Posts Categorized: Book Reviews

Myanmar’s Enemy Within: The Illusion of Diversity and the Spread of Fear

by Francis Wade, August, 2017 Publisher: Zed Books Ltd ISBN: 9781783605279 Number of pages: 304 [Manufacturing the ‘other’ sound like Sri Lanka, anyone? Ed/] Book review from South China Morning Post here. From the Prologue: …These communal fissures weren’t entirely new, but to man outside observers, they were unknowns.  And before a deeper analysis of their causes began… Read more »

‘The Barrier’

by Shankari Chandran Also author of ‘Song of the Sun God’ From the author’s website: The Barrier is a fast-paced literary thriller, set in a world destroyed by a virulent strain of Ebola and religious wars. It is 2040 and the surviving nations have been reorganized into the Western and Eastern Alliance. One side subjugates… Read more »

‘Tamils & the Nation:’ India & Sri Lanka Compared

by Madurika Rasaratnam, Oxford University Press, 352 pages, published August 15, 2016 ISBN 9780190498320 ABSTRACT Why are relations between politically mobilized ethnic identities and the nation-state sometimes peaceful and at other times fraught and violent? This book sets out a novel answer to this key puzzle in world politics through a detailed comparative study of… Read more »

Gunaratne’s Road To Nandikadal

by Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan, ‘Colombo Telegraph,’ January 17, 2017 Book Review – Major General Kamal Gunaratne, Road to Nandikadal: True story of defeating Tamil Tigers, Colombo, 2016. Epigraph: Those who have power in the present, control the story of the past; and those who control the past, shape the future. ~ (Adapted from Orwell’s dystopian novel,… Read more »

Mangala Says Major General’s Book is the Biggest Betrayal to ‘War Heroes’

Mangala Says Major General Kamal Gunaratne’s ‘Road To Nandikadal’ Is The Biggest Betrayal To ‘War Heroes’ by ‘Colombo Telegraph,’ March 18, 2017 Serious misconduct including incidents of violence carried out by the army has been highlighted in Major General Kamal Gunaratne’s ‘Road to Nandikadal’ book, said Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera recently. Mangala Samaraweera “This book basically… Read more »

Buddhism, Politics and the Limits of Law

The Pyrrhic Constitutionalism of Sri Lanka AUTHOR: Benjamin Schonthal, University of Otago, New Zealand DATE PUBLISHED: November 2016 ISBN: 9781107152236 LENGTH: 320 pages Read the introduction at It is widely assumed that a well-designed and well-implemented constitution can help ensure religious harmony in modern states. Yet how correct is this assumption? Drawing on groundbreaking research from… Read more »

Theravada Traditions

Buddhist Ritual Cultures in Contemporary Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka by John Clifford Holt, University of Hawai’i Press 408pp. March 2017 Cloth – Price: $68.00 ISBN: 978-0-8248-6780-5 Theravada Traditions offers a unique comparative approach to understanding Buddhism: it examines popular rituals of central importance in the predominantly Theravada Buddhist cultures of Laos, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia…. Read more »

Tamil: A Biography

HARDCOVER $35.00 • £25.00 • €31.50 ISBN 9780674059924 Publication: September 2016 The Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press Spoken by eighty million people in South Asia and a diaspora that stretches across the globe, Tamil is one of the great world languages, and one of the few ancient languages that survives as a mother… Read more »

Former Diplomat Admits India’s Role in Sri Lankan Communal War

by Vijith Samarasinghe, World Socialist Website, February 10, 2017 A recent book by retired Indian diplomat Shivashankar Menon reveals New Delhi’s backing for the Colombo government during the final stage of the war against separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Menon, a former foreign secretary and national security advisor to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,… Read more »

How the US Helped Destroy LTTE Floating Armories

by P.K. Balachandran, ‘The Indian Express,’ February 10, 2017 Ex-Sri Lankan navy chief Colombage narrates how the US helped destroy LTTE floating armories COLOMBO: Former Sri Lankan navy chief Adm. Jayanath Colombage has, in his recently published book Asymmetric Warfare At Sea: The Case of Sri Lanka, described how the United States helped the Sri Lankan navy destroy the LTTE’s… Read more »

Review of ‘Nothing Ever Dies’

“All wars are fought twice,” he writes, “the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory.” —————– Nothing Ever Dies Read an excerpt from Viet Thanh Nguyen’s new book about Vietnam and the memory of war  By Stephanie Bastek, ‘American Scholar,’ April 12, 2016 The Vietnam War—or, as those on the other side… Read more »

The Enlightened Theology of a Tamil Saivite

by Karthick Ram Manoharan, ‘The Wire,’ India, December 22, 2016 In Religion, Caste and Nation in South India, V. Ravi Vaithees focuses on the works of the Tamil Saivite saint Maraimalai Adigal and explores the religious roots of the Dravidian movement and its impact on the political discourse. This year has been a calamitous one… Read more »

An English Biography on Jayalalitha by Vaasanthi

by Sachi Sri Kantha Book Review: Amma – Jayalalithaa’s Journey from Movie Star to Political Queen, by Vaasanthi, Juggernaut Books, New Delhi, 2016, 175 pages. At last, a short English biography on actress-politician Jayalalitha, the current Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, India, had appeared. The author Vaasanthi, is a noted Tamil woman novelist. Despite the… Read more »

Oral History: ‘Through the Generations’

by Race on the Agenda, London, 2012 In January 2012, Race on the Agenda (ROTA) was awarded a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund to collect oral histories of Sri Lankan Tamils in London. Book available for download at

Noolaham Book Collection

 நூலகம்  Impressive list of books [5579 and growing] and other publications originating from Eelam Tamils. Provides knowledge and information services to ensure free and open access thereby support educational, research and development endeavors related to Sri Lankan Tamil speaking communities. Books [5,579] Magazines [7,421] Newspapers [3,941] Pamphlet [1,880] Project Madurai Electronic versions of ancient… Read more »

Nothing Can Be Done

V. V. Ganeshananthan interviews Anuk Arudpragasam, ‘LA Review of Books,’ October 6, 2016 IN HIS DEBUT NOVEL, The Story of a Brief Marriage, Anuk Arudpragasam achieves something remarkable: he shows us a consciousness reshaped by the possibility of imminent death. How do we inhabit the body when we think we may be leaving it behind?… Read more »

Why International Law Still Matters

Sands allows his extraordinary book to revolve around a simple question: Do we need the crime of genocide? Does the category add anything to the power and effectiveness of crimes against humanity? “The term ‘genocide,’ with its focus on the group,” Sands writes, “tends to heighten a sense of ‘them’ and ‘us,’ burnishes feelings of… Read more »

Making and Unmaking Nations

by Scott Straus, Cornell University Press, 2016 In Making and Unmaking Nations, Scott Straus seeks to explain why and how genocide takes place—and, perhaps more important, how it has been avoided in places where it may have seemed likely or even inevitable. To solve that puzzle, he examines postcolonial Africa, analyzing countries in which genocide… Read more »

Bishop Rayappu Joseph: ‘A Living Hero’

Biography describes the bishop’s efforts to stand up for the rights of the Tamil people by UCA News, Bangkok, September 5, 2016  A biography about the challenges faced by a Catholic bishop who played a major role in assisting Tamil people during Sri Lanka’s civil war was launched Sept. 1. Written by Oblate Father David… Read more »