Charlotte Bence

The Paradise Trail

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Duncan Campbell, Headline, £7.99

I usually find a book blurb with the word "backpackers" in it rather off-putting. This is because it tends to suggest that the author has rewritten and improved a travel journal from their own gap year, with a few amusing anecdotes blended in for good measure.

Happily, that cannot be said of The Paradise Trail. The novel spans three decades and three continents, which in less skilled hands could become that rather awful combination of both clumsy and tedious.

The Second World

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Parag Khanna, Allen Lane, £25

Parag Khanna argues in The Second World that the moment of US supremacy is over, and that it is now the allegiances and actions of countries in what he terms "the Second World" (Eastern Europe, Central Asia, South America, the Middle East and East Asia) that will decide whether China, the European Union or the US dominates the 21st century.

Night Haunts

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Sukhdev Sandhu, Verso, £10.99

At first glance, this book appears to be a sort of "alternative Lonely Planet", poking around the parts of London that tourists, let alone people who live here, would never see and rarely think about. To some extent, this is what we are offered in the initially rather promising introduction - an exploration of night time London beyond its capacity as an economic unit full of what the author tells us are now called "Entertainment Management Zones" (that'll be bars and clubs, then).

Unpeeling the Truth

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Review of 'Banana Republicans', Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, Constable & Robinson £7.99

With the US election now only a few months away and presidential contenders clamouring for votes, the publication of this book could not have come at a better time. Not so much a political exposé of the right wing and the corporations that sustain it as a veritable call to action for supporters of democracy worldwide. This latest book from Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber undoubtedly deserves to have an impact on election results this November.


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