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We live in a new reality of aid. Gone is the traditional bilateral relationship, the old-fashioned mode of delivering aid, and the perception of the third world as a homogenous block of poor countries in the south. Delivering Aid Differently describes the new realities of a $200 billion aid industry that has overtaken this traditional model of development assistance.As the title suggests, aid must now be delivered differently. Here, case study authors consider the results of aid in their own countries, highlighting field-based lessons on how aid works on the ground, while focusing on problems in current aid delivery and on promising approaches to resolving these problems.Contributors include Cut Dian Agustina (World Bank), Getnet Alemu (College of Development Studies, Addis Ababa University), Rustam Aminjanov (NAMO Consulting), Ek Chanboreth and Sok Hach (Economic Institute of Cambodia), Firuz Kataev and Matin Kholmatov (NAMO Consulting), Johannes F. Linn (Wolfensohn Center for Development at Brookings), Abdul Malik (World Bank, South Asia), Harry Masyrafah and Jock M. J. A. McKeon (World Bank, Aceh), Francis M. Mwega (Department of Economics, University of Nairobi), Rebecca Winthrop (Center for Universal Education at Brookings), Ahmad Zaki Fahmi (World Bank)
Scott Foresman Science ( 2003) components for Grade 4.
Approaching an uncertain future without Fidel Castro, and still reeling from a downturn at the end of the cold war, Cuba must act decisively to improve its economy and living conditions. One of the major challenges facing the impoverished island nation is securing access to energy resources that are sufficient to meet the needs of its revitalization and development goals. What steps can Cuba take to achieve both short- and long-term energy sustainability and self-sufficiency? In this timely analysis, Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado and his colleagues answer that question. Cuba's Energy Future sets the geostrategic context within which Cuba is operating. The book provides an overview of the evolving relations among Caribbean states and explains why Cuba and its longtime nemesis the United States should look for ways to cooperate on developing energy resources. The possible role of oil companies is explored, as is Cuba's energy relationship with Hugo Chavez's Venezuela.The second section of Cuba's Energy Future features economic and technical appraisals, economic projections, and trends affecting Cuba's energy needs, including oil and natural gas potential, the country's antiquated electric power sector, and the role of biofuels such as sugarcane ethanol. The concluding section focuses on the conditions necessary for, and the mutual benefits of, greater cooperative engagement with the United States.Contributors: Juan A. B. Belt (Chemonics International, formerly USAID), Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado (University of Nebraska-Omaha and University of Georgia), Amy Myers Jaffe (Rice University), Jorge R. Piñón (Florida International University), Ronald Soligo (Rice University).
Al Qaeda is the most dangerous terrorist movement in history. Yet most people in the West know very little about it, or their view is clouded by misperceptions and half truths. This widely acclaimed book fills this gap with a comprehensive analysis of al Qaeda-the origins, leadership, ideology, and strategy of the terrorist network that brought down the Twin Towers and continues to threaten us today.Bruce Riedel draws on decades of insider experience-he was actually in the White House during the September 11 attacks-in profiling the four most important figures in the al Qaeda movement: Usama bin Laden, ideologue and spokesman Ayman Zawahiri, former leader of al Qaeda in Iraq Abu Musaib al Zarqawi (killed in 2006), and Mullah Omar, its Taliban host. These profiles provide the base from which Riedel delivers a much clearer understanding of al Qaeda and its goals, as well as what must be done to counter and defeat this most dangerous menace.
As the average age of the population continues to rise in industrialized nations, the fiscal impacts of aging demand ever-closer attention. Closing the Deficit examines one oft-discussed approach to the issue-encouraging people to work longer than they now do.Workers would spend more years paying taxes and fewer years drawing pension and health benefits. But how much difference to spending and revenues would longer working lives make? What steps could be taken to make longer working lives attractive? And what would happen to older Americans not in a position to prolong their work lives? Leading scholars examine these issues in Closing the Deficit, edited by Brookings economists Gary Burtless and Henry Aaron.
