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Synopsis

From Naipaul’s India to the last days of Hong Kong, and from the ghosts of Pearl Harbor to Benazir Bhutto, Buruma delivers an engaging and incisive look at the ways East and West understand–and misunderstand–each other.

At home in both worlds, Buruma traverses the realms of journalism, literary criticism, and political analysis, to examine the dialogue of fact and fantasy that affects our perception of far-away lands. Whether deconstructing the films of Satyajit Ray or the novels of Yoshimoto Banana, Buruma offers a splendid counterbalance to fashionable theories of clashing civilizations and uniquely Asian values. In twenty-five illuminating, often humorous essays, The Missionary and the Libertine shows us why Buruma’s reputation for writing the most compelling commentary on the faultlines of the East-West divide is so secure.

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