An important contribution to the literature of forced immigration and humanitarian crisis.

MY FOURTH TIME, WE DROWNED

SEEKING REFUGE ON THE WORLD'S DEADLIEST MIGRATION ROUTE

A powerful, horrific account of the rigors that African immigrants face in fleeing their homelands for sanctuary in Europe.

“You become cargo, a piece of meat, a being that loses humanity when you can no longer recognize the humanity of others around you.” So writes Hayden, the Africa correspondent for the Irish Times, regarding the global refugee crisis. The European Union has seemed of two minds about illegal immigration into its domain: Leaders lament the human rights implications the refugees underscore even as they put more effort into blocking the flow. “In 2018,” writes the author, “a study found that almost 1,000 kilometers of border walls had been erected by EU member states and states in the European Schengen travel area since the fall of the Berlin Wall nineteen years before.” Moreover, the EU has contracted with the Libyan government—such as it is in a time of civil war—to intercept refugees crossing the middle Mediterranean and house them in settlements that resemble concentration camps, one even bearing the nickname “Guantánamo.” In some cases, refugees are used as human shields, meant to deter attacks by rival warlords, often to no avail. Worse, many are forced into slavery, either in Libya or delivered into the hands of the Mafia in southern Italy and put to work on farms there. Hayden tells her story through deep exploration of legal papers, archives, and government data. Even more affective are her personal encounters and interviews with refugees themselves, whose situations, if anything, seem to be worsening. “Between 2014 and 2020,” she writes, “more than twenty thousand men, women, and children would die on the Mediterranean Sea,” while Europeans who try to assist them often became targets of legal prosecution. The narrative is consistently harrowing, revealing the complexities within a global crisis that lacks an easy solution, especially as the numbers of refugees mount.

An important contribution to the literature of forced immigration and humanitarian crisis.

Pub Date: March 22, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-61219-945-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Melville House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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A scattershot exercise in preaching to the choir.

THE WAR ON THE WEST

A British journalist fulminates against Black Lives Matter, critical race theory, and other threats to White privilege.

“There is an assault going on against everything to do with the Western world—its past, present, and future.” So writes Spectator associate editor Murray, whose previous books have sounded warnings against the presumed dangers of Islam and of non-Western immigration to the West. As the author argues, Westerners are supposed to take in refugees from Africa, Asia, and Latin America while being “expected to abolish themselves.” Murray soon arrives at a crux: “Historically the citizens of Europe and their offspring societies in the Americas and Australasia have been white,” he writes, while the present is bringing all sorts of people who aren’t White into the social contract. The author also takes on the well-worn subject of campus “wokeness,” a topic of considerable discussion by professors who question whether things have gone a bit too far; indeed, the campus is the locus for much of the anti-Western sentiment that Murray condemns. The author’s arguments against reparations for past damages inflicted by institutionalized slavery are particularly glib. “It comes down to people who look like the people to whom a wrong was done in history receiving money from people who look like the people who may have done the wrong,” he writes. “It is hard to imagine anything more likely to rip apart a society than attempting a wealth transfer based on this principle.” Murray does attempt to negotiate some divides reasonably, arguing against “exclusionary lines” and for Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s call for a more vigorous and welcoming civil culture. Too often, however, the author falters, as when he derides Gen. Mark Milley for saying, “I want to understand white rage. And I’m white”—perhaps forgetting the climacteric White rage that Milley monitored on January 6, 2021.

A scattershot exercise in preaching to the choir.

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-316202-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Broadside Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2022

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A deceptively slender but rich argument in favor of conserving liberal ideals—and liberal government.

LIBERALISM AND ITS DISCONTENTS

The renowned political scientist and philosopher considers classical liberalism and the broad range of enemies arrayed against it.

“By ‘liberalism,’ ” writes Fukuyama, “I refer to the doctrine…that argued for the limitation of the powers of governments through law and ultimately constitutions, creating institutions protecting the rights of individuals living under their jurisdiction.” Born of events such as the English civil war and the Enlightenment, this liberalism also encouraged diversity of thought, religion, and ethnicity, placing it squarely in the crosshairs of today’s authoritarian nationalists, not least Donald Trump. Fukuyama has often been identified with conservative causes, but his thinking here is democratic to the core, and he has no use for such pathetic lies as Trump’s insistence that the 2020 election was stolen. That said, the author notes that liberalism has many enemies on both the left and the right for numerous real yet correctable failings. The neoliberalism that has emerged over the past couple of generations has accelerated inequality, and numerous institutions have been eroded while others, such as the Electoral College, have been revealed to be anti-democratic. Both left and right, the author argues, have trouble accepting that governing over diversity, the hallmark of liberalism, means governing over many ethnic and national groups, strata of income, and competing interests. He adds, however, “Left-of-center voters…remain much more diverse” in political outlook. Essential to a liberal society, Fukuyama insists, is the right to vote: “Voting rights are fundamental rights that need to be defended by the power of the national government.” While he insists that individual rights take precedence over group rights, he also observes that the social contract demands citizen participation. To the conservative charge that the social contract is one thing but the “common moral horizon” another, he answers that yes, liberalism does not insist on a single morality—which “is indeed a feature and not a bug.”

A deceptively slender but rich argument in favor of conserving liberal ideals—and liberal government.

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-374-60671-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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