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"Imaginative, original--wittily written."--The Washington Post Book WorldTo some, England has long represented tolerance, reason, and political moderation. To others, it is a moribund bastion of snobbery and outdated tradition. In this lively and diverting social history, noted author Ian Buruma, himself the son of Dutch immigrants to England, provides an incisive look at anglophilia--and anglophobia--over the last two centuries.From passionate enthusiasts like Voltaire and Goethe, to exiles like Garibaldi and Herzen, to colorful England-bashers like Napoleon, Marx, and Kaiser Wilhelm II, Anglomania gives a sharply satirical account of Europe's sometimes comical, sometimes deadly prejudices, and explains why England's individuality and her relationship with Europe is still vitally important as we enter the twenty-first century.
El asesinato del cineasta Theo van Gogh, el 2 de noviembre de 2004, supuso un terremoto para la sociedad holandesa. Su crimen había sido filmar una película documental con Ayaan Hirsi Ali, diputada holandesa de origen somalí y una de las principales críticas del islam, sobre todo en lo relacionado a la cuestión de la mujer. Junto al cadáver de Van Gogh parecía agonizar el sueño holandés, y por extensión europeo, de una sociedad multicultural capaz de absorber a los inmigrantes que acuden en busca de una vida mejor. El prestigioso escritor e intelectual angloholandés Ian Buruma toma este asesinato como punto de partida para una vibrante obra, mitad reportaje mitad ensayo, en la que se enfrenta con las medias verdades, los cinismos, los problemas y las vanas esperanzas de Europa ante las nuevas migraciones, y qué mejor país para hacerlo que Holanda, en el que el 45 por ciento de los habitantes son de origen extranjero y cuyas políticas de integración y multiculturalismo eran vistas como un modelo. «Un reportaje puede ser una obra de arte, si su autor escribe con elegancia y eficacia, documenta con rigor sus informaciones y las organiza con la precisión y la astucia de un buen novelista. Es lo que ha hecho Ian Buruma en Asesinato en Amsterdam, un libro que se lee como una novela de suspenso aunque en él no haya fantasía y sí historia viva, y hunda sus raíces en la más candente actualidad.» MARIO VARGAS LLOSA, El País
'Ian Buruma is a man to read with interest, profit and care . . . He succeeds triumphantly in demonstrating that 'the Chinese . . . are not utterly unlike us, whoever we may be, and that freedom from torture, persecution, and spiritual and intellectual coercion is a common desire among all human beings and not merely a Western notion'. ' Chris Patten The TimesIn Bad Elements, Ian Buruma goes behind conventional news stories of economic growth, megacities and the Olympic Games, to see today's China though the stories of its dissidents: ordinary, brave people who oppose a regime that uses repression in the name of social order. He travels through the US, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the People's Republic, to tell the stories of the rebels who dare to stand up to their rulers. From the exiles of Tiananmen to hidden Christians of rural China, he brings alive the human dimension to their struggles and reveals the world's most secretive superpower through the eyes of it opponents. Panoramic and intimate, disturbing and inspiring, Bad Elements is a profound meditation on the themes of national identity and political struggle. It is a relevant and timely account of China at street level. 'The tales of courage, sacrifice and integrity in Buruma's book are inspiring. He has done an excellent job of tracking down former Chinese dissidents, not only those from Tiananmen Square but other rebels who have suffered persecution in Taiwan and Singapore. ' Nick Rufford, Sunday Times'China is on the move, Ian Buruma is a leading writer on Asia, and his is an important book . . . A pungent book about the lack of democracy in Asia. ' George Walden, Sunday Telegraph'A judicious, sparkling readable book. ' Terry Eagleton, Irish Times
Rudolf Hoess was the notorious Commandant of Auschwitz. Imprisoned and awaiting execution after the war, Hoess wrote a long memoir, a self- serving account of his life and approaches to management. The amoral sensibility Hoess displayed regarding all that went on in the charnal factory where the industrialization of death was practiced--where probably 3 million people were literally worked to death, shot or quickly gassed--is still almost beyond belief today. Jurg Amann has taken Hoess' text and produced a work imaginatively new, always using Hoess' own words; The Commandant is a book Hoess would certainly not have approved--an excruciating insight into Hitler's Final Solution and the nature of evil itself through the prism of the Nazis' totalitarian system, one Hoess and so many others felt no requirement to question. Ian Buruma's introduction sets this frightening work within a both moral and historical context.
