Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged war

Spy Garbo (3/6/11)

Sheila Schwartz’s Spy Garbo, an innovative multi-media production, takes place in history’s limbo, the eternal resting place of three prominent twentieth century political players. The first is Generalissimo Francisco Franco Bahamonde, played by Steven Rattazzi with a perfect mix of pomp, arrogance, and affability.

The Memory of Love

The Memory of Love is a slow and beautiful book. I'm not the biggest fan of art that proceeds at such a deliberate pace, but this is definitely at the top of the heap for such books; the descriptions are lovely and precise, every detail picked out with absolute care. I loved the representations of African life, which felt honest and authentic.


Elyse Fenton’s first book of poems, Clamor, features some of the finest contemporary poetry on war. She captures both the battlefield and the homefront with an unwavering realism. Her imagery is fresh and her language rich. Fenton opens her book with a definition of the word “clamor” which is quite striking.


Mockingjay has finally arrived to conclude the breathtaking trilogy that began in 2006 with the conclusively-titled The Hunger Games. And this time, things have changed. In global effect, for better or worse, the main characters are bringing the furious fight to the enemy’s doorstep, in an act of rousing rebellion.

Atomic Mom

I was born in 1952 and, although I don't remember public service announcements about the atom bomb like the ones M.T. Silvia includes in her feature-length documentary Atomic Mom, I do remember "bomb drills" when I was in elementary school. At least we didn't just crawl under our desks like some PSAs recommended; we went down to the sub-basement and hunkered down in the dark. I don't remember being scared, but then I don't think I had a very good idea of what the hell we were doing. I'm not sure anyone did.

Forgetting Children Born of War: Setting the Human Rights Agenda in Bosnia and Beyond

In Forgetting Children Born of War, R. Charli Carpenter explores a perplexing question: Why has the human rights community ignored a critically vulnerable population, the children born to women who were raped during war? These children are subject to infanticide, neglect, abuse, and abandonment—both within their own families and within the societies into which they are born.

Prophecy (6/6/2010)

Forty years ago, Edwin Starr’s “War” was a Billboard Top 100 hit, an explicit denunciation of armed conflict. “War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing,” he trilled. Karen Malpede’s Prophecy takes this sentiment as her starting point. Her latest play, an ambitious, layered look at the damage wrought by centuries of strife on the battlefield—and in the personal relationships that ensue once military action is over—is bold and dramatic. It’s also shrill. Numerous stories unfold simultaneously.

Le Papier ne Peut pas Envelopper la Braise (Paper Cannot Wrap Up Embers)

[Paper Cannot Wrap up Embers] provides a numbing portrait of the everyday lives of young Cambodian women who have been forced into prostitution in the aftermath of decades of war and genocide.

The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism

The Green Zone takes two very big issues of the moment—global warming and the wars in the Middle East—and seeks to illustrate the correlations between the two.

Promised Virgins: A Novel of Jihad

Promised Virgins echoes of stories already told; they howl and yowl in your ear as Jeffrey Fleishman whispers and intimates, ever beseeching that you withstand his narrative a moment longer. Fleishman relies on the threads of past to weave his story, devices used before by film writers and the novelists who inspired them.

Lumo: One Young Woman's Struggle to Heal in a Nation Beset By War

Lumo is a documentary, named after its central character, of an African woman healing from a rape endured by military men that left her with a medical condition called fistula, a tear in the wall between the vagina and bladder caused by violent rape. It left her incontinent and uncertain of her chances to birth children.

Women Build the Welfare State: Performing Charity and Creating Rights in Argentina, 1880-1955

Donna J. Guy is a distinguished Argentinean historian, and her book on women’s role in the welfare state (1880-1955) could not be timelier. In the past decades, human rights have often been thwarted in Argentina, producing the need for a reevaluation of women’s rights in South America.


From the beginning, Dreamer appears to be a film about a man traveling backwards in time. Daniel, the main character, is a 30-year-old white man living in Chicago. As he struggles to make sense of this reverse sequence of events, Daniel’s awareness and motivation falter. He is unable to follow-up with a needed job opportunity. He wakes up beside a woman he does not recognize. Another morning, he finds himself bleeding profusely from a wound on his side without apparent cause.

Yi As Akh Padshah Bai (There Was a Queen)

Yi As Akh Padshah Bai (There Was a Queen) is a documentary that tells the story of women in Kashmir, the northwestern region of the India currently controlled by Pakistan, India, and China. The directors dub it "the world's most picturesque conflict zone". India and Pakistan have fought three wars over Kashmir, and conflict has been a constant in the region since the 1990's when Kashmiri separatists began clashing with both Pakistani and Indian forces.

What Kind of Liberation?: Women and the Occupation of Iraq

March 20, 2009 marked the six-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Although the half a dozen years of occupation must seem like an extended nightmare from which Iraqis are anxious to awake, for many young Americans an occupied Iraq is the only Iraq they have ever known. This is precisely why Nadje Al-Ali and Nicola Pratt’s research could not have come at a better time.

Pray The Devil Back To Hell

Imagine all the worst atrocities that can be committed against women. Think of all of the greatest evils that stain a country with corruption and greed. Then, in the direst of situations, imagine how a group of women could change the face of blood and hopelessness. This is the story of Pray the Devil Back to Hell. Not the devil with a pitchfork, the devil referenced in this film is the evil that we all fear—women and men alike.