Economic growth and burgeoning populations have put South Asia's energy security in a perilous state. Already energy and power shortages are stunting development in some of the region's least developed locations spurring political insurgences and social dislocation. Should this trend continue, Ebinger argues the Subcontinent will face dire economic, social and political crises. In Energy and Security in South Asia, Brookings ESI director Charles Ebinger, a long-time adviser to South Asian governments, lays out the current regional energy picture arguing that the only way to achieve sustainable energy security is through regional collaboration both within the subcontinent as well as with regional neighbors in the Middle East and Central and Southeast Asia,Dr. Ebinger commences by illustrating the present-day energy environment in each nation as well as the obstacles governments confront in addressing them. Among the issues examined are: (1) the technical strains that near double-digit economic growth are putting on India's dilapidated power infrastructure, (2) the economic costs the country is incurring by increasing reliance on the Middle East for oil and gas resources; (3) the prospects for expanded wind, solar, energy efficiency and nuclear power generation in India to help reduce the nation's growing carbon footprint as it accelerates the use of coal; (4) the implications of Pakistan's expanded use of coal; (5) an analysis of how poor energy pricing systems are bringing about an energy shortage throughout the region (6) an examination of how strains in Indo/Bengali relations threaten the construction of vital regional energy infrastructure projects; (7) a discussion of how continued political upheaval in Nepal is causing power shortages of up to 20 hours per day; and (8), an analysis of how hydropower development is fuelling Bhutan's "Gross National Happiness" campaign. In addition to individual domestic concerns, each nation shares a crisis whereby hundreds of millions on the Subcontinent lack access to electricity and burn inefficient resources such as fuel wood and biomass for lighting, heating, and cooking, thus contributing sizeable carbon emissions.The looming Indian Subcontinent energy crisis will force more than half a billion people - and counting-from emerging from dire poverty, thus potentially sparking domestic and regional instability in an already treacherous area.
India's growing affluence has led experts to predict a major rearmament effort. The second-most populous nation in the world is beginning to wield the economic power expected of such a behemoth. Its border with Pakistan is a tinderbox, the subcontinent remains vulnerable to religious extremism, and a military rivalry between India and China could erupt in the future. India has long had the motivation for modernizing its military-it now has the resources as well. What should we expect to see in the future, and what will be the likely ramifications? In Arming without Aiming, Stephen Cohen and Sunil Dasgupta answer those crucial questions.India's armed forces want new weapons worth more than $100 billion. But most of these weapons must come from foreign suppliers due to the failures of India's indigenous research and development. Weapons suppliers from other nations are queuing up in New Delhi. A long relationship between India and Russian manufacturers goes back to the cold war. More recently, India and Israel have developed strong military trade ties. Now, a new military relationship with the United States has generated the greatest hope for military transformation in India.Against this backdrop of new affluence and newfound access to foreign military technology, Cohen and Dasgupta investigate India's military modernization to find haphazard military change that lacks political direction, suffers from balkanization of military organization and doctrine, remains limited by narrow prospective planning, and is driven by the pursuit of technology free from military-strategic objectives. The character of military change in India, especially the dysfunction in the political-military establishment with regard to procurement, is ultimately the result of a historical doctrine of strategic restraint in place since Nehru. In that context, its approach of arming without strategic purpose remains viable as India seeks great-power accommodation of its rise and does not want to look threatening. The danger lies in its modernization efforts precipitating a period of strategic assertion or contributing to misperception of India's intentions by Pakistan and China, its two most immediate rivals.
Information technology has dramatically changed our lives in areas ranging from commerce and entertainment to voting. Now, policy advocates and government officials hope to bring the benefits of enhanced information technology to health care. Already, consumers can access a tremendous amount of medical information online. Some physicians encourage patients to use email or web messaging to manage simple medical issues. Increasingly, health care products can be purchased electronically.Yet the promise of e-health remains largely unfulfilled. Digital Medicine investigates the factors limiting digital technology's ability to remake health care. It explores the political, social, and ethical challenges presented by online health care, as well as the impact that racial, ethnic, and other disparities are having on the e-health revolution. It examines the accessibility of health-related websites for different populations and asks how we can close access gaps and ensure the reliability and trustworthiness of the information presented online.Darrell West and Edward Miller use multiple sources, including original survey research and website analysis, to study the content, sponsorship status, and public usage of health care-related websites, as well as the relationship between e-health utilization and attitudes about health care in the United States. They also explore the use of health information technology in other countries. The result is an important contribution to our understanding of health information innovation in America and around the world.
