Latest News: Archive for the ‘review’ Category

“A defiant affirmation of all Mr Corbyn argued for” – POETRY FOR THE MANY reviewed in Camden New Journal

Thursday, November 30th, 2023

“The volume, titled Poetry for the Many, contains more than 50 poems selected and introduced by Mr Corbyn and his friend and comrade, the trade unionist Len McCluskey. The poems span a range of themes and movements and offer an insight into the long and distinctive poetic tradition to which socialism has given rise.”

Read the full article here.

“A bonanza of poems for radical readers” – Jeremy Corbyn and Len McCluskey’s POETRY FOR THE MANY reviewed in Morning Star

Monday, November 6th, 2023

“All the fascination of Desert Island Discs.”

“Another testimony to the closeness between [Corbyn and McCluskey’s] private and public principles that they have displayed consistently for decades.”

“[A volume] that all poetry readers and writers can learn something from/.

“Highly valuable for both budding readers and budding writers.”

Read the full review here.

“How Car Culture Funnels Drivers Into Debt, Jail, and Danger” — CARS AND JAILS by Andrew Ross and Julie Livingston reviewed by The New Republic

Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

“For over a century, the automobile has served as an icon of American prosperity and individual liberty. But for a large portion of drivers, the car opens into worlds of unfreedom: into the gaping maw of America’s courts, jails, and prisons on the one hand and into the arms of predatory creditors on the other. That, at least, is the thesis of Cars and Jails, a new book by NYU professors Julie Livingston and Andrew Ross. Cars, once America’s most important industrial commodity, are now, for so many, a vehicle of debt-driven extraction. They are also the setting of the most common interaction between citizens and police—one that plays out on streets and highways more than 20 million times annually, often as a humiliating ritual of domination and submission. How did this happen?

Read the full review here.


Wednesday, September 6th, 2023

“Surely we wouldn’t erect borders and checkpoints that force migrants to take precarious routes across oceans, seas, jungles, and narco-controlled territories? Surely we would not turn a blind eye to the assault, rape, kidnapping, slavery, and death to which this bordering policy directly leads?

That we learned nothing—and are willingly and knowingly doing all of the above, arguably with more sophisticated methods of containment than before—is shown, indisputably, by the 2022 book Inside Siglo XXI: Locked Up in Mexico’s Largest Immigration Detention Center. However, the novelty of Inside Siglo XXI is its recounting of another story, one that often goes unquestioned and is thus naturalized. It is the story of the author herself: US-born, Mexico-based Al Jazeera columnist Belén Fernández; a self-described globe-trotting, passport-privileged, and (to borrow her own words) nomadic “imperial emissary.”

Read the full article here.

“Required reading” — WEAPONISING ANTI-SEMITISM reviewed in Morning Star

Sunday, August 6th, 2023

“Winstanley demonstrates how quickly and forcefully the state apparatus can be mobilised against a politician, even a popular one, who steps outside the bounds of what the establishment considers acceptable. Winstanley has created a historical document that shows how an emerging mass movement was defeated by a combination of the media, the establishment, self-serving Labour MPs, and lobby groups who worked in concert to subvert democracy.”

Read the full review here.

“Laying Down the Law” — THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE LITIGATED reviewed by The Progressive Magazine

Friday, June 23rd, 2023

The Revolution Will Not Be Litigated includes Redford’s list of ten “Rules for Radical Lawyers.” Among them: “Begin with a vision for genuine change,” “Listen to understand rather than to argue,” “Embrace the power of storytelling,” and “Winning the case isn’t everything. Winning meaningful change is.”

Another good piece of advice for lawyers and the people who need them: Read this book.”

Read the full article here.

“An unprecedented exposé” — WEAPONISING ANTI-SEMITISM by Asa Winstanley reviewed by Lobster

Wednesday, June 7th, 2023

Read the full article here.