"I like the surprise of the curtain going up, revealing what's behind it." -John Schlesinger. The British director John Schlesinger was one of the cinema's most dynamic and influential artists. Now, in Conversations with John Schlesinger, acclaimed writer Ian Buruma, Schlesinger's nephew, reveals the director's private world in a series of in-depth interviews conducted in the later years of the director's life. Here they discuss the impact of Schlesinger's personal life on his art. As his films so readily demonstrate, Schlesinger is a wonderful storyteller, and he serves up fascinating and provocative recollections of growing up in a Jewish family during World War II, his sexual coming-of-age as a gay man in conformist 1950s England, his emergence as an artist in the "Swinging 60s," and the roller-coaster ride of his career as one of the most prominent Hollywood directors of his time. Schlesinger also discusses his artistic philosophy and approach to filmmaking, recounting stories from the sets of his masterpieces, including Midnight Cowboy; Sunday, Bloody Sunday; Marathon Man; and The Day of the Locust. He shares what it was like to direct such stars as Dustin Hoffman, John Voight, Sean Penn, Madonna, and Julie Christie (whom Schlesinger is credited with discovering) and offers his thoughts on the fickle nature of fame and success in Hollywood. Packed with wit and keen insight into the artistic mind, Conversations with John Schlesinger is not just the candid story of a dynamic and eventful life but the true measure of an extraordinary person.
In a single short book as elegant as it is wise, Ian Buruma makes sense of the most fateful span of Japan's history, the period that saw as dramatic a transformation as any country has ever known. In the course of little more than a hundred years from the day Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in his black ships, this insular, preindustrial realm mutated into an expansive military dictatorship that essentially supplanted the British, French, Dutch, and American empires in Asia before plunging to utter ruin, eventually emerging under American tutelage as a pseudo-Western-style democracy and economic dynamo.What explains the seismic changes that thrust this small island nation so violently onto the world stage? In part, Ian Buruma argues, the story is one of a newly united nation that felt it must play catch-up to the established Western powers, just as Germany and Italy did, a process that involved, in addition to outward colonial expansion, internal cultural consolidation and the manufacturing of a shared heritage. But Japan has always been both particularly open to the importation of good ideas and particularly prickly about keeping their influence quarantined, a bipolar disorder that would have dramatic consequences and that continues to this day. If one book is to be read in order to understand why the Japanese seem so impossibly strange to many Americans, Inventing Japan is surely it.From the Hardcover edition.
From Naipaul's India to the last days of Hong Kong, and from the ghosts of Pearl Harbor to Benazir Bhutto, Buruma delivers an engaging and incisive look at the ways East and West understand-and misunderstand-each other. At home in both worlds, Buruma traverses the realms of journalism, literary criticism, and political analysis, to examine the dialogue of fact and fantasy that affects our perception of far-away lands. Whether deconstructing the films of Satyajit Ray or the novels of Yoshimoto Banana, Buruma offers a splendid counterbalance to fashionable theories of clashing civilizations and uniquely Asian values. In twenty-five illuminating, often humorous essays, The Missionary and the Libertine shows us why Buruma's reputation for writing the most compelling commentary on the faultlines of the East-West divide is so secure.
It was the emblematic crime of our moment: On a cold November day in Amsterdam, an angry young Muslim man, Mohammed Bouyeri, the son of Moroccan immigrants, shot and killed the celebrated and controversial Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, great-grandnephew of Vincent and iconic European provocateur, for making a movie with the vocally anti-Islam Somali-born Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali that blasphemed Islam. After Bouyeri shot van Gogh, he calmly stood over the body and cut his throat with a curved machete, as if performing a ritual sacrifice, which in a very real sense he was. The murder horrified quiet, complacent, prosperous Holland, a country that prides itself on being a bastion of tolerance, and sent shock waves across Europe and around the world. Shortly thereafter, Ian Buruma returned to his native country to try to make sense of it all and to see what larger meaning should and shouldn't be drawn from this story. The result is Buruma's masterpiece: a book with the intimacy and narrative control of a true-crime page-turner and the intellectual resonance we've come to expect from one of the most well-regarded journalists and thinkers of our time. Ian Buruma's entire life has led him to this narrative: In his hands, it is the exemplary tale of our age, the story of what happens when political Islam collides with the secular West and tolerance finds its limits.
