Posts Categorized: Book Reviews

‘Island of a Thousand Mirrors’

Review by Nadifa Mohamed, ‘The New York Times,’ September 26, 2014 In one of the many startling scenes in “Island of a Thousand Mirrors,” Nayomi Munaweera’s first novel, a Sri Lankan girl riding the train to school is suddenly surrounded by a machete-wielding mob, who demand proof she isn’t Tamil. In her panic, she recites… Read more »

Sri Lanka’s Secrets

by Trevor Grant, Monash University Publishing, Australia Date:  2014.  ISBN: 9781922235534 (paperback). Pages: 220, of which about 90 consist of photographs. Epigraph: The battle against power is the battle of remembering against forgetting (Milan Kundera). With a foreword by Geoffrey Robertson QC As the civil war in Sri Lanka drew to its bloody end in… Read more »

‘Where Serfdom Thrives’

Dear Sir,We are gradually republishing out-of print books about Tamils in Sri Lanka using print-on-demand.The latest one is titled “Where Serfdom Thrives – The Plantation Tamils of Sri Lanka” by Mayan Vije and published in 1987 by the Tamil Information Centre (TIC). [Madras, India : Published by Tamil Information & Research Unit on behalf of… Read more »

‘This Divided Island’

from Atlantic Books: Pages: 336 ISBN: 9780857895950 In the summer of 2009, the leader of the dreaded Tamil Tiger guerrillas was killed, bringing to a bloody end the stubborn and complicated civil war in Sri Lanka. For nearly thirty years, the war’s fingers had reached everywhere: into the bustle of Colombo, the Buddhist monasteries scattered… Read more »

Sri Lanka – Hiding the Elephant

Ramu Manivannan, Ed., Sri Lanka – Hiding the Elephant: Documenting Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity (Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Madras, Chepauk, Chennai – 600 005), pp. 976, Price Rs. 2000/- Book review by Prof. V. Suryanarayan, ‘South Asia Analysis Group,’ August 13, 2014 Paper No. 5765            … Read more »

Hundred Hindu Temples of Sri Lanka

This book is a combined revised reprint of two books by the late Sanmugam Arumugam.  The two books are Ancient Hindu Temples of Sri Lanka, Second Edition 1982, and More Hindu Temples of Sri Lanka, 1991.  These two books have long been out of print. Ancient Hindu Temples describes 52 Temples, including the oldest Hindu… Read more »

“Exorcising the Past and Holding the Vision”

In the context of the strife which has engulfed this country in the last three decades, this book is essential reading. It offers the personal point of view of a man, who was a protagonist in events in the North during a critical stage in the evolution of Sinhala/Tamil relations, events which were accurate precursors of the nightmare to follow 20 years later.

“More than the power it derives from an overwhelming superiority in numbers, what exalts any majority community, and endows it with a true greatness and moral authority, is its willingness to accord to all those other communities who lack the advantage of numbers, a status and dignity equal to its own, and never let them feel marginalized or disadvantaged because they are fewer in number, or because they are different in colour or beliefs.

Buddhism, Conflict and Violence in Modern Sri Lanka

ISBN10: 0–415–35920–1 (Print Edition) ISBN13: 9–78–0–415–35920–7 Entire book at http://www.khamkoo.com/uploads/9/0/0/4/9004485/buddhism_conflict_and_violence_in_modern_sri_lanka.pdf Book review at http://sangam.org/taraki/articles/2006/05-03_Buddhism_Conflict.php?uid=1709 Table of Contents 1 Introduction: Buddhism, conflict and violence 1 MAHINDA DEEGALLE 2 Is the Sri Lankan war a Buddhist fundamentalism? 22 RICHARD GOMBRICH 3 Hindu influences on medieval Sri Lankan Buddhist culture 38 JOHN CLIFFORD HOLT 4 The Theravada analysis of conflicts… Read more »

Sea Change

By IAN MORRIS APRIL 17, 2014 This is the latest in a series of insightful books, like “The Revenge of Geography” and “The Coming Anarchy,” in which Robert D. Kaplan, the chief geopolitical analyst at the global intelligence company Stratfor, tries to explain how geography determines destiny — and what we should be doing about it. “Asia’s… Read more »

Spare the Advice

“The technocratic approach ignores what this book will establish as the real cause of poverty — the unchecked power of the state against poor people without rights,” he writes.

