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Incendiary Circumstances: A Chronicle of the…
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Incendiary Circumstances: A Chronicle of the Turmoil of our Times (2005)

by Amitav Ghosh

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A collection of essays. A few are lighter mood pieces; most are substantive and nuanced. Standout essays include 'Countdown' (1998), on the nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan; 'The March of the Novel Through History' (1998), on the difference between the traditional epic and the novel; 'The Ghosts of Mrs. Ghandi' (1995), using a personal experience from 1984 to examine the relationship between ethnic violence and civil society; and 'Dancing in Cambodia' (1993), exploring the destruction and reconstruction of Cambodian civilization since World War II.

Ghosh has a gift for mining his personal experiences for anecdotes that reveal a great deal about specific cultures or basic human nature. He combines that gift with wide reading, careful thought about the organization of human societies, a warm sympathy for most of the people he writes about, and cogent opinions about what distinguishes mediocre writing from great literature. ( )
  bezoar44 | Oct 30, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618872213, Paperback)

Incendiary Circumstances stands as a compelling chronicle of the turmoil of our times -- environmental, political, and cultural. In these seventeen absorbing pieces, Amitav Ghosh delivers extraordinary firsthand accounts of pivotal world events. He visits the Andaman and Nicobar Islands just days after the devastating 2005 tsunami, experiences the chaos in New York City on September 11, travels to an icy mountaintop on the contested border between India and Pakistan, interviews Pol Pot’s sister-in-law in Cambodia, shares the elation of Egyptians when Naguib Mahfouz wins the Nobel Prize, and reports on the riots following Indira Gandhi's assassination. Taken together, Ghosh's essays offer a clear view of our turbulent world and serve as a powerful call to action.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:49 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Novelist and journalist Ghosh has offered firsthand accounts of pivotal world events over the past twenty years. He is an essential voice in forums like The Nation, the New York Times, the New Republic, Granta, and The New Yorker. This book brings together the finest of these pieces for the first time--including many never before published in the U.S.--in a compelling chronicle of the turmoil of our times. In his travels he has walked amid the devastation of the 2004 tsunami, stood on an icy mountaintop on the contested border between India and Pakistan, interviewed Pol Pot's sister-in-law in Cambodia, shared the elation of Egyptians when Naguib Mahfouz won the Nobel Prize, and stood with his threatened Sikh neighbors through the riots following Indira Gandhi's assassination. With intelligence and authentic sympathy, he "illuminates the human drama behind the headlines" (Publishers Weekly). Incendiary Circumstances is testimony of an era defined by the ravages of politics and nature.--From publisher description.… (more)

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