Reviews

On Fire

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For 20 years Naomi Klein has been one of the foremost activists, journalists and writers within the anti-capitalist and environmental movements. From No-Logo, a book that epitomised the anti-capitalist politics of the Seattle generation, to This Changes Everything, a polemic that put the blame for the climate crisis squarely on capitalism, her books are powerful critiques of a world that puts profit before people and planet.

Empire of Borders

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This is a powerful book, an indictment of a system where borders are used to divide people. After 9/11 “the war on terror” was used to justify a massive growth in the security industry and the strengthening of borders. Yet Todd argues borders are above all to stop the world’s poor from moving into countries where global wealth resides.

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”.

Going Home

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The murderous attack and eviction of tens of thousands of Palestinians in 1948 (Nakba) from their homes and land by Israeli Zionists signalled the cruel and inhumane methods that the newly established colonialist state would employ and condone in securing their goal of a “homeland”.

Hostile Environment

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This is an important book, remorselessly chronicling how “the UK’s immigration politics” have “devastated” the lives of hundreds of thousands of people over the years. Maya Goodfellow starts off with the then home secretary Theresa May’s proudly proclaimed “hostile environment” policy, which ministers boasted was intended to be “cruel”. And, for once, they were true to their word. The “Windrush scandal” was “an almost inevitable consequence of the impossible system” that May put in place.

The Wichita Lineman: Searching in the Sun for the World’s Greatest Unfinished Song

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This book tells you everything you need to know about the background, recording and legacy of The Wichita Lineman, a classic country pop ballad that helped to launch the careers of both singer Glen Campbell and songwriter Jimmy Webb.

As a teenage rock fan I would have rather died than admit to liking anything by anybody as middle of the road as Campbell. He was part of the cultural backlash in the US against the anti-war movement and the counterculture.

Firefighting: The Financial Crisis and its Lessons

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During the Banking Crash of 2008/9, Firefighting’s authors, Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner and “Hank” Paulson, headed up the US Federal Reserve Board, the NY Federal Reserve Bank and the Whitehouse Treasury Department.

In the face of a constant barrage from the right wing of the Republican Party, these three were central in avoiding catastrophic meltdown of the global banking system. So, Firefighting’s claim to be “authoritative” is strong — if this word has a pejorative sense.

Red Round Globe Hot Burning

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Peter Linebaugh has produced another masterful history “from below”. This author is no respecter of national borders. This is a history of the struggle for commons over the centuries, both intellectually and geographically. It ranges from 18th century Ireland, across the Atlantic Ocean, itself the pathway of the fluid trade in human bodies from which capitalism emerged, to the slave uprising in San Domingue, now Haiti.

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