Collaborative democracy-government with the people-is a new vision of governance in the digital age. Wiki Government explains how to translate the vision into reality. Beth Simone Noveck draws on her experience in creating Peer-to-Patent, the federal government's first social networking initiative, to show how technology can connect the expertise of the many to the power of the few. In the process, she reveals what it takes to innovate in government.Launched in 2007, Peer-to-Patent connects patent examiners to volunteer scientists and technologists via the web. These dedicated but overtaxed officials decide which of the million-plus patent applications currently in the pipeline to approve. Their decisions help determine which start-up pioneers a new industry and which disappears without a trace. Patent examiners have traditionally worked in secret, cut off from essential information and racing against the clock to rule on lengthy, technical claims. Peer-to-Patent broke this mold by creating online networks of self-selecting citizen experts and channeling their knowledge and enthusiasm into forms that patent examiners can easily use.Peer-to-Patent shows how policymakers can improve decisionmaking by harnessing networks to public institutions. By encouraging, coordinating, and structuring citizen participation, technology can make government both more open and more effective at solving today's complex social and economic problems. Wiki Government describes how this model can be applied in a wide variety of settings and offers a fundamental rethinking of effective governance and democratic legitimacy for the twenty-first century.
Nobody knows more about the duties, the difficulties, and the strategies of staffing and working in the White House than Brad Patterson. In To Serve the President, Patterson combines insider access, decades of Washington experience, and an inimitable style to open a window onto closely guarded Oval Office turf. The fascinating and entertaining result is the most complete look ever at the White House and the people that make it work.Patterson describes what he considers to be the whole White House staff, a larger and more inclusive picture than the one painted by most analysts. In addition to nearly one hundred policy offices, he draws the curtain back from less visible components such as the Executive Residence staff, Air Force One and Marine One, the First Lady's staff, Camp David, and many others-135 separate offices in all, pulling together under often stressful and intense conditions.This authoritative and readable account lays out the organizational structure of the full White House and fills it out the outline with details both large and small. Who are these people? What exactly do they do? And what role do they play in running the nation? Another exciting feature of To Serve the President is Patterson's revelation of the total size and total cost of the contemporary White House-information that simply is not available anywhere else.This is not a kiss-and-tell tale or an incendiary exposé. Brad Patterson is an accomplished public administrator with an intimate knowledge of how the White House really works, and he brings to this book a refreshingly positive view of government and public service not currently in vogue. The U.S. government is not a monolith, or a machine, or a shadowy cabal; above all, it is people, human beings doing the best they can, under challenging conditions, to produce a better life for their fellow citizens. While there are bad apples in every bunch, the vast majority of these people ply their trades honestly and earnestly, often in complete anonymity and for modest compensation. This book illuminates their roles, celebrates their service, and paints an eye-opening picture of how things really work on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Allegations of fraud have marred recent elections around the world, from Russia and Italy to Mexico and the United States. Such charges raise fundamental questions about the quality of democracy in each country. Yet election fraud and, more broadly, electoral manipulation remain remarkably understudied concepts. There is no consensus on what constitutes election fraud, let alone how to detect and deter it. E lection Fraud: Detecting and Deterring Electoral Manipulation brings together experts on election law, election administration, and U.S. and comparative politics to address these critical issues. The first part of the book, which opens with an essay by Craig Donsanto of the U.S. Department of Justice, examines the U.S. understanding of election fraud in comparative perspective. In the second part of the book, D. Roderick Kiewiet, Jonathan N. Katz, and other scholars of U.S. elections draw on a wide variety of sources, including survey data, incident reports, and state-collected fraud allegations, to measure the extent and nature of election fraud in the United States. Finally, the third part of the book analyzes techniques for detecting and potentially deterring fraud. These strategies include both statistical analysis, as Walter R. Mebane, Jr. and Peter Ordeshook explain, and the now widespread practice of election monitoring, which Alberto Simpser examines in an intriguing essay.
