• china

    Chinese Way of Censoring

    Screening Post-1989 China: Critical Analysis of Chinese Film and Television 2015 by W. Ho, Palgrave Macmillan, US $95.00, Pp 288, May 2016, ISBN 978-1137517609

    China’s so-called socialist government “often intervenes in cultural industries. More specifically, it expresses official attitudes toward cultural products. Hu Jintao, president of the Peoples Republic of China, urged cultural industries to bolster China’s cultural power, as he perceived that the overall strength of Chinese culture and its international influence had to catch up with China’s international …

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  • trees

    The lives of our other neighbors

    The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret      World  by  Peter  Wohlleben,  Greystone  Books,  US  $24.95,  Pp  288,  September 2016,       ISBN 978-1771642484

    Trees experience pain and have memories, and tree parents live together with their children. In the forest world, they are social beings. They can count, learn, and remember, as well as nurse their sick neighbors. They even warn each other of danger by sending electrical signals across what could be called Wood …

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  • end

    The changing racial and religious face of America

    The End of White Christian America by Robert P. Jones, Simon & Schuster, US $28.00, Pp 320, July 2016, ISBN978-1501122293

    In 2014, Coca-Cola set aside its well-known polar bear mascot and instead debuted ‘It’s Beautiful,’ a one-minute ode to American pluralism. By doing this, the company stepped into dangerous territory. In the Super Bowl ad, the camera panned over Americans clad in everything from cowboy hats to yarmulkes to hijabs – as well as an interracial gay couple at a …

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  • angel

    Most fascinating and enigmatic spy in the Middle East

    The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel by Uri Bar-Joseph and David Hazony (Translator), HarperCollins Publishers, US $29.99, Pp 384, August 2016, ISBN 978-0062420107

    Ashraf Marwan was perhaps the most fascinating and enigmatic spy in the Middle East. One of the reasons why he was important was that he was the son-in-law of President Gamal Abdel Nasser and a close adviser to his successor, Anwar Sadat. Marwan turned Egypt into an open book for Israelis. Many suspect Marwan helped …

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  • pahlavi

    Revisiting the Shah of Iran

    The Fall of Heaven: The Pahlavis and the Final Days of Imperial Iran by Andrew Scott Cooper,  Henry  Holt  and  Company, (Macmillan  Publishers),  US $36.00,  Pp 608,  August 2016,   ISBN 978-0805098976

    It becomes apparent to most visitors to Tehran, the Iranian capital, why the late Shah still matters. Tourists enter Teheran from the south on a carriageway built by order of the Shah. On the city’s outskirts, they pass through the green belt the Shah envisioned would protect Teheran from …

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  • hidden

    The untold story of black women who sent rockets and people into space

    Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly, William Morrow (HarperCollins Publishing), US $27.99, Pp 368, September 2016, ISBN 978-0062363596

    It is unfortunate that most Americans are unaware of the role African American women played in making America what it is today. African Americans had roles in every field long before the civil rights movement won them equal rights. In Hidden Figures, Margot …

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  • heavens

    Five best novels of the months

    The Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskens,  Seventh Street Books (Prometheus Books), US $15.95, Pp 270, October 2016, ISBN  978-1633882058

    Behold the Dreamers: A Novel by Imbolo Mbue, Random House, US $28.00, Pp 400, August 2016, ISBN 978-0812998481

    The Lesser Bohemians: A Novel by Eimear McBride, US $26.00, Pp 320, Hogarth (Penguin Random House), September 2016, ISBN 978-1101903483

    Behind Closed Doors  by  B. A. Paris,  St. Martin’s Press  (Macmillan  Publishers),  US $25.99,  Pp 304, August 2016, ISBN 978-1250121004

    Here I

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  • blood

    When the wretched of the earth rose

    Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson, Pantheon (Penguin Random House), US $35.00, Pp 752, August 2016, ISBN 978-0375423222

    In 1971, nearly 1,300 prisoners stood up against overcrowding and the myriad other injustices that had become policy in Attica Prison and other prisons in America. The uprising started on September 9 and continued for five days. Today, the Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 is a major milestone in the struggle …

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  • terror

    How the Islamic terrorists killed America

    The Terror Years: From al-Qaeda to the Islamic State by Lawrence Wright, Knopf (Penguin Random House), US $28.95, Pp 384, August 2016, ISBN 978-0385352055

    Most people believe that though the United States may not be winning the war on Islamic terrorism, it is also not losing it either. Looked at from the viewpoint of Lawrence Wright, that may not be so. In The Terror Years, Wright talks about the America of his younger years and writes that terrorism has …

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  • hillary

    Democratic blueprint for building an America where we are stronger together

      Stronger Together by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Tim Kaine, Simon & Schuster, US $15.99,   Pp 254, September 2016, ISBN 978-1501161735

    In Stronger Together, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton and vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine describe their political agenda. If the number of pages is any indication, they give highest priority to economy. Out of 247 pages, 105 pages are devoted to economy, 51 to security, and 58 to domestic policy. They call it “our blueprint for building an …

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