Featuring excellent criticism of subjects such as carceral solutions and sex education, this is a vital, compelling...

THE RIGHT TO SEX

FEMINISM IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

Potent, thought-provoking ruminations on feminism as a political movement capable of eradicating the subordination of women.

Responding primarily to situations in the U.S. and the U.K., Srinivasan, a professor of social and political theory at Oxford, presents a series of essays with titles like “Coda: The Politics of Desire,” “On Not Sleeping With Your Students,” and the titular “The Right to Sex,” a version of which first appeared in the London Review of Books. “There is no right to sex,” writes the author early on. “To think otherwise is to think like a rapist.” In “The Conspiracy Against Men,” she continues, “there is no general conspiracy against men. But there is a conspiracy against certain classes of men.” This collection contains a staggering amount of research; the notes and bibliography sections span nearly 100 pages, and each essay contains citations from numerous scholars and writers: Ida B. Wells, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Angela Davis, Ellen Willis, Andrea Long Chu, Audre Lorde, Catharine A. MacKinnon, and dozens more. Srinivasan addresses pornography, delineating its role in anti- and pro-sex feminist debates as well as sharing her experience of asking her undergraduate students if porn bears “responsibility for the objectification of women, for the marginalisation of women, for sexual violence against women.” (Their emphatic answer is yes.) The author twice quotes Robin Morgan’s declaration that “pornography is the theory, and rape the practice.” Of the unilateral injunction to believe women (“a blunt tool”), Srinivasan argues that "when factors other than gender—race, class, religion, immigration, status, sexuality—come into play, it is far from clear to whom we owe a gesture of epistemic solidarity.” Throughout, Srinivasan considers significant, pressing questions: “Can a working-class movement afford not to be anti-racist?” “Where does morality end and moralising begin?” “Whom, exactly…did the sexual revolution set free?”

Featuring excellent criticism of subjects such as carceral solutions and sex education, this is a vital, compelling collection.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-374-24852-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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