Successful businesses have spent the past two decades retooling and rethinking how to manage their people better. Most big companies that have survived and prospered in the 21st century view employees as a vital strategic asset. In comparison, the U.S. federal government is a Stone Age relic, with its top-down bureaucracy, stovepiping of labor and responsibilities, and lack of training and investment in its own public servants. The inevitable result is a government not keeping up with the complex demands placed on it. In T he People Factor, Linda Bilmes and Scott Gould present a blueprint for reinvigorating the public sector in order to deliver results for America. Their premise is that the federal government can achieve the same gains as the best private sector and military organizations by managing its people better. Their new vision for public service is based on "The People Factor," a set of management tools drawn from best practices in successful companies, the military, and high-performing government agencies. Part One of The People Factor book shows why the U.S. personnel system needs reform, revealing the high price of inaction. Part Two lays out the specific steps that must be taken to achieve the necessary gains. Part Three focuses on how to implement the People Factor and make the authors' vision a reality. They argue that the next president needs to turn this issue into a top priority and use political capital to push reform. Highlights of the book include: Extensive original survey research Case studies from government and the military Interviews with leading thinkers on strategic human capital A number of specific proposed innovations A detailed proposal for a nationwide effort to train and revitalize the public service
Few relationships have been as misunderstood as the "strategic partnership" between Russia and China. Official rhetoric portrays it as the very model of international cooperation: Moscow and Beijing claim that ties are closer and warmer than at any time in history. In reality, however, the picture is highly ambiguous. While both sides are committed to multifaceted engagement, cooperation is complicated by historical suspicions, cultural prejudices, geopolitical rivalries, and competing priorities. For Russia, China is at once the focus of a genuine convergence of interests and the greatest long-term threat to its national security. For China, Russia is a key supplier of energy and weapons, but is frequently dismissed as a self-important power whose rhetoric far outstrips its real influence. A xis of Convenience cuts through the mythmaking and examines the Sino-Russian partnership on its own merits. It steers between the overblown interpretation of an anti-Western (particularly, anti-American) alliance and the complacent assumption that past animosities and competing agendas must always divide the two nations. Their relationship reflects a new geopolitics, one that eschews formal alliances in favor of more flexible and opportunistic arrangements. Ultimately, it is an axis of convenience driven by cold-eyed perceptions of the national interest. In evaluating the current state and future prospects of the relationship, Bobo Lo assesses its impact on the evolving strategic environments in Central and East Asia. He also analyzes the global implications of rapprochement between Moscow and Beijing, focusing in particular on the geopolitics of energy and Russia-China-U.S. triangularism.
Daily headlines warn American workers that their retirement years may be far from golden. The main components of the retirement income system-Social Security and employer-provided pensions and health insurance-are in decline while the amount of income needed for a comfortable retirement continues to rise.In Working Longer, Alicia Munnell and Steven Sass suggest a simple solution to this problem: postponing retirement by two to four years. By following their advice, the average worker retiring in 2030 can be as well off as today's retirees. Implementing this solution on a national scale, however, may not be simple. Working Longer investigates the prospects for moving the average retirement age from 63, the current figure, to 66. Munnell and Sass ask whether future generations will be healthy enough to work beyond the current retirement age and whether older men and women want to work. They examine companies' incentives to employ older works and ask what government can do to promote continued participation in the workforce. Finally, they consider the challenge of ensuring a secure retirement for low-wage workers and those who are unable to continue to work.The retirement system faces very real challenges. But together, workers, employers, and the government can keep this vital piece of the American dream alive.
Globalization, the war on terror, and Islamic fundamentalism-followed closely by a rise in Islamophobia-have escalated tensions between Western nations and the Muslim world. Yet internationally renowned Islamic scholar Akbar Ahmed believes that through dialogue and understanding, these cultures can coexist peacefully and respectfully. That hope and belief result in an extraordinary journey. To learn what Muslims think and how they really view America, Ahmed traveled to the three major regions of the Muslim world the Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia. Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization is the riveting story of his search for common ground. His absorbing narrative and personal photos bring the reader on a tour of Islam and its peoples. Ahmed sought to understand the experiences and perceptions of ordinary Muslims. Visiting mosques, madrassahs, and universities, he met with people ranging from Pakastan President Pervez Musharraf to prime ministers, princes, sheikhs, professors, and students. He observed, listened, and asked them questions. For example, who inspires them? What are they reading? How do the Internet and international media impact their lives? How do they view America, the West, and changes in society? Ahmed's anthropological expedition enjoyed extensive access to women and youths, revealing unique information on large yet often misunderstood populations. Lamentably, he found high levels of anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism and a widespread perception that Islam is under attack from the West. But he also brought back reason for hope. He returned from his groundbreaking travels both impressed with the concerned, kind nature of the individuals he encountered and invigorated with the vitality and passion they displayed. Journey into Islam makes a powerful plea for forming friendships across religion, race, and tradition to create lasting peace between Islam and the West.
A readable introduction to the subject of calculus on arbitrary surfaces or manifolds. Accessible to readers with knowledge of basic calculus and linear algebra. Sections include series of problems to reinforce concepts.