“Looking glass Labour: The Corbyn years and the weaponising of antisemitism” — WEAPONISING ANTI-SEMITISM by Asa Winstanley reviewed by Middle East Eye

Monday, June 5th, 2023

“In 50 years’ time, historians will look back on the period between 2015 and 2020 in British politics with bewilderment and astonishment.

For the whole time Jeremy Corbyn led the Labour Party, the entire media-political establishment turned its anti-racist spotlight remorselessly, relentlessly, not on Israel – a state condemned by all of the world’s leading human rights organisations for its apartheid system – but on its victims and their supporters.”

Read the full review here.

“A very courageous exposé of a taboo subject” — Asa Winstanley’s WEAPONISING ANTI-SEMITISM reviewed by Jewish Voice for Labour

Friday, May 26th, 2023

”A fascinating, fast-paced read – a political thriller narrating the real-life story of an extraordinary and appalling mass hysteria and scam.”

Read the full review here.

“Free Spirits” No More — CARS AND JAILS by Julie Livingston and Andrew Ross reviewed by Imaginations

Thursday, March 2nd, 2023

“In CARS AND JAILS, New York-based professors of Social and Cultural Analysis Julie Livingston and Andrew Ross build on this theme, devastatingly undermining the mythology of automobiles as “freedom machines” and foregrounding the irony of tropes like the Buick “Free Spirit”. The book exposes the grim contrast between images of freedom and the reality of a society in which decaying or non-existent public transport creates auto-necessity that drags working people deeper into debt and, especially for people of colour, exposes them to the hazards of pretextual police traffic stops for “driving while Black”.”

Read the full review here.

“Who’s Winning and Losing the Economic War Over Ukraine?” — WAR IN UKRAINE authors Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies featured in Common Dreams

Tuesday, February 21st, 2023

“The losers are, first and foremost, the sacrificed people of Ukraine, on both sides of the front lines, all the soldiers who have lost their lives and families who have lost their loved ones. But also in the losing column are working and poor people everywhere, especially in the countries in the Global South that are most dependent on imported food and energy. Last but not least is the Earth, its atmosphere and its climate—all sacrificed to the God of War.”

Read the full article here.

“An excellent primer for Western peace activists” — WAR IN UKRAINE by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies reviewed by Peace News

Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

“Brief, judicious and well-written, this is an excellent primer for western peace activists or anyone else concerned about ending the carnage in Ukraine.”

Read the full review here.

“Enjoyably bitchy” — ALWAYS RED named one of the best political books of 2021 by The Times

Friday, December 3rd, 2021

“This breezy and evocative autobiography, an enjoyably bitchy journey from Sixties Liverpool to the Corbyn years, may surprise even Red Len’s most bitter detractors. As a first-hand account of Corbynism it is unlikely to be beaten.”

Read the full article here.


“Parts of A PUBLIC SERVICE read like a spy-thriller, covering detailed operational security planning, everything from buying a burner phone to doing research into possible journalists to take your docs to — all without leaving a trail that can be traced back to you.” —Cory Doctorow reviews A PUBLIC SERVICE by Tim Schwartz in Boing Boing

Thursday, January 9th, 2020

A Public Service: a comprehensive, comprehensible guide to leaking documents to journalists and public service groups without getting caught

Every technical lesson is presented in clear, easy-to-follow terms — and more importantly, this technical material is embedded in super-sharp context explaining how to assess your risks and use your technological information to counter them. Schwartz begins at the beginning, with steps for getting data out of a network without leaving signs that point to you, and then carries on through the whistleblowing process — sanitizing identifying information in the files, securely transmitting them, and then covering any trace of your possession.

Just as important are Schwartz’s chapters on how to figure out who you should leak your documents to, and then how to contact them in a way that is likely to get your leaks taken seriously enough to rate a followup (both public interest groups and journalists get far more tips than they can handle, so this is every bit as important as the security advice). He also discusses when you might expect to have to go public — as with a workplace sexual assault accusation, say — and how to prepare yourself both mentally and technologically for the inevitable fallout.

Read the full review here.

