A pertinent, accessible study that asks a big question: What language should the world speak?



An American law professor and linguist addresses the babel of controversy over the predominance of the English language as the world’s lingua franca.

As Salomone demonstrates, English rules as the international language of business, finance, and technology. However, its dominance crushes regional and Indigenous languages and identity and often leads to a dangerously blinkered monolingualism. In this relevant, timely historical analysis, the author tackles many of the relevant angles in the “English only” debate. The argument against “linguistic hegemony” is fierce and ongoing—not only in Europe, where Brexit has renewed calls for the conducting of Europe’s business in French and other European languages, but also in Africa (still making peace with colonial languages), India, and even the U.S., where language immersion and bilingualism are hot-button topics. France wages a valiant battle to keep its language dominant, and calls for English-only graduate classes there and in the Netherlands and Italy have met with push back and lawsuits. In Africa, French and Chinese are giving English a run for its money. In Rwanda and Morocco, English is chosen as an equalizer, while in India (where there are thousands of Indigenous languages), the teaching of English exacerbates the class divide. “The world is chasing after English for the opportunities it presumably offers,” writes Salomone, crossing geographical, generational, and class bounds, yet after the initial headlong rush to globalization, employers are learning the value of hiring people with facility in multiple languages. With the rise in migration and immigration, the author underscores that 1 in 5 people in the U.S. speak a language other than English at home and that the pandemic has emphasized the need for language skills, especially in health care. “The health crisis…revealed the limitations of machine translation and the false sense of comfort with English monolingualism that technology has created,” writes Salomone.

A pertinent, accessible study that asks a big question: What language should the world speak?

Pub Date: Dec. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-19-062561-0

Page Count: 379

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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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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A well-documented and enlightened portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt for our times.

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A comprehensive exploration of one of the most influential women of the last century.

The accomplishments of Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) were widespread and substantial, and her trailblazing actions in support of social justice and global peace resonate powerfully in our current moment. Her remarkable life has been extensively documented in a host of acclaimed biographies, including Blanche Wiesen Cook’s excellent three-volume life. Eleanor was also a highly prolific writer in her own right; through memoirs, essays, and letters, she continuously documented experiences and advancing ideas. In the most expansive one-volume portrait to date, Michaelis offers a fresh perspective on some well-worn territory—e.g., Eleanor’s unconventional marriage to Franklin and her progressively charged relationships with men and women, including her intimacy with newspaper reporter Lorena Hickok. The author paints a compelling portrait of Eleanor’s life as an evolving journey of transformation, lingering on the significant episodes to shed nuance on her circumstances and the players involved. Eleanor’s privileged yet dysfunctional childhood was marked by the erratic behavior and early deaths of her flighty, alcoholic father and socially absorbed mother, and she was left to shuttle among equally neglectful relatives. During her young adulthood, her instinctual need to be useful and do good work attracted the attention of notable mentors, each serving to boost her confidence and fine-tune her political and social convictions, shaping her expanding consciousness. As in his acclaimed biography of Charles Schulz, Michaelis displays his nimble storytelling skills, smoothly tracking Eleanor’s ascension from wife and mother to her powerfully influential and controversial role as first lady and continued leadership and activist efforts beyond. Throughout, the author lucidly illuminates the essence of her thinking and objectives. “As Eleanor’s activism evolved,” writes Michaelis, “she did not see herself reaching to solve social problems so much as engaging with individuals to unravel discontinuities between the old order and modernity.”

A well-documented and enlightened portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt for our times.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4391-9201-6

Page Count: 704

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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