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Uncle Swami: South Asians in America Today Hardcover – June 5, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


[Prashad] has set the standard by which future works on the Asian diaspora must be judged.
—Abraham Verghese, bestselling author of My Own Country and Cutting for Stone

[Prashad's] scholarly analysis of the current Islamophobia is laced with great quotes from scholars and activists, including Gandhi on the limits of tradition and Tolstoy on feel-good liberalism (give to the poor but don’t change anything). Like Prashad’s prizewinning The Darker Nations (2008), this is bound to spark discussion as he juxtaposes the platitudes of multiculturalism, which celebrate the peoples and traditions of "other" lands (Africa, Asia, Latin America), against the unchanging truth that non-Western continues to be viewed as subordinate.

About the Author

Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He is the author of The Karma of Brown Folk and The Darker Nations (The New Press); the latter was chosen as a Best Nonfiction Book of the year by the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and won the Muzaffar Ahmad Book Prize. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: The New Press (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595587845
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595587848
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,347,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Vijay Prashad is Professor of International Studies at Trinity College, where he holds the George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History.

Prashad is the author of fourteen books, most recently Arab Spring, Libyan Winter (AK Press), which India's The Hindu called "a book that deserves to become essential reading, a canonical account of a world-historic chain of events," and Uncle Swami: South Asians in America Today (New Press), which the Boston Globe called "required reading for anyone who wants to understand race, assimilation and patriotism."

His Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World (New Press, 2007) was chosen by the Asian American Writers' Workshop as the best nonfiction book of 2008, and it won the Muzaffar Ahmad Book Award for 2009. It is now available in French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Swedish, with editions in India and Pakistan and translations in Arabic, Mandarin and Turkish in process. Kamal Mitra Chenoy, professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, wrote in Economic and Political Weekly, "This is a comprehensive, informative and rewarding book to read, and documents a critical part of our international politics and culture which is much misrepresented nowadays." Former Indian Foreign Minister K. Natwar Singh, writing in Tehelka, notes, "The book invites comparison to Edward Said's Orientalism. Vijay Prashad's passionate commitment, his intellectual brio, his literary style, are all immensely impressive." El Pais said of the Spanish edition, "Las naciones oscuras es un libro excepcionalmente documentado. Era obligado, dada la ambición del proyecto. Su documentación es tan buena que brilla."

Prashad is a columnist for Frontline (India) and a correspondent for Asia Times, an editor at Bol (Pakistan) and Himal (Nepal) and a writer for al-Akhbar (Lebanon) and Counterpunch (USA). He has been published in The Hindu (India), Egypt Independent (Egypt), Bidayat (Lebanon), Economic and Political Weekly (India), Third World Resurgence (Malaysia), Mail and Guardian (South Africa), and India Abroad (USA).

In December 2012, Verso Books will publish his The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South, which former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali calls "a contribution to the intellectual-cum-political emancipation of developing countries and their empowerment through greater self-reliance on their own intellectual and analytical resources."

For LeftWord books in Delhi, he edits a series called Dispatches. The first volume, Dispatches from Latin America, co-edited with Teo Ballvé appeared in 2006. The second volume, Dispatches from Pakistan, co-edited with Qalandar Bux Memon and Madiha R. Tahir, will appear in October 2012. The third volume, Dispatches from the Arab Revolt, co-edited with Paul Amar, will appear in December 2012. Two volumes, Dispatches from Africa and Dispatches from Europe, are currently in formation.

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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Sonia Kotecha on June 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I appreciate how Dr. Vijay Prashad chronicles my history as a second generation South Asian American in a social/political/economic context. He speaks to my soul, validates my worldview and inspires me to think about social justice in new ways.
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Karen Ziminski on June 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I expected it to be about South Asians assimilating or not assimilating, as the case may be, in America. As a family therapist who treats many South Asians, I was looking for insight into how the immigrant experience affects family life. That isn't the subject of the book.

The author goes into how some South Asian immigrants have moved to the US and become very wealthy, while others are exploited and kept down.

He writes about various South Asian political movements, and he seems to have a strong preference for Communism. I am not a Communist, but I have to admit he has some good insights. He says: "Military force has become an even more necessary component of statecraft as the United States sees its manufacturing wither and its society become addicted to credit and cheap goods from elsewhere." This is, I believe, why the United States keeps getting involved in overseas conflicts that are really not its concern.
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