Reviews

Breadth of Vision and a Zest for Life

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Review of 'Marx and Engels: Collected Works Volume 48', Lawrence and Wishart £45

Engels' letters are a delight to read. Here we have him as active as ever as he approaches the age of 80. He is immersed in editing volume two of Capital, which involves him working his way through hundreds of pages of nearly illegible handwriting despite his own diminishing eyesight.

Fifty Years of Subversion

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Review of 'Rogue State', William Blum, Zed Books £15.95

William Blum has written a devastating record of the history of US imperialism since the Second World War. A former State Department official, he left the US government in 1967 because of his opposition to the Vietnam War. Since then he has been concerned to expose the role of the CIA and other US government agencies in, as they say, 'defending' US interests throughout the world.

Different Angle of Vision

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Review of 'What is History?', E H Carr, Palgrave £9.99

I first read this little book many years ago. Yet I had forgotten how engagingly well written it was, and how stimulating, until I reread the new edition. What is History? began life as a series of lectures delivered in 1961, before then being broadcast on BBC radio and then turned into this book.

Far from Home

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Review of 'A New World Order', Caryl Phillips, Secker & Warburg £17.99

Caryl Phillips is an interesting writer. He writes in a confident, polemical way about the 'black experience' on both sides of the Atlantic. As Caryl Phillips points out in newspaper and magazine articles that make up his new book A New World Order, many black people, in both the US and the UK, have never felt quite 'at home'. Phillips's writing is all about not quite belonging, and is divided into the four corners of his world - the US, Africa, the Caribbean and Britain.

It Remains to Conquer All

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Review of 'Reflections', Edward W Said, Granta £20

Exile, in the words of Wallace Stevens, is 'a mind of winter', in which 'the pathos of summer and autumn as much as the potential of spring are nearby but unobtainable'. Edward Said reflects on his and the Palestinians' political condition, in one of a wide range of subjects and styles of essays in this collection.

White Male

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Review of 'Dictionary of Labour Biography', ed. Greg Rosen, Politicos £30

This volume is part history, part journalism, and by no means all the figures covered are dead! It is a huge 660-page work of reference with several hundred entries. It boasts some very well known contributors, including John Monks on former TUC general secretary Vic Feather and Gordon Brown on Red Clydesider James Maxton. However much readers of Socialist Review will disagree with many of the assessments made, it is guaranteed that they will exert a peculiar fascination, and occasionally horror, on the reader.

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