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1940's - 1990's = Nationalism, Decolonization, & Democratization
by Ruta Sepetys Year Published:
Fifteen-year-old Lina is a Lithuanian girl living an ordinary life -- until Soviet officers invade her home and tear her family apart. Separated from her father and forced onto a crowded train, Lina, her mother, and her young brother make their way to a Siberian work camp, where they are forced to fight for their lives. Lina finds solace in her art, documenting these events by drawing. Risking everything, she imbeds clues in her drawings of their location and secretly passes them along, hoping her drawings will make their way to her father's prison camp. But will strength, love, and hope be enough for Lina and her family to survive? A moving and haunting novel perfect for readers of The Book Thief.
by Mary Fulbrook Year Published:
A single word--"Auschwitz"--is sometimes used to encapsulate the totality of persecution and suffering involved in what we call the Holocaust. Yet focusing on a single concentration camp, however horrific the scale of crimes committed there, leaves an incomplete story, truncates a complex history and obscures the continuing legacies of Nazi crimes. Mary Fulbrook's encompassing book explores the lives of individuals across a full spectrum of suffering and guilt, each one capturing one small part of the greater story. Using "reckoning" in the widest possible sense to evoke how the consequences of violence have expanded almost infinitely through time, from early brutality through programs to euthanize the sick and infirm in the 1930s to the full functioning of the death camps in the early 1940s, and across the post-war decades of selective confrontation with perpetrators and ever-expanding commemoration of victims, Fulbrook exposes the disjuncture between official myths about "dealing with the past" and the extent to which the vast majority of Nazi perpetrators evaded responsibility. In the successor states to the Third Reich -- East Germany, West Germany, and Austria -- prosecution varied widely. Communist East Germany pursued Nazi criminals and handed down severe sentences; West Germany, caught between facing up to the past and seeking to draw a line under it, tended toward selective justice and reintegration of former Nazis; and Austria made nearly no reckoning at all until the mid-1980s, when news broke about Austrian presidential candidate Kurt Waldheim's past. The continuing battle with the legacies of Nazism in the private sphere was often at odds with public remembrance and memorials. Following the various phases of trials and testimonies, from those immediately after the war to those that stretched into the decades following, Reckonings illuminates shifting public attitudes toward both perpetrators and survivors, and recalibrates anew the scales of justice.
by Bernhard Schlink Year Published:
Hailed for its coiled eroticism and the moral claims it makes upon the reader, this mesmerizing novel is a story of love and secrets, horror and compassion, unfolding against the haunted landscape of postwar Germany. When he falls ill on his way home from school, fifteen-year-old Michael Berg is rescued by Hanna, a woman twice his age. In time she becomes his lover—then she inexplicably disappears. When Michael next sees her, he is a young law student, and she is on trial for a hideous crime. As he watches her refuse to defend her innocence, Michael gradually realizes that Hanna may be guarding a secret she considers more shameful than murder.
by Slavomir Rawicz Year Published:
The harrowing true tale of seven escaped Soviet prisoners who desperately marched out of Siberia through China, the Gobi Desert, Tibet, and over the Himalayas to British India. When this novel was first published in 1956 it created a sensation, eagerly consumed by the Cold War era public who were enamored by the tale of an escape from the evil empire of the Soviet Union. Today, there remains much controversy as to whether this account is fact or fiction.
by Blaine Harden Year Published:
In 1946, master sergeant Donald Nichols was repairing jeeps on the sleepy island of Guam when he caught the eye of recruiters from the army's Counter Intelligence Corps. After just three months' training, he was sent to Korea, then a backwater beneath the radar of MacArthur's Pacific Command. Though he lacked the pedigree of most U.S. spies—Nichols was a 7th grade dropout—he quickly metamorphosed from army mechanic to black ops phenomenon. He insinuated himself into the affections of America’s chosen puppet in South Korea, President Syngman Rhee, and became a pivotal player in the Korean War, warning months in advance about the North Korean invasion, breaking enemy codes, and identifying most of the targets destroyed by American bombs in North Korea. But Nichols's triumphs had a dark side. Immersed in a world of torture and beheadings, he became a spymaster with his own secret base, his own covert army, and his own rules. He recruited agents from refugee camps and prisons, sending many to their deaths on reckless missions. His closeness to Rhee meant that he witnessed—and did nothing to stop or even report—the slaughter of tens of thousands of South Korean civilians in anticommunist purges. Nichols’s clandestine reign lasted for an astounding eleven years. In this riveting book, Blaine Harden traces Nichols's unlikely rise and tragic ruin, from his birth in an operatically dysfunctional family in New Jersey to his sordid postwar decline, which began when the U.S. military sacked him in Korea, sent him to an air force psych ward in Florida, and subjected him—against his will—to months of electroshock therapy. But King of Spies is not just the story of one American spy. It is a groundbreaking work of narrative history that—at a time when North Korea is threatening the United States with long-range nuclear missiles—explains the origins of an intractable foreign policy mess.
by Salman Rushdie Year Published:
Saleem Sinai is born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the very moment of India’s independence. Greeted by fireworks displays, cheering crowds, and Prime Minister Nehru himself, Saleem grows up to learn the ominous consequences of this coincidence. His every act is mirrored and magnified in events that sway the course of national affairs; his health and well-being are inextricably bound to those of his nation; his life is inseparable, at times indistinguishable, from the history of his country. Perhaps most remarkable are the telepathic powers linking him with India’s 1,000 other “midnight’s children,” all born in that initial hour and endowed with magical gifts. This novel is at once a fascinating family saga and an astonishing evocation of a vast land and its people–a brilliant incarnation of the universal human comedy. Twenty-five years after its publication, Midnight’ s Children stands apart as both an epochal work of fiction and a brilliant performance by one of the great literary voices of our time.
