ALL GOD'S CHILDREN NEED TRAVELING SHOES

The hauntingly evocative and poetic continuation of the autobiography that began with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970). We are now in the early 1960's with Angelouson a brief stopover in Accra to enroll her 17-year-old son in the University of Ghana. Guy, however, is nearly killed in a ear accident, and Angelou must give up plans to work for the US Information Agency in Liberia. She gets a job at the university, writes articles for a local newspaper and becomes part of the black American expatriate community. To get close to her motherland, the great mysterious continent of her ancestors, Angelou learns to speak Fanti, dresses Ghanian style and gradually makes African friends. There is Comfort, the lusty, laughing young woman who styles her hair, and who later dies of a curse put on her by a rival for a man's heart. There is Kojo, the charming "small boy" who does errands about the house she shares with two other expatriates. One day his entire family travels from a distant village laden with gifts of food—their thanks to her for teaching Kojo "Brioni (white) ways of thinking." The masterful Sheikhali wants to make Angelou his number two wife and cannot understand why her father does not come from America to negotiate the marriage. She also entertains numerous visitors from abroad, among them Malcolm X who, at book's end, has persuaded her to return home to work for the Organization of African-American Unity. Before leaving, however, she visits the port of Keta, where various women mistake her for a relative or an acquaintance. She realizes that the people bear a strong resemblance to her mother's family and—learning that the town was once a center of the slave trade—she thinks, "I had not consciously come to Ghana to find the roots of my beginnings, but I had accidentally tripped over them or fallen upon them in my everyday life. And here in my last days in Africa, descendants of a pillaged past saw their history in my face and heard their ancestors speak through my voice." In sum, the human heart of Africa reaching out to one of its displaced children, deepening that child's understanding of herself and her heritage.

Pub Date: April 8, 1986

ISBN: 067973404X

Page Count: 218

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1986

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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?

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 14

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?

more