Timely reading in an era of looming trade wars and the decline of American economic supremacy.

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THE TRANSPACIFIC EXPERIMENT

HOW CHINA AND CALIFORNIA COLLABORATE AND COMPETE FOR OUR FUTURE

The United States and China are rivals on many fronts—and in California, “the world’s two most powerful countries are meeting, cooperating, and competing.”

Journalist Sheehan, a Californian who logged more than five years working in China, turns in a suggestive portrait of a place in which Chinese money has been responsible for no small amount of economic activity: the San Francisco Shipyards, say, “the city’s largest housing and retail development in decades,” and Hollywood, where many of today’s blockbusters have Chinese backing. In exchange, California-based companies such as Apple and Google have provided a lucrative outlet for Chinese manufacture while introducing new technologies into the Chinese market. In all, writes the author, China has reversed the position it held a century ago, a poor country whose chief export was labor. It has done so in at least some respects by shaping an image of California to suit itself: “blue skies, top universities, innovative technology, and global blockbusters.” The transformation has left China less dependent on outside markets—where Chinese graduate students in American universities once remained here, by one measure, most now return home with their advanced learning and skills—but has not substantially diminished the relationship between what Sheehan characterizes as America’s most liberal state and a stubbornly totalitarian government. Politics enters the picture along several fronts. Sheehan notes, for one thing, that whereas for generations California’s Chinese-descended population has been reliably Democratic, new immigrants, scornful of their predecessors, are often volubly conservative. Chinese companies have made missteps in California, notably in Hollywood, and American firms have made missteps in China, as when eBay opened the door for the emergence of Jack Ma’s giant Alibaba firm and was forced to retreat from the Chinese market, “the first time a Chinese internet company had gone head-to-head with its American rival and won.” Though the relationship has lately been troubled, Sheehan foresees continued interactions and mutual influence in decades to come.

Timely reading in an era of looming trade wars and the decline of American economic supremacy.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64009-214-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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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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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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