Whether China succeeds is, of course, for the future to tell. That it has emerged so rapidly as the region’s superpower,...

HIGH-SPEED EMPIRE

CHINESE EXPANSION AND THE FUTURE OF SOUTHEAST ASIA

Illuminating study of China’s ambitious efforts to extend its influence in Southeast Asia by means of a high-speed rail system.

In 1991, the city of Shanghai decided to build a metro system. The World Bank refused to support the project, saying that since most Shanghainese traveled through the city by bicycle, the subway was unlikely to find a sufficient market. Now, three decades later, the Shanghai metro is the world’s largest, extending more than 350 miles and carrying 3 billion passengers per year. The lesson is clear: China does not like to be curtailed or told that something is not possible, and given that its once nonexistent highway system now surpasses the U.S. interstate system, it is no surprise that the country has become a master of what might be called instant infrastructure. “A major thrust of the country’s economic strategy involves building infrastructure beyond its own borders,” writes journalist Doig, including an overarching effort to link nearly half the world’s landmass by rail, highways, and air and seaports. The effort, of course, undermines American sway in Asia, particularly as the U.S. takes an isolationist turn. One leg of this system, the Pan-Asia Railway, “looks tantalizingly within reach”; it would connect China with Singapore by way of Laos, Thailand, and Malaysia. The first country poses perhaps the greatest problems, since it is closely allied with Vietnam, China’s regional rival, and lacks much infrastructure at all; writes Doig, “Laos’s most valuable contribution to the Pan-Asia Railway might simply be a path southward.” Thailand poses comparatively fewer problems and has lately sent more exports to China than the U.S. Though Malaysia is mired in corruption, few obstacles seem to stand in the way—and even if there were, writes Doig, China is noted for its fluidity in overcoming them.

Whether China succeeds is, of course, for the future to tell. That it has emerged so rapidly as the region’s superpower, though, makes this brief study particularly timely.

Pub Date: May 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9977229-8-7

Page Count: 108

Publisher: Columbia Global Reports

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

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

Did you like this book?

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

more