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Year Published:
With effortless grace, celebrated author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie illuminates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra's impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in southeastern Nigeria during the late 1960s. We experience this tumultuous decade alongside five unforgettable characters: Ugwu, a thirteen-year-old houseboy who works for Odenigbo, a university professor full of revolutionary zeal; Olanna, the professor’s beautiful young mistress who has abandoned her life in Lagos for a dusty town and her lover’s charm; and Richard, a shy young Englishman infatuated with Olanna’s willful twin sister Kainene. Half of a Yellow Sun is a tremendously evocative novel of the promise, hope, and disappointment of the Biafran war.
by Sujatha Gidla Year Published:
The stunning true story of an untouchable family who become teachers, and one, a poet and revolutionary. Like one in six people in India, Sujatha Gidla was born an untouchable. While most untouchables are illiterate, her family was educated by Canadian missionaries in the 1930s, making it possible for Gidla to attend elite schools and move to America at the age of twenty-six. It was only then that she saw how extraordinary―and yet how typical―her family history truly was. Her mother, Manjula, and uncles Satyam and Carey were born in the last days of British colonial rule. They grew up in a world marked by poverty and injustice, but also full of possibility. In the slums where they lived, everyone had a political side, and rallies, agitations, and arrests were commonplace. The Independence movement promised freedom. Yet for untouchables and other poor and working people, little changed. Satyam, the eldest, switched allegiance to the Communist Party. Gidla recounts his incredible transformation from student and labor organizer to famous poet and founder of a left-wing guerrilla movement. And Gidla charts her mother’s battles with caste and women’s oppression. Page by page, Gidla takes us into a complicated, close-knit family as they desperately strive for a decent life and a more just society. A moving portrait of love, hardship, and struggle, Ants Among Elephants is also that rare thing: a personal history of modern India told from the bottom up.
by Rachel Seiffert Year Published:
Early on a grey November morning in 1941, only weeks after the German invasion, a small Ukrainian town is overrun by the SS. This new novel from the award-winning author of the Booker Prize short-listed The Dark Room tells of the three days that follow and the lives that are overturned in the process. Penned in with his fellow Jews, under threat of deportation, Ephraim anxiously awaits word of his two sons, missing since daybreak. Come in search of her lover, to fetch him home again, away from the invaders, Yasia must confront new and harsh truths about those closest to her. Here to avoid a war he considers criminal, German engineer Otto Pohl is faced with an even greater crime unfolding behind the lines, and no one but himself to turn to. And in the midst of it all is Yankel, a boy determined to survive this. But to do so, he must throw in his lot with strangers. As their stories mesh, each of Rachel Seiffert’s characters comes to know the compromises demanded by survival, the oppressive power of fear, and the possibility of courage in the face of terror. Rich with a rare compassion and emotional depth, A Boy in Winter is a story of hope when all is lost and of mercy when the times have none.
by Min Jin Lee Year Published:
Beginning in 1910 during the time of Japanese colonialization and ending many decades later in 1989, Pachinko is the epic saga of a Korean family told over four generations. The family’s story starts with Hoonie, a young Korean man born with physical deformities, but whose destiny comes from his inner strength and kindness. Hoonie’s daughter, rather than bring shame on her family, leaves their homeland for Japan, where her children and grandchildren will be born and raised; yet prejudice against their Korean heritage will prevent them from ever feeling at home. In Pachinko, Min Jin Lee says much about success and suffering, prejudice and tradition, but the novel never bogs down and only becomes richer, like a sauce left simmering hour after hour. Lee’s exceptional story of one family is the story of many of the world’s people. They ask only for the chance to belong somewhere—and to be judged by their hearts and actions rather than by ideas of blood traits and bad seeds.
by Eva Schloss Year Published:
Eva was arrested by the Nazis on her fifteenth birthday and sent to Auschwitz. Her survival depended on endless strokes of luck, her own determination and the love and protection of her mother Fritzi, who was deported with her. When Auschwitz was liberated, Eva and Fritzi began the long journey home. They searched desperately for Eva's father and brother, from whom they had been separated. The news came some months later. Tragically, both men had been killed. Before the war, in Amsterdam, Eva had become friendly with a young girl called Anne Frank. Though their fates were very different, Eva's life was set to be entwined with her friend's for ever more, after her mother Fritzi married Anne's father Otto Frank in 1953. This is a searingly honest account of how an ordinary person survived the Holocaust. Eva's memories and descriptions are heartbreakingly clear, her account brings the horror as close as it can possibly be. But this is also an exploration of what happened next, of Eva's struggle to live with herself after the war and to continue the work of her step-father Otto, ensuring that the legacy of Anne Frank is never forgotten.
