Patti Mckenna-Jones

The Debt Delusion

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John F Weeks sets out to demonstrate how there is an alternative to austerity, effectively exposing the Machiavellian machinations of Conservative policies along the way.

Austerity myths were constructed carefully over time and the author is at pains to systematically demolish the lot. His sleuthing is done with relish and enthusiasm as he urges us to “change the rules and drive ourselves”.

The Politics of Operations

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This book starts well with a glib and intriguing introduction. We are invited to imagine a trip across the Argentinian Pampas, a journey that starts dreamily with visions of verdant fields of soya but ends jarringly with the realisation that this product: Intacta RR2 Pro is one of a new selection of transgenic seeds incurring violence and disruption to indigenous humans and plants by Monsanto.

Permanent Revolution

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It’s hard to believe that something as stringent and unyielding as the English Reformation could lay the foundations of liberalism and the Enlightenment, but this is what James Simpson argues in his substantial and challenging new book.

The phrase “permanent revolution” is most commonly associated with Leon Trotsky owing to his book of the same name (The Permanent Revolution, 1929).

Don't Stop the Carnival: Black British Music

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This ambitious odyssey traces the start of black music in the UK from the 11th century onwards. From the point when knights return from the crusades with African instruments (such as the oud and tabour) Le Gendre takes us on an epic journey of triumph over prejudice culminating in the ubiquity of black and black-influenced music in the 1960s.

Algiers, Third World Capital

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Elaine Mokhtefi arrives in Paris in 1951. Over the following decades she gives her all to facilitate the movement for Algerian Independence, on the way mingling with the best — and worst — political figures of the time.

Mokhtefi ascribes her political awakening to May Day 1952 when she witnesses a huge protest and is at first “bewitched by the formidable display of worker solidarity and trade unionism.” At the rear of the parade she notices thousands of men “young, grim, slightly built and poorly dressed” without banners, rushing with arms raised to join in.

No Place To Lay One’s Head

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Polish born Françoise Frenkel begins by giving us a sensory image of her love of books. She recalls that as a child she imbued personality into each book, describing their “attire” in multi-coloured bindings: “Balzac came dressed in red leather, Sienkiewicz in yellow Morocco, Tolstoy in parchment, Reymont’s Paysans clad in the fabric of an old peasant’s neckerchief”. We watch her progress as she opens and runs a French bookshop, La Maison du Livre, in Berlin from 1921 to 1939.

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