Intellectually challenging but very readable, this examination of the most troubling European turmoil of the last decade is...

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KOSOVO

CONTENDING VOICES ON BALKAN INTERVENTIONS

A wonderfully diverse collection of essays, memoirs, letters, and interviews that comprises a robust spectrum of views on the Kosovo conflict and the NATO air campaign.

Buckley (Ethics/Georgetown Univ.) has brought together contributions from many of the major stars of the international community—UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Vaclav Havel, and Henry Kissinger, to name a few. What makes his collection even more impressive, however, are the pieces from unknown local figures—the Serbian citizens, the Kosovar victims of Serb aggression, and European journalists—who serve to question the realities and perceived realities of the outside observers on both sides of the Atlantic. Ivanka Besevic, an elderly Serbian woman living in Belgrade writes on the NATO bombing: “We are here, and we see it with our own eyes; every civilian target, our neighbors’ homes.” The compilation takes the reader on a tour of the complicated truth behind such simple questions as who exactly the KLA are—without providing any one answer to the perennial question that should trouble Americans most: Was the NATO bombing the right thing to do? If anything, these inquiries highlight just how problematic military intervention is. Was it necessary? The account we are offered of Serb atrocities says the answer is yes. Was it just? Accounts from the Serb perspective, in addition to rigorous political analyses from Kissinger and others tell us perhaps not. Can the peacekeeping operations be called a success? According to Buckley, that remains to be seen. His collection, although it is about as comprehensive as one volume can be, rings with the urgent message that this can be merely the beginning of reflection, analysis, and dialogue on the subject—not the end.

Intellectually challenging but very readable, this examination of the most troubling European turmoil of the last decade is highly recommended for both personal use and professional reference.

Pub Date: July 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8028-3889-8

Page Count: 473

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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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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