“Who split America? A journalist looks to his own for answers.”–The Washington Post reviews Matt Taibbi’s HATE INC.

Friday, October 18th, 2019

In the drive for profits, Matt Taibbi says, reporters are taking sides and stoking hate.

There’s a scene in Evelyn Waugh’s “Scoop,” the irreverent 1938 sendup subtitled “A Novel About Journalists,” where hapless protagonist William Boot wonders why so many reporters file divergent accounts of the same events.

“But isn’t it very confusing if we all send different news,” he asks a veteran correspondent.

“It gives them a choice,” the colleague says of British editors. “They all have different policies so of course they have to give different news.”

I was reminded of “give different news” while reading Matt Taibbi’s “Hate Inc.,” which is also a book about journalists but with a much darker subtitle: “Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despise One Another.” Taibbi, a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, writes that “Scoop” is one of a handful of books he carries whenever he travels, and traces of its comic cynicism animate his prose. But where Waugh brilliantly satirized, Taibbi aims a cannon, blistering an American media industry he accuses of taking sides and manipulating the audience for profit — “different news” elevated to a business model.

Read the full review here.

“The depictions of MS-13 as animals are as simplistic as they are dehumanizing. And they obscure what spawned the violent gang in the first place: US imperialism.” —Belén Fernández, author of EXILE, reviews A YEAR INSIDE MS-13 for Jacobin

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

The US Created MS-13

Last year, Donald Trump’s administration issued a press release titled “What You Need To Know About The Violent Animals Of MS-13,” the El Salvador–based transnational gang. The dispatch deployed the term “animals” an additional nine times in its explanation of how Mara Salvatrucha “follows the motto of ‘kill, rape, control’ by committing shocking acts of violence in an attempt to instill fear and gain control.”

Considering this motto could also apply to the past many decades of US military intervention worldwide, it seems there might be More Important Things You Need To Know about transnational violence — like the United States’s role in the rise of MS-13 itself.

Read the full review here.

“This is hardcore, down-dirty travel and travel writing. A personal  Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. A new and powerful form of nonfiction, a primer.” —The Eurasia Review on BELÉN FERNÁNDEZ’ EXILE

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

“This is not a travel book for the faint-hearted, or even a guidebook for where to go, what to do. This is hardcore, down-dirty travel and travel writing. A personal Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. A new and powerful form of nonfiction, a primer….Belén is one of a new breed of travel writers, documenting the crumbling of empire in all its savagery, and our struggle against it.”

Read the full article here.

“Now, the feisty New York-based imprint OR Books has released HOW TO READ DONALD DUCK in America.” —Ben Terrall reviews HOW TO READ DONALD DUCK in January Magazine

Monday, March 25th, 2019

Of Imperialists, Bigots and Cartoon Waterfowl

When How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic was first published in Chile in 1971, the book’s authors, Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart, were leftist academics committed to supporting Salvador Allende’s project of advancing democratic socialism in Chile. After Allende won a free and fair election to Chile’s presidency, the country’s military and other right-wing elements stepped up their assault on the new government with key backing from the Unites States. The Nixon administration exulted when Allende’s Popular Unity government was overthrown in a military coup on September 11, 1973.

While in hiding from the military, Dorfman watched on television as copies of How to Read Donald Duck were burned in bonfires along with hundreds of other allegedly subversive volumes. The Chilean Navy dumped the entire third printing into the ocean. The book had been a target of the Chilean right-wing since its release: Dorfman had been attacked by an anti-Semitic mob, and a deranged motorist shouted “Viva el Pato Donald!” while trying to run him down.

Unlike many of their comrades, Dorfman and Mattelart (a Belgian sociologist who had been living in Chile) made it out of General Augusto Pinochet’s Chile alive, and Dorfman eventually settled in the States, becoming an American citizen in 2004.

