Penny Howard

On the Global Waterfront

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Suzan Erem and E Paul Durrenberger, Monthly Review Press, £12.99

On the Global Waterfront is a gripping account of the intersection of race and class in the US, in the tradition of the classic Detroit: I Do Mind Dying. Set on the docks of Charleston, South Carolina, in 2000, it is written as a detective story about racism, vicious state repression, and the power of the global working class.

Anthropology at the Dawn of the Cold War

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Dustin M. Wax, Pluto Press, £18.99

At its best, anthropology is about asking the big questions. Is there such a thing as human nature? What is the difference between humans and other animals? How can we account for the myriad of ways people have developed to live on this planet?

This collection of essays, edited by Dustin M Wax, is a useful reminder of the political significance of these questions and the extent to which governments have been prepared to go to ensure that they get the "right" answers.

Anthropologists of the world, unite!

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Chris Harman laments the historical "role of most British anthropology as the handmaiden of colonialism" (In Perspective, Socialist Review, October 2007).

Readers may be pleased to know that today's social anthropologists are not making the same mistakes.

The fact that the US and Britain are losing in Iraq means they are increasingly desperate to look for "solutions". For this they have been turning to anthropologists and other social scientists, who have responded with outrage and clarity.

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