IAN BURUMA RETURNS TO HIS NATIVE LAND TO EXPLORE, THROUGH THE STORY OF THE MURDER OF A FAMOUS FILMMAKER AT THE HANDS OF AN ISLAMIC EXTREMIST, THE GREAT DILEMMA OF OUR TIME IT WAS THE EMBLEMATIC CRIME of our moment: On a cold November day in Amsterdam, an angry young Muslim man, Mohammed Bouyeri, the son of Moroccan immigrants, shot and killed the celebrated and controversial Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, great-grandnephew of Vincent and iconic European provocateur, for making a movie with the Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali that "insulted the prophet Mohammed." After Bouyeri shot Van Gogh, he calmly stood over the body and cut his throat with a curved machete, as if performing a ritual sacrifice, which in a very real sense he was. The murder horrified quiet, complacent, prosperous Holland, a country that prides itself on being a bastion of tolerance, and sent shock waves across Europe and around the world. Shortly thereafter, Ian Buruma returned to the country of his childhood to investigate the event and its larger meaning. The result is his masterpiece: a book with the intimacy and narrative control of a crime novel and the analytical brilliance for which Buruma is renowned. Ian Buruma's entire life's work has led him to this story. the tale of what happens when political Islam collides with the secular West, and tolerance finds its limits.
For the past fifty years, The New York Review of Books has covered virtually every international revolution and movement of consequence by dispatching the world's most brilliant writers to write eyewitness accounts. The New York Review Abroad not only brings together twenty-eight of the most riveting of these pieces but includes epilogues that update and reassess the political situation (by either the original authors or by Ian Buruma). Among the pieces included are: * Susan Sontag's personal narrative of staging Waiting for Godot in war-torn Sarajevo * Alma Guillermoprieto's report from inside Colombia's guerrilla headquarters and her disturbing encounter with young female fighters * Ryszard Kapuscinski's terrifying description of being set on fire while running roadblocks in Nigeria * Caroline Blackwood's coverage of the 1979 gravediggers' strike in Liverpool--a noir mini-masterpiece * Timothy Garton Ash's minute-by-minute account from the Magic Lantern theater in Prague in 1989, where the subterranean stage, auditorium, foyers, and dressing rooms had become the headquarters of the revolution Among other writers whose New York Review pieces will be included are Tim Judah, Amos Elon, Joan Didion, William Shawcross, Christopher de Bellaigue, and Mark Danner. A tour de force of vivid and enlightening writing from the front lines, this volume is indeed the first rough draft of the history of the past fifty years.
Twenty-five years ago, Edward Said's Orientalism spawned a generation of scholarship on the denigrating and dangerous mirage of "the East" in the Western colonial mind. But "the West" is the more dangerous mirage of our own time, Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit argue, and the idea of "the West" in the minds of its self-proclaimed enemies remains largely unexamined and woefully misunderstood. Occidentalism is their groundbreaking investigation of the demonizing fantasies and stereotypes about the Western world that fuel such hatred in the hearts of others. We generally understand "radical Islam" as a purely Islamic phenomenon, but Buruma and Margalit show that while the Islamic part of radical Islam certainly is, the radical part owes a primary debt of inheritance to the West. Whatever else they are, al Qaeda and its ilk are revolutionary anti-Western political movements, and Buruma and Margalit show us that the bogeyman of the West who stalks their thinking is the same one who has haunted the thoughts of many other revolutionary groups, going back to the early nineteenth century. In this genealogy of the components of the anti-Western worldview, the same oppositions appear again and again: the heroic revolutionary versus the timid, soft bourgeois; the rootless, deracinated cosmopolitan living in the Western city, cut off from the roots of a spiritually healthy society; the sterile Western mind, all reason and no soul; the machine society, controlled from the center by a cabal of insiders--often Jews--pulling the hidden levers of power versus an organically knit-together one, a society of "blood and soil." The anti-Western virus has found a ready host in the Islamic world for a number of legitimate reasons, they argue, but in no way does that make it an exclusively Islamic matter. A work of extraordinary range and erudition, Occidentalism will permanently enlarge our collective frame of vision
For eight years the president of the United States was a born-again Christian, backed by well-organized evangelicals who often seemed intent on erasing the church-state divide. In Europe, the increasing number of radicalized Muslims is creating widespread fear that Islam is undermining Western-style liberal democracy. And even in polytheistic Asia, the development of democracy has been hindered in some countries, particularly China, by a long history in which religion was tightly linked to the state. Ian Buruma is the first writer to provide a sharp-eyed look at the tensions between religion and politics on three continents. Drawing on many contemporary and historical examples, he argues that the violent passions inspired by religion must be tamed in order to make democracy work. Comparing the United States and Europe, Buruma asks why so many Americans--and so few Europeans--see religion as a help to democracy. Turning to China and Japan, he disputes the notion that only monotheistic religions pose problems for secular politics. Finally, he reconsiders the story of radical Islam in contemporary Europe, from the case of Salman Rushdie to the murder of Theo van Gogh. Sparing no one, Buruma exposes the follies of the current culture war between defenders of "Western values" and "multiculturalists," and explains that the creation of a democratic European Islam is not only possible, but necessary. Presenting a challenge to dogmatic believers and dogmatic secularists alike,Taming the Godspowerfully argues that religion and democracy can be compatible--but only if religious and secular authorities are kept firmly apart.
