A useful and anecdotal manual for those who wish to work for international nonprofits.

HOW TO BE AN AMAZING VOLUNTEER OVERSEAS

RULES OF THE ROAD, STORIES FROM THE FIELD

A guide to volunteering in other countries that offers welcome touches of realism along with idealism.

In her debut, Gibson, a longtime microfinance consultant who’s served on numerous boards of nongovernmental organizations, offers the reader a book that’s part memoir and part volunteering primer. The book begins with an introduction by Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel Prize–winning economist who developed the system of microfinancing; Gibson first began volunteering in this field, which led to a career in international development. The author draws on her extensive experience, offering anecdotes, letters, and diary excerpts to show readers how they may have a meaningful and safe experience working overseas for nonprofits. This book is full of everyday advice for international volunteers, although some of it is fairly obvious, such as dressing for the weather, showing respect for local mores, and being careful regarding water and uncooked food. In fact, the advice on eating locally may well be discouraging to vegetarians, vegans, or people with other dietary needs. However, there are other bits of advice that a reader may not have considered, such as simply listening to a favorite song for easy self-care. The book is also fully up to date as far as Covid-19 safety considerations. Although this work is strongly based on the author’s experience with microfinancing, this book will be useful for would-be workers in many other areas of international development, and it’s full of suggestions for how to get your foot in the door of such organizations. Gibson offers especially good advice about doing homework on NGOs to avoid a mismatch between oneself and their missions. Overall, the book is skillfully organized with chapter summations and plenty of links to other resources.

A useful and anecdotal manual for those who wish to work for international nonprofits.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-988025-69-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Barlow Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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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 conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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