Matt Perry

Anarchism and the City

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Chris Ealham, AK Press, £17.00

Barcelona and Catalonia are currently celebrating with a series of exhibitions, monuments and public photographic displays of their "democratic memory". These provide a narrative of human rights, sufferings under the Francoist dictatorship and popular desire for liberal (capitalist) democracy.

The Resistance: The French Fight Against the Nazis

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Matthew Cobb, Simon & Schuster; £17.99

The heroic view of the French resistance has faded. Histories of France in these years focus on the complexity of French public opinion, the collaborationist Vichy regime of Philippe Petain or challenge the resistance myths of Charles de Gaulle and the French Communist Party. Cobb's book tries to buck this trend with a demythologised but sympathetic account of the French resistance, attempting to demonstrate its "power to inspire".

H is for History

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Throughout history rulers mystify the past to convince ordinary people that their rule is inevitable. The first recorded histories - in the form of king lists - were used to justify their legitimacy.

King Arthur: "I am your king".
Woman: "Well I didn't vote for you."
King Arthur: "You don't vote for kings."
Woman: "Well how'd you become king then?"
King Arthur: "The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. That is why I am your king."

The Spanish Civil War

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Andy Durgan, Palgrave, £14.50

Andy Durgan's accessible, well written account of the Spanish Civil War of 1936-9 is a timely survey of the latest research written from a Marxist perspective.

There are several reasons why Spanish events in the 1930s are worthy of our attention. In its initial moments, events in the summer of 1936 showed how workers were capable of preventing a right wing coup and taking power in their own localities and workplaces. Some 80 percent of the workplaces in Barcelona were collectivised as was much of the land in Catalonia and Aragon.

More To It Than Cambridge Spies

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Review of ’Cold War, Crisis and Conflict‘ by John Callaghan, Lawrence & Wishart £14.99

Cold War, Crisis and Conflict covers the era of the long economic boom, the struggles for colonial freedom, Suez, and the Hungarian Revolution, all viewed through the eyes of the British Communist Party (CP). The party opened this era with a new manifesto, The British Road to Socialism (1951). This explicitly abandoned the party‘s claim to be a revolutionary organisation.

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