PositiveThe Washington PostDas’s book is at its most interesting when it moves beneath the familiar and unearths stories that have been forgotten or suppressed ... Courting India is full of well-researched details and anecdotes, but they never quite cohere into a larger narrative about Roe or why his time in India merits another investigation. The tentativeness with which Das approaches her subject yields her no deeper a conclusion than the truism that interactions between different cultures are complex, dynamic and subtle.
MixedThe Washington PostOne can sense the urgency and dismay in Bullough’s writing, but, given the political direction of Britain at the moment, he is not optimistic. Britain is better than this, he says. Why, I do not know. Nor am I convinced of his central conceit — Britain as butler — which he hammers in at every opportunity, and which soon becomes tiresome. A butler, Bullough must know, is constrained by his class and opportunities. Britain isn’t. It chooses to be corrupt and complicit.
PositiveThe Washington Post... a work of history, it is less popular than personal and less about clothing itself—its types, its richness, its diversity—than about the sociopolitical dimensions of its production. Those who hope to find out from this book what wonderful clothes people used to wear, in what different ways and for what varied purposes, might be disappointed. It is one thing to describe the history and present state of textile industries in India, for example, but it is unfortunate that Thanhauser does not take this opportunity to discuss the long history of the sari, its evolution through centuries of conquest and colonialism, and its connections to gender, religion and sexuality in India. The scope of the book is narrower than its ambition, and the writing seldom attains the eloquence to which it aspires. These reservations notwithstanding, I still want people to read this book. As an argument against the horrors of fast fashion and the social and environmental disasters it provokes, it is powerful and persuasive. What’s more, it might make you think twice about stepping into that high-street store again.
Roy Richard Grinker
RaveThe Washington PostGrinker...is an engaging writer, and an able and authoritative guide to the social history of mental illness ... A brilliant insight that emerges again and again from the book, though never articulated as such, is that it is hard to imagine stigma without a constellation of beliefs that are distinctly Western and Judeo-Christian ... What becomes clear, in reading Grinker’s book, is that at several points in our recent history, our stories, far from making sense of suffering or easing it, have served to dehumanize people and deprive them of their dignity