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Natalia Bradley

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The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East
The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East
by Kishore Mahbubani
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Very right but very wrong, 17 Mar. 2012
First to what is right about the book. The author argues that the world is undergoing a seismic shift in power, wealth and influence away from the 'West' (more on this term later) to the 'East', or the Asian hemisphere, and that this rebalancing is going to be the most dominant story of our time. This central premise is no doubt correct and the author provides many interesting examples, statistics and anecdotes to support his argument. Perhaps one of the most striking statistics is that the standard of living of Asia could improve by 10,000 % in one human lifetime! Truly amazing!

Unfortunately this book is undermined by the authors constant generalisations and, for want of a better word, bigoted arguments. It is ironic that the author lets himself down by using language which suggests he sees the 'West' from almost the exact same negative viewpoint that the 'West' supposedly sees Asia (and of which he is so critical of). A classic example of this divisive language, and unfortunately Mahbubani's book is littered with such dross, is "Another deficit of the Western mind"...What exactly is this 'Western mind' that the author speaks so knowingly about?

Perhaps the best review of the book I have read is the one the author mentions in his preface, from the Economist, which labels the book 'an anti Western polemic'.

Rosl's Daughter
Rosl's Daughter
by Liesl Muller-Johnson
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling story of an extraordinary childhood, 23 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Rosl's Daughter (Hardcover)
I very much enjoyed the book, and have devoured it within a couple of days - impossible to put down!

Liesl's story is beautifully and amusingly written, offering plenty of witty and sharp observations that make you laugh and ponder. This is quite natural, as Liesl's childhood is indeed a great source of inspiration. We are skillfully immersed in the setting of charming 1920s Vienna, following the twists and turns in life of one special girl. Little Liesl is unique in terms of her family circumstances - her mother being a star singer Rosl Berndt, but endearingly normal in terms of her attachments - dolls, pretty dresses, school friends, first romantic interests. However, everything is soon to be changed as the first ugly signs of World War II begin to show...

Highly recommend to buy this book - compelling and entertaining, a perfect summer read.

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