Free Press Journal

High on statements, short on facts: Review


Book: Political Tribes

Author: Amy Chua

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Pages: 282; Price: Rs 499

The most noticeable part of this book is the notes section, which is spread over 69 pages, occupying one fourth of the book. Strangely the book doesn’t give any details about the author. A quick search on the internet reveals Amy Chua is the John M Duff Jr Professor of Law at Yale Law School. She is a noted expert in the fields of international business, ethnic conflict, and globalization.

Let’s move to the content of the book. The book is written in American context and says that ‘Tribalism’ is the cause of our current political discord. In reality, it is an anti-Trump, pro Islam book and a desperate attempt to defend ongoing Islamic terrorism around the world. To make an argument, author has used America’s role in war of Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and Venezuela. The book argues that people tend to behave as a tribe and concludes that pundits miscalculated the US elections and Brexit because they failed to pay heed to the deep significance of political tribes at home.

Book briefly and sensibly describes the difference in the colonial model of Great Britain and USA. Though the book has an exhaustive notes section, author has failed in basic research. She mentions names of countries with whom Afghanistan shares border and forgets to mention India — India and Afghanistan share 106-km long boundary.

It is amazing to see the extent the author as an Islamic terror apologist can go. Following is an excerpt from the book: “ISIS may be on the verge of defeat, but the conditions that allowed it to rise remain very much alive. Consider this statement from a Muslim father living in Ceuta, Spain, during the Iraq war: The Spanish authorities treat us like we were all criminals. Our people have been here for hundreds, maybe thousands of years but even the Hindus get better treatment. We are always looking for work…(Y)ou can’t help but feel the suffering of your people, in Palestine, in Iraq, in Afghanistan…I swear, if George Bush were here in front of my son, I would strap a bomb on myself and blow up American soldiers in Iraq even if my own son, whom I love more than life, were to grow up without a father. But I have no means to get there.”

For the record, Spain has 4% Muslim population and Hindu population so less that it is not even covered in any study. Instead of asking the question why the Muslims have an issue with Hindus or why they are looking for a job in a non-Muslim country when there are so many Muslim countries in the world, author notes in the next paragraph, “Millions of Muslims all over the world – in Europe, in Africa, in the Middle East – feel victimized, threatened, and impoverished by Western enemies, whether America, Europe, Israel, Christianity or Western civilization as a whole.”

The author doesn’t stop here, but goes on to make blatant racist and confusing comments like, “In 1998, it was inconceivable that a person with Chavez’s complexion and ‘African’ features could become Miss Venezuela or the country’s President.” For the record, Hugo Chavez was the President of Venezuela.

Amy Chua had a very relevant concept at her hand, but she destroys it just to prove a point which doesn’t exist. Here and there book does make right noises, but again gets lost by attempting to be an Islamic terror apologist. Author’s parents shifted to USA and got an opportunity to explore their talent, and so did she, and today she has problems with the same USA. It is a highly confused and short-on-facts book.