On November 11, 1938, Pearl Buck awoke to learn that she had won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Her first reaction—in Chinese—was “Wo bu xiangxin (我不相信)” or “I don’t believe it.” She added in English: “That’s ridiculous.
Two weeks ago the British Guardian revealed that the Israeli Air-Force has been conducting secret training exercises in preparation for an imminent attack on Iran. As the war drums beats get stronger, one should ask why Iran preoccupies such a large part of Israel’s inner discourse?
The death of Muammar al-Qaddafi and the end of his rule in Libya marks the end of an era. Our untiring colleague in International History, Jeremi Suri, blogs about the historical background.
Ronald P. Dore’s Shinohata brings to life the recent history of rural Japan. Shinohata is a small, wooded village in Tochigi prefecture, part of Japan’s central plain.
Before John Dower’s Embracing Defeat, many English-language accounts of the United States’ occupation of Japan contextualized the event in terms of American foreign policy and the emerging Cold War. Scholars writing from this Western-centric perspective produced much fine scholarship, and no doubt will continue to do so.
Gandhi challenges biographers. The author must confront Gandhi’s prodigious writings, six decades of work as a political activist and social reformer, and importantly, his consecration as “Father of India” and international stature as Mahatma (Great Soul).Perhaps aware of this difficulty, Joseph Lelyveld sets himself a modest goal to “amplify rather than replace the standard narrative” of Gandhi’s life.
We are in the delivery room in Bombay, at midnight on August 14/15, 1947, the moment India and Pakistan are created as independent nations. Two children enter the world simultaneously, one Muslim, one Hindu, and their destinies will be determined by the timing of their birth.
Krishna Kumar’s study of school textbooks in Pakistan and India shows that the discipline of history in South Asia has “come under the strain of nation-building rather more than other subjects.” History teaching in these textbooks seeks to settle political and ideological points and guide children’s responses to present day situations.
In the wake of the recent events in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and elsewhere in the Middle East, many try to predict whether Islam can exist together harmoniously with democracy. In this book, Bayat successfully dismantles the presumptions that constitute this discourse, by stating in the beginning that “the question is not whether Islam is or is not compatible with democracy, or by extension, modernity, but rather under what conditions Muslims can make them compatible.”
Reading this compelling account of the partition of India in 1947, one is moved to ask: What were they thinking? Early accounts of the end of British rule in India concentrate on the high politics of the negotiations between the leaders of the Indian National Congress, the Muslim League, and a succession of Viceroys—ending with the striking and decisive Lord Mountbatten.