An intelligent, wonderfully written account of life in millennial Asia that, despite its almost quaint goal of painting a...



An entertaining and occasionally thought-provoking tour of Asia as it prepares for the 21st century.

Husband and wife Kristof and WuDunn (China Wakes, 1994) provide a panoramic view of Asia on the verge of dramatic social and economic change. The impetus for the book is the Asian economic crisis, which, the authors argue, was actually a blessing in disguise, in that it cleared out a lot of the dead wood—totalitarianism, cronyism, and corruption—that threatened to stall Asia's continued "rise." In trying to explain the crisis, Kristof and WuDunn come around to the view that the past 500 years of Western dominance represent a historical anomaly, and they assert that in the near future Asian nations will regain a dominant role in world affairs. This thesis is not particularly original, of course, nor does the book break any scholarly ground (or even survey the existing literature in any great depth). But Kristof and WuDunn are excellent journalists, and they are at their best when presenting anecdotes and images that convey larger truths in compelling and often touching ways. Thus, their analysis of Japan and China (countries where they have lived and where they speak the language) is especially thoughtful and nuanced; their accounts of life in Indonesia and Thailand are also written with confidence. The book's major flaw, however, is its treatment of India. It is unclear why India should be analyzed with East Asia at all—Iran, Central Asia, and Nepal are not touched upon—and the portions of the book devoted to it have a sketchy, added-on quality that is exacerbated by a condescension that verges on distaste (the country is described several times as "neurotic").

An intelligent, wonderfully written account of life in millennial Asia that, despite its almost quaint goal of painting a portrait of a continent, works best when it simply tells the stories of people whom the authors have come to know.

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2000

ISBN: 0-375-40325-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


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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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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