Monday April 21st, 2014, 3:06 am (EDT)

Annette T. Rubinstein

Subverting A Model

Vijay Prashad,The Karma of Brown Folk(University of Minnesota Press, 2000), 248 pages, $25 hardcover.

The Karma of Brown Folk is essentially addressed to two audiences and is surprisingly successful in being readable by both. Its primary audience is the “desi”—men and women of South Asian descent living in the United States. This widely dispersed group of some fifteen million first and second generation immigrants is often referred to as a model minority—untroublesome, hardworking, entrepreneurial, conservative, clannish, and family oriented. In approaching these countrymen the author’s freely avowed purpose is a subversive one. He wants to destroy the image by re-forming the fact behind it… | more |

Fathers and Sons

Tony Hiss, The View from Alger’s Window: A Son’s Memoir (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999), 241 pp., $24, hardcover.

The View from Alger’s Window is a fascinating book. Even if the father and son who share the stage in this memoir were completely anonymous, it would still be an absorbing story. Probably for most readers, however, and surely for almost all Monthly Review subscribers, the father’s name will reverberate with what Jack Gelber’s Nation review describes as a Nixon-manipulated “story of well-timed leaks, stage-managed press conferences, masterful misleading language.” But as the author himself says, a major objective of his work is to “transform Alger Hiss from a case to a person.” This he has certainly done … | more |