Ian Buruma is fascinated, he writes, "by what makes the human species behave atrociously." In Theater of Cruelty the acclaimed author of The Wages of Guilt and Year Zero: A History of 1945 once again turns to World War II to explore that question--to the Nazi occupation of Paris, the Allied bombing of German cities, the international controversies over Anne Frank's diaries, Japan's militarist intellectuals and its kamikaze pilots. One way that people respond to power and cruelty, Buruma argues, is through art, and the art that most interests him reveals the dark impulses beneath the veneer of civilized behavior. This is what draws him to German and Japanese artists such as Max Beckmann, George Grosz, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Mishima Yukio, and Yokoo Tadanori, as well as to filmmakers such as Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Kurosawa Kiyoshi, and Hans-Jürgen Syberberg. All were affected by fascism and its terrible consequences; all "looked into the abyss and made art of what they saw."Whether he is writing in this wide-ranging collection about war, artists, or film--or about David Bowie's music, R. Crumb's drawings, the Palestinians of the West Bank, or Asian theme parks--Ian Buruma brings sympathetic historical insight and shrewd aesthetic judgment to understanding the diverse ways that people deal with violence and cruelty in life and in art.Theater of Cruelty includes eight pages of color and black & white images.
During the almost six years England was at war with Nazi Germany, Winifred and Bernard Schlesinger, Ian Buruma's grandparents, and the film director John Schlesinger's parents, were, like so many others, thoroughly sundered from each other. Their only recourse was to write letters back and forth. And write they did, often every day. In a way they were just picking up where they left off in 1918, at the end of their first long separation because of the Great War that swept Bernard away to some of Europe's bloodiest battlefields. The thousands of letters between them were part of an inheritance that ultimately came into the hands of their grandson, Ian Buruma. Now, in a labor of love that is also a powerful act of artistic creation, Ian Buruma has woven his own voice in with theirs to provide the context and counterpoint necessary to bring to life, not just a remarkable marriage, but a class, and an age.
In this now classic book, internationally famed journalist Ian Buruma examines how Germany and Japan have attempted to come to terms with their conduct during World War II--a war that they aggressively began and humiliatingly lost, and in the course of which they committed monstrous war crimes. As he travels through both countries, to Berlin and Tokyo, Hiroshima and Auschwitz, he encounters people who are remarkably honest in confronting the past and others who astonish by their evasions of responsibility, some who wish to forget the past and others who wish to use it as a warning against the resurgence of militarism. Buruma explores these contrasting responses to the war and the two countries' very different ways of memorializing its atrocities, as well as the ways in which political movements, government policies, literature, and art have been shaped by its shadow. Today, seventy years after the end of the war, he finds that while the Germans have for the most part coped with the darkest period of their history, the Japanese remain haunted by historical controversies that should have been resolved long ago. Sensitive yet unsparing, complex and unsettling, this is a profound study of how people face up to or deny terrible legacies of guilt and shame.
A marvelous global history of the pivotal year 1945 as a new world emerged from the ruins of World War IIYear Zero is a landmark reckoning with the great drama that ensued after war came to an end in 1945. One world had ended and a new, uncertain one was beginning. Regime change had come on a global scale: across Asia (including China, Korea, Indochina, and the Philippines, and of course Japan) and all of continental Europe. Out of the often vicious power struggles that ensued emerged the modern world as we know it.In human terms, the scale of transformation is almost impossible to imagine. Great cities around the world lay in ruins, their populations decimated, displaced, starving. Harsh revenge was meted out on a wide scale, and the ground was laid for much horror to come. At the same time, in the wake of unspeakable loss, the euphoria of the liberated was extraordinary, and the revelry unprecedented. The postwar years gave rise to the European welfare state, the United Nations, decolonization, Japanese pacifism, and the European Union. Social, cultural, and political "reeducation" was imposed on vanquished by victors on a scale that also had no historical precedent. Much that was done was ill advised, but in hindsight, as Ian Buruma shows us, these efforts were in fact relatively enlightened, humane, and effective.A poignant grace note throughout this history is Buruma's own father's story. Seized by the Nazis during the occupation of Holland, he spent much of the war in Berlin as a laborer, and by war's end was literally hiding in the rubble of a flattened city, having barely managed to survive starvation rations, Allied bombing, and Soviet shock troops when the end came. His journey home and attempted reentry into "normalcy" stand in many ways for his generation's experience.A work of enormous range and stirring human drama, conjuring both the Asian and European theaters with equal fluency, Year Zero is a book that Ian Buruma is perhaps uniquely positioned to write. It is surely his masterpiece.
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