Reviews

Hag-Seed

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Margaret Atwood’s new novel is based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The main protagonist is Felix Phillips, former artistic director of the acclaimed Makeshiweg Theatre Festival, a kind of Canadian Stratford-upon-Avon.

Naija Marxisms

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Adam Mayer has rendered a great service to the workers’ movement in Nigeria and internationally. He shows that rather than being a foreign imposition, Marxism, a political guide to action, was very much part and parcel of the resistance to both colonial exploitation and to the predatory bourgeois classes that inherited power after independence.

Selling Apartheid: South Africa's Global Propaganda War

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This book exposes the networks that exist between big business, media, politicians and the role of the black economic elite in collaboratively supporting and propping up apartheid.

The book starts with the National Party coming to power in South Africa in May 1948. Throughout the election campaign they played to white dissatisfaction with domestic and economic problems South Africa faced following the Second World War.

The Long Depression

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Why has there has been no real recovery in the world economy since the crash of 2007?

After what is now almost a decade, still there has been no return to pre-crash levels of economic growth and profitability. Unable to explain this grim reality, mainstream economists and many so-called “financial experts” flounder and struggle to explain the economic world we live in today.

Extinction: A Radical History

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We are going through the sixth wave of mass extinction in the 3.8 billion year history of life on earth. Some 25 to 40 percent of all species are expected to disappear by 2050. And, like the more widely discussed global warming crisis, these extinctions are caused by human activity.

Extinction: A Radical History is a short, useful and welcome introduction to the subject for non-specialists.

In Defense of Housing

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David Madden and Peter Marcuse have successfully done three important things.

First, as the title suggests, they’ve made a clear case for housing to be higher up the mainstream political agenda. Second, they relate housing to wider theoretical debates, including Marxist analyses of its place in capitalist society. Third — and unusually for a book written by academics — they have given space to the many campaigns and activists challenging the neoliberal dominance of housing policy. As one housing campaigner said to me, “We needed this book”.

Red Ellen

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Laura Beers’ biography of Ellen Wilkinson, a prominent socialist in the early 20th century, is packed with detail. It is written in a lively style and gives a real sense of her as a person.

Ellen was born into a working class family in Manchester in 1891. She joined the Independent Labour Party at the age of 16. She was excited and inspired by the Russian Revolution and later had dual membership of the Labour Party and the Communist Party (which was permitted under Labour Party rules of the time).

Redesigning Life

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John Parrington’s engaging and thoughtful book explains the science behind recent rapid advances in genetic engineering that mean it is increasingly possible to enact precise changes at a molecular level.

Genetic engineering tends to evoke images of glow in the dark bunnies, super tomatoes, or for me, the vast, rectangular football player in the novel Red Dwarf who has been engineered to be the exact size of the goal. But genetic engineering has been responsible for medical treatments that are now commonplace.

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