Cantonese is only rarely included as part of broader discourses on language, but journalist James Griffiths (who lives in Hong Kong) has it as one of three languages considered in detail in his new book Speak Not: Empire, Identity and the Politics of Language.
Scattered throughout India one can find ancient synagogues, sometimes just remnants, that date back almost 3000 years. In Growing Up Jewish in India: Synagogues, Customs, and Communities from the Bene Israel to the Art of Siona Benjamin the diverse stories of Indian Jews is showcased through essays, photos, and a memoir of artist Siona Benjamin, perhaps the best known Jewish Indian in the United States.
Chekhov advised that if you talk about a gun in a play’s first act, you’d better shoot someone in the third act. Mike Barry, the Franco-American historian and humanitarian aid activist, saw the gun in the early 1970s, when he first observed the fault-lines in Afghan state and society. In Le Cri afghan, he shows how implacably the drama has unfolded. The gun goes off with the chaotic departure of the Americans from Kabul in August, 2021, and it is Afghanistan which gets shot. As a historian, Barry makes it clear that America’s adventure in Afghanistan was doomed to failure. As a humanitarian, he cannot help arguing that it should have ended differently.
War is messy. Guerrilla war is even messier. Most conventional histories of the Second World War’s Pacific theater detail Japan’s invasion and conquest of the Philippines in December 1941 and early 1942, and then jumping to US General Douglas MacArthur’s return in October 1944 and America’s retaking of the islands. James Kelly Morningstar’s new book War and Resistance in the Philippines, 1942-1944 fills an important historical gap by detailing the guerrilla war waged by Filipino insurgents and US soldiers who refused to surrender or avoided captivity during the Japanese occupation.
Lyn Innes, Emeritus Professor of Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Kent, is the great-granddaughter of the last Nawab of Bengal, Mansour Ali Khan. In this family memoir, she vividly brings the period to life through the stories of her antecedents, using both family history and source materials from the time, while giving a fascinating insight into the British Raj in India from the perspective of a local prince who was mistreated, and ultimately deposed, by the British authorities.
Environmental Movements and Politics of the Asian Anthropocene is a collection of eleven academic essays, by multiple scholars, edited by Paul Jobin, Ming-sho Ho, and Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao, that focus on the dynamic interplay between political systems and environmental movements in seven of the ten ASEAN regional economies, plus Taiwan and Hong Kong, over the past two decades.
At the start of Ira Sukrungruang’s new book, This Jade World, he’s about to meet a new woman in a hotel room while his wife is packing her things to walk out on their marriage. This is going to be an open and honest memoir, a journey that will conclude with lessons learned and a new lease on life. Along the way, Sukruangruang writes about Asian masculinity, women’s relationships, and how his Chicago upbringing was shaped by his divorced Thai immigrant parents.