Finished just before the announcement of the policy’s demise, One Child is a touching and captivating anthropological...

ONE CHILD

THE PAST AND FUTURE OF CHINA'S MOST RADICAL EXPERIMENT

Widespread female infanticide and officials jailing pregnant women’s families to induce them to surrender to abortions—these are scenes not from a dystopian novel but from China’s family planning bureaucracy.

The country’s one-child policy, to be officially phased out in 2016, created more far-reaching social distortions than even its most vociferous critics realized, argues Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Fong in this timely exposé of a reproductive regime whose inner workings Chinese officials have tried hard to keep under wraps. The author, a longtime China correspondent, crisscrossed the country talking with peasants, bureaucrats, intellectuals, and dissidents, and she narrates her travels in a conversational, convivial tone, also discussing her own struggles to conceive. Given the degree to which family planning is embedded in the fabric of the country, it is difficult to predict how the abrupt reversal will play out. Fong describes “China’s birth-planning machinery” as “a bloated behemoth that goes from some 85 million part-time employees at the grass-roots level all the way up to half a million full-time employees at the National Population and Family Planning Commission.” The author uncovers vast regional differences in how the law has been enforced: while some provinces saw huge numbers of women forcibly sterilized, in others, “authorities actually encouraged” large families “so they could collect more fines.” Contemporary China’s gender imbalance is approaching unprecedented levels, and the massive surplus of boys presages problems for both men and women. Although they contribute financially nearly as much as their husbands, women are not traditionally named on house titles, and “given that much of the recent wealth creation in China has come from appreciating values in soaring property markets, Chinese women have therefore been left out of what is arguably the biggest accumulation of residential real estate wealth in history: some $27 trillion worth” by some estimates.

Finished just before the announcement of the policy’s demise, One Child is a touching and captivating anthropological investigation of one of the most invasive laws ever devised.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-27539-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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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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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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