Rich in implication, particularly in a bellicose time, and of much interest to students of modern history and international...



“If law shapes real power, and ideas shape the law, then we control our fate”—a searching analysis of contending views of state violence and warfare.

Signed into law in 1928 and ratified by the U.S. Senate with just one no vote, the General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy effectively outlawed war. It remains in effect. Of course, the treaty, better known here as the Kellogg-Briand Pact, has not had much force. Yale Law School professors Hathaway and Shapiro (Legality, 2013, etc.) work their way through a vast body of data and centuries to examine how such an “internationalist” view of state relations came to be. They begin with the work of Hugo Grotius (1583-1645), a “corporate lawyer” in a time when the concept of the corporation was new, who had to tease out some thorny problems—e.g., is loot gotten in war justly gained? And what of piracy, especially when committed in the name of a corporation? (Grotius’ conclusion: an “employee of a trading company could wage war on his own authority.”) Against this “Old World Order” backdrop, Hathaway and Shapiro chart the development of an internationalist ethic embodied by the United Nations, whose constraints on war are less thoroughgoing than Kellogg-Briand strictly interpreted—for in the place of a no-war stance, a “just war” theory has evolved and is still evolving. Where war was once “the mechanism for solving disagreements between states,” as the authors write, it has been increasingly seen as the act of last resort. However, they add, given the new U.S. administration, that assumption may be outmoded: Donald Trump entered office on an “anti-internationalist platform that promised to restrict the movement of goods and people across borders,” a platform that risks the idea of peaceful cooperation in favor of “zero-sum military competition.”

Rich in implication, particularly in a bellicose time, and of much interest to students of modern history and international relations.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5011-0986-7

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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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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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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