Provocative reading for students of geopolitical and economic trends looking for a glimpse at the new world to come.

THE NEW SILK ROADS

THE PRESENT AND FUTURE OF THE WORLD

The world is undergoing a geopolitical realignment—and the West isn’t quite ready for the consequences.

Donald Trump may be preaching a near-isolationist line in foreign policy, but in 2007, he was busily trademarking his name across the nations of Central Asia, Iran among them, “with the intention of producing name-brand vodka,” to say nothing of hotels and casinos. His vehicle, the Silk Road Group, “has subsequently become the focus of considerable media scrutiny,” writes Frankopan (Global History/Oxford Univ.; The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, 2016, etc.) in this engaging survey. If the intensity of American interest in some of those nations has lessened, other countries are paying attention—including, notably, China. Remarks one government official, “we Chinese often say that if you want to get rich, build roads first.” Indeed, China has been building new highways and railway lines throughout the country and beyond its borders, forging direct links with the lucrative markets of Europe and the rich resource-producing nations of Africa. In the latter, Djibouti makes an interesting case in point for Frankopan. Strategically located on the Horn of Africa, it is a natural terminus for highways that might one day radiate across the continent, and it is awash with foreigners: The U.S. has a military base there, but China is building one, too, while France and even Japan have troops there. Meanwhile, not to be left out of the enterprise, Russia has been working in neighboring Somaliland to establish a military presence and is now set on “helping the breakaway republic establish its independence from Somalia and be internationally recognised as a sovereign state.” The course of realignment seems clear and inevitable, and “trying to slow down or stop that change is an illusion,” Frankopan urges. Ignoring it doesn’t help, either….

Provocative reading for students of geopolitical and economic trends looking for a glimpse at the new world to come.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-65640-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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 moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

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WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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