How a British MP Lost Her Seat But Kept Her Dignity The Oona King Diaries: House Music by Oona King; Bloomsbury; 384 pages.  Not long after she lost reelection in May 2005, the British Labor parliamentarian Oona King boarded a plane and struck up conversation with the man sitting next to her. Unaware whom he was chatting with, the passenger bemoaned “that dreadful man, George Galloway,” who...

Queer Theory The Columbia Professor Who Also Doesn’t Think Gay People Exist in the Middle East The New Republic Of all the absurd claims expressed by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his recent address at Columbia University, his assertion that homosexuality does not exist in his country is the most ridiculous. Ahmadinejad’s florid statements regarding Jews (“We...

Hunting in Zimbabwe for Identity and Family When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa By Peter Godwin; Little, Brown and Company; 352 pages; $24.99. Last August, I visited an elderly Jewish couple at their spacious apartment in an affluent neighborhood in Johannesburg, South Africa. A distant family friend had referred to them as people who would welcome the opportunity to...

The Idea War Against African AIDS The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West and the Fight Against AIDS by Helen Epstein; 352 pages; Farrar, Straus and Giroux Last year, while visiting a black township on the outskirts of Cape Town along with a group of European tourists, I entered the lair of a sangoma, a witch doctor — or, in culturally sensitive language, a “traditional...

In the Heart of the Country Shades of Difference: Mac Maharaj and the Struggle for South Africa by Padraig O’Malley; Viking; 648 pages; $32.95.  To the victors, it seems, go not only the spoils but also the history. In South Africa, that history has largely been written by those sympathetic to the African National Congress, the liberation movement headed by the country’s peerlessly charismatic...

Girlish Figure The staged legacy of Rachel Corrie. Of all the subjects for a 90-minute, one-woman show, Rachel Corrie ought to have been at the bottom of the list. Corrie was the 23-year-old Evergreen State College student crushed in March 2003 by an Israeli bulldozer that was either set to raze a Palestinian home or clear brush...