by Susan Southard Year Published:A powerful and unflinching account of the enduring impact of nuclear war, told through the stories of those who survived. On August 9, 1945, three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, a small port city on Japan’s southernmost island. An estimated 74,000 people died within the first five months, and another 75,000 were injured. Published on the seventieth anniversary of the bombing, Nagasaki takes readers from the morning of the bombing to the city today, telling the first-hand experiences of five survivors, all of whom were teenagers at the time of the devastation. Susan Southard has spent years interviewing hibakusha (“bomb-affected people”) and researching the physical, emotional, and social challenges of post-atomic life. She weaves together dramatic eyewitness accounts with searing analysis of the policies of censorship and denial that colored much of what was reported about the bombing both in the United States and Japan. A gripping narrative of human resilience, Nagasaki will help shape public discussion and debate over one of the most controversial wartime acts in history. by Blaine Harden Year Published:
In The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot, New York Times bestselling author Blaine Harden tells the riveting story of how Kim Il Sung grabbed power and plunged his country into war against the United States while the youngest fighter pilot in his air force was playing a high-risk game of deception—and escape. As Kim ascended from Soviet puppet to godlike ruler, No Kum Sok noisily pretended to love his Great Leader. That is, until he swiped a Soviet MiG-15 and delivered it to the Americans, not knowing they were offering a $100,000 bounty for the warplane (the equivalent of nearly one million dollars today). The theft—just weeks after the Korean War ended in July 1953—electrified the world and incited Kim’s bloody vengeance. During the Korean War the United States brutally carpet bombed the North, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians and giving the Kim dynasty, as Harden reveals, the fact-based narrative it would use to this day to sell paranoia and hatred of Americans. Drawing on documents from Chinese and Russian archives about the role of Mao and Stalin in Kim’s shadowy rise, as well as from never-before-released U.S. intelligence and interrogation files, Harden gives us a heart-pounding escape adventure and an entirely new way to understand the world’s longest-lasting totalitarian state.
by William I. Hitchcock Year Published:From the ashes of World War II to the conflict over Iraq, William Hitchcock examines the miraculous transformation of Europe from a deeply fractured land to a continent striving for stability, tolerance, democracy, and prosperity. Exploring the role of Cold War politics in Europe’s peace settlement and the half century that followed, Hitchcock reveals how leaders such as Charles de Gaulle, Willy Brandt, and Margaret Thatcher balanced their nations’ interests against the demands of the reigning superpowers, leading to great strides in economic and political unity. He re-creates Europeans’ struggles with their troubling legacy of racial, ethnic, and national antagonism, and shows that while divisions persist, Europe stands on the threshold of changes that may profoundly shape the future of world affairs. by Mirjam Pressler Year Published:This fascinating history of Anne Frank and the family that shaped her is based on a treasure trove of thousands of letters, poems, drawings, postcards, and photos recently discovered by her last surviving close relative, Buddy Elias, and his wife, Gerti. As children, Anne and her cousin Buddy were very close; he affectionately dubbed her “the Rascal” and they visited and corresponded frequently. Years later, Buddy inherited their grandmother’s papers, stored unseen in an attic for decades. These invaluable new materials bring a lost world to life and tell a moving saga of a far-flung but close-knit family divided by unimaginable tragedy. We see Anne’s father surviving the Holocaust and searching for his daughters, finally receiving a wrenching account of their last months. We see the relatives in Switzerland waiting anxiously for news during the war and share their experiences of reunion and grief afterwards—and their astonishment as Anne’s diary becomes a worldwide phenomenon. Anne Frank’s Family is the story of a remarkable Jewish family that will move readers everywhere. by Anne Applebaum Year Published:The Gulag--a vast array of Soviet concentration camps that held millions of political and criminal prisoners--was a system of repression and punishment that terrorized the entire society, embodying the worst tendencies of Soviet communism. In this magisterial and acclaimed history, Anne Applebaum offers the first fully documented portrait of the Gulag, from its origins in the Russian Revolution, through its expansion under Stalin, to its collapse in the era of glasnost. Applebaum intimately re-creates what life was like in the camps and links them to the larger history of the Soviet Union. Immediately recognized as a landmark and long-overdue work of scholarship, Gulag is an essential book for anyone who wishes to understand the history of the twentieth century. by Lijia Zhang Year Published:Lijia Zhang worked as a teenager in a factory producing missiles designed to reach North America, queuing every month to give evidence to the "period police" that she wasn't pregnant. In the oppressive routine of guarded compounds and political meetings, Zhang's disillusionment with "The Glorious Cause" drove her to study English, which strengthened her intellectual independence—from bright, western-style clothes, to organizing the largest demonstration by Nanjing workers in support of the Tiananmen Square protest in 1989. By narrating the changes in her own life, Zhang chronicles the momentous shift in China's economic policy: her factory, still an ICBM manufacturer, won the bid to cast a giant bronze Buddha as the whole country went mad for profit. by Ngugi wa Thiong'o Year Published:
This is a compelling account of the turbulence that inflamed Kenya in the 1950s and its impact on people's lives. Five friends and agemates make different choices when the Mau Mau rebellion erupts in colonial Kenya. Kihika joins the freedom fighters in the forest; Gikonyo supports the rebels, but is arrested and detained; Mumbi, Gikonyo's wife, works to keep family and home together in the village; Karanja chooses to support the more powerful British masters; Mugo ultimately betrays his friends and loses his life in a desperate attempt to stay alive and stay neutral. In this ambitious and densely worked novel, we begin to see early signs of Ngugi's increasing bitterness about the ways in which the politicians, not the fighters or their families, are the true benefactors of the rewards on independence.