How to Read Donald Duck didn’t fare so well stateside, either. An entire consignment of 4,000 copies was seized by U.S. customs agents acting at the behest of lawyers for the Walt Disney Company. And no U.S. publisher would touch the book, given the Disney empire’s notoriously litigious ways. But away from the grip of Disney, the book sold more than a million copies worldwide and was translated into 17 languages.

Now, the feisty New York-based imprint OR Books has released How to Read Donald Duck in America. The book is a bit of a time capsule, written as it was when Third World leftist hopes were high for movements and governments that could throw off the yoke of U.S. cultural and political hegemony. In a 2008 interview, Arnold Mattelart explained that the book’s title refers to Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser’s Reading Capital(1965), and said that How to Read Donald Duck can be read as an extension of Roland Barthes’ Mythologies (1957).

Dorman and Mattelart examined 100 Disney comics featuring Donald and his fine-feathered family, from which they display panels throughout the book (Donald has nephews and an uncle, but no parents, which in the view of the authors enhances the sexlessness of the comics). Dorfman later commented, “We had intended to roast Disney and the Duck.”

Dorfman and Mattelart did a good job of following through on that intention. They argue that “The world of Disney is a nineteenth century orphanage … The mere fact of being older or richer or more beautiful in this world confers authority. The less fortunate regard their subjection as natural. They spend all day complaining about the slavemaster, but they would rather obey his craziest order than challenge him.” Women play the roles of “humble servant or constantly courted beauty queen; in either case, constantly subservient to the male.” The exceptions to those prescribed female roles are the occasional witches.

How to Read Donald Duck still has useful things to say about life in the United States. In 2017, Dorfman wrote:

Certainly, many of the values we impaled in that book – greed, ultra-competitiveness, the subjection of the darker races, a deep-seated suspicion of foreigners (Mexicans, Arabs, Asians), all enwreathed in a credo of unattainable happiness – animate Trump’s enthusiasts (and not merely them). But such targets are now the obvious ones. Perhaps more crucial today is the cardinal, still largely unexamined, all-American sin at the heart of those Disney comics: a belief in an essential American innocence, in the utter exceptionality, the ethical singularity and manifest destiny of the United States.

Read the full article here

“The wittiest response I’ve seen to Amazon’s plans to build one of its two new headquarters in Queens comes from OR Books.” – OR Books and A NEW HOPE FOR MEXICO in the Washington Post Book Club

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

The wittiest response I’ve seen to Amazon’s plans to build one of its two new headquarters in Queens comes from a small independent publisher named OR Books. A faux press release sent out earlier this week stated: “Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced a $3 billion subsidy to persuade feisty independent OR Books to remain in New York.”

Read the full article here.

“The clarity of this book nearly five decades on might stun you.” – HOW TO READ DONALD DUCK recommended by the editor of Reader

Monday, November 26th, 2018

Earlier this summer, OR Books rereleased one of the most influential books I have ever read: How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic by Ariel Dorfman and Armand Matellart, which was originally published in Chile in 1971.

Read the full review here.

“Delivered with rigor and irreverence… A lot has changed since 1973. How to Read Donald Duck reminds us of what hasn’t.” – HOW TO READ DONALD DUCK reviewed in the Baffler

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

IN THE EARLY 1970s, the United States engineered an economic crisis in Chile to destabilize Salvador Allende’s Popular Unity government. Allende had nationalized the copper industry and was steering the country toward socialism. Washington’s plan, in the words of President Nixon, was to “make the economy scream.” Loans from the Inter-American Development Bank stalled, spare parts for industrial machinery from U.S. companies did not arrive, and the CIA financed a huge strike of truck drivers. During this “invisible blockade,” some foreign commodities did continue to enter Chile: materiel for the golpistas in the army, of course, but also mass culture—TV shows, advertisements, and magazines, including the comic book adventures of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.

Read the full review here.

