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Regular-article-logo Sunday, 21 July 2024

The need to belong

• POLITICAL TRIBES: GROUP INSTINCT AND THE FATE OF NATIONS (Bloomsbury, Rs 499) by Amy Chua maps the historical trajectory of group identity politics in the United States of America and how it continues to shape the US's relations with other countries. The author contends that human beings are tribal by nature: they invariably feel the need to identify with groups - linguistic, ethnic or racial.

TT Bureau Published 15.06.18, 12:00 AM

POLITICAL TRIBES: GROUP INSTINCT AND THE FATE OF NATIONS (Bloomsbury, Rs 499) by Amy Chua maps the historical trajectory of group identity politics in the United States of America and how it continues to shape the US's relations with other countries. The author contends that human beings are tribal by nature: they invariably feel the need to identify with groups - linguistic, ethnic or racial.

The book focuses on social experiments to substantiate how the 'us versus them' dichotomy plays out in everyday life. The analysis flows easily and is devoid of jargon. It also also packs in a coherent argument about how identity has shaped the political outcomes in countries such as Iraq, Vietnam and Venezuela. Significantly, it reminds the reader about the perils of glossing over differences in a world where group instincts are more pronounced than ever before.

PUBLISHERS ON PUBLISHING: INSIDE INDIA'S BOOK BUSINESS (All About Book Publishing, Rs 450) edited by Nitasha Devasar compiles interviews of professionals - sellers, distributors, innovators -involved in the publishing industry. Together they discuss important issues such as government intervention, the slow takeover of technology in the publishing industry, the decline of libraries and, most important, the spectre of online retail giants like Amazon.

Not much literature exists on the publishing industry in India. As a result, this book is a helpful and refreshing read. However, not all the people interviewed contribute important information. While some give interesting insights into the journey undertaken by the publishing sector, others merely outline the challenges it faces, without offering solutions or saying anything new.

THE BITTER PILL SOCIAL CLUB (Bloomsbury, Rs 399) by Rohan Dahiya offers a glimpse into the lives of the members of 'Delhi high society'. These are the people who cannot imagine omelettes without kale and scramble for their comforters when it is 46 degrees outside. The story revolves around the dysfunctional Kocchar family and a reunion that threatens to tear them apart.

The author seems to belief that the use of expletives and liberal mentions of big fashion brands can make up for the absence of a well-etched plot. Written like a screenplay of a big-budget Bollywood film, the book offers the reader nothing new. It is just suited for an idle read.

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