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




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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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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