Ian Buruma - Author

About the Author

Ian Buruma is currently Luce Professor at Bard College, New York. His previous books include Voltaire’s Coconuts, The Missionary and the Libertine, The Wages of Guilt, Inventing Japan, God’s Dust and Bad Elements, Occidentalism (Atlantic 2004) and Murder in Amsterdam (Atlantic 2006).

 

Author photo © Stefan Heijendael

Featured books by Ian Buruma

Other books by Ian Buruma

A Tokyo Romance

A Tokyo Romance

Author: Ian Buruma Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/04/2018

When Ian Buruma arrived in Tokyo in 1975, he found a feverish and surreal metropolis in the midst of an economic boom, where everything seemed new and history only remained in fragments. Through his adventures in the world of avant-garde theatre, his encounters with carnival acts, fashion photographers and moments on-set with Akira Kurosawa, Buruma underwent a radical transformation. For an outsider, unattached to the cultural burdens placed on the Japanese, this was a place to be truly free. A Tokyo Romance is a portrait of a young artist and the fantastical city that shaped him, and a timeless story about the desire to transgress boundaries: cultural, artistic and sexual.

Tokyo Romance

Tokyo Romance

Author: Ian Buruma Format: eBook Release Date: 05/04/2018

When Ian Buruma arrived in Tokyo as a young film student in 1975, he found a feverish and surreal metropolis in the midst of an economic boom, where everything seemed new and history only remained in fragments. Through his adventures in the world of avant-garde theatre, his encounters with carnival acts, fashion photographers and moments on-set with Akira Kurosawa, Buruma came of age. For an outsider, unattached to the cultural burdens placed on the Japanese, this was a place to be truly free. A Tokyo Romance is a portrait of a young artist and the fantastical city that shaped him, and a timeless story about the desire to transgress boundaries: cultural, artistic and sexual.

A Tokyo Romance

A Tokyo Romance

Author: Ian Buruma Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/04/2018

When Ian Buruma arrived in Tokyo as a young film student in 1975, he found a feverish and surreal metropolis in the midst of an economic boom, where everything seemed new and history only remained in fragments. Through his adventures in the world of avant-garde theatre, his encounters with carnival acts, fashion photographers and moments on-set with Akira Kurosawa, Buruma came of age. For an outsider, unattached to the cultural burdens placed on the Japanese, this was a place to be truly free. A Tokyo Romance is a portrait of a young artist and the fantastical city that shaped him, and a timeless story about the desire to transgress boundaries: cultural, artistic and sexual.

Their Promised Land My Grandparents in Love and War

Their Promised Land My Grandparents in Love and War

Author: Ian Buruma Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/01/2017

Ian Buruma's maternal grandparents, Bernard and Winifred (Bun & Win), wrote to each other regularly throughout their life together. The first letters were written in 1915, when Bun was still at school at Uppingham and Win was taking music lessons in Hampstead. They were married for more than sixty years, but the heart of their remarkable story lies within the span of the two world wars. After a brief separation, when Bernard served as a stretcher bearer on the Western Front during the Great War, the couple exchanged letters whenever they were apart. Most of them were written during the Second World War and their correspondence is filled with vivid accounts of wartime activity at home and abroad. Bernard was stationed in India as an army doctor, while Win struggled through wartime privation and the Blitz to hold her family together, including their eldest son, the later film director John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy, Sunday Bloody Sunday), and twelve Jewish children they had arranged to be rescued from Nazi Germany. Their letters are a priceless record of an assimilated Jewish family living in England throughout the upheavals of the twentieth century and a moving portrait of a loving couple separated by war. By using their own words, Ian Buruma has created a spellbinding homage to the sustaining power of a family's love and devotion through very dark days

Their Promised Land My Grandparents in Love and War

Their Promised Land My Grandparents in Love and War

Author: Ian Buruma Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2016

Ian Buruma's maternal grandparents, Bernard and Winifred (Bun & Win), wrote to each other regularly throughout their life together. The first letters were written in 1915, when Bun was still at school at Uppingham and Win was taking music lessons in Hampstead. They were married for more than sixty years, but the heart of their remarkable story lies within the span of the two world wars. After a brief separation, when Bernard served as a stretcher bearer on the Western Front during the Great War, the couple exchanged letters whenever they were apart. Most of them were written during the Second World War and their correspondence is filled with vivid accounts of wartime activity at home and abroad. Bernard was stationed in India as an army doctor, while Win struggled through wartime privation and the Blitz to hold her family together, including their eldest son, the later film director John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy, Sunday Bloody Sunday), and twelve Jewish children they had arranged to be rescued from Nazi Germany. Their letters are a priceless record of an assimilated Jewish family living in England throughout the upheavals of the twentieth century and a moving portrait of a loving couple separated by war. By using their own words, Ian Buruma has created a spellbinding homage to the sustaining power of a family's love and devotion through very dark days

