Essential to any debate over the need for and way to achieve meaningful large-scale reparations.

FROM HERE TO EQUALITY

REPARATIONS FOR BLACK AMERICANS IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

A strong and unusually comprehensive case for making economic reparations to African Americans for the injustices of slavery as well as legal segregation (Jim Crow) and “ongoing discrimination and stigmatization.”

In this thoughtful scholarly assessment of a controversial issue, economist Darity and folklorist Mullen provide overwhelming evidence of “the pernicious impact of white supremacy” and propose a detailed program of monetary reparations, to be paid by Congress, to perhaps 40 million black descendants of slavery. “For black reparations to become a reality,” they write early on, “a dramatic change in who serves as the nation’s elected officials must take place, both in Congress and in the White House.” By chronicling racial injustices since the nation’s founding, the authors hope to “rejuvenate” discussions of the need for action to reverse “gross inequalities between blacks and whites.” Slavery’s “hothouse effect,” they write, created “vast national wealth.” It spurred shipbuilding and other industries, created the need to feed and clothe millions of enslaved blacks, and provided laborers to work plantations and help build railways and subsidize universities. After slavery, blacks continued to experience job discrimination, attenuated wealth, confinement to unsafe and undesirable neighborhoods, inferior schooling, dangerous encounters with the police and criminal justice system, and a social disdain for the value of their lives. “A variety of metrics indicate that, even after the end of Jim Crow, black lives are routinely assigned a worth approximately 30 percent that of white lives,” write the authors,” who also detail the negative impacts on black lives of federal highway construction, urban renewal, and gentrification. They consider arguments for and against reparations and examine complex possible methods of financing and making reparations (from lump sums to payments over time) that might, at the outside, cost trillions of dollars. Though academic in tone and approach, and therefore unlikely to reach a large audience of general readers, the authors are convincing in their arguments.

Essential to any debate over the need for and way to achieve meaningful large-scale reparations.

Pub Date: April 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4696-5497-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Univ. of North Carolina

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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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

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

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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

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