendices give context to their personal stories. The first, “Timeline of Modern Palestine,” opens with the date 8000 B.C. and ends with 2014 but has no mention of the events of that explosive summer. Appendix III is an essay on Palestine and international law by Allegra Pacheco, the wife of one of the Palestinian interviewees, and Appendix IV is a piece by journalist Nicolas Pelham on the Gaza tunnels that focuses on their economic importance to Hamas. The oral histories that make up the bulk of the book paint a harsh picture of Israeli restrictions on the lives of Palestinians; however, failure of the lengthy appendices to discuss the necessity for such restriction—suicide bombers, rocket attacks, Hamas’ stated goal of the destruction of Israel—is a serious flaw.

A sympathetic view of Palestinians not to be mistaken for objective reporting.

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1940450247

Page Count: 320

Publisher: McSweeney's/Voice of Witness

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“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

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more