NEW & NOTEWORTHY

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Earth’s Legacy: NaturalWorld Heritage

Earth’s Legacy: Natural World Heritage” was recently published as the next installment of CEMEX’s Nature Series.

Cyril Kormos, Tim Badman, Russell A. Mittermeier, Bastian Bertzky, Eds.

 

This volume captures the spectacular diversity and beauty of natural World Heritage sites, natural places of such exceptional and universal importance that they have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, to be protected for the benefit of all of humankind. These include some of the most iconic places on Earth: from Yosemite to Virunga and from the Great Barrier Reef to Ha Long Bay. Through evocative writing and unforgettable photography, this book provides a magnificent, comprehensive overview of these sites’ aesthetic, natural, and cultural value, coupled with their remarkable geodiversity, ecological processes, and biodiversity. It further highlights the sad reality that many of these irreplaceable sites are under enormous pressure and require greater protection if humanity is to preserve the world’s natural heritage for the future. The book was produced with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Conservation International, and the WILD Foundation.

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‘Eat the Heart of the Infidel’
– The Harrowing of Nigeria and the Rise of Boko Haram

by Sherif Dhaimish

Andrew Walker’s latest book looks at the decrepit modern history of Nigeria, one of Africa’s most misunderstood nations despite the size of its population and economy.

Starting with the Sokoto Caliphate led by Usman dan Fodio, whose rise followed the 1809 Fulani War, we are guided through the many Islamic insurgencies that emerged over the last 200 years. The most high-profile manifestation of the Islamist endemic is Boko Haram, meaning ‘Western education is forbidden’ – a ‘full fettered terrorist outfit’ responsible for horrific atrocities in Nigeria.

Walker, a freelance journalist who has specialised in Nigeria since 2006, entwines outlandish anecdotes to narrate recent political turmoil, including the five-year term of Goodluck Jonathan and Boko Haram’s kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok that caused international outrage under the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. These anecdotes inject a humanizing quality to the text that undermines the authority of objective historical narratives, and render the complexities of Nigeria’s current socio-political and cultural crisis palpable to global readership. What could have easily been a rigid chronology of Nigeria’s Islamist history is transformed into a crystaliised, yet multifaceted description of a country debilitated by a centuries-long identity crisis.

Alessandro Spina – The Panopticon of Italian Colonialism

The works of Alessandro Spina (1927-2013) have attracted a small, cult following since he began publishing his stories in the 1960s. Only now is his most complete, epic oeuvre reaching English readers.

Born to Syrian Maronite parents in Benghazi, Spina, nom de plume of Basili Shafik Khouzam, grew up attending Italian schools during the colonial occupation of Libya. He later settled in Milan where he became a lover of the opera, and began penning, as described by his English translator André Naffis-Sahely: ‘lush tapestries of history, fiction and autobiography that featured a cosmopolitan array of characters: Italian officers, Senussi rebels, Ottoman bureaucrats, chirpy grande dames, Maltese fishermen, aristocrats, servants and slaves.’

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Over the course of almost half a century, Spina wrote the collection I confini dell’ombra: In terra d’oltremare (The Confines of the Shadow: In Lands Overseas); an epic that maps the history of Libya from 1911, when Italian colonizers overthrew the Ottomans to the discovery of oil in 1966. Winner of the 2007 Bagutta Prize, Italy’s highest literary accolade, Spina has remained largely unread despite being the first to extensively explore the Italy-Libya connection through serious fiction. This collection of novels, novellas and short story collections is becoming available to the English reader. Darf published Vol I in October 2015, with Vol II set for release in Oct 2016, and the final instalment being delivered in 2017.

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