The author’s vituperation may alienate some, and her voluminous statistics may turn off others, but her demand that...

AIDS IN AMERICA

A disturbing picture of the status of AIDS in the United States and an angry claim that the country has failed utterly to confront the problem.

Hunter, a medical anthropologist who has previously written on the specter of AIDS in Africa and Asia, asserts not only that the United States has the most severe HIV epidemic of any developed country but that AIDS will soon become the worst epidemic this country will ever know. Most Americans, she says, are woefully ignorant about AIDS, still thinking of it as something that affects homosexuals and drug users, but not themselves or the people they know. To counteract this notion, she focuses on the story of Paige Swanberg, a white, middle-class woman from Montana who learned that she was HIV-positive when she tried to join the Navy and has since become an AIDS counselor. Hunter also interviewed a number of other activists and people touched by AIDS, and her text is heavily larded with their comments, some pertinent but many not. She is particularly scornful of the Christian Right, deploring its abstinence-only approach to sex education and its disinformation campaign about condoms, and she has harsh words for the Bush administration for catering to their demands. The government, she claims, has failed to protect citizens through acts of commission and omission: e.g., its “war on drugs,” with a mass-incarceration approach that promotes the spread of AIDS, as crowded prisons becoming ideal breeding grounds for drug-resistant superstrains of HIV; its cuts in funding for treatment programs; its attacks on women’s reproductive rights; its withdrawal of support for housing and food for HIV-positive Americans. Hunter is clearly outraged by what she sees, and her language reflects her wrath: a government that “doesn’t seem to give a damn”; “right-wing hatemongers” and “vote-buying liberals”; and a drug industry with a “stranglehold” on government.

The author’s vituperation may alienate some, and her voluminous statistics may turn off others, but her demand that attention be paid comes through loud and clear.

Pub Date: March 28, 2006

ISBN: 1-4039-7199-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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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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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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