‘Making It to Semany’

There are very few books written in English so far about what happened in the Tamil areas of Sri Lanka during and after the war years.  We are still waiting for ‘The Thin Red Line,’ ‘Slaughterhouse Five’ or ‘Bridge Over the River Kwai’ to be written about this time. In the meantime, the novels are… Read more »

Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in South Asia

Part IV. Sri Lanka

From Postindependence Ethnic Tensions to Insurgency: Sri Lanka’s Many Missed Opportunities – Chalinda D. Weerasinghe
Sri Lanka: Tackling the LTTE – Kumar Rupesinghe

Public Writings on Sri Lanka Vol. II

  Book Review: Public Writings on Sri Lanka– Vol. II By Charles Sarvan Paper No. 5673                       Dated 26-Mar-2014 (CinnamonTeal Publishing – Dogears Print Media Pvt. Ltd. Tel 91-832-2751509 – E mail: contactus /A_T/ cinnamonteal /D_O_T/ in) For quite sometime, Sri Lanka has been in the news for all the wrong reasons with international criticism over… Read more »

Contemporary Global Tamil Poetry

In Our Translated World Contemporary Global Tamil Poetry A review by Richard L. Reinert, PhD Given the political climate and military turmoil that affected the people of Sri Lanka, one would expect that contemporary Tamil poetry to be underscored by sadness. And so it is in many of the selections in this book written by… Read more »

‘In a Time of Burning’

Words imply literacy, knowledge and awareness; words preserve and pass on history; words communicate experience and so create understanding… In this tragic and terrible situation, the creative energy of Tamils also finds expression – testimony or resistance – in Art; more precisely, in fiction, autobiography, poetry, song, painting and film.

Book Review: The Moon in the Water

by Ameena Hussein So there is this hangup of mine. I don’t like reading books that everyone is raving about at the time it comes out. So despite many people telling me I must read this book, I took my time and I am glad I did or else I might feel I was influenced… Read more »

Book Review: KM De Silva

In examining the seeds of separatism in this part, Prof de Silva builds a well-argued case against Tamil’s three basic grievances — university admissions policy, language policy and state sector employment — to conclude they are based on false premises. But the analysis of ‘false premises’ misses the history’s glaring footnote — the kernel of truth in the Tamil argument — that enabled Tamil insurgency to hold out against Sri Lanka’s might for over 25 years. The growth of LTTE was the logical consequence of Sinhala polity’s failure to convince the Tamils of the rationale of its actions. Though his analysis is from a Sinhala rather than Sri Lankan perspective, it gives the majority Sinhala’s reasoning that influenced the country’s political responses to the ethnic question.

Book Review: Malaravan

by Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan, South Asia Analysis Group, Delhi, September 3, 2013 Though some diaries are written with publication in mind, the tendency is to think of them as being private. Ben Bavinck wrote his Sri Lanka diary in Dutch: see, Sarvan, online edition of the Sunday Leader, Colombo, 6 November 2011. It is a dialogue… Read more »

When Counterinsurgency Wins

by Ahmed S. Hashim, University of Pennsylvania Press, May, 2013 280 pages | 6 x 9 | 7 illus. Cloth 2013 | ISBN 978-0-8122-4452-6 | $59.95s | £39.00 | Add to cart Ebook Jul 2013 | ISBN 978-0-8122-0648-7 | $59.95s | £39.00 | About | Add to cart View table of contents “An in-depth, timely, and nuanced study of the… Read more »

Collateral Damage

At the time of the crackdown in East Pakistan, President Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, were trying to establish relations with the People’s Republic of China…Yahya, its military leader, became Nixon’s secret liaison with the Chinese leader Zhou Enlai. Yahya helped lay the groundwork for the visits to China by Kissinger and then Nixon….

With the White House averting its eyes, the largely Muslim Pakistani Army killed at least 300,000 Bengalis, most of them Hindus, and forced 10 million to flee to India. Bass lays out his indictment of the White House: Nixon and Kissinger spurned the cables, written by their own diplomats in Dacca (the capital of East Pakistan), that said West Pakistan was guilty of carrying out widespread massacres. Archer Blood, the counsel general in Dacca, sent an angry cable that detailed the atrocities and used the word “genocide.” The men in the White House, however, not only refused to condemn Yahya — in public or private — but they also declined to withhold American arms, ammunition and spare parts that kept Pakistan’s military machine humming.