From Little London to Little Bengal -- Religion, Print & Modernity in Early British India 1793--1835, Daniel E. White, Johns Hopkins UPress '14, $49.95, 261 pages, ASIN #1421411644. Index, bibliography, notes, b&w images sprinkled through text.
"As Britain sought to reverse its trade deficit with India in the early 19th century by expanding the market for British goods on the subcontinent," writes scholar Daniel E. White in his new book, "evangelicals and utilitarians were avidly promoting the export not of Lancashire cottons but of Christianity and improvement -- in a word, of 'civilization.'
"So at the height of the debate over the renewal of the East India Company charter in 1813," he continues, "when one of the burning questions involved whether missionary activity should for the first time be permitted within Company territory, Governor of Madras Sir Thomas Munro's panegyric on India would have been particularly inflammatory:
'If civilization were to become an article of trade between the two countries, he was convinced that England would greatly benefit by the import cargo.'"
Author Daniel E. White is an associate professor of British Romanticism in the Department of English at the University of Toronto, where he has directed the graduate collaborative program in Book History and Print Culture. He is author of Early Romanticism and Religious Dissent.
Above the East China Sea -- A Novel by Sarah Bird, Knopf '14, $25.95, 317 pages, ASIN #0385350112.
From the dust jacket:
"In her most ambitious, moving, and provocative novel to date, Sarah Bird makes a stunning departure. Above the East China Sea tells the entwined stories of two teenaged girls, an American and an Okinawan, whose lives are connected across 70 years by the shared experience of profound loss, the enduring strength of an ancient culture, and the redeeming power of family love.
"Luz James, a contemporary U.S. Air Force brat, lives with her strictly-by-the-rules sergeant mother at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. Luz's older sister, her best friend and emotional center, has just been killed in the Afghan war. Unmoored by her sister's death and a lifetime of constant moving from base to base, Luz turns for the comfort her service-hardened mother cannot offer to the "Smoknawans," the "waste cases," who gather to get high every night in a deserted cove. When even pills, one-hitters, Cuervo Gold, and a growing crush on Jake Furosato aren't enough to soften the unbearable edge, the desolate girl contemplates taking her own life."
Author Sarah Bird knows about what she writes, having grown up as an Air Force brat around the world. Now living in Austin Texas, she is a columnist for Texas Monthly and has contributed to other leading magazines as well as having written eight other novels.
Wars of Plunder -- Conflicts, Profits and the Politics of Resources by Philippe le Billon, Oxford UPress '13 paperback, $35, 288 pages, ASIN #0199333467. Index, bibliography, notes, b&w images sprinkled through text.
"Natural resources have a conspicuous presence in the history of armed conflicts," writes author Philippe de Billon in his new book. "From violent competition over wild game, to brutal land dispossession and imperialist wars over precious minerals, natural resources have motivated and rewarded many different types of hostilities.
"The post-Cold War era has been no exception," he continues, "but distinctive processes have also informed the last two decades. Most conflict--related deaths during this period took places in countries trapped in primary commodity export dependent economies, many of them poor or bankrupt, like the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Iraq or Rwanda, and others with middle-income revenues but authoritarian rulers, such as Libya.
"These wars seemed the result of deadly political decisions influenced by resource-specific circumstances. This book seeks to understand if resource sectors do indeed influence the occurrence and course of wars, how they do this, and what can be done about it."
Author Philippe de Billon specializes in the links between resource extraction and armed conflict. He is associate professor at the Liu Institute for Global Issues and in the Department of Geography, University of British Columbia.