by Lisa Zhang Wharton Year Published:"Last Kiss in Tiananmen Square" is a novel based on the 1989 Tiananmen Square Pro-democracy movement. The novel follows a young woman, Baiyun, a junior in college, trying to reconcile her upbringing while in the midst of the rising political movement in Beijing, China. Baiyun grew up in a strange and cold household: her mother, Meiling, brought her many young lovers to their home while Baiyun was a small child. Often, Baiyun could hear her sad father, drunk and listening by the door. In order to cope with her dysfunctional family, Baiyun worked as hard as she could, eventually getting herself in the prestigious Beijing University. But even away from her parent's madness, she was unable to escape her haunting memories. A distraction was right outside her dorm room window. Baiyun joined the Pro-democracy movement to vent her frustrations. While protesting, she met the man of her dreams, Dagong, a handsome and charismatic factory technician who was orphaned at birth and lost his only relative during the Cultural Revolution. But even Dagong couldn't fully take Baiyun away: his face reminded her of one of her mother's lovers, both attracting her and drawing her back. Eventually Baiyun and Dagong were bonded by their troubled pasts. Amidst the backdrop of the escalating unrest on the streets, they faced violence and were eventually made to question their true loyalties, especially after Baiyun had discovered that Dagong was married with a son. "Last Kiss in Tiananmen Square" is a coming-of age story set against the historic and devastating era in Chinese history. With the cultural significance and family bonds of "The Kite Runner", this book explores the way in which one's past is never forgotten. by Michael B. Oren Year Published:Though it lasted for only six tense days in June, the 1967 Arab-Israeli war never really ended. Every crisis that has ripped through this region in the ensuing decades, from the Yom Kippur War of 1973 to the ongoing intifada, is a direct consequence of those six days of fighting. Michael B. Oren’s magnificent Six Days of War, an internationally acclaimed bestseller, is the first comprehensive account of this epoch-making event. Writing with a novelist’s command of narrative and a historian’s grasp of fact and motive, Oren reconstructs both the lightning-fast action on the battlefields and the political shocks that electrified the world. Extraordinary personalities—Moshe Dayan and Gamal Abdul Nasser, Lyndon Johnson and Alexei Kosygin—rose and toppled from power as a result of this war; borders were redrawn; daring strategies brilliantly succeeded or disastrously failed in a matter of hours. And the balance of power changed—in the Middle East and in the world. A towering work of history and an enthralling human narrative, Six Days of War is the most important book on the Middle East conflict to appear in a generation. by Jung Chang Year Published:Blending the intimacy of memoir and the panoramic sweep of eyewitness history, Wild Swans has become a bestselling classic in thirty languages, with more than ten million copies sold. The story of three generations in twentieth-century China, it is an engrossing record of Mao's impact on China, an unusual window on the female experience in the modern world, and an inspiring tale of courage and love. Jung Chang describes the life of her grandmother, a warlord's concubine; her mother's struggles as a young idealistic Communist; and her parents' experience as members of the Communist elite and their ordeal during the Cultural Revolution. Chang was a Red Guard briefly at the age of fourteen, then worked as a peasant, a "barefoot doctor," a steelworker, and an electrician. As the story of each generation unfolds, Chang captures in gripping, moving -- and ultimately uplifting -- detail the cycles of violent drama visited on her own family and millions of others caught in the whirlwind of history. by Nelson Mandela Year Published:The riveting memoirs of the outstanding moral and political leader of our time, LONG WALK TO FREEDOM brilliantly recreates the drama of the experiences that helped shape Nelson Mandela's destiny. From his beginning in the Transkei to his being taken to Robben Island, this is the remarkable story of how a man rose so far, only to be sentenced to life imprisonment. Emotive and compelling, this is the story of an epic life. 'Burns with the luminosity of faith in the invincible nature of human hope and dignity ...Unforgettable' ANDRE BRINK 'Enthralling ...Mandela emulates the few great political leaders such as Lincoln and Gandhi, who go beyond mere consensus and move out ahead of their followers to break new ground' Donald Woods in the SUNDAY TIMES by Marjane Satrapi Year Published:Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjane’s child’s-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love. by Mark Danner Year Published:In December 1981 soldiers of the Salvadoran Army's select, American-trained Atlacatl Battalion entered the village of El Mozote, where they murdered hundreds of men, women, and children, often by decapitation. Although reports of the massacre -- and photographs of its victims -- appeared in the United States, the Reagan administration quickly dismissed them as propaganda. In the end, El Mozote was forgotten. The war in El Salvador continued, with American funding. When Mark Danner's reconstruction of these events first appeared in The New Yorker, it sent shock waves through the news media and the American foreign-policy establishment. Now Danner has expanded his report into a brilliant book, adding new material as well as the actual sources. He has produced a masterpiece of scrupulous investigative journalism that is also a testament to the forgotten victims of a neglected theater of the cold war. by Michael Krupa Year Published:Michael Krupa was born into a poor family in south-west Poland, and in his teens was accepted into a Jesuit seminary. He ran away before taking his final vows and joined the army. Soon afterwards, the German tanks rolled into Poland and easily defeated her antiquated forces - the Polish cavalry were armed with sabres. Krupa survived Hitler's invasion, but was arrested in Soviet-occupied eastern Poland and accused of spying. After enduring torture in Moscow's notorious Lubianka prison, he was sentenced to ten years' corrective labour and deported to the Pechora Gulag. Most prisoners there were worked and starved to death within a year. But Krupa managed again to escape, and in the chaos following the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union made one of the most extraordinary journeys of the war - from Siberia to safety in Afghanistan. Krupa's Jesuit training had given him an inner strength and resilience which enabled him to survive in the face of appalling brutality and cruelty. Luck and the kindness of strangers helped him complete his epic journey to freedom. The story of the suffering inflicted on millions in Stalin's camps has been told before - but Krupa's story is remarkable and unique. by Khaled Hosseini Year Published: Available in the IMCAfter 103 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and with four million copies of The Kite Runner shipped, Khaled Hosseini returns with a beautiful, riveting, and haunting novel that confirms his place as one of the most important literary writers today. Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love. by Arthur Koestler Year Published: Available in the IMC by Anchee Min Year Published:Red Azalea is Anchee Min’s celebrated memoir of growing up in the last years of Mao’s China. As a child, she was asked to publicly humiliate a teacher; at seventeen, she was sent to work at a labor collective. Forbidden to speak, dress, read, write, or love as she pleased, she found a lifeline in a secret love affair with another woman. Miraculously selected for the film version of one of Madame Mao’s political operas, Min’s life changed overnight. Then Chairman Mao suddenly died, taking with him an entire world. A revelatory and disturbing portrait of China, Anchee Min’s memoir is exceptional for its candor, its poignancy, its courage, and for its prose which Newsweek calls "as delicate and evocative as a traditional Chinese brush painting." by Adeline Yen Mah Year Published: Available in the IMCBorn in 1937 in a port city a thousand miles north of Shanghai, Adeline Yen Mah was the youngest child of an affluent Chinese family who enjoyed rare privileges during a time of political and cultural upheaval. But wealth and position could not shield Adeline from a childhood of appalling emotional abuse at the hands of a cruel and manipulative Eurasian stepmother. Determined to survive through her enduring faith in family unity, Adeline struggled for independence as she moved from Hong Kong to England and eventually to the United States to become a physician and writer. A compelling, painful, and ultimately triumphant story of a girl's journey into adulthood, Adeline's story is a testament to the most basic of human needs: acceptance, love, and understanding. With a powerful voice that speaks of the harsh realities of growing up female in a family and society that kept girls in emotional chains, Falling Leaves is a work of heartfelt intimacy and a rare authentic portrait of twentieth-century China. by Maxine Hong Kingston Year Published:Maxine Hong Kingston grew up in two worlds. There was "solid America," the place her parents emigrated to, and the China of her mother's "talk-stories." In talk-stories women were warriors and her mother was still a doctor in China who could cure the sick and scare away ghosts, not a harried and frustrated woman running a stifling laundromat in California. But what is story and what is truth? In China, a ghost is a supernatural being; in America it is anyone who is not Chinese. In addition, underlying even the most exciting talk-stories of Chinese women warriors is the real oppression of Chinese women: "There is a Chinese word for the female 'I' - which is 'slave.' " In an attempt to figure out her world, Maxine Hong Kingston finds herself creating stories of her own, filling in the blanks her mother has not told her because her daughter is, after all, not true Chinese and thus cannot be completely trusted. Can these new stories explain why she had trouble speaking in the American schools? Can they help her understand the aunt who committed adultery and whose existence is denied? The new stories refuse to fall into traditional forms, and the realizations that come from them often bring out a beautiful, passionate anger that practically burns through the pages. This is powerful, experimental writing, a combination of love, hate, frustration, and sheer beauty. by Ji-li Jiang Year Published: Available in the IMCIt's 1966, and twelve-year-old Ji-li Jiang has everything a girl could want: brains, tons of friends, and a bright future in Communist China. But it's also the year that China's leader, Mao Ze-dong, launches the Cultural Revolution—and Ji-li's world begins to fall apart. Over the next few years, people who were once her friends and neighbors turn on her and her family, forcing them to live in constant terror of arrest. When Ji-li's father is finally imprisoned, she faces the most difficult dilemma of her life. This is the true story of one girl's determination to hold her family together during one of the most terrifying eras of the twentieth century. by Haruko Taya Cook & Theodore F. Cook Year Published:Following the release of Clint Eastwood's epic film Letters from Iwo Jima, which was nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture, there has been a renewed fascination and interest in the Japanese perspective on World War II. This pathbreaking work of oral history is the first book ever to capture—in either Japanese or English—the experience of ordinary Japanese people during the war. In a sweeping panorama, Haruko Taya Cook and Theodore F. Cook take us from the Japanese attacks on China in the 1930s to the Japanese home front during the inhuman raids on Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, offering the first glimpses of how the twentieth century's most deadly conflict affected the lives of the Japanese population. The book "seeks out the true feelings of the wartime generation [and] illuminates the contradictions between the official views of the war and living testimony" (Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan). Japan at War is a book to which Americans and Japanese will continue to turn for decades to come. With more than 30,000 copies sold to date, this new paperback edition features an updated cover designed to appeal to a new generation of readers. by Susan Abulhawa Year Published:Forcibly removed from the ancient village of Ein Hod by the newly formed state of Israel in 1948, the Abulhejas are moved into the Jenin refugee camp. There, exiled from his beloved olive groves, the family patriarch languishes of a broken heart, his eldest son fathers a family and falls victim to an Israeli bullet, and his grandchildren struggle against tragedy toward freedom, peace, and home. This is the Palestinian story, told as never before, through four generations of a single family. The