Reviews

Making Sacrifices

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Review of 'The Myth of the Holy Cow', Dwijendra Narayan Jha, Verso £16.00

Hinduism is associated with the cow as a sacred animal and to be a Hindu is synonymous with not eating meat. But like all religious doctrine there is plenty of mythmaking and mysticism that goes with this. This excellent new book by D N Jha challenges the sanctity of the holy cow and exposes the mumbo jumbo surrounding this.

Beyond the Border

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Review of 'From Immigration Controls to Welfare Controls', eds. Steve Cohen, Beth Humphries and Ed Mynott, Routledge £17.99

The plight of asylum seekers and refugees is normally associated with immigration controls, border police, home office procedures, deportation snatch squads and detention centres. Yet behind these vicious measures is another equally brutal system of internal controls that ensures asylum seekers continue to suffer even when they have managed to enter the country. As Ed Mynott says in the opening chapter, 'There is more to the process of tightening controls than closing borders.

Blast from the Past

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Review of 'Love Me or Kill Me', Graham Saunders, Manchester University Press, £14.99

Anyone who is seriously interested in contemporary British theatre should read this stimulating, well written and very well researched book. Sarah Kane had a very short theatrical career which began with the controversial 'Blasted' in January 1995, when she was only 23, and ended with Kane's suicide in February 1999. In the main part of the book Saunders examines the development of Kane as a writer and a director and provides a detailed analysis of Kane's plays 'Blasted', 'Phaedra's Love', 'Cleansed', 'Crave' and '4:48 Psychosis'.

Sleaze, Lies and Lobbygate

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Review of 'The Best Democracy Money Can Buy', Greg Palast, Pluto £18.99

This is a fascinating collection of essays from the 'Observer' and 'Newsnight' journalist who in recent years has done an impressive job of exposing the lies and hypocrisy of the rich and powerful. It is a tragedy therefore that Palast has attacked those who have criticised the war in Afghanistan.

Ripe for Revolt

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Review of 'Against Global Apartheid', Patrick Bond, University of Cape Town Press £14.99

In 1995 after Chad, a country in West Africa, had been destroyed by war, an IMF official commented that at last there was an environment that they could work with. Structural adjustment and neoliberalism could proceed unhindered, as the country was now 'ripe for the development of a free market economy'.

Rehabilitating the Truth

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Review of 'Vietnam and Other American Fantasies', H Bruce Franklin, University of Massachusetts Press £15.95

Over the Xmas of 1972, with an agreement between North Vietnam and the US imminent, Richard Nixon ordered an all-out aerial assault on the North, with B-52s flying over 700 sorties in 12 days. The response to this stepping up of the war was a strike by those working at the secret 6990th air force security service base on Okinawa. The strikers cheered every time news came through that a B-52 had been shot down. At the same time four aircraft carriers, Ranger, Forrestal, Coral Sea and Kitty Hawk, were incapacitated by sabotage and mutiny, unable to play their part in the bombardment.

Watching the Detective

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Review of 'The Angst-Ridden Executive', Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, Serpent's Tail £6.99

One of Europe's best known writers, Manuel Vázquez Montalbán was born in Barcelona in 1939, the year of Franco's civil war victory. He became an underground activist when he was a 20 year old student. Arrested in 1962, he was beaten up by the notorious torturer, police inspector Vicente Creix, and spent 18 months for political offences in Lérida jail. Throughout his successful literary career he has remained faithful to the PSUC, the Catalan Communist Party, which he joined while in prison.

Stars in their Eyes

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Review of 'Cosmology', Peter Coles, Oxford £5.99

This pocket size book starts with a history of how humanity came to terms with the universe and its creation, and then seeks to explain the modern understanding. On its way it covers Einstein's theories of relativity, how we know the age and size of the universe, the process of the Big Bang, and how the matter we see around us was created. In the latter stages it describes the structure of the cosmos in terms of galaxies and clusters, and ponders on matters such as whether a grand unified theory of everything can be created.

A People's History

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Review of 'Communist Lives', eds. John McIlroy, Kevin Morgan, Alan Campbell, Lawrence and Wishart £19.99

At a time when biography is expanding greatly in the book world, the near absence of biographies of Communist leaders in Britain is noticeable. The purpose of this book is to redress the balance--different authors have written the biographies of leading Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) figures around the first half of the last century. The different authors of the biographies seek to show that even within the tight confines of the monolithic party the individual loyal Communists proved to be different from one another in many ways.

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