Books

The Age of Inequality: Corporate America's War on Working People

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This digest of 114 articles by 67 contributors from the US magazine In These Times (ITT) covers the years since its inception in 1976. David Graeber describes the massive increase in fortified borders that result when so-called free trade agreements simultaneously destroy traditional jobs in the global south and outsourced jobs in the north. Arundhati Roy’s opening paragraphs dismember the brutalities of neoliberalism with razor-sharp precision. In “Failed Prophet” (2009) Bernie Sanders rails against Chicago University’s neoliberal Milton Friedman Institute.

How I Lost by Hillary Clinton

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Hillary Clinton never thought her wealth, political elitism, corruption, contempt for working class people, opposition to public health care, Wall Street connections and military backing for jihadists in Libya and Syria — triggering the worst refugee crisis in living memory — would get in the way of her inexorable journey to the White House.

Endorsed by Obama, she assumed she could sweep aside socialist nomination contender Bernie Sanders. She was confident because she thought that the truth about her operations would never get out.

A Blaze in a Desert

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A Blaze in a Desert is a slim volume of selected poems by Victor Serge. Serge was a revolutionary and writer who witnessed many of the great political highs and terrible lows in the first half of the 20th century.

He was inspired by the revolution and arrived in Russia in January 1919, shortly afterwards joining the Bolshevik Party. He consistently opposed Stalin and was exiled.

The Shock of the Anthropocene

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This book provides a very detailed history of the Anthropocene — the current geological era in which human activity has become the main driver of climate change — and makes some interesting points about how we should view it.

However, it is let down by its failure to provide any real solutions. This is particularly striking as they start the book by, rightly, reminding us how severe the crisis is.

Queer City

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Fans of Peter Ackroyd’s visceral histories will welcome this enthralling and compassionate exposé of LGBT+ life across 15 centuries in the UK capital. The book starts with the open homoeroticism of the ancient Romans, mining original sources previously expurgated of their “queer” content by nervous commentators.

The Leeds Convention of 1917

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The February Revolution in Russia in 1917 was received enthusiastically by the British working class movement. Within weeks there were massive meetings held across Britain to celebrate the revolution.

The Labour Party, having supported the First World War uncritically since its outbreak in 1914, saw the Russian Provisional Government as an opportunity to reinvigorate the Russian war effort. Meanwhile the left wing of Labour saw in the revolution the hope for the end of the war.

October

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What’s not to love about the most exciting and inspiring story of modern history being retold by one of the most exciting and inspiring writers of the day?

China Miéville’s account of the nine pivotal months of the Russian Revolution is based on extensive research. Every detail he includes is reported by people who were there. When this accuracy is united with his dazzling verbal dexterity, the intoxicating events of these days that shook the world are totally brought to life.

Russia in Revolution

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Steve Smith has provided a useful overview of Russian history from the end of the 19th century to the 1920s centred, of course, on the dramatic events of 1917 and their aftermath.

He presents a panoramic view and yet includes a considerable amount of detail for a relatively short book.

Smith argues that the revolutions of 1905 and 1917 were rooted in the clash between the growing pressure for modernisation of Russia society and the barrier represented by the Tsarist regime.

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