Posts Categorized: Book Reviews

Book Review: ‘Wanderers, Kings, Merchants’

Peggy Mohan’s ‘Wanderers, Kings, Merchants’ is about language, land & the people by Pushpinder Syal, The Tribune, Chandigarh, India, June 13, 2021 Peggy Mohan’s book tells a story of language, which is that of a fascinating process of mixing and adaptation through time. Language, in its very existence and evolution, resists the notion of purity,… Read more »

The Origins of the Great Divergence

A review of Peer Vries’ “Escaping poverty” by Branko Milanovic, his personal Substack, July 22, 2021 While the world is witnessing global convergence (essentially the catch up of Asia with the West), the debates  about the origins of the Great Divergence—the take-off of the West and absence of growth in the Rest—are going strong. I… Read more »

Review of ‘A Passage North’ by Anuk Arudpragasam

Long shadows by Nilanjana Roy, Financial Times, London, July 2, 2021 The Sri Lankan writer’s second novel attempts to air the wounds of the country’s civil war and refuses to succumb to collective amnesia It can take just two novels to establish a writer as one of the most individual minds of their generation. Anuk… Read more »

Performing Politics

State Power, Ethnicity and Gender in Sri Lanka by Janet O’Shea, Dance Chronicle, 34:146–151, 2011 Review of Susan A. Reed’s 2009 book “Dance and the Nation: Performance, Ritual, and Politics in Sri Lanka” 288 pp. with DVD. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2009. $29.95 paper. ISBN – 13: 978-0-29923-164-4 Performing Politics O’Shea review 2011 Reed’s… Read more »

‘Tigresses in the Tamil Eelam Struggle’ Review

‘The Orders Were to Rape You: Tigresses in the Tamil Eelam Struggle’ review: Surviving war by Meera Srinivasan, The Hindu, Chennai, India, April 24, 2021 Meena Kandasamy records the gruesome first-person experiences of two women of the Tamil Eelam struggle The picture of a woman with cropped hair, attired in camouflage shirt and trousers, and… Read more »

Rathika Pathmanathan’s Northern Memoir

Light to shed darkness on Southern war-myths by Lanka Associate blog, December 19, 2019 Rathika’s narrative builds through her experiences as a trainee in an LTTE camp, her brief war experiences, and the last days of battle after which she enters military-held ground as a maimed combatant. The spirit that echoes through these words is… Read more »

Home Is Elsewhere

One of Sri Lanka’s most compelling voices plays with ideas of displacement by Shahnaz Habib, OpentheMagazine.com, February 15, 2015 In an airplane from Frankfurt to Colombo, as the seat belt sign flickers alive, warning passengers of turbulence, two men sitting next to each other wonder where they have seen each other before. Sitting in the… Read more »

Evident Truths

American women at war by Nimmi Gowrinathan, Los Angeles Review of Books, April 2, 2021 IN ONE OF CHINUA ACHEBE’s lesser-known short stories, “Girls at War,” an elder government official, Mr. Nwankwo, is shocked when he’s stopped at a checkpoint by Gladys, a young Nigerian woman holding an AK-47. “He simply could not sneer at the girls… Read more »

Karunanidhi: A Life

by A.S. Panneerselvan, Penguin, March 2021 Rather amusing video of a reading of a section of the book on ” Karunanidhi and the Sri Lankan Tamil Issue “ The definitive biography of a fascinating politician In Karunanidhi: A Life, A.S. Panneerselvan tells the story of the man who became a metaphor for modern Tamil Nadu, where… 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 »