very precariousness of existence in the camps quickens life itself. Amal, the patriarch's bright granddaughter, feels this with certainty when she discovers the joys of young friendship and first love and especially when she loses her adored father, who read to her daily as a young girl in the quiet of the early dawn. Through Amal we get the stories of her twin brothers, one who is kidnapped by an Israeli soldier and raised Jewish; the other who sacrifices everything for the Palestinian cause. Amal’s own dramatic story threads between the major Palestinian-Israeli clashes of three decades; it is one of love and loss, of childhood, marriage, and parenthood, and finally of the need to share her history with her daughter, to preserve the greatest love she has. Previously published in a hardcover edition with a limited run under the title The Scar of David, this powerful novel is now available in a fully revised, newly titled paperback edition. The deep and moving humanity of Mornings in Jenin forces us to take a fresh look at one of the defining political conflicts of our lifetimes. by Lawrence Thornton Year Published:Imagining Argentina is set in the dark days of the late 1970's, when thousands of Argentineans disappeared without a trace into the general's prison cells and torture chambers. When Carlos Ruweda's wife is suddenly taken from him, he discovers a magical gift: In waking dreams, he had clear visions of the fates of "the disappeared." But he cannot "imagine" what has happened to his own wife. Driven to near madness, his mind cannot be taken away: imagination, stories, and the mystical secrets of the human spirit. by Bapsi Sidhwa Year Published:The 1947 Partition of India is the backdrop for this powerful novel, narrated by a precocious child who describes the brutal transition with chilling veracity. Young Lenny Sethi is kept out of school because she suffers from polio. She spends her days with Ayah, her beautiful nanny, visiting with the large group of admirers that Ayah draws. It is in the company of these working class characters that Lenny learns about religious differences, religious intolerance, and the blossoming genocidal strife on the eve of Partition. As she matures, Lenny begins to identify the differences between the Hindus, Moslems, and Sikhs engaging in political arguments all around her. Lenny enjoys a happy, privileged life in Lahore, but the kidnapping of her beloved Ayah signals a dramatic change. Soon Lenny’s world erupts in religious, ethnic, and racial violence. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, the domestic drama serves as a microcosm for a profound political upheaval. by Frances Park Year Published:Korea, 1941. The Japanese occupy the country, and two young Koreans grow up in very different worlds. For Sei-Young Shin, a young man born into a poor family in the rural south, it is a time of oppression. The Japanese have issued strict prohibitions against the Korean language, religion, and food. For Heisook Pang, the daughter of a prosperous family from the north, life is easier. But the onset of World War II changes everything: Heisooks privileges are suddenly stripped away, and she is forced to make a daring escape, across the border into the south, where an encounter with Sei-Young changes their lives forever. Based on the real-life stories of the authors parents, To Swim Across the World is a wonderful love story and an intimate vision of a country's terrible, recent past. by Loung Ung Year Published: Available in the IMCOne of seven children of a high-ranking government official, Loung Ung lived a privileged life in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh until the age of five. Then, in April 1975, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge army stormed into the city, forcing Ung's family to flee and, eventually, to disperse. Loung was trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans, her siblings were sent to labor camps, and those who survived the horrors would not be reunited until the Khmer Rouge was destroyed. Harrowing yet hopeful, Loung's powerful story is an unforgettable account of a family shaken and shattered, yet miraculously sustained by courage and love in the face of unspeakable brutality. by Denise Affonço Year Published:A French citizen, Denise Affonço, was brought up in Phnom Penh in Cambodia. When the Khmer Rouge seized power in 1975, she was deported with her family to the countryside, where they endured four years of hard labor, famine, sickness, and death. Affonço’s account of these years is remarkably fresh, having been written immediately after her liberation in 1979. Denise Affonço was a witness at the trial in absentia of Pol Pot and Ieng Sary held in 1979. Ieng Sary is due to be tried by the UN backed tribunal in Cambodia which makes this book especially topical. Denise Affonço lives in Paris but will be touring the USA and Canada to promote her book in March/April 2009. by Duong Thu Huong & Nina McPherson Year Published:Paradise of the Blind is an exquisite portrait of three Vietnamese women struggling to survive in a society where subservience to men is expected and Communist corruption crushes every dream. Through the eyes of Hang, a young woman in her twenties who has grown up amidst the slums and intermittent beauty of Hanoi, we come to know the tragedy of her family as land reform rips apart their village. When her uncle Chinh‘s political loyalties replace family devotion, Hang is torn between her mother‘s appalling self–sacrifice and the bitterness of her aunt who can avenge but not forgive. Only by freeing herself from the past will Hang be able to find dignity –– and a future. by Graham Greene Year Published:
"I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused," Graham Greene's narrator Fowler remarks of Alden Pyle, the eponymous "Quiet American" of what is perhaps the most controversial novel of his career. Pyle is the brash young idealist sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission to Saigon, where the French Army struggles against the Vietminh guerrillas. As young Pyle's well-intentioned policies blunder into bloodshed, Fowler, a seasoned and cynical British reporter, finds it impossible to stand safely aside as an observer. But Fowler's motives for intervening are suspect, both to the police and himself, for Pyle has stolen Fowler's beautiful Vietnamese mistress. Originally published in 1956 and twice adapted to film, The Quiet American remains a terrifiying and prescient portrait of innocence at large. This Graham Greene Centennial Edition includes a new introductory essay by Robert Stone.