“This compact volume offers an unusual perspective juxtaposing present-day Russian activities with the US operations in the Cold War era.” – CREATING CHAOS reviewed in the Journal of Peace Research

Monday, November 12th, 2018

The intensity of application of various clandestine and unsavory means – from propaganda to corruption to cyber-attacks – in the escalating confrontation between Russia and the West has reached such alarming levels that demand for systematic analysis of this phenomenon stimulates policy research. This compact volume offers an unusual perspective juxtaposing present-day Russian activities with the US operations in the Cold War era.

Read the full review here.

“More books like Strongmen are needed… Strongmen part two, please.” – STRONGMEN reviewed at Asian Affairs

Friday, November 9th, 2018

Until recently, progressives believed the retreat of liberal democracy after the end of the Cold War would be like water running uphill. ‘There is no coherent alternative to liberal democracy,’ wrote Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History (1992).

But the Marxist historian Vijay Prashad, who edited Strongmen, a timely book about a handful of the world’s top-dog, so-called ‘strongmen’, counters with a verbal punch from Antonio Gramsci who said in his Prison Notebooks, ‘The crisis consists in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born. In this interregnum, a great deal of morbid symptoms appear.’.

Read the full review here.


Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

Read the full article here.

“Caustic and furious… a fascinating book.” – HOW TO READ DONALD DUCK reviewed in Socialist Review

Thursday, October 25th, 2018

Written in Chile in 1971 by Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart, How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic has had a troubled existence. Copies were burnt in Chile following 11 September 1973, when the Popular Unity government led by Salvador Allende was overthrown..

Read the full review here.

“There will be many other books about the political problems the virtually unregulated Internet is generating… few will present the historical background as honestly and fairly as Hancock has done.” – CREATING CHAOS reviewed in Lobster

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Hancock is an interesting figure. To me he is one of the very good JFK
researchers. His Someone Would Have Talked would be be on my list of 2
serious JFK assassination books. On his blog he begins his self-description 3
thus: ‘Hancock is a leading historian-researcher in the JFK assassination.’

Read the full review here.

“NYC’s post-Stonewall LGBTQ activism captured in vintage photos.” – PRIDE: PHOTOGRAPHS AFTER STONEWALL in Curbed

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

In 1994, photojournalist Fred W. McDarrah published the book Gay Pride: Photographs from Stonewall to Today, which would later go on to become a classic. As the first staff photographer for the now, sadly shuttered Village Voice, McDarrah was present in the early hours of June 28, 1969, when riots broke out following a police raid at Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn, which in turn led to the rise of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

Read the full article here.

“This impressive collection offers a rich source of expertise to those who seriously wish to engage with the complexities of the issue..”- MOMENT OF TRUTH reviewed in Lobster

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

In the swirl of controversy over ‘Labour’s anti-Semitism problem’ that has
followed Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader in 2015, the complex subject of
Israel and Palestine has rarely featured in popular discussion. These three
books offer those who wish to move beyond this largely faux confection more
understanding of an issue that has dogged international affairs since the
foundation of Israel in 1948. .

Read the full review here.

“By encouraging us to eschew glib analyses, the volume makes a real contribution to those working for justice in Israel-Palestine.”- MOMENT OF TRUTH reviewed in Jacobin

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

The fact that, after fifty years of Palestinian support efforts, the Israeli occupation is more entrenched than ever should inspire some intellectual humility among those hawking solutions to the conflict, notes Jamie Stern-Weiner in the introduction to his edited collection Moment of Truth: Tackling Israel-Palestine’s Toughest Questions. It is humbling as well to read through the volume, with more than seventy essays and rejoinders by more than fifty different authors, from almost every one of which something new can be learned.

Read the full review here.

“An inherently fascinating, ‘time lost’, and iconoclastic analytical study.”- HOW TO READ DONALD DUCK reviewed at Midwest Book Review

Monday, October 15th, 2018

Originally published in 1971 in Chile, where the entire third edition was dumped into the ocean by the Chilean Navy and bonfires were held to destroy earlier editions, “How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic” by Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart reveals the imperialist, capitalist ideology at work in one of Walt Disney’s most beloved cartoon characters.

Read the full review here.

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