Red: Teenage Girls in America Write On What Fires Up Their Lives Today

My teenage years have always seemed to be something that I’ve wanted to forget: awkwardness, feeling clueless about life, not feeling comfortable in my body, navigating love and friendships, hating my family, loving my family, not knowing who my family really was, and knowing that there must be something more to life than what I was doing. Ugh, high school. Now that I’m past my teens and well on to other decades of my life, I haven’t taken the time to look back and consider all of those big Life Questions I once had.

Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns

As a newer reader of and listener to poetry, I often find it overly dramatic or flowery for my tastes. When I started reading Andrea Gibson’s collection, Pole Dancing To Gospel Hymns, I was not drawn to her lyrical love poems, which I read too cynically, but as I read on, I was drawn in by her humor, self-reflection, and earnest political analysis.

Mobilizing Minerva: American Women in the First World War

A book about women's involvement in war that shows, in part, their commitment to nonviolence? It may seem contradictory, but it's just one of the fascinating aspects of this well-researched book, Mobilizing Minerva: American Women in the First World War. Jensen presents case studies ranging from female physicians and aid workers to women in combat, delving into their relationships with the state and the dynamics of violence.


Ursula K. Le Guin is the author of short stories, essays, volumes of poetry, books for children, and many novels. She has won the National Book Award, five Hugo and Nebula Awards, a Pushcart Prize, and the Howard Vursell Award of American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Flying Close to the Sun: My Life and Times as a Weatherman

Despite the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan no one mistakes the rallying cry of today's Starbucks-toting, Hot Topic sporting protesters with the mobilized and systematic protests of the 1960s and 1970s. With not a small touch of nostalgia, those who were there for Vietnam, Civil Rights and Cambodia lament the laziness of present-day youth to fully posit themselves in the movement (as if that responsibility belongs solely to folks without many responsibilities), while young people today tune-out the nagging and lectures of their middle-class, once hippie parents.

How Nonviolence Protects the State

Do anti-war protests really stop the United States from invading another country? Do pro-choice marches affect legislation on abortion? Did sit-ins during the Civil Rights movement help to end racism? These are the questions that Peter Gelderloos asks in his new book How Nonviolence Protects the State.


Underpass is a fifteen-minute film about a Cambodian family (survivors of the “Killing Fields”) trying to survive in the USA while also assisting an illegal immigrant, possibly from Mexico. It is about trying to stay sane in a violent world. It is about trying to play by the rules, and still be humane. It is about living with your nightmares. There is a brilliant colorful thread, which runs throughout this story – the art of the main character, Sann. His art is illegal. He paints pictures under a bridge, hence the title Underpass. What he paints is both beautiful and horrible.

Night of Sorrows

If you only knew the basic plot of Frances Sherwood’s Night of Sorrows, you might think it was a novel set in the 21st century. It’s a story about an invasion done in the name of a higher good with an ulterior motive of wealth. And it’s hard to tell who the good guys are because both sides are nowhere close to being saints. But this isn’t a story about America’s invasion of Iraq, Middle East terrorism, oil or the altruistic spread of democracy.

Make Believe Not War Tank

My favorite new tank top comes from No Star Clothing. It is black with the slogan “Make Believe Not War” printed on a military helmet - a helmet that holds crayons. Swoon. All of my academically-inclined, left-leaning coffee-shop customers loved this tank top. One cynically suggested that the only way to make any sense of our current military endeavors is to, in fact, make believe. I think this tank top brought me bigger-than-usual tips and even bigger smiles. Certainly it doesn't hurt that it fits me perfectly, washes well and doesn't show stains.

Friendly Fire: The Remarkable Story of a Journalist Kidnapped in Iraq, Rescued by an Italian Secret Service Agent, and Shot by U.S. Forces

In the United States, Giuliana Sgrena is known as the Italian journalist who was kidnapped in Iraq, held for a month, and then, on the day of her release, shot at by American troops on her way to the airport; the Italian secret service man escorting her was killed and Sgrena herself was severely injured. In the weeks following, while the U.S. military insisted that Sgrena’s car had failed to stop at a checkpoint, Sgrena claimed that the shots had come without warning. In Italy, where Sgrena is known for her long career of courageous reporting, she became a national hero.

September 11, 2001: Feminist Perspectives

As an antidote for all the disingenuous head-scratching over “what went wrong” in Iraq—how the United States transmuted the world’s sympathy and support into global revulsion in the wake of September 11, this painful retrospective on what might have been—or rather what should have been—is a powerful tonic. The writings gathered here, a pastiche of genres and a powerfully diverse set of feminist voices, were written in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks and published by an Australian press.

“No More Blood for Oil” Tee

No Star is a clothing company based out of Portland, Oregon, that came about due to the founders’ love of t-shirts and graphic design. No Star businesses can be found in thirty-one states and eight countries.

Kabul in Winter: Life Without Peace in Afghanistan

Usually when I read a memoir, I don’t really expect to learn anything. I might laugh or cry at the writer’s personal tragedies, but my expectations for experiencing some profound level of enlightenment is absent. After reading Kabul in Winter, I will now only read memoirs that are as thoughtfully written, educational and eye-opening as Ann Jones’s account of her time spent in Afghanistan. Even though this book will probably be found in the “Current Events” or “Politics” section of any radical bookstore, Jones’s account of her travels is better written than most memoirs.

My Country, My Country

I admit that I popped My Country, My Country into my DVD player with genuine trepidation. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this film and had prepared myself for the agonizing boredom that is inflicted by a truly awful movie. Fortunately, My Country, My Country was a captivating and heart wrenching tale that exposes the truth behind war. When we watch the evening news, we see images of soldiers, tanks and insurgents, but what we seldom see is the toll that is levied on the people living under these conditions on a daily basis.