Western readers with a strong devotion to individual liberties may be turned off, but Khanna is thorough and clear, offering...



An India-born, Western-educated strategic adviser and author offers a comprehensive worldview from an Asian perspective.

Now residing in Singapore—“the unofficial capital of Asia, a melting pot that embodies Asia’s potential to make the most of the Europeanization and Americanization of the past and, most importantly, the Asianization of today and tomorrow”—Khanna (Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization, 2016, etc.) enlists his considerable global experience and education to elegantly lay out the vast range and enormous potential of what he calls the Asian “system” of moving beyond geography and embracing “alliances, institutions, infrastructure, trade, investment, culture and other patterns.” As such, Asia encompasses China, Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam as well as the Gulf states (“West Asia”) and India, Russia, Iran, and, strategically, Australia. Seeing the world from an Asian point of view first entails jettisoning accumulated stereotypes—e.g., that Asia needs the U.S. more than we need Asia. This is not true, and Asian nations have become increasingly wary of Washington’s “unreliable promises.” Khanna begins with a dazzling distillation of the history of the world from an Asian perspective, emphasizing how the main swath of early civilization was situated in Asia and how briefly (though intensively) the Western powers inserted themselves into the picture. The author underscores that “Asia’s linkages have been continually propelled through commerce, conflict, and culture.” Following the historical narrative, Khanna moves into “Asia-nomics,” or how each country is developing its particular economic strength. For example, after the first wave of modern Asian growth in postwar Japan and South Korea, followed by China, the current wave is now propelled by Southeast Asia (India, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia). Then, the author addresses the phenomenal Asian diaspora in America and in Europe; China’s forays into Africa; and how liberal democracy probably does not suit Asian countries as much as the technocratic model ("good despotism") of Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore.

Western readers with a strong devotion to individual liberties may be turned off, but Khanna is thorough and clear, offering abundant food for thought.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-9626-3

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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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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