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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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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Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught Up with Rupert Murdoch—Nick Davies

“If you shut up truth and bury it in the ground, it will grow and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through, it will blow up everything in its way.” Emile Zola Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. The first sign of trouble was a report in 2007 …

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Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster—Svetlana Alexievich

"Chernobyl is like the war of all wars. There's nowhere to hide. Not underground, not underwater, not in the air." On 26 April 1986, Energy Block No. 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station was destroyed by a series of explosions. This was one of the biggest technological disasters of the twentieth century, and no …

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Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves by Sheldon Garon

The key question Sheldon Garon, Professor of History and East Asian Studies at Princeton, tries to answer is why are some countries thriftier than others, and in particular, why is the US saving so little? Through a comparative historical analysis, Garon tracks thriftiness back in time in Western Europe, Asia and the US. The central …

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Indian Summer by Alex von Tunzelmann

Reading this book as an Indian who grew up in the nineteen eighties and who had been fed a version of Indian independence through text books and what was taught in school, it is interesting to look at this seemingly fresh take on that massive story. At first, I expected the book to start somewhere …

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Nickle and Dimed: Undercover in Low-wage USA—Barbara Ehrenreich

The America of mimimum wage workers is not one that gets a lot of attention in the media. To quote Polly Toynbee’s introduction to this book, it is “a secret continent”. “The barely reported truth about the American dream is that it exists in a country of widespread, growing and inescapable poverty, where the essential …

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