Evenhanded, diplomatic, mutually respectful and enormously useful.



A thoughtful autopsy of the failed two-state paradigm.

Having worked to promote peace within conflicts in Northern Ireland, South Africa and Iraq, O’Malley (Peace and Reconciliation/Univ. of Mass., Boston; Shades of Difference: Mac Maharaj and the Struggle for South Africa, 2007, etc.) carefully sifts through the intractable coexistence between the Palestinians and Israelis and finds both sides so traumatized by the “narrative” of their respective struggle that they are unable to view the other with respect or humanity—the beginning of true reconciliation. Both claiming to be legitimate owners of the same land, both smarting from historical injustice and both stoking their feelings of victimization, the two sides are “irreconcilable,” as they have proved through numerous failed discussions from the two Oslo Accords through recent talks held by Secretary of State John Kerry. In a work of impeccable research, featuring extensive footnotes and employing interviews of both Palestinians and Israelis, O’Malley addresses the sticking points on both sides that form the “addiction” by each to an “ethos of conflict”: the omission of the Islamist, Gaza-based Hamas from the peacemaking process, thus ignoring the “elephant in the room”; Israel’s refusal to allow Palestinian refugees or their descendants a “right to return” after the wars of 1947-1949; continued Israeli settlements by a ultraorthodox minority bent on “messianic zealotry”; a highly problematic economic sustainability in Palestine due to the “asymmetry of power” with Israel; and the “silently creeping, inexorably irreversible changes in Israel’s demographic profiles”—namely, fewer Jews and more Palestinians. O’Malley is not hopeful but rather disgusted that the two sides seem to be entrenched in their mutual hatred and absolutely unwilling to budge. To do so, he writes, requires establishing a “parity of esteem for each other’s narratives” and then perhaps a long cease-fire that would allow a new generation of leaders to step up.

Evenhanded, diplomatic, mutually respectful and enormously useful.

Pub Date: April 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-02505-3

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 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...


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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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.


“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

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