No one who reads this book will ever again think of his or her own death in the same way. The first part of the book consists of a thought-provoking essay, in which Fingarette examines the metaphors which mislead us: death as parting, death as sleep, immortality as the denial of death, and selflessness as a kind of consolation. He also thinks through some of the more illuminating metaphors: death as the end of the world for me, death as the conclusion of a story, life as ceremony, and life as a tourist visit to earth.The author offers no facile consolation, but he identifies the true root of fear of death, and explains how the meaning of death can be reconceived. The second part comprises writings on death by other philosophers including classic selections from the Bhagavad Gita, Arthur Schopenhauer, Sigmund Freud, Chuang Tzu, David Hume, Albert Camus, Blaise Pascal, Leo Tolstoy, Eugene Ionesco, Marcus Aurelius, Michel de Montaigne, and Bertrand Russell."An excellent treatment that invites the reader in to share a warm meal of healthy contemplation."-Brian Bruya Philosophy Editor, amazon.com"This book's questions are at one and the same time philosophical and personal. . . . A diversity of philosophical insights are harvested during the reflective, critical work which makes up Fingarette's extended essay. . . the style is direct, what it expresses is expressed clearly and with simplicity, and what comes through it is the author's seriousness and humility."-Ilham Dilman University of Wales, Swansea
In Avant Rock,, music writer Bill Martin explores how avant-garde rock emerged from the social and political upheaval of the sixties. He covers the music from its early stages, revealing its influences outside of rock, from musicians such as John Cage and Cecil Taylor, to those more closely related to rock like James Brown and Parliament/ Funkadelic.Martin follows the development of avant rock through the sixties, when it was accepted into the mainstream, with bands like the later Beatles, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, The Velvet Underground, King Crimson, and Brian Eno. His narration takes us into the present, with an analysis of contemporary artists who continue to innovate and push the boundaries of rock, such as Stereolab, Mouse on Mars, Sonic Youth, and Jim O'Rourke. Martin critiques the work of all important avant rock bands and individual artists, from the well-known to the more obscure, and provides an annotated discography
A series of military and political disasters has swept the globe. The Russian government has fallen to anarchists. The Chinese have marched into Siberia and are poised to take the continent. And, in one final master stroke, the newly elected president of the U.S. is assassinated. Now it's up to an untested leader, Vice President Gordon Davis, to step forward and stop it. But with his nation divided, his allies paralyzed, and a small U.S.-U.N force the only thing standing between the Chinese and the rest of Asia, the battle and the war may already be lost."Harry has a first-rate speculative mind well grounded in current science." "The ideas he puts forth, and his knowledge of computing, are extremely engaging." -Kirkus Reviews "A good storyteller...harrowing stuff!"-- New York Times Book Review"Truly an epic, the action switching rapidly all over the globe, cleverly interweaving. A really powerful read." -- Manchester Evening Guardian
An intimate, investigative portrait of how the purveyors of the politics of personal crisis and redemption brought down the GOP?and why theyOCOre still calling the shots for the party
We now live in two Americas. One-now the minority-functions in a print-based, literate world that can cope with complexity and can separate illusion from truth. The other-the majority-is retreating from a reality-based world into one of false certainty and magic. To this majority-which crosses social class lines, though the poor are overwhelmingly affected-presidential debate and political rhetoric is pitched at a sixth-grade reading level. In this "other America," serious film and theater, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins of society. In the tradition of Christopher Lasch's The Culture of Narcissism and Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death, Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges navigates this culture-attending WWF contests, the Adult Video News Awards in Las Vegas, and Ivy League graduation ceremonies-to expose an age of terrifying decline and heightened self-delusion.
Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD) is one of the great figures of antiquity whose life and words still speak to us today. His Meditations remains one of the most widely read books from the classical world, and his life represents the fulfillment of Plato's famous dictum that mankind will prosper only when philosophers are rulers. Based on all available original sources, Marcus Aurelius is the definitive biography to date of this monumental historical figure.
When neuroscientist Susan Barry was fifty years old, she took an unforgettable trip to Manhattan. As she emerged from the dim light of the subway into the sunshine, she saw a view of the city that she had witnessed many times in the past but now saw in an astonishingly new way. Skyscrapers on street corners appeared to loom out toward her like the bows of giant ships. Tree branches projected upward and outward, enclosing and commanding palpable volumes of space. Leaves created intricate mosaics in 3D. With each glance, she experienced the deliriously novel sense of immersion in a three dimensional world. Barry had been cross-eyed and stereoblind since early infancy. After half a century of perceiving her surroundings as flat and compressed, on that day she was seeing Manhattan in stereo depth for first time in her life. As a neuroscientist, she understood just how extraordinary this transformation was, not only for herself but for the scientific understanding of the human brain. Scientists have long believed that the brain is malleable only during a "critical period" in early childhood. According to this theory, Barry's brain had organized itself when she was a baby to avoid double vision - and there was no way to rewire it as an adult. But Barry found an optometrist who prescribed a little-known program of vision therapy; after intensive training, Barry was ultimately able to accomplish what other scientists and even she herself had once considered impossible. A revelatory account of the brain's capacity for change, Fixing My Gaze describes Barry's remarkable journey and celebrates the joyous pleasure of our senses.
