The Childhood of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee, Viking Press '13, $26.95, 277 pages, ASIN #0670014656.
"In this haunting and surprising novel about childhood and destiny," writes Nobel Laureate and twice-Booker Prize winner J.M. Coetzee, "a small boy arrives by boat in a new country after being separated from his parents and a piece of paper which would have explained everything. During the journey, a man has taken it upon himself to look after the boy. Upon arrival, they have been assigned new names, new birthdates, and essentially new lives. They know little Spanish, the language of this foreign land, and they know nothing about its customs.
As the plot unfolds, "The renamed Simon and David make their way to the relocation center in the city of Novilla, where the authorities treat them politely, but coldly." The author recounts Simon's up-and-down labor experience, and Simon becomes obsessed with the need to find David's mother. Eventually a woman is found who serves as a surrogate, but his school's administration "detects a rebellious streak in him and insists he be sent to a special school far away. His mother refuses to turn him over, and it is Simon who must drive the car as the trio flees across the mountains.
J.M. Coetzee has written 21 books, which have been translated into many languages. A native of South Africa, he now lives in Adelaide, Australia.
In Peace and Freedom -- My Journey in Selma by Bernard LaFayette, Jr. and Kathryn Lee Johnson, foreword by Congressman John Robert Lewis, afterword by Raymond Arsenault, UKentucky Press, $35, 240 pages, ASIN #0813143861. Index, bibliography, notes, chronology, four appendices, grouping of b&w glossy images.
From the book jacket:
"Dedicated to working toward social change through nonviolence and peace since his teens, Bernard LaFayette, Jr. has been a civil rights activist for more than 50 years. He was co-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a leader in the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins, a Freedom Rider, an associate of Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the national coordinator of the Poor People's Campaign. At the age of 22, Lafayette assumed the directorship of the Alabama Voter Registration Campaign in Selma -- a city that had previously been removed from the campaign's list due to the dangers of operating there.
"In this compelling memoir, written with Kathryn Lee Johnson, LaFayette shares the inspiring story of his years in Selma, beginning with the decision to go to Dallas County, AL, though other members of SNCC warned him that no progress could be made there. LaFayette was one of the primary organizers of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights Movement and the Selma to Montgomery March, and he relates the historic events he witnessed in impressive detail, chronicling his experiences with both the black community and the white authorities."
Author Bernard LaFayette, Jr. is Distinguished Senior Scholar-in-Residence at Emory University's Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, GA, and the chair of the national board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
Author Kathryn Lee Johnson teaches in the School of Education at the University of Rhode Island. She has authored several books for educators on teaching, writing, and developing independent study skills.
Populist Collaborators -- The Ilchinhoe and the Japanese Colonization of Korea, 1896-1910 by Yumi Moon, Cornell UP '13, $45, 312 pages, 22 illustrations, ASIN #0801450411. Index, footnotes, b&w images sprinkled through text.
"An empire invites local collaborators in the making and sustenance of its colonies. Between 1896 and 1910, Japan's project to colonize Korea was deeply intertwined with the movements of reform-minded Koreans to solve the crisis of the Choson dynasty (1392-1910)," writes historian Yumi Moon. "Among those reformers, it was the Ilchinhoe (Advance in Unity Society) -- a unique group of reformers from various social origins -- that most ardently embraced Japan's discourse of 'civilizing Korea' and saw Japan's colonization as an opportunity to advance its own 'populist agendas.' The Ilchinhoe members called themselves 'representatives of the people' and mobilized vibrant popular movements that claimed to protect the people's freedom, property, and lives. Neither modernist nor traditionalist, they were willing to protect the people's freedom, property, and lives. Neither modernist nor traditionalist, they were willing to sacrifice the sovereignty of the Korean monarchy if that would ensure the rights and equality of the people.
"Ultimately," author Yumi Moon argues, "the Ilchinhoe members faced visceral moral condemnation from their fellow Koreans when their language and actions resulted in nothing but to assist the emergence of the Japanese colonial empire in Korea."
Yumi Moon is assistant professor of History at Stanford University.