Promising prescriptions to five of India’s baneful environmental cases—right thinking and accusatory in all the right places.

A RIVER RUNS AGAIN

INDIA'S NATURAL WORLD IN CRISIS, FROM THE BARREN CLIFFS OF RAJASTHAN TO THE FARMLANDS OF KARNATAKA

Journalist Subramanian examines a handful of environmental woes besetting India, along with hopeful remedies.

This is investigative journalism as story: fact-filled but optimistic, rueful and inviting. The author writes with warm intelligence, and she challenges readers. She sounds five particular environmental issues—though, inevitably, they also reach into cultural and economic concerns—each a grave, ruinous path. She categorizes the five issues as elements: earth (agriculture, toxicity), water (purity), fire (pollution, disease), air (extinction, chemistry), and ether (reproductive health, sexual predation). She devotes a chapter to each, providing an overview of the problem: how the green revolution has bottomed out, soil has been destroyed by herbicides and fungicides, farmers are indentured servants to fertilizer (which has become “like crack for crops”), and how seed industries are now patented and pricey. The author also looks at industrial, residential, and sacrificial effluents that have contaminated the water supply; the destruction of wetlands; the overuse of groundwater; cookstove pollution; deforestation; chronic respiratory and heart diseases; the looming extinction of vultures (uncharismatic, yes, but “a natural and efficient disposal system”); the explosion of vicious, carrion-eating dogs; and the unwanted children and sexual violence that have become increasingly commonplace. In each chapter, as well, Subramanian offers specific antidotes as anecdotes, narrating in a measured, conversational, welcoming voice. She examines the increase in soil complexity through tilth development; the return of natural predators for pests; the brilliance and effectiveness of small-scale irrigation, a return toward the great Indian waterworks; efficient cookstoves; the banning of toxic chemicals; and grass-roots reproductive education and “criminalizing sexual harassment, voyeurism, and stalking—acts still widely dismissed as ‘Eve-teasing’ in India.” Each of the stories is comprehensive while nimble, as well as provocative.

Promising prescriptions to five of India’s baneful environmental cases—right thinking and accusatory in all the right places.

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61039-530-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

more