An engaging read, upbeat and inspiring.

GLOBAL GIRLFRIENDS

HOW ONE MOM MADE IT HER BUSINESS TO HELP WOMEN IN POVERTY WORLDWIDE

The impressive story of how one socially conscious young American woman is changing the lives of poor women in third-world countries.

Edgar, the founder of Global Girlfriend, a company that markets hand-crafted apparel, accessories and jewelry, started her venture in 2003 with a $2,000 tax refund. Using the Internet and her network of friends and relatives, she began with goods from women’s cooperatives and showed her fair-trade, eco-friendly, women-made products in living rooms and church basements and at street fairs. With great gusto, she tells how she grew the business with hard work, good connections and the generous help of her many talented girlfriends. To get the products she needed, the good-humored and seemingly tireless author journeyed to India, Nepal, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Uganda and Kenya, meeting with women, learning what they could do, what materials were available or could be obtained and teaching them how to maintain quality and create items that would sell in the American market. Edgar paints warm portraits of many of the remarkable women she met, but she also provides grim statistics—of the 1.3 billion people living on less than $1 per day, 70 percent are women—and some grim pictures of the extreme poverty of rural India and the monstrous sex trafficking of young girls in Nepal. The company that started small eventually became a multimillion-dollar enterprise selling its goods in stores across the United States and online and providing a livelihood to thousands of impoverished women around the globe. Edgar’s message is that one committed person can take actions that have a major impact on the lives of other individuals. To help others follow her lead, she concludes with a five-point summary of the lessons she has learned from her experience.

An engaging read, upbeat and inspiring.

Pub Date: April 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-312-62173-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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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

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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