by M.J. (Malcolm) Bosse Year Published:The gripping account of a man's southward flight from his Communist-controlled village in northern Viet Nam. by Bobbie Ann Mason Year Published:In the summer of 1984, the war in Vietnam came home to Sam Hughes, whose father was killed there before she was born. The soldier-boy in the picture never changed. In a way that made him dependable. But he seemed so innocent. "Astronauts have been to the moon," she blurted out to the picture. "You missed Watergate. I was in the second grade." She stared at the picture, squinting her eyes, as if she expected it to come to life. But Dwayne had died with his secrets. Emmett was walking around with his. Anyone who survived Vietnam seemed to regard it as something personal and embarrassing. Granddad had said they were embarrassed that they were still alive. "I guess you're not embarrassed," she said to the picture. This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more. by Mario Vargas Llosa (Author) & Edith Grossman (Translator) Year Published:Haunted all her life by feelings of terror and emptiness, forty-nine-year-old Urania Cabral returns to her native Dominican Republic - and finds herself reliving the events of l961, when the capital was still called Trujillo City and one old man terrorized a nation of three million. Rafael Trujillo, the depraved ailing dictator whom Dominicans call the Goat, controls his inner circle with a combination of violence and blackmail. In Trujillo's gaudy palace, treachery and cowardice have become a way of life. But Trujillo's grasp is slipping. There is a conspiracy against him, and a Machiavellian revolution already underway that will have bloody consequences of its own. In this 'masterpiece of Latin American and world literature, and one of the finest political novels ever written' (Bookforum), Mario Vargas Llosa recounts the end of a regime and the birth of a terrible democracy, giving voice to the historical Trujillo and the victims, both innocent and complicit, drawn into his deadly orbit. by Jerzy Kosinski Year Published: Available in the IMCOriginally published in 1965, The Painted Bird established Jerzy Kosinski as a major literary figure. Kosinski's story follows a dark-haired, olive-skinned boy, abandoned by his parents during World War II, as he wanders alone from one village to another, sometimes hounded and tortured, only rarely sheltered and cared for. Through the juxtaposition of adolescence and the most brutal of adult experiences, Kosinski sums up a Bosch-like world of harrowing excess where senseless violence and untempered hatred are the norm. Through sparse prose and vivid imagery, Kosinski's novel is a story of mythic proportion, even more relevant to today's society than it was upon its original publication. by Richard E. Kim Year Published:In this classic tale, Richard Kim paints seven vivid scenes from a boyhood and early adolescence in Korea at the height of the Japanese occupation, 1932 to 1945. Taking its title from the grim fact that the occupiers forced the Koreans to renounce their own names and adopt Japanese names instead, the book follows one Korean family through the Japanese occupation to the surrender of the Japanese empire. Lost Names is at once a loving memory of family and a vivid portrayal of life in a time of anguish. by Yasunari Kawabata Year Published:To this haunting novel of wasted love, Kawabata brings the brushstroke suggestiveness and astonishing grasp of motive that earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature. As he chronicles the affair between a wealthy dilettante and the mountain geisha who gives herself to him without illusions or regrets, one of Japan's greatest writers creates a work that is dense in implication and exalting in its sadness. by Amitav Ghosh Year Published:Opening in Calcutta in the 1960s, Amitav Ghosh's radiant second novel follows two families -- one English, one Bengali -- as their lives intertwine in tragic and comic ways. The narrator, Indian born and English educated, traces events back and forth in time, from the outbreak of World War II to the late twentieth century, through years of Bengali partition and violence, observing the ways in which political events invade private lives. by Anita Desai Year Published:Set in India's Old Delhi, Clear Light of Day is Anita Desai's tender, warm, and compassionate novel about family scars, the ability to forgive and forget, and the trials and tribulations of familial love. At the novel's heart are the moving relationships between the members of the Das family, who have grown apart from each other. Bimla is a dissatisfied but ambitious teacher at a women's college who lives in her childhood home, where she cares for her mentally challenged brother, Baba. Tara is her younger, unambitious, estranged sister, married and with children of her own. Raja is their popular, brilliant, and successful brother. When Tara returns for a visit with Bimla and Baba, old memories and tensions resurface and blend into a domestic drama that is intensely beautiful and leads to profound self-understanding. by Tessa Bridal Year Published:Winner of the Milkweed National Fiction Prize and the Friends of America Writers Award in 1997, this vivid debut, set in Uruguay in the 1960s, charts the toll of political events on a young woman and those close to her, as their democracy is gradually taken over by a military dictatorship. by James Brady Year Published:When Captain Thomas Verity, USMC, is called back to action, he must leave his Georgetown home, career, and young daughter and rush to Korea to monitor Chinese radio transmissions. At