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PLOT: 4.5/5




OVERALL: 4.5/5

PUBLISHED ON: November 8, 2019

GENRE: Historical Fiction

A Glimpse Into The Story & Its Characters 

Lara Prescott’s gripping historical fiction book, “The Secrets We Kept,” centers on how the CIA exploited Boris Pasternak’s “Doctor Zhivago” as a Cold War propaganda tool. The novel is set in the 1950s and 1960s and relates the tale from the perspectives of two CIA secretaries.

The USA’s side of the story introduces two main characters, Irina and Sally, who are secretaries working in the CIA ‘typing pool”. They are chosen for a covert expedition to transfer the “Doctor Zhivago” manuscript out of the Soviet Union and into the West for publication. The USSR side introduces the hardships of the manuscript’s originator, Boris Pasternak and his mistress, Olga, who are banned by Stalin and face tremendous torture as they refuse to let go of their dream to publish this manuscript. 

 The book does a fantastic job of balancing the story’s political and personal elements. Particularly with Irina and Sally, who are torn between their commitment to their country and their ambitions, she effectively captures the characters’ emotional journey. The reader is immediately transported to the 1950s and 1960s by Prescott’s vivid depictions of the period.

 “The Secrets We Kept” is a solidly written and compelling book that cleverly integrates espionage, romance, and history. The plot of Prescott’s novels is full of intrigue and suspense, and the characters are well-rounded and relatable. The thrilling yet totally believable journey of the characters will have you guessing and re-guessing the amount of truth in this book. 

History, Politics & Spycraft

 The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was at its worst during the 1950s and 1960s when the story is set. The United States represented capitalist democracy, and the Soviet Union represented communism during this period, which divided the world into two political and ideological zones. Joseph Stalin’s dictatorial leadership over the Soviet Union lasted until his passing in 1953 when Nikita Khrushchev took over as president. Political persecution, a cult of personality, and rampant human rights violations were all hallmarks of Stalin’s leadership.

The Cold War era in the United States was characterized by suspicions of communism and the advent of McCarthyism, a political movement intended to purge the nation of any suspected communists. 

In this context, the CIA carried out various covert activities to further American objectives and fought Soviet influence globally, including in literature and the arts. The publication of Boris Pasternak’s “Doctor Zhivago” and its part in the Cold War propaganda war is the focal point through which “The Secrets We Kept” examines this historical setting.

What I Loved About This Book

This book covers a lot of ground and tells a genuinely expansive and great story. You quickly become attached to the characters because they are presented in familiar ways. I learned that the historical characters I had previously observed from a distance were regular people.

Be sure, you will be introduced to a tale of love, justice, class, repression, ambition, and sacrifice by Boris Pasternak, his mistress Olga, and the ‘typists’. 

I was able to take a lot away from reading this book. 

One of the aspects of this book that will always stick with me is – how much more freedom we now have to publish and how difficult it was to get a book that was so highly regarded into the public’s hands.

 I also adored the feminism messages ingrained in Lara Prescott’s choices – with strong women as the focal point of the narrative, showing them to be sex-positive, take responsibility for their actions, and showing how they could still have an impact even when the men around them disregarded them.

The Secrets We Kept – Final Appeal 

“The Secrets We Kept” is a page-turning and provocative book that presents a new viewpoint on a well-known historical/political event. It is a stunningly written and well-researched work of fiction that will fascinate readers who enjoy the genre and those curious about the relationship between literature and politics. The power of literature, propaganda, and censorship are all issues that Prescott tackles throughout the book. She offers insight into the political environment of the day and depicts the two ladies as heroines who risk all to publish a book. 

The book has won plaudits from critics who laud its vivid depiction of historical events and intriguing storytelling.

Ms. Pooja Kalbalia is presently pursuing her PhD in Media Studies from CHRIST University, Bangalore. She is an alumnus of the University of Delhi and the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi. She has a rich experience in Media planning, Marketing, and Advertising industry. She is awarded Ad Person of the year by IIMCAA in the year 2021.

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Book Review

Brave New World Book Review



Brave New World Book Review

If to Err is Human, and to Purr is Cat – then What is to AI? Blush?

“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly – they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”

– Aldous Huxley, Brave New World


And boy! Have I been pierced? Or as Jane Austen famously wrote in Pride and Prejudice, “You have bewitched me body, and soul.” I don’t remember when I found ‘comfort’ in the disturbing chaos of dystopian literature. The first dystopian “novel” I read was George Orwell’s 1984 (is it fair to call them novel or fiction?) Or is it mirroring the reality of the day and age we are currently in? Nestling in the comfort of dystopia – it appears as though everything in our world can be reasoned out and deconstructed. Whether it is Andaman island’s Cellular Jail and its eerie similarity to Michel Foucault’s Panopticon theory – I found reasons and theories for everything that makes our skin crawl.

Today I review Aldous Huxley’s novel, “Brave New World”. It is a classic dystopian work that has been widely read and discussed since its publication in 1932. The novel presents a “near” future, in which people are born into predetermined social classes, conditioned to accept their place in society, and drugged into a state of complacency.

Reading the novel I realised that the most striking aspect of the novel is Huxley’s depiction of a world in which pleasure and instant gratification are the ultimate goals of life. Activities that “generate” happiness outlets with a highly constant momentum. Imagine remaining blissfully happy all the time, throughout our lives, devoid of the ability to experience any other expression. The characters in the novel are shown to be preoccupied with instant gratification to an extent that they are devoid of any genuine human connection or emotion. This leads to a profound sense of alienation and despair, even in characters who seem to be “content” with their lives. They are monitored to remain “happy”, which becomes their end-goal.

Huxley’s portrayal of the role of technology and science in society is also a major theme in the novel. The dystopian society depicted in “Brave New World” is one in which technological progress has led to a complete loss of humanity, with people being treated like machines to be engineered and programmed. The novel raises important questions about the consequences of unchecked scientific progress and the dangers of dehumanizing technology.

At one point in the novel, “human” characters can feel uni-dimensional and lacking in depth, which makes it difficult for readers to connect with them. Huxley has been outstanding in creating proto-types of humans who are “programmed” to live a certain way. The characters believe what they believe because they are conditioned to do so. Shock is instantly replaced with happiness, anger is absent and crying is not allowed. There is an underlying message which is 

obvious or perhaps not. Technological advances may aid us in our everyday living becoming an extended arm of virtual identity, but the question remains dangling – “Will AI replace humans?

It is absurd at this moment to think of such a disruption – AI cannot replace human emotions. 2023 is indeed a brave new world but conscious thinking, ability to feel and express breaks the monotony of the functioning that a machine generates – optimum performance. Humans are not capable and should not be capable of optimum performance. To err is human! ChatGPT may very well draft a solidarity note as a “technological assistant” but it is wild to think that it will ever be able to extend the solidarity that humans can to one another. Something that has been understood very well during the pandemic – after being devoid of human touch. 

Can these interventions threaten the fundamental human values and beliefs? 

Yes, it could.

Take a look at our Instagram profiles or Linkedin profiles for that matter – it is a “desire” to remain pitch-perfect inducing the constant feeling of underachievement or unhappiness. Why? We are becoming habitual of the idea of remaining blissfully happy at optimum level.

This is what makes Huxley’s Brave New World relevant in our times.

Relevance of Huxley’s Brave New World relevant in our times

While the novel was written almost a century ago, its central themes and ideas are still very pertinent today. Huxley’s portrayal of a dystopian future where technology and consumerism have replaced human connection and emotion. This feels as though these were predictions made at that time. It is ironic that we call it “fiction”.

Furthermore, Huxley’s portrayal of a society that values immediate pleasure and gratification over deeper human connections and emotions also resonates with our contemporary world. We live in a culture that increasingly emphasizes instant gratification and immediate rewards, often at the expense of more meaningful, long-term relationships and experiences. The novel reminds us that while pleasure and satisfaction are important, they are not enough to sustain a truly fulfilling life. 

People are engineered and conditioned from birth to fit into predetermined roles, and their lives are tightly controlled by the state. Here are a few examples of how technology impacts human relations in the novel, and how they connect to our current times:


  • Social conditioning: In the novel, people are conditioned to accept their roles in society and to be content with their lot in life. This conditioning is achieved through the use of advanced technology, such as hypnopaedia, which is a form of sleep-teaching that reinforces social norms and values. Today, we see similar forms of social conditioning in our own society, such as the way that media and advertising shape our desires and expectations, and the use of social media algorithms to reinforce our existing beliefs and biases.


  1. The pursuit of pleasure: In “Brave New World,” people are encouraged to seek pleasure and avoid pain at all costs. This is achieved through the use of a powerful drug called Soma, which produces a state of euphoria and numbs the senses. In our own society, we see a similar obsession with pleasure-seeking and the use of drugs to alter consciousness. For example, the opioid epidemic has had a devastating impact on communities across the world, and many people use drugs or alcohol to cope with the stresses of daily life.


  • Dehumanization: One of the central themes of “Brave New World” is the dehumanizing effect of technology. In the novel, people are reduced to mere objects, with their lives controlled by the state and their emotions suppressed through the use of drugs and conditioning. This dehumanization is also evident in our own society, where the rise of automation and artificial intelligence threatens to replace human workers with machines, and where social media can sometimes lead to a loss of empathy and human connection.


To examine this deeply, let’s take the popular example of  Blinkit’s 10-minute delivery service.

In the novel, the powerful drug/aid “soma” sends the characters into a state of euphoria having no resilience to the perils or handling traumas of life. To each problem there is one solution – “Soma”, numbing the ability to experience human pain.

Juxtaposing it to Blinkit’s 10-minute delivery service which is designed to provide people with immediate gratification and convenience, but at the expense of everything we discussed above –

By prioritizing speed and efficiency over all else, the service reduces humans to mere consumers, whose only goal is to satisfy their immediate desires. In doing so, it reinforces the message that pleasure and gratification are the most important things in life, and that human connections and relationships are secondary.

Furthermore, Blinkit’s delivery service could be seen as a form of social conditioning, similar to the hypnopaedia used in “Brave New World.” By using sophisticated algorithms and data analysis to target consumers and shape their desires and expectations, the service reinforces existing social norms and values, and encourages people to conform to a particular way of life.

Blinkit’s 10-minute delivery service may be convenient and efficient, it also raises important questions about the impact of technology on human relations and the way that we live our lives. Like the dehumanizing technologies portrayed in “Brave New World,” it is important that we critically examine the effects of these technologies on our humanity and our ability to connect with one another in meaningful ways.

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Book Review

1984 | George Orwell | Book Review



1984 book by George Orwell

PLOT: 5/5





After a long time, I finally had something in my hands that wasn’t about figuring out Tharoor’s complex and demanding vocabulary as I made my way to the book’s climax. I had no idea, though, that those 300 pages made more sense than any great thinker or philosopher had ever managed to with his narratives about the world and its incredible power politics. Additionally, it wasn’t “your typical fiction” because fictions tend to be dramatic.

Despite being a classic that has stood the test of time, 1984 has a modern feel. I chose to join the conspiracy myself because I was fascinated by how appealing it has remained for so many generations. As long as I didn’t get to the work’s appendix, finishing 100 pages every day of an ebook didn’t feel like a success. The novel had a lasting impression on me since I couldn’t stop thinking about it all day. It appeared to have been written in this day and age and was so true to current events that escaping seemed pointless.

One aspect of Winston Smith’s existence, the contradiction, would keep you glued to the screen for days. While his ability to grasp the idea of true freedom was impressive in and of itself, it was equally remarkable to observe the difficulty his mind was having in trying to distinguish between reality and illusion that was constantly present because of the intense gaze of Big Brother’s eyes and the indiscernible curve under his mustache that was impossible to ignore.

Big Brother’s presence seemed nearly tangible, given the clarity of the features. He left his imprint everywhere, whether physically or mentally (or mentally). Every item, whether living or dead, saw Big Brother everywhere, in the shape of posters, advertisements, televised shows, songs, the party’s scheduled Hate Hours, the transformation of young children into spies wearing blue uniforms, and other things. The list of things Big Brother and his state control philosophy were praised for never ended.

The existence of Big Brother is left unstated, but whether he existed or not, his catchphrase “Big Brother Is Watching You” served as the people’s guide for every step and breath. Winston Smith came to understand his dislike of the state and its oppressive ministers as a result of his attempts to confront his problems and accept the world as it was.

Winston fails to progress toward his goals despite exerting sufficient effort to oppose the regime while using extreme caution to avoid being arrested for a “thoughtcrime.”


The novel takes you on an emotional rollercoaster that a human brain can handle without detracting from the plot. You feel annoyed, shocked, betrayed, and grieved all at once due to Winston’s poor decision-making skills following a seemingly daring love story that you support.

In 1984, the narration was so overwhelming that you are left to take in all of the heart-pounding conclusions for which you were unprepared. It is amusing that all of this could come from a three-hundred-page novel.

It’s hard to get over the notion that a mere work of fiction from the 1940s can convince you that human exploitation and power struggles exist in the real world just as they do in the fictional one and that Smith experiences them daily.

The story isn’t just concerned with the state and how it uses unfair tactics to carry out its will, but it’s also worried about how people interact with one another. A story about vast inequality, a story about a complete betrayal by your instincts that puts you in the hands of your enemy, and a story about parents who can’t trust their children served as a fresh fish. Other stories included the inability of colleagues to sit with each other and the inability of a person even to think the thoughts of his liking. It is an aerial perspective of a world where social pressure exists to fit in, and other people are watching people.

The epilogue reveals that Orwell was a child of his time who knew more than any prior generation of intellectuals close to reaching complete human evolution. Another possibility is that he merely wished to be truthful with the young population about to read his excellent work, which painted a vivid image of human nature and the desire for power that lay beneath the smokescreen of 1984. To fully comprehend what Smith meant when he declared, “Freedom is the freedom to say two plus two is four,” it is imperative that we take a close look at the current, constantly changing global scene. Everything else happens if that is permitted.

It begs the question of whether the definitions of the ideals of the constitutions from all over the world that have been presented to us are accurate or if they are only the product of numerous philosophers. The sole purpose of this review is to encourage people who have yet to read 1984 but have it on their want list to do so immediately.

Also Read: Animal Farm By George Orwell Book Review

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Book Review

Animal Farm by George Orwell Book Review



animal farm book review

One of the most scathing satires ever written, this fantastic allegory of a downtrodden society of overworked, mistreated animals and their struggle to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality is still as shockingly relevant now as it was more than fifty years ago. In this write-up, we present you the Animal Farm Book Review.

As we watch the brutal rise and fall of the revolutionary animals, we start to see the germs of tyranny in even the most romantic of institutions and the souls of the most charismatic oppressors in our most charismatic leaders.

George Orwell’s Animal Farm beautifully illustrates the concepts of oppression, rebellion, and history repeating itself. Beginning with an ambitious children’s story, Animal Farm: Old Major, a 12-year-old pig, asks all of Manor Farm’s animals to gather in the large barn after the farm’s owner, Mr. Jones, passes out in a drunken stupor. Major makes a stirring political speech on the injustices their human captors have imposed upon them and the need for them to rebel against Man’s tyranny.

Soon, the revolution breaks out, and Jones and his men are expelled from the farm because they forgot to feed the animals. The Seven Commandments of Animalism are painted on the barn wall, the most significant being “All animals are created equal,” which is later altered to “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Manor Farm is renamed Animal Farm. Orwell shows how easily political orthodoxy can be transformed into pliable propaganda by modifying the Ten Commandments. 

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again, but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

There might be better choices than George Orwell’s Animal Farm for young readers! Some heavy items are present. Orwell claimed that the novel depicts events leading up to the 1917 Russian Revolution and continuing into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union. He thought that the Soviet Union had evolved into an oppressive dictatorship, one that was based on a cult of personality and maintained by a state of terror. 

“I meant the moral to be that revolutions only affect a radical improvement when the masses are alert and know how to chuck out their leaders as soon as the latter have done their job. The story’s turning point was supposed to be when the pigs kept the milk and apples for themselves.”

The first book in which he strove, fully aware of what he was doing, “to meld political purpose and aesthetic purpose into one whole” was Animal Farm, according to his essay Why I Write (1946), he wrote. He did that with flying colors.

Orwell compares the animal uprising against Farmer Jones to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. The allied invasion of Soviet Russia in 1918 is thought to be represented by the Battle of the Cowshed. As Napoleon became the only head of the farm, the pigs’ ascent to dominance mirrored the formation of a Stalinist bureaucracy in the USSR. The pigs’ theft of milk and apples for their consumption is compared to the suppression of the left-wing Kronstadt uprising against the Bolsheviks in 1921, and the animals’ challenging construction of the windmill is compared to the different Five Year Plans. 

“The only good human being is a dead one.”

Even though I could be more knowledgeable about the history and wasn’t familiar with all the historical occurrences in Animal Farm, Orwell’s story was still understandable because it could apply not just to the Russian Revolution but to revolutions and changes in leadership more generally. The story of humankind on this planet is told in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Repetition of historical events, money, and profit-driven people. 

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again, but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm, which ends with the pigs and men engaging in a sort of reconciliation, was inspired by his perception of the Teheran Conference in 1943, which on the surface, appeared to establish “the best possible relations between the USSR and the West” but which Orwell foresaw would continue to deteriorate. When Napoleon and Pilkington, dubious, “played an ace of spades simultaneously,” it signaled a quarrel between the allies and the beginning of the Cold War. Naturally, only one of the two is technically cheating, but Orwell does not specify which one because such a fact is meaningless.

The idea that religion is the “opium of the masses” is another theme in George Orwell’s Animal Farm that also strikes a satirical note (as Karl Marx famously wrote). Many animals are first annoyed by Moses the raven’s discussions of Sugarcandy Mountain since Moses, renowned as a “speaker of tales,” appears to be an unreliable source. The animals reject Moses’ claims of another heaven because they still believe in a better future. The animals start to accept him as their circumstances worsen because “Their lives today, they reasoned, were hungry and arduous; was it not just and just that a better world should exist somewhere else?” 

“Man serves the interests of no creature except himself.”

In this instance, Orwell makes fun of people’s vain hopes for an improved world that prevents its existence. The pigs let Moses stay on the farm because they know that his tales of Sugarcandy Mountain will keep the animals submissive: as long as there is some better world somewhere, even after death, the animals will slog through this one. They even reward him with beer to keep him around. Accordingly, Orwell suggests that religious fervor, often regarded as a virtue, might cause one to have distorted views of life on earth.

In the end, George Orwell’s Animal Farm is a book that utterly moved me. A book that will stay with me for the rest of my life, one that I will continue to fear and eagerly pick up again and again.


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Book Review




Persepolis Book Review

Persepolis tells the tale of Iran’s political and cultural development through a little girl’s perspective. One may experience every emotion in the novel, full of happy and sad moments. Simple yet powerful graphics are used to tell the tale. The book Persepolis is courageous, funny, and sincere. It provides a unique look at life in a theocracy.

In the book’s opening pages, Marjane, the author, is getting accustomed to the new Islamic Republic that the revolution produced. The revolution’s backers disavowed their affiliation with it. Some incredibly powerful clergymen took control of their vision of a democratic Iran. The uncertainty experienced by a little child who is instructed by her school to accept the new Islamic administration but witnesses her parents fighting against it is well-revealed in the book. Since the majority of the things she loved were now forbidden, she observes how her life had turned on its head.

All the bilingual schools were suddenly converted to single-sex institutions. The circumstances deteriorated with time. All protests were prohibited once Iran entered the war; dissidents were tortured or executed, and drones were frequently used to assault the country. Every day, Marjane became more adventurous and curious. Her outgoing nature often got her into trouble with the Guardians of the Revolution and the school administration. She was fourteen when her parents decided to move her to Austria.
She was so overwhelmed by her newly acquired independence. She quickly discovered that living alone wasn’t her cup of tea, and she missed her family, culture, and homeland. She chose to go back to Iran because she felt disoriented and guilty. Returning to her native country wasn’t as simple as she had anticipated. Due to the effects of the war, there were very few opportunities for women, and the entire nation’s reputation was damaged. Marjane emphasized the weird and terrible aspects of Iran’s dictatorial government. Marjane succeeded in illuminating complex modern subjects like the veil and feminism, neo-colonialism, social movements, xenophobia, and the perils of fundamentalism.
One quotation very succinctly expresses why theocracies maintain such rigorous control over all facets of their citizen’s lives:

“The regime had recognized one individual leaving her home while pondering, ‘Are my pants long enough? Is my veil in position? Is my makeup visible? Where is my independence of mind, she no longer queries, and “Are they going to whip me? Where is my right to free speech? Is my life manageable? What occurs inside political prisons? Naturally, that is! When we are terrified, we are incapable of thinking critically or reflecting. We become frozen in terror. In addition, all dictators’ repression has always been motivated by fear. It follows that wearing makeup or baring your hair became rebellious behaviors.”

By demonstrating the state’s frantic desire to enact stringent rules to control women based on the patriarchal paradigm of perceiving women as men’s assets, she has consistently worked to question the problematic divide between personal and political. Marjane decides to travel to France towards the novel’s conclusion, and she knows that this trip will take a while. As independence comes at a high cost for others, she said goodbye to her grandmother.

I learned a lot about Iran’s cultural heritage through Persepolis, and it also helped me believe that human interactions are fundamentally universal. To capture the innocence of a child forced to mature due to violence and persecution, Marjane created the text in a style that is almost childlike. This brilliantly written coming-of-age novel offers other characters’ lives equal weight to their own.

The book contained a lot of symbolism as well. Because Marjane perceives the world in black and white, the book comprises black-and-white pictures. Marjane consciously tries to distinguish between good and evil, as well as right and wrong, from the beginning to the end of the story. To explain complex subjects, the author has utilized straightforward language. Since her primary goal is to make the readers realize that various truths exist even when we cannot notice them, she has purposefully employed the cinch style of pictures.

She has also been unafraid to voice her ideas while allowing the readers to draw their own conclusions. Marjane and other Iranian women fight the patriarchy relentlessly throughout the book. This is demonstrated in subtle ways, such as her early defiance toward the authorities at her school, her decision to attend parties while not covering her face, or her socially unacceptable actions, such as leaving her spouse after realizing she wasn’t happy and feeling confined. The author accurately describes her shifting beliefs, rash and careless choices, and brave resistance actions.

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Book Review

A cruel birth of Bangladesh by Archer K Blood: Book Review




The Liberation War of 1971 is all over the headlines, granted its 50th anniversary is round the corner. Numerous commentaries and documents are being revisited in the events during the ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh’ celebrations across the countries. One such book which played a pivotal role in documenting the Liberation War and the birth of Bangladesh is the diplomat Archer K Blood’s memoir “The Cruel Birth of Bangladesh: Memoirs of An American Diplomat” published in 2002.

About the Author

Archer K Blood was the American Consul General in Dhaka. He also sent the famous and strongly worded ‘Blood Telegram” which mentioned the atrocities committed against the Bangla sect of people in the Eastern Province of Bangladesh. He was a daily reporter during the Bangladesh genocide to the White House. However, he was not able to elicit any response by the officials of the White House but the general public discovered some of his leaked pieces which caused a major stir.

Blood received the Christian A. Herter Awarded in 1971 for “extraordinary accomplishment involving initiative, integrity, intellectual courage and creative dissent” during the timeline of the Bangladesh Liberation War.

About the Book

More than entailing the atrocities inflicted by Pakistan and uprising rebellion by the Banglas, the book focused on the parched and silent lips of the West administration on the issue. Following the March 25, 1971 military crackdown, Blood and his colleagues at the Dhaka Consulate continued to report the details of the genocide of unarmed Bengalis by Pakistani Junta to Washington and urged the US government to take cognizance, only to receive deafening silence.  

The book accounts the inevitable emergence of Bangladesh seen through the eyes of a sympathetic American diplomat. The fateful and horrendous events are intrinsically captured in the memoir by the author. The timeline of the book spans from March 1970, when the author arrived in Dhaka as an American Consul General to June 1971, iterating his withdrawal from the Dhaka Office. The book records insightful predictions on the unfolding crisis and also ponders various judgements of his conscience. The book has by-and-large demeaned the stance of the US as no retaliation made against the atrocities committed by Pakistan. The book further throws light on the future of the Awami League as the main anchor, ambitiously driving the separation from Pakistan. In addition, Arthur Blood also encouraged India’s assistance in the ‘Liberation Movement’ and lauded their training, arming and guidance towards the Bangladeshi Rebel Force.

The author was a diplomat and the reflection of the same can be observed in his writing style. His ability to provide a detailed documentation of the instances in clear and concise language extended to a great deed for the general readers. His writings were also opinionated and was supported by wise judgement and wit, grasping the reader’s attention and involving them in the narrative. The book sheds light on many small, obscure, little-known events of the 1971 war. For instance, the book narrated an incident where an American diplomat in Dhaka had to make a diplomatic call at a gunpoint, held by the Pakistani Junta. The nonchalant tone in which Blood has described his instance of calling on the Chief Martial Law Administration, General Tikka Khan to the American administration, with the sole motive of defaming the image of American diplomats, is absolutely haunting and horrifying.

The excerpts from the book also drew striking observations on the lives of the two leaders, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (former Prime Ministers of Bangladesh and Pakistan respectively). Arthur pointed out obvious similarities between the lives of the two leaders. Both the eminent personalities have been described as exceedingly courageous and indispensable. For Bhutto losing his control over the Eastern Pakistan and Mujib rejoicing in the euphoria post December 1970 elections, both personalities were vital and necessary for their respective people. Arthur has credited both Bhutto and Mujib for the secure political future that both these two countries now look forward to.


Scrumming through the pages of the book, a reader can’t overlook the compassion by which Arthur has tried to comprehensively enunciate the sufferings of the local Bangla citizen and the cruel days of 1971. Unlike the silent retirement from the US, Arthur responded to the call of conscience and thus, his documentation offers a very inspirational glimpse of the heroic dissent.

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