Posts Categorized: Book Reviews

Tamil Cinema in the Twenty-First Century

Caste, Gender and Technology by Selvaraj Velayutham & Vijay Devdas (eds.) ISBN 9780367199012 Published December 29, 2020 by Routledge 228 Pages Tamil Cinema in the Twenty-First Century explores the current state of Tamil cinema, one of India’s largest film industries. Since its inception a century ago, Tamil cinema has undergone major transformations, and today it stands… Read more »

‘Our Bodies, Their Battlefields’

War through the lives of women by Christina Lamb, Scribner, September 22, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-5011-9917-2 Kirkus Review, May 4, 2020 A searing, absolutely necessary exposé of the uses of rape in recent wars and of global injustices to the survivors. The chief foreign affairs correspondent for the London Sunday Times shows the horrific effects of the mass… Read more »

Waves Across the South

A New History of Revolution and Empire by Sujit Sivasundaram, August 2020 Sujit Sivasundaram was born and educated in Sri Lanka (in ‘Sinhala medium’ until 1992) and came to Cambridge in 1994 to study engineering and then natural sciences and history and philosophy of science. In 2012 he was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for… Read more »

Autobiography of Kamala Devi Harris

A book review by Sachi Sri Kantha, November 17, 2020 Kamala Harris – The Truths We Hold – An American Journey, Penguin Press, New York, 2019, 318 pp. The back cover blurb for this book states, “An engaging read that provides insights into the influences of [Harris’s] life – most of all, her mother Shyamala… Read more »

‘Sri Lanka: A Victor’s Peace’

2009 to 2019 by Ana Pararajasingham, Monitor Publications, Sydney, Australia, October, 2019 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TZW40y3-Cc In Sri Lanka A Victor’s Peace, Ana Pararajasingham, provides a perspective on events as they unfolded following the end of  Sri Lanka’s  civil war  in May 2009. This book is a collection of articles by the author published between September 2009 and… Read more »

Keenie Meenie: A ‘Deniable’ Arm of Whitehall?

by Channa Wickremesekera, Groundviews, Colombo, May 19, 2020 Book Review – Phil Miller, Keenie Meenie: The British Mercenaries Who got away with War Crimes, (Pluto Press, 2020) Eleven years ago, in May 2009, the Sri Lankan security forces decisively defeated the military forces of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE). The LTTE’s leadership and… Read more »

‘Amnesty’ by Aravind Adiga

by Kirkus Review, New York, November 19, 2019 Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-9821-2724-4 Page Count: 272 Publisher: Scribner Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019 An undocumented immigrant from Sri Lanka tries to elude the forces, legal and otherwise, working to push him out of Australia. Dhananjaya Rajaratnam, the hero of this taut, thrillerlike novel by… Read more »

‘Madras Then, Chennai Now’

A journey through the city’s changing fortunes. http://www.nandithakrishna.in/images/360_Degree_view_of_Changing_City.pdf Review by Timeri N Murari, India Today, April 9, 2014 Madras/Chennai sneaks up on you when least expected. A city long ignored on the tourist routes suddenly materialises in The New York Times’ top destinations at number 26. Who would have imagined that? Two citizens, Nanditha Krishna… Read more »

Keenie Meenie: The British Mercenaries Who Got Away with War Crimes

Book Review by Joe Glenton, ForcesWatch.net, January 29, 2020 That Britain outsources aspects of her habitually violent foreign policy is no revelation. The wars in Afghanistan and Libya, but perhaps most especially Iraq, saw a veritable mercenary gold rush as the unregulated hard men of disaster capitalism, mostly ex-soldiers, flooded into the lawless zones created… Read more »

From SAS to Merciless Mercenaries

A new book tells the story of an elite band of ex-special forces who wreaked havoc around the world. Their calling card? A live grenade in a wine glass by Neil Tweedie, Daily Mail, UK, February 1, 2020 Private military company KMS operated behind the scenes in the 1970s and 80s  It did jobs that would… Read more »

‘The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company’

Book review by Thomas Gidney, London School of Economics Review of Books, January 16, 2020 In The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company, William Dalrymple gives a new character-driven account of the ascent to power of the East India Company following the collapse of the Mughal Empire and the resulting ‘anarchy’ that followed. Tracking the… Read more »

‘The Struggle for a Multilingual Future’

Youth and Education in Sri Lanka by Christina P. Davis, 21 January 2020, Oxford University Press 212 Pages | 10 illus ISBN: 9780190947484 Oxford Studies in the Anthropology of Language Demonstrates the challenges of promoting peace and interethnic tolerance through multilingual language policies in post-civil war Sri Lanka Explores how power inequalities and ethnic conflict… Read more »

Review of ‘Sri Lanka: A Victor’s Peace: 2009 to 2019’

by Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan, Berlin, January 13, 2020 Ana Pararajasingham, Sri Lanka: A Victor’s Peace: 2009 to 2019, Sydney, 2019. Read online at https://bookmate.com/books/cib47ArH What follows is not a review of this collection of thirty-two, very perceptive, essays but a sharing of a few thoughts arising from the book, particularly from its title. The phrase… Read more »

How Perumal Murugan Was Resurrected Through Writing

by Amitava Kumar, The New Yorker, December 12, 2019 Earlier this year, at a literary festival in Jaipur, I met the Tamil writer Perumal Murugan. I had just finished reading his book “Poonachi,” which will be published in the U.S. this month as “The Story of a Goat.” (The translation is by N. Kalyan Raman.)… Read more »

A Graphic Novel that Documents the Horrors of Vanni in Sri Lanka

A decade after the Sri Lankan civil war, a former UN worker revisits the lives of those he left behind on the island through a graphic novel by Amrita Dutta, The Indian Express, November 17, 2019 Drawn on Horror: The spirit of straight-up reportage animates Vanni, rather than complex storytelling. Right top: Benjamin Dix; below:… Read more »

Don’t Forget the Tamil Genocide

Victims of decades of racist pogroms, state violence, and military occupation, the Tamil minority has long fought for liberation in Sri Lanka. We should not ignore their struggle. Book review by Lee Rhiannon, Jacobin Magazine, October 20, 2019 Review of Losing Santhia: Life and Loss in the Struggle for Tamil Eelam, by Ben Hillier (Interventions, 2019)…. Read more »

Review: ‘The Vanni’

by Tamil Guardian, London, October 13, 2019 Former UN staffer Benjamin Dix released his first graphic novel this month, exploring the story of Tamil families trapped in the Vanni in 2009, as the Sri Lankan military launches an ominous offensive that kills tens of thousands civilians. The Vanni, based on interviews that Dix carried out… Read more »