first acting in an advisory role, he is abruptly thrust into MacArthur's last daring and disastrous foray-the Chosin Reservoir campaign-and then its desperate retreat. Time magazine at the time recounted the retreat this way: "The running fight of the Marines...was a battle unparalleled in U.S. military history. It had some aspects of Bataan, some of Anzio, some of Dunkirk, some of Valley Forge, and some of 'the retreat of the 10,000' as described in Xenophon's Anabasis." The Marines of Autumn is a stunning, shattering novel of war illuminated only by courage, determination, and Marine Corps discipline. And by love: of soldier for soldier, of men and their women, and of a small girl in Georgetown, whose father promised she would dance with him on the bridges of Paris. A child Captain Tom Verity fears he may never see again. In The Marines of Autumn, James Brady captures our imagination and shocks us into a new understanding of war. by Julia Alvarez Year Published:It is November 25, 1960, and three beautiful sisters have been found near their wrecked Jeep at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The official state newspaper reports their deaths as accidental. It does not mention that a fourth sister lives. Nor does it explain that the sisters were among the leading opponents of Gen. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo’s dictatorship. It doesn’t have to. Everybody knows of Las Mariposas—“The Butterflies.” In this extraordinary novel, the voices of all four sisters—Minerva, Patria, María Teresa, and the survivor, Dedé—speak across the decades to tell their own stories, from hair ribbons and secret crushes to gunrunning and prison torture, and to describe the everyday horrors of life under Trujillo’s rule. Through the art and magic of Julia Alvarez’s imagination, the martyred Butterflies live again in this novel of courage and love, and the human cost of political oppression. by Iris Chang Year Published: Available in the IMCIn December 1937, the Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking. Within weeks, more than 300,000 Chinese civilians and soldiers were systematically raped, tortured, and murdered—a death toll exceeding that of the atomic blasts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. Using extensive interviews with survivors and newly discovered documents, Iris Chang has written the definitive history of this horrifying episode. by Liang Heng & Judith Shapiro Year Published:Liang Heng was born in 1954 in Changsha, a large city in Central China. His parents were intellectuals -- his father a reporter on a major provincial newspaper, his mother a ranking cadre in the local police. This is Liang Heng's own story of growing up in the turmoil of the Great Cultural Revolution. His story is unique, but at the same time it is in many ways typical of those millions of young Chinese who have been tested almost beyond endurance in recent years. In his words we hear an entire generation speaking. by Neil Heims Year Published:Alan Patton's Cry, The Beloved Country, part of Chelsea House Publishers' Bloom's Guides collection, presents concise critical excerpts from Cry, The Beloved Country to provide a scholarly overview of the work. This comprehensive study guide also features "The Story Behind the Story" which details the conditions under which Cry, The Beloved Country was written. This title also includes a short biography on Alan Patton and a descriptive list of characters. by Arundhati Roy Year Published:Set against a background of political turbulence in Kerala, this novel tells the story of twins Esthappen and Rahel. Amongst the vats of banana jam and heaps of peppercorns in their grandmother's factory they try to craft a childhood for themselves amidst what constitutes their family. by Mark Mathabane Year Published:Mark Mathabane was weaned on devastating poverty and schooled in the cruel streets of South Africa's most desperate ghetto, where bloody gang wars and midnight police raids were his rites of passage. Like every other child born in the hopelessness of apartheid, he learned to measure his life in days, not years. Yet Mark Mathabane, armed only with the courage of his family and a hard-won education, raised himself up from the squalor and humiliation to win a scholarship to an American university. This extraordinary memoir of life under apartheid is a triumph of the human spirit over hatred and unspeakable degradation. For Mark Mathabane did what no physically and psychologically battered "Kaffir" from the rat-infested alleys of Alexandra was supposed to do -- he escaped to tell about it. by Li Cunxin Year Published:
At the age of eleven, Li Cunxin was one of the privileged few selected to serve in Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution by studying at the Beijing Dance Academy. Having known bitter poverty in his rural China home, ballet would be his family’s best chance for a better future. From one hardship to another, Cunxin demonstrated perseverance and an appetite for success that led him to be chosen as one of the first two people to leave Mao’s China and go to American to dance on a special cultural exchange. But life in the U.S. was nothing like his communist indoctrination had led him to believe. Ultimately, he defected to the west in a dramatic media storm, and went on to dance with the Houston Ballet for sixteen years. This inspiring story of passion, resilience, and a family’s love captures the harsh reality of life in Mao’s communist China and the exciting world of professional dance. This compelling memoir includes photos documenting Li’s extraordinary life.