Fresh insight into how Europeans might learn valuable lessons from developing countries.

NEW OLD WORLD

AN INDIAN JOURNALIST DISCOVERS THE CHANGING FACE OF EUROPE

A longing for harmony and an embrace of multiculturalism mark this foreign correspondent’s examination of the European situation as seen from Brussels.

Married to a diplomat who moves around constantly, Aiyar (Chinese Whiskers, 2011, etc.) has previously recounted her stint in China. Here, she presents intriguing observations from her time in the unofficial European Union capital from 2009 to 2012. A feeling of malaise permeated her stint in Brussels—a city often seen as dull but simmering with linguistic rivalry (French vs. Dutch) and immigrant angst—beginning when she was robbed at the airport. As an Indian-born woman who had just arrived from the driven entrepreneurial Chinese capital of Beijing, Aiyar was stunned by the rules and regulations in this neat and tidy European capital and especially by the natives' aversion to work—that is, the relentless work pursued by the upstart Chinese and Indians, entailing long hours and sacrifices the Belgians are often not willing to make. In chapters devoted to different facets of the EU crises of the last few years, Aiyar looks at how demographic shifts are affecting business in a city where nearly a quarter of the population hails from Muslim countries; the lucrative Antwerp diamond industry is no longer a Jewish monopoly but has been infiltrated by the Mehtas and the Shahs. The Belgian workers might enjoy “some of the world’s most elaborate entitlements,” writes the author, but in an age of increasing austerity, “Europe’s clout was weakening.” Europeans, in contrast to the Chinese and Indians, might be environmentally conscious, but Aiyar is offended by their “smugness.” The author delves into ways the Indians and Chinese have managed to take advantage of Europe’s “protracted economic trough” by opening businesses in new areas—e.g., the pickled gherkin market.

Fresh insight into how Europeans might learn valuable lessons from developing countries.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-07231-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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