Charles Duelfer is one of the most senior intelligence officers with on-the-ground experience to have worked in Iraq before, during, and after the Gulf War. His 2004 CIA report is widely renowned as the most authoritative account on how the world was led to believe that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction. But until now, Duelfer has never publicly shared his unrivaled expertise on just how the U. S. -Iraq relationship spiraled into a second war, and ultimately into chaos. Hide and Seek is his account-based on unparalleled access to Iraqi leadership, the White House, and the CIA-of the long and tragic unraveling of the U. S. relationship with Iraq. This book sees beyond the propaganda and deceits of both sides to tell the story of the miscalculations in assessing Iraq as a threat, why Saddam responded as he did to U. S. demands, and precisely how the U. S. implemented its decision to topple Saddam's regime. No one is better able than Duelfer to see inside the mindsets of the two administrations, with their mismatched priorities, wounded pride, and dangerous ability to bluff and counterbluff.
"Opening in stately fashion and unfolding ever faster with fierce, intensive elegance, this first novel discloses the weight of Soviet history and its consequences. ... Highly recommended for anyone serious about literature or history."--Library Journal (Starred review)"Packs a wicked emotional punch through fierce poetic imagery ... Lebedev takes his place beside Solzhenitsyn and other great writers who have refused to abide by silence ... Courageous and devastating."--Kirkus Reviews (Starred review)"An important book about where Russia is today, with poetic descriptions and unforgettable images evoking that nation's often elusive attempts to understand its dark past. I stand in awe of both the author and translator."--Jack F. Matlock, Jr, former US Ambassador to the Soviet Union "The subject matter of Oblivion is the eerie frozen landscape scattered with the human detritus of an inhuman bygone era. What brings it back from oblivion is the author's exceptional power of language. A haunting read."--Michael Zantovsky, former press secretary to Czech President Vaclav Havel, author of Havel: A Life and former Czech Ambassador to the United States, Israel and Britain"Beautifully written, haunting and unputdownable. A masterpiece novel which relates the horrors of Russia's unburied Soviet past through the eyes of a man revisiting--and filling in the gaps in--his half-understood childhood." --Edward Lucas, senior editor, The Economist and author of The New Cold War: Putin's Russia and the Threat to the West"Sergei Lebedev's debut novel is a haunting tale about the loss of national memory and its moral consequences for the individual. The brilliant translation by Antonina W. Bouis captures the evocative beauty of the poetic first-person narration and renders it into memorable English."--Solomon Volkov, author of Shostakovich and Stalin, St. Petersburg: A Cultural History, and The Magical Chorus: A History of Russian Culture from Tolstoy to Solzhenitsyn"An extraordinary book that takes readers across Russia's desolate northern landscape and turns up secrets about the terrible legacy of the Soviet gulags, described through evocative, often poetic portraits of people and places."--Celestine Bohlen, International New York Times columnist and former Moscow correspondent for The New York Times"A monomaniacal meditation on memory and forgetting, presence and emptiness ... Lebedev's magnificent novel has the potency to become a mirror and wake-up call to a Russia that is blind to history."--Neue Zürcher Zeitung"Sergei Lebedev opens up new territory in literature. Lebedev's prose lives from the precise images and the author's colossal gift of observation."--Der Spiegel"The beauty of the language is almost impossible to bear."--Frankfurter Allgemeine ZeitungIn one of the first twenty-first century Russian novels to probe the legacy of the Soviet prison camp system, a young man travels to the vast wastelands of the Far North to uncover the truth about a shadowy neighbor who saved his life, and whom he knows only as Grandfather II. What he finds, among the forgotten mines and decrepit barracks of former gulags, is a world relegated to oblivion, where it is easier to ignore both the victims and the executioners than to come to terms with a terrible past. This disturbing tale evokes the great and ruined beauty of a land where man and machine worked in tandem with nature to destroy millions of lives during the Soviet century. Emerging from today's Russia, where the ills of the past are being forcefully erased from public memory, this masterful novel represents an epic literary attempt to rescue history from the brink of oblivion.Sergei Lebedev was born in Moscow in 1981 and worked for seven years on geological expeditions in northern Russia and Central Asia. His first novel, Oblivion, has been translated into many languages.