Useful for students of geopolitics, international economics, and demography alike.

THE HUMAN TIDE

HOW POPULATION SHAPED THE MODERN WORLD

The world is changing, dramatically and in large part because of shifts in population.

University of London demographer Morland (Demographic Engineering: Population Strategies in Ethnic Conflict, 2014) considers population dynamics as a driving force in historical change—not just at the macro level, but in the lives of individuals. As he notes, only a few generations have passed since 1-in-6 British children died before their first birthdays, whereas “today, just over a century later, only one child in three hundred born in England does not reach the age of one.” At the same time, sub-Saharan African nations whose birth rates had once leveled off have grown in population but not in economic opportunity, propelling a wave of migrants northward to a Europe whose Indigenous populations have been steadily shrinking—in Italy, for example, by a projected 20 percent by the end of the century. This reiterates a historical trend in which exploding European populations led to migrations to the Americas and Australia, and even if European and European-descended—and especially British—peoples remain politically and economically more powerful than the rest of the world, “they have significantly retreated as an ethnic group within their own states.” Other nations have experienced patterns of growth and decline: Japan, for instance, whose population is rapidly falling, and Russia, which had a comparatively huge population in late czarist times but became the first state in the world to legalize abortion in the Soviet era—only to retract it in 1935, when “Stalin declared ‘man the most precious resource.’ ” Today, Putin’s Russia faces a decline in ethnic Russians. Demography is not necessarily destiny, but the trends Morland identifies are suggestive of broad political changes to come, including the prospect that a grayer world may also mean a greener one: “Where human population starts to decline, from Japan to Bulgaria, nature moves fast into the void.”

Useful for students of geopolitics, international economics, and demography alike.

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5417-8836-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 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...

NIGHT

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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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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