At the end of a steep gravel road in one of the remotest corners of South Africa's Eastern Cape lies the village of Ithanga. Home to a few hundred villagers, the majority of them unemployed, it is inconceivably poor. It is to here that award-winning author Jonny Steinberg travels to explore the lives of a community caught up in a battle to survive the ravages of the greatest plague of our times, the African AIDS epidemic. He befriends Sizwe, a young local man who refuses to be tested for AIDS despite the existence of a well-run testing and anti-retroviral programme. It is Sizwe's deep ambivalence, rooted in his deep sense of the cultural divide, that becomes the key to understanding the dynamics that thread their way through a terrified community. As Steinberg grapples to get closer to finding answers that remain just out of reach, he realizes that he must look within himself to unlock the paradoxes at the heart of his country.
At the end of a steep gravel road in one of the remotest corners of Lusikisiki in the old Transkei lies the village of Ithanga. Home to a few hundred villagers, the majority of them unemployed, it is inconceivably poor.
During the seventeenth century, England was beset by three epidemics of the bubonic plague, each outbreak claiming between a quarter and a third of the population of London and other urban centers. Surveying a wide range of responses to these epidemics—sermons, medical tracts, pious exhortations, satirical pamphlets, and political commentary—Plague Writing in Early Modern England brings to life the many and complex ways Londoners made sense of such unspeakable devastation. Ernest B. Gilman argues that the plague writing of the period attempted unsuccessfully to rationalize the catastrophic and that its failure to account for the plague as an instrument of divine justice fundamentally threatened the core of Christian belief. Gilman also trains his critical eye on the works of Jonson, Donne, Pepys, and Defoe, which, he posits, can be more fully understood when put into the context of this century-long project to “write out” the plague. Ultimately, Plague Writing in Early Modern England is more than a compendium of artifacts of a bygone era; it holds up a distant mirror to reflect our own condition in the age of AIDS, super viruses, multidrug resistant tuberculosis, and the hovering threat of a global flu pandemic.
In January 1991, when civil war came to Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, two-thirds of the city’s population fled. Among them was eight-year-old Asad Abdullahi. His mother murdered by a militia, his father somewhere in hiding, he was swept alone into the great wartime migration that scattered the Somali people throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the world. This extraordinary book tells Asad’s story. Serially betrayed by the people who promised to care for him, Asad lived his childhood at a skeptical remove from the adult world, his relation to others wary and tactical. He lived in a bewildering number of places, from the cosmopolitan streets of inner-city Nairobi to the desert towns deep in the Ethiopian hinterland. By the time he reached the cusp of adulthood, Asad had honed an array of wily talents. At the age of seventeen, in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, he made good as a street hustler, brokering relationships between hard-nosed businessmen and bewildered Somali refugees. He also courted the famously beautiful Foosiya, and, to the astonishment of his peers, seduced and married her. Buoyed by success in work and in love, Asad put twelve hundred dollars in his pocket and made his way down the length of the African continent to Johannesburg, South Africa, whose streets he believed to be lined with gold. And so began a shocking adventure in a country richer and more violent than he could possibly have imagined. A Man of Good Hope is the story of a person shorn of the things we have come to believe make us human—personal possessions, parents, siblings. And yet Asad’s is an intensely human life, one suffused with dreams and desires and a need to leave something permanent on this earth.
"In his latest book, Little Liberia: An African Odyssey in New York, Steinberg takes us to Park Hill Avenue on Staten Island, where a community of Liberians have made their home. Through interviews and shadowing of two community leaders, Steinberg strives to understand the peculiarities of this community; while it appears at times as if a piece of Liberia has been sliced off and dropped in New York, the Park Hill community is ravaged by conflict between different interest groups. To understand what is going on in 2008 New York, Steinberg travels back - back to Liberia and back to the country's tragic recent history of civil war, military coups and mass exterminations. The story of Liberia is a gruesome and miserable one but Steinberg's empathy for his subjects never allows the narrative to descend into voyeurism. The combination of hard nosed investigative journalism, a gift for storytelling and an obvious empathy for the characters that he shadows makes Steinberg an author who demands to be read, whatever the subject matter. A brilliant and important book which will delight Steinberg's thousands of followers and doubtless earn him many more"--Book Lounge.