An informative study that conveys a subtle but powerful argument for the attraction of anti-liberal populism.

THE LIGHT THAT FAILED

WHY THE WEST IS LOSING THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY

Two academics and policy experts bring considerable erudition to the conundrum of why anti-liberalism has gained currency since the fall of the Soviet Union, when the world seemed happy to see it go.

According to Krastev (After Europe, 2017, etc.), a fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, and Holmes (New York Univ. School of Law; The Quest for the Trinity: The Doctrine of God in Scripture, History and Modernity, 2012, etc.), once communism fell, the “radiant future” of Enlightenment democracy—encompassing a separation of powers, checks and balances, free elections, freedom of the press, and so on—seemed the sole alternative model. However, in chapters moving from Central and Eastern Europe through Russia and China, the authors show how imitating the "masters" created a groundswell of resentment and backlash. In Central Europe, Hungary and Poland were at first content to imitate the Western model. Unfortunately, “Central and East European versions of liberalism had been indelibly tainted by two decades of rising social inequality, pervasive corruption, and the morally arbitrary distribution of private property into the hands of a few.” Krastev and Holmes succinctly explain why this brand of populism and nativism would ring familiar in Russia, China, and eventually in the United States under Donald Trump. The authors also cogently explore the anti-immigration hysteria that has continued to plague these countries. In Russia, the authors see a convulsion of “aggressive isolationism” at work in addition to an effective destabilizing revenge theory bent on revealing the mask of hypocrisy of the U.S., especially in foreign affairs. Meanwhile, China, once an imitator of the Soviet Union, has ceased exporting its brand of Maoism and is reaping grandly the effects of centralized economic control.

An informative study that conveys a subtle but powerful argument for the attraction of anti-liberal populism.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64313-369-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 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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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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