The Moor’s Account: Laila Lalani

History is written by the victors, as the saying goes. What we know of the conquest—or the invasion—of the Americas tends to come from those who conquered the land. This book gives another perspective—the narrator, Mustafa ibn Muhammad ibn Abdussalam al-Zamori, is among the Spanish conquistadores, but not one of them. He is different, both …

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We are Displaced—My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World: Malala Yousafzai (with Liz Welch)

Review by Mohan Raj A longer version of this review was originally published in The Book Review, Vol XLIV, No. 2-3, Feb-Mar 2020.  Reproduced with the permission of The Book Review Literary Trust. Displacement──within and across countries──of large numbers of people, owing to political instability or civil strife, is a fact of contemporary life. UN statistics …

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Taken at the Flood—A Memoir of a Political Life: Vasanth Kannabiran

Review by Kamakshi Balasubramanian Originally published in The Book Review, Vol. XLIV, No. 8, August 2020. Reprinted with permission from The Book Review Literary Trust. Vasanth Kannabiran’s latest book, described in this edition’s back cover as "a feminist memoir", is a great deal more. There are at least three major narrative strands in the book: …

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Alexander Hamilton: Ron Chernow

“Let me tell you what I wish I’d known / When I was young and dreamed of glory / You have no control: / Who lives, who dies, who tells your story.” These lines are from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical, Hamilton, which was inspired by this biography. The quote seems appropriate. Although Alexander Hamilton was one …

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Indian women tell their stories

The Inner Courtyard: Stories by Indian Women, edited by Lakshmi HolmströmIn Other Words: New Writing by Indian Women, selected by Urvashi Butalia and Ritu Menon “Women in India have traditionally been teller of tales. They have used not only the mythic materials of the epics in their local versions, but the lives of gods and …

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10 Minutes, 38 Seconds in this Strange World: Elif Shafak

Tequila Leila, the prostitute, is dead. She has been murdered and her body dumped in a wheelie bin in Istanbul. She realizes “with a sinking feeling that her heart had just stopped beating, and her breathing had abruptly ceased, and whichever way she looked at her situation there was no denying that she was dead.” …

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Natural-Born Heroes—The Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance: Christopher McDougall

On 23 April 1944, a group of British operatives in Crete captured the German General, Heinrich Kreipe, from under the noses of 100,000 German troops, search planes prowling the mountains, and patrol boats checking the shore. Without a shot being fired, the General—a survivor of the Great War who was awarded an Iron Cross—had disappeared. …

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