Their Promised Land

Their Promised Land

Author: Ian Buruma Format: eBook Release Date: 19/01/2016

A family history of surpassing beauty and power, Their Promised Land is Ian Buruma's account of his grandparents' enduring love through the terror and separation of two world wars.During the almost six years England was at war with Nazi Germany, Winifred and Bernard Schlesinger, Ian Buruma's grandparents, were, like so many others, thoroughly sundered from each other. Their only recourse was to write letters back and forth. And write they did, often every day. In a way they were just picking up where they left off in 1918, at the end of the war that swept Bernard away to some of Europe's bloodiest battlefields. The thousands of letters between them were part of an inheritance that ultimately came into the hands of their grandson, Ian Buruma. Now, in a labor of love that is also a powerful act of artistic creation, Ian Buruma has woven his own voice in with theirs to provide the context and counterpoint necessary to bring to life their remarkable marriage, a class, and an age.Winifred and Bernard inherited the high European cultural ideals and attitudes that came of being born into prosperous German-Jewish emigre families. To young Ian, who would visit from Holland every Christmas, they seemed the very essence of England, their spacious Berkshire estate the model of genteel English country life at its most pleasant and refined. It wasn't until years later that he discovered how much more there was to the story.At its heart, Their Promised Land is the story of cultural assimilation. The Schlesingers were very British in the way their relatives in Germany were very German, until Hitler destroyed that option. The problems of being Jewish and facing anti-Semitism even in the country they loved were met with a kind of stoic discretion. But they showed solidarity when it mattered most. As the shadows of war lengthened again, the Schlesingers mounted a remarkable effort, which Ian Buruma describes movingly, to rescue twelve Jewish children from the Nazis and see to their upkeep in England. Many are the books that do bad marriages justice; precious few take readers inside a good marriage. In Their Promised Land, Buruma has done just that, introducing us to a couple whose love was sustaining through the darkest hours of the century.

Theatre Of Cruelty

Theatre Of Cruelty

Author: Ian Buruma Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/11/2014

Year Zero A History of 1945

Year Zero A History of 1945

Author: Ian Buruma Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/10/2013

Many books have been written, and continue to be written, about the Second World War: military histories, histories of the Holocaust, the war in Asia, or collaboration and resistance in Europe. Few books have taken a close look at the immediate aftermath of the worldwide catastrophe. Drawing on hundreds of eye-witness accounts and personal stories, this sweeping book examines the seven months (in Europe) and four months (in Asia) that followed the surrender of the Axis powers, from the fate of Holocaust survivors liberated from the concentration camps, and the formation of the state of Israel, to the incipient civil war in China, and the allied occupation of Japan. It was a time when terrible revenge was taken on collaborators and their former masters; of ubiquitous black markets, war crime tribunals; and the servicing of millions of occupation troops, former foes in some places, liberators in others. But Year Zero is not just a story of vengeance. It was also a new beginning, of democratic restorations in Japan and West Germany, of social democracy in Britain and of a new world order under the United Nations. If construction follows destruction, Year Zero describes that extraordinary moment in between, when people faced the wreckage, full of despair, as well as great hope. An old world had been destroyed; a new one was yet to be built.

Year Zero

Year Zero

Author: Ian Buruma Format: eBook Release Date: 26/09/2013

Year Zero is a landmark reckoning with the great drama that ensued after war came to an end in 1945. One world had ended and a new, uncertain one was beginning. Regime change had come across Asia and all of continental Europe. It was the greatest global power vacuum in history, and out of the often vicious power struggles that ensued emerged the modern world as we know it. In human terms, the scale of transformation is almost impossible to imagine. Great cities around the world lay in ruins, their populations decimated, displaced, starving. Harsh revenge was meted out on a wide scale, and the ground was laid for much darkness to come. At the same time, in the wake of unspeakable loss, the euphoria of the liberated was extraordinary, the revelry unprecedented. The postwar years gave rise to the European welfare state, the United Nations, American democracy, Japanese pacifism, and the European Union. Society-wide reeducation was imposed on the vanquished on a scale that had no historical precedent. Much that was done was ill-advised, but in hindsight these efforts were relatively enlightened, humane, and effective. A poignant grace note throughout his history is Buruma's own father's story. Seized by the Nazis during the occupation of Holland, he spent much of the war in Berlin as a slave laborer and by war's end was literally hiding in the rubble of a flattened city, having barely managed to survive starvation rations, Allied bombing, and Soviet shock troops when the end came. His journey home and attempted reentry into "e;normalcy"e; stand in many ways for his generation's experience.A work of enormous range and stirring human drama, conjuring both the Asian and European theaters with equal fluency, Year Zero is a book that Ian Buruma is perhaps uniquely positioned to write.

Taming the Gods Religion and Democracy on Three Continents

Taming the Gods Religion and Democracy on Three Continents

Author: Ian Buruma Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/08/2012

For eight years the president of the United States was a born-again Christian, backed by well-organized evangelicals who often seemed intent on erasing the church-state divide. In Europe, the increasing number of radicalized Muslims is creating widespread fear that Islam is undermining Western-style liberal democracy. And even in polytheistic Asia, the development of democracy has been hindered in some countries, particularly China, by a long history in which religion was tightly linked to the state. Ian Buruma is the first writer to provide a sharp-eyed look at the tensions between religion and politics on three continents. Drawing on many contemporary and historical examples, he argues that the violent passions inspired by religion must be tamed in order to make democracy work. Comparing the United States and Europe, Buruma asks why so many Americans--and so few Europeans--see religion as a help to democracy. Turning to China and Japan, he disputes the notion that only monotheistic religions pose problems for secular politics. Finally, he reconsiders the story of radical Islam in contemporary Europe, from the case of Salman Rushdie to the murder of Theo van Gogh. Sparing no one, Buruma exposes the follies of the current culture war between defenders of Western values and multiculturalists, and explains that the creation of a democratic European Islam is not only possible, but necessary. Presenting a challenge to dogmatic believers and dogmatic secularists alike, Taming the Gods powerfully argues that religion and democracy can be compatible--but only if religious and secular authorities are kept firmly apart.

A Japanese Mirror Heroes and Villains of Japanese Culture

A Japanese Mirror Heroes and Villains of Japanese Culture

Author: Ian Buruma Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/08/2010

In this scintillating book, Ian Buruma peels away the myths that surround Japanese culture. With piercing analysis of cinema, theatre, television, art and legend, he shows the Japanese both 'as they imagine themselves to be, and as they would like themselves to be.' A Japanese Mirror examines samurai and gangsters, transvestites and goddesses to paint an eloquent picture of life in Japan. This is a country long shrouded in enigma and in his compelling book, Buruma reveals a culture rich in with poetry, beauty and wonder.

The Future of the European Union

The Future of the European Union

Author: Ian Buruma, R. Runhardt, F. Smits Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/12/2009

Wages of Guilt Memories of War in Germany and Japan

Wages of Guilt Memories of War in Germany and Japan

Author: Ian Buruma Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/09/2009

In this highly original and now classic text, Ian Buruma explores and compares how Germany and Japan have attempted to come to terms with their violent pasts, and investigates the painful realities of living with guilt, and with its denial. As Buruma travels through both countries, he encounters people whose honesty in confronting their past is strikingly brave, and others who astonish by the ingenuity of their evasions of responsibility. In Auschwitz, Berlin, Hiroshima and Tokyo he explores the contradictory attitudes of scholars, politicians and survivors towards World War II and visits the contrasting monuments that commemorate the atrocities of the war. Buruma allows these opposing voices to reveal how an obsession with the past, especially distorted versions of it, continually causes us to question who should indeed pay the wages of guilt.

The China Lover

The China Lover

Author: Ian Buruma Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/07/2009

When Sidney Vanoven is sent to occupied Japan, in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, it is his dream posting. By day, he works in the censor's office watching Japanese films; at night he immerses himself in the sensual pleasures of Tokyo. His job leads him into the circle of the beautiful film star Shirley Yamaguchi, a passionate and indomitable woman, whose wartime secrets hint at deception and betrayal. As he learns more of her story it seems to echo Japan's own dark secret. In The China Lover, Ian Buruma has created an exhilarating saga of war-torn Japan that is epic in scale, richly imagined and vividly populated. It is quite simply unforgettable.

Bad Elements Chinese Rebels from Los Angeles to Beijing

Bad Elements Chinese Rebels from Los Angeles to Beijing

Author: Ian Buruma Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/06/2009

Who speaks for China? Is it the old men of the politburo or activists like Wei Jingshsheng, who spent eighteen years in prison for writing a emocratic manifesto? Is China's future to be fund amid the boisterous sleaze of an electoral cmpaign in Taiwan, or in the manoeuvres by which ordinary residents of Beijing quietly resist the authority of the state? These are among the questions that Ian Buruma poses in this enlightening and often moving tour of Chinese dissidence. Travelling through the U.S., Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the People's Republic, Ian Buruma tells the stories of Chinese rebels who dare to stand up to their rulers, exploring their chances of success in the face of the most powerful dictatorship on earth. From the exiles of Tiananmen to the hidden Christians of rural China, he brings alive the human dimension to their struggles and reveals the world's most secretive superpower through the eyes of its dissidents.

Murder in Amsterdam

Murder in Amsterdam

Author: Ian Buruma Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/04/2007

It was an emblematic crime: on a November day in Amsterdam, an angry young Muslim man shot and killed the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, iconic European provocateur, for making a movie with the anti-Islam politician Ayaan Hersi Ali. After shooting van Gogh, Mohammed Bouyeri calmly stood over the body and cut his throat with a curved machete. The murder horrified quiet, complacent Holland - a country that prides itself on being a bastion of tolerance - and sent shock waves around the world. In Murder in Amsterdam, Ian Buruma describes what he found when he returned to his native country to try and make sense of van Gogh's death. The result is Buruma's masterpiece: a brave and rigorous study of conflict in our time, with the intimacy and control of a true-crime page-turner.

Author Info

Author's Website

http://www.ianburuma.com/

Author's Facebook

Find Ian Buruma on Facebook