history

Unlimited Stars for Alexievich: THE Oral History of Eastern-Block Communism & the Transition to Capitalism

secondhandSecondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexievich
First English Translation
by Bela Shayevich on May 24, 2016
Random House
Source: ARC from Random House via Netgalley
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The magnum opus and latest work from Svetlana Alexievich, the 2015 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature—a symphonic oral history about the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the emergence of a new Russia. In Secondhand Time, Alexievich chronicles the demise of communism. Everyday Russian citizens recount the past thirty years, showing us what life was like during the fall of the Soviet Union and what it’s like to live in the new Russia left in its wake. Through interviews spanning 1991 to 2012, Alexievich takes us behind the propaganda and contrived media accounts, giving us a panoramic portrait of contemporary Russia and Russians who still carry memories of oppression, terror, famine, massacres—but also of pride in their country, hope for the future, and a belief that everyone was working and fighting together to bring about a utopia. Here is an account of life in the aftermath of an idea so powerful it once dominated a third of the world.” Source: Penguin Random House.

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Review

“We sit atop the ruins of socialism like it’s the aftermath of war.”

UNLIMITED STARS.

One of the best books I’ve ever read. THE most personally touching and relevant book I’ve EVER read. A book that penetrates the soul of my being and explains me to myself.
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Love & a Hooker: The Birth of Public Awareness of Toxic Waste in the US – A Review of Love Canal

Llovecanalove Canal: A Toxic History from Colonial Times to the Present by Richard S. Newman
Published on May 2, 2016
Oxford University Press
Source: ARC from Oxford University Press via Netgalley
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“The first book to place Love Canal in a long history of industrialization around Niagara Falls, stretching back to colonial times; Places grassroots environmental protest in a national and global context; Situates Love Canal in a long and complex environmental history its residents altered forever in the 1970s and 1980s; Draws on previously unused archived material and original oral histories” Source: Oxford University Press

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Review

In the spring of 1953, the Niagara Falls School Board thinks itself mighty lucky for scoring the purchase of a site (Love Canal) for a new school for only $1. Ok, so it has been warned that underneath the seemingly idyllic pastoral landscape, a seething 20,000 tons of toxic waste percolates the earth. How this may be relevant, no one (wants) to guess, not even when the foundation of the new school sinks into an oily fetid pit. Undeterred, construction moves a few paces north, and the school opens in 1955. (more…)

Cholera and Cover-Up in Post-Earthquake Haiti – A Forceful Expose of the Politicization of Science 

deadlyriver

Deadly River: Cholera and Cover-Up in Post-Earthquake Haiti by Ralph R. Frerichs
Published on May 3, 2016
Cornell University Press
Source: ARC from Cornell University Press via Netgalley
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“In Deadly River, Ralph R. Frerichs tells the story of the epidemic—of a French disease detective determined to trace its origins so that he could help contain the spread and possibly eliminate the disease—and the political intrigue that has made that effort so difficult. The story involves political maneuvering by powerful organizations such as the United Nations and its peacekeeping troops in Haiti, as well as by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Frerichs explores a quest for scientific truth and dissects a scientific disagreement involving world-renowned cholera experts who find themselves embroiled in intellectual and political turmoil in a poverty-stricken country.” Source: Cornell University Press

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Review

Nine months after the catastrophic January 2010 earthquake that took over 220,000 lives, UN ‘peacekeeping’ troops from Nepal brought cholera to Haiti and unleashed an epidemic that continues to this day. It is estimated that 7% of Haitians now carry the bacteria; over 8000 have died. Yet, the UN denies culpability (although Ban Ki Moon has indicated that he understands the origin of the disease) and continues to fight “the most organized challenge to UN immunity yet” (New York Times). (more…)

History Repeats Itself – New York Exposed Exposes Modern Political Quandaries

nyexposedNew York Exposed: The Police Scandal That Shocked the Nation and Launched the Progressive Era by Daniel Czitrom
Published on April 29, 2016
Oxford University Press
Source: ARC from Oxford University Press via Netgalley
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“A true-crime New York-based historical thriller featuring a colorful cast of turn-of-the-century figures–Tammany bosses, progressive do-gooders, and all the purveyors of vice and corruption;
the first thoroughly researched, thoughtfully written book about the Lexow investigation.” Source: Oxford University Press.

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Review
You know that book that you just picked up that coincidentally seems to address everything that’s been swirling through your head recently, that is somehow connected to everything else you’ve been reading? Of course, it’s no coincidence, there is no such thing – only opportunities to learn, born of interest and active pursuit.

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