From Publishers Weekly
Sharansky compellingly argues that distinct group identities within a culture are an essential part of a successful democracy and that attempts to bleach out or deny identity can have catastrophic results. Much of his argument is shaped and funneled through his experience as a political prisoner in the Soviet gulags and later as a citizen and activist in Israel. Though one is inclined to ask if Sharansky means anything more with his usage of identity than religion, he still makes clear points about contemporary Jewish and Muslim identity. His most intriguing discussions center on the postidentity crisis that many of the developed nations find themselves facing. Stefan Rudnicki's deep voice enables a stronger foreboding tone for Sharansky's words. His light use of accents for quotes provides context without exaggeration. Most important, Rudnicki patiently works through the text with shifting emphasis and pauses to allow for listener understanding during the more cerebral elements of Sharansky's writings. A Perseus hardcover. (Oct.)
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"Washington Times," July, 25, 2008"The Democratic Party's hopeful savior, Barack Obama, has made it clear that he will draw a sharp distinction between himself and John McCain through his approach to foreign policy and his emphasis on diplomacy and multi-nationalism. His commitment to restoring America's image and withdrawing from Iraq makes him the preferred candidate for much of Western Europe, and much of the world for that matter. However, Barack Obama's lead in world public opinion polls is something John McCain should highlight and embrace, rather than resist.If Mr. McCain finds this strategy flawed, he should read Natan Sharansky's latest book, "Defending Identity," which discusses the crucial distinctions between the United States and much of the world, including the European bloc. Mr. Sharansky, a Jewish former Soviet dissident who spent years in the gulags for trying to hold the Soviet Union accountable to its international human-rights commitments, explains as his central thesis that identity without democracy is totalitarianism, but democracy without identification to the larger community is weak and doomed to fail."