RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS

  • Coming From Nothing
    Matthew McKeever
    The first novella in Zero Books new series of 'Thought Experiment Novellas', "Coming From Nothing" works out philosophical arguments in it's plot. Successfully fleshing out philosophical problems, "Coming From Nothing" is a deftly crafted story where philosophical ideas have consequences in the lives of its characters.

    Deftly crafted, entertainingly thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Coming From Nothing" is an ideal vehicle for launching the new Zero Books 'Thought Experiment' series of novellas and will prove to be a welcome and enduringly popular addition to both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections. ~ Julie's Bookshelf, Midwest Book Review

  • Meaning of Trump, The
    Brian Francis Culkin
    Donald Trumps election was a complete shock to many Americans The Meaning Of Trump is a well written blueprint of why we shouldn’t of been shocked what facts led to his election ~ rhonda Lomazow , NetGalley

  • Parched City
    Emma M. Jones
    'Parched City tells London’s history through its drinking water. Grounded in detailed archival research, interviews and analysis of current policy and social trends, it reveals the complexity of provision of one of our most fundamental needs. Emma Jones weaves together histories of science, design, public administration and social campaigns to show how London’s drinking water system came to be, and what might be done to address environmental and social challenges of the future. The focus on ‘drinking water’, in contrast to typical narratives about water infrastructure, allows her to effectively tackle ever more urgent debates about bottled water and public drinking water fountains. Understanding the evolution of drinking water in the city, and the array of interests it serves, provides the basis for devising intelligent, culturally informed strategies to respond to twenty-first century challenges. The provision of drinking water is so often taken for granted in London, and yet it is the subject of fierce debate. This book guides us through the history of drinking water as it rises and recedes in public consciousness, laying the foundations for constructive deliberation about the future of this most fundamental element of life and the city.' ~ Sarah Bell, Professor of Environmental Engineering, University College London; author of Urban Water Sustainability: Constructing infrastructure for cities and nature (Routledge, 2018)

  • Coming Revolution, The
    Ben Reynolds
    A well-written history and projection of capitalism and hope for the future without revolution. ~ Joseph Spuckler, https://evilcyclist.wordpress.com/2018/05/27/book-review-the-coming-revolution-capitalism-in-the-21st-century/

  • Angels and Demons: A Radical Anthology of Political Lives
    Tony McKenna
    A marvellous collection of essays on an unusual range of figures from history, literature and contemporary politics: informative, intelligent, thought-provoking, and always highly readable. A unique and remarkable book. ~ Sean Sayers, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Kent

  • Los Indignados: Tides of Social Insertion in Spain
    Richard R. Weiner
    Ivan Lopez
    Few books on populist (grassroots) social movements manage to be both theoretically original and empirically well documented. Richard R. Weiner and Iván López’s Los Indignados: Tides of Social Insertion in Spain accomplish this rare intellectual feat.

    The authors rigorously analyse the recent history of a major western European nation whose democracy grew out of a transition from an authoritarian regime (Franco’s Spain). As the authors explain, they have been following the developments of Los Indignados, 15-M movement and Podemos from their very beginning. The first two can be described as a large anti-austerity movement that arose as a reaction to high rates of unemployment and economic hardship. Podemos is young a party founded in the aftermath of mass protests to respond to corruption and social inequality.

    Being experts in sociology and political science Weiner and López go beyond simply describing the historical development of these movements and their various political consequences. They also present a clear picture of the social forces and actors who played a major role in the new forms of democracy in Spain. As they explain (p. 1),

    Following Alain Touraine’s sociology of social movement as an institutionalizing leveraging to reorganize the field of historicity, the authors have been keeping up with Los Indignados for these past four years.

    In particular they have explored how new forms of social pacting and non-hierarchical association have been at the forefront of the struggles to “re-embed” the economy and limit the power of the neoliberal economic agenda of various Spanish socio-economic elites.

    Weiner and López begin by describing the origins of the Los Indignados. Who exactly are the people behind the movement to make Spanish politics more accountable to the population? They are mainly, though not exclusively

    cut off and massively unemployed youth – cut off from the circuits of capital accumulation, workplace habitus, and the pillars of social democracy (p. 9).

    This generation, the grandchildren of the Spanish welfare state, are living lives best described by Gilles Deleuze and André Gorz. They exist as a sort of non-class, neither proletariat nor bourgeoisie. They are the result of a dwindling middle-class now living economically precarious lives in an increasingly neoliberal world order.

    Yet, as the analysis of Weiner and López convincingly shows, they are not doomed to