This is no ordinary memoir, but we wouldn’t expect such from one of England’s most inventive psychogeographic writers....

THE LAST LONDON

TRUE FICTIONS FROM AN UNREAL CITY

An unconventional, atmospheric exploration of London from one of its most unique chroniclers.

At first, some readers may experience confusion about the latest from Sinclair (American Smoke: Journeys to the End of the Light, 2014, etc.), trying to discern if this book is just a stream-of-consciousness trip. Not to worry, however, as the narrative is a bright collection of the author’s walks over the years, and they’re all enlightening. This is a book by a man who knows London seemingly inch by inch; he walks everywhere and takes in the environment and the people—e.g., the “Vegetative Buddha” on a bench in “modest London Park” or “Mole Man of Hackney,” who has spent decades burrowing beneath his house. Sinclair also notes the many people consistently wedded to their digital devices, oblivious to what is going on around them. They’re all part of London, and they all make the city what it is. So, too, does the detritus the author carefully observes: the general trash, polystyrene cups, chip packets, chewing gum, etc. The massive Shangri-La Hotel, aka the “Shard,” which features the highest pool in Europe, “is as an implanted flaw in the eye. It moves as we move, available to dominate every London entry point, to endstop every vista.” Sinclair has particular vitriol for the “peloton,” which he calls the groups of bicyclers taking over the footpaths ever since the bicycling initiative broke in as a transport solution. The author’s walks also encompass the underground and even elements of the countryside. In each, Sinclair picks up snippets of conversations, usually unconnected and unrelated except by geography. Readers interested in the history of London will greatly enjoy tracing the author’s walks, and even those who think they know everything about London may be pleasantly surprised.

This is no ordinary memoir, but we wouldn’t expect such from one of England’s most inventive psychogeographic writers. Patience will reward each reader in his or her own way.

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78607-174-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Oneworld Publications

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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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 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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