Solid work. Those worried that the U.S. has become a rogue nation won’t sleep any easier after reading this book.

LAWLESS WORLD

AMERICA AND THE MAKING AND BREAKING OF GLOBAL RULES FROM FDR’S ATLANTIC CHARTER TO GEORGE W. BUSH’S ILLEGAL WAR

Where were you when Pinochet was arrested and charged with genocide?

If you are a part of the “select world of international law,” writes London-based attorney Sands, then “October 16, 1998, is the closest you will get to a JFK or a John Lennon moment.” The ailing Chilean dictator had traveled to London in the belief that he enjoyed diplomatic immunity, but the Spanish judge who ordered his arrest—thereby involving three sovereign nations—begged to differ. To trust Sands’s account, Pinochet’s arrest made dictators around the world sweat, to say nothing of enablers such as Henry Kissinger, who protested the British government’s action. “What Kissinger really objects to—although he cannot bring himself to say it in so many words—is the loss of sovereign and executive power, and its subjection to the limits of law by an independent judiciary,” Sands writes. So it is with the Bush administration, staffed by people such as John Bolton, who has declared that international treaties “are not legally binding,” and Richard Haass, who advocated an “à la carte multilateralism” by which the U.S. could pick and choose which laws to obey. Ironically, Sands shows, much international law is fully within the spirit of the United Nations as envisioned by Roosevelt and Churchill, who seemed unworried about yielding power to international bodies; but Kissinger’s fear has become an article of American faith, a blanket refusal to allow international courts to have jurisdiction over American citizens. Congress even passed a law allowing the president “to use all means necessary and appropriate” to free any American detained or imprisoned by the International Criminal Court, which presumably includes invading the Hague. Such lawlessness as the invasion of Iraq, the Abu Ghraib affair and the authorization of torture by subcontractors, Sands suggests, is therefore likely to go unpunished.

Solid work. Those worried that the U.S. has become a rogue nation won’t sleep any easier after reading this book.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2005

ISBN: 0-670-03452-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more