Book Review: Return to Naples by Robert Zweig, Ph.D

Return to Naples - My Italian Bar Mitzvah and Other Discoveries by Robert Zweig PhD

Return to Naples – My Italian Bar Mitzvah and Other Discoveries by Robert Zweig PhD

I loved this book and its collection of carefully told memories. If you know Naples, or are curious about the city, this is an easy, fascinating read – a surprisingly gentle ride around a family and a city scarred by war.

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Book Review: Forgotten Kingdom – Nine Years in Yunnan, 1939-1948 by Peter Goullart

Forgotten Kingdom - Nine Years in Yunnan, 1939-48 by Peter Goullart

Forgotten Kingdom – Nine Years in Yunnan, 1939-48 by Peter Goullart

This is a travel book that unfurls like a lotus flower. It has happiness at its heart but is grown out of hardship in the steep-sided valleys of south-western China.

The decade is the 1940s and the location is the province of Yunnan, geographically cut apart from the rest of China and still webbed with tribes, traditions and traders.

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In Search of Ancient North Africa (A History in Six Lives) by Barnaby Rogerson

In Search of Ancient North Africa (A History in Six Lives) by Barnaby Rogerson

In Search of Ancient North Africa (A History in Six Lives) by Barnaby Rogerson

“And though the world’s population keeps expanding, the number of individuals who know the stories of their own lands diminishes every year.”
              Barnaby Rogerson in the introduction to In Search of Ancient North Africa     

This is a book about forgotten origins and outcomes. Through six lives it shows us legends, families, survival, and the importance of memory. It gives the north of Africa a fresh polish.

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The Struggle Continues – 50 years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe (by David Coltart)

The Struggle Continues - 50 Years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe by David Coltart

The Struggle Continues – 50 Years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe by David Coltart

This is a tale of stubborn politics, war, courage, resilience, legal challenge, and hope. It tells of the evolution of a young democracy, and the consequences of decisions that have shaped that process.

The author, David Coltart, born and raised in Zimbabwe, is an experienced lawyer and politician who still lives in the country. He writes with a style that is clear and controlled, one that allows the subject to reveal itself.

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Harmony and Discord in Africa – Memories of Childhood in Southern Rhodesia by Mark Huleatt-James

Harmony and Discord in Africa by Mark Huleatt-James

Harmony and Discord in Africa by Mark Huleatt-James

This is about a time and a childhood place not far from my own.

Harmony and Discord in Africa, despite its title, is not a political book but rather a slice of ‘home history’ about a boy, his family and their life on a farm in the young British colony of Southern Rhodesia .

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Travels in a Dervish Cloak by Isambard Wilkinson

Travels in a Dervish Coat by Isambard Wilkinson

Travels in a Dervish Coat by Isambard Wilkinson

Here’s a book to pop your eyes. Cloaked in dust and petals it swirls through bedrooms, bazaars, bombings, palaces, shrines, caves and festivals. The pace is insistent and the tensions increasing.

Our guide is journalist Isambard Wilkinson. He takes us to Pakistan (2006 – 2009) and entices us to follow him from Baluchistan to the Khyber Pass, via a couple of pauses for kidney complications.

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Chernobyl Prayer – A Chronicle of the Future by Svetlana Alexievich

Chernobyl Prayer by Svetlana Alexievich (Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature)

Chernobyl Prayer by Svetlana Alexievich (Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature)

I was at St Andrews University in Scotland, when the accident happened … “the gravest technological catastrophe of the twentieth century.” It was 26 April, 1986.

Reactor No.4 of the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Belarus collapsed.

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