Stephen D. Shenfield | Author and Translator
- Published on 01 August 2010
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In his famous novel The Grapes of Wrath (Chapter 25), John Steinbeck described how food was destroyed during the Great Depression:
Carloads of oranges dumped on the ground.
The people come for miles to take the fruit, but this could not be. How would they buy oranges if they could drive out and pick them up? And men with hoses squirt kerosene on the oranges… A million people hungry, needing the fruit – and kerosene sprayed over the golden mountains.
And the smell of rot fills the country.
Burn coffee for fuel in the ships… Dump potatoes in the rivers and place guards along the banks to keep the hungry people from fishing them out [with nets]. Slaughter the pigs and bury them…
And children dying of pellagra must die because a profit cannot be taken from an orange. And coroners must fill in the certificates – died of malnutrition – because the food must be forced to rot.
- Published on 01 October 2016
- Hits: 132
I hear that you just gave birth to your first child – a healthy baby boy. Mazel tov! I also hear that everything is going well, just as it should be. You have no cause for worry.
This should be a happy time for you. And so it is, I am sure.
Well, a happy time on the whole.
No, not altogether happy. Not one hundred percent. There is a fly in the ointment. Something does worry you, however you may try not to think about it. Now and then disturbing images intrude, unbidden and unwelcome.
- Published on 12 October 2016
- Hits: 61
Numerous pundits and politicians, Bernie Sanders among them, are hammering a simple idea into our heads. One thing and one thing only, they say, matters in the approaching presidential elections – stopping Donald Trump. Realistic and responsible people, we are told, vote for the lesser evil. And whatever misgivings we may have about Hillary Clinton, she is a lesser evil compared to Trump.
- Published on 28 October 2014
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Tales of Two Cities: The Best and Worst of Times in Today’s New York, ed. John Freeman; illustrated by Molly Crabapple. Published by OR Books in association with Housing Works.
The “two cities” in the title of this book are both New York. John Freeman in his introduction tells us that he set out to collect stories about life in New York that focus on the human consequences of inequality of wealth, which “is at its most acute in the ‘world cities’ where the rich choose to live (or invest their fortunes in real estate).” What does it “feel like” to live side by side with people who are vastly richer and/or vastly poorer than you are?
- Published on 05 October 2016
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These are stories about what I saw, heard, and did in the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s and then in post-Soviet Russia in the 1990s. These experiences had some personal meaning for me. Many of them helped me in my effort to understand and relate to the Soviet system—a system that no longer exists but whose historical significance still needs to be assessed.