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Biography 24.1 (2001) 314-367
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Contributing editors William Bruneau, Brian Cassity, Judith Coullie, Michael Fassiotto, Corey Hollis, Noel Kent, Gabriel Merle, Barbara Bennett Peterson, Forrest R. Pitts, William Scherer, Bronwen Solyom, and Paula Willoquet-Maricondi provided the excerpts for this issue.
Publications reviewed include the African Publishing Record, Cape Argus, Cape Times, The Citizen, Current Writing: Text and Reception in South Africa, Daily Despatch, East Cape Weekend, Eastern Province Herald, Evening Post, French Studies, Globe and Mail, The Historian, Journal of Asian Studies, Journal of Asian American Studies, Los Angeles Times Book Review (LATBR), Mail & Guardian, The Mercury, Le Monde des Livres, The New Yorker, New York Review of Books (NYRB), New York Times Book Review (NYTBR), Opera News, Science, Scrutiny 2, Sight and Sound, The Sunday Independent, Sunday Times, Der Tagespiegel (on-line edition), Times Literary Supplement (TLS), The Weekend Australian, and The Women's Review of Books.
Abélard. Micha¨el T. Clanchy. Trans. (from English) Pierre-Emanuel Dauzat. Paris: Flammarion, 2000. 474 pp. F159.
For many, Abélard is only a name, a vague, legendary silhouette. Clanchy's scholarly biography (or more precisely studies on the main aspects of Abélard's life and works) reveals a complex man, brilliant, indecisive, elusive, a man who, in the words of St. Bernard, "does not even look like himself." Hence the still unsolved questions: A great lover or a cad? A man tinkering with doubts or a logician of genius? An "adventurer of the mind" (Etienne Gilson) or a manic-depressive egomaniac? Even today Abélard remains dissimilar. Recommended to lovers of ambiguity.
Roger-Pol Droit. Le Monde des Livres, Sept. 1, 2000: 7.
Der Aufstieg des Cassius Clay oder die Geburt des Muhammad Ali [King of the World]. David Remnick. Trans. Eike Sch¨onfeld. Berlin: Berlin Verlag, 2000. 493 pp. DM44.
According to Remnick, whose book follows a long line of biographies of the world champion boxer, Muhammad Ali "made history" while others only "boxed away." Both the glory and the dark side of this great figure in sports is brought to the fore. The reviewer emphasizes Remnick's comment that Ali was perhaps "the first really independent Black American," while at the same time [End Page 314] exposing the unfortunate negative side of his affiliation with the Nation of Islam and his friend Malcolm X, and some sensational accusations.
Philip Lichterbeck. Der Tagespiegel, July 1, 2000.
Randy Bachman: Takin' Care of Business. John Einarson and Randy Bachman. Toronto: McArthur, 2000. 527 pp. $Can34.95.
"To achieve what he did, it was not necessary that Randy Bachman [Canadian rock musician] be an interesting person, nor did fame make him one. . . . If Bachman has ever thought beyond music and Mormonism, it should have been evident here, and it's not."
Paul McGrath. Globe and Mail, Nov. 18, 2000: D4.
Beloved African. Jill Baker. Pretoria: Covos Day, 2000. 508 pp. R165.
"In writing the history of her family, Baker has written a piece of the history of Zimbabwe, where she was born and brought up and was well-known as a broadcaster in the 1970s. . . . The most surprising thing about the book is that it's a good read."
Roz Wrottesley. Cape Argus, July 7, 2000: 10.
Die Ohrenzeugin [The Good Listener]. Neil Belton. Trans. Hans G¨unter Holl. Frankfurt: S. Fischer Verlag, 2000. 461 pp. DM49.80.
Irish writer Belton describes Bamber's life poignantly, then lets survivors of concentration camps whom she aided express their agonies. Bamber had been the "Ohrenzeugin"--"witnessing ear"--to many in Germany, as well as to 17,000 tortured persons from 80 countries, who responded out of silence since Bamber co-founded the medical section of Amnesty International in 1985. Reviewer Keller reminds the reader that Belton, who was married to a Jew whose relatives died in concentration camps, was unable to accomplish the breaking of silence in that intimate sphere, as her marriage collapsed under the pressure of her "sacrificial work" for others. A sensitive review of a significant publication.
Claudia Keller. Der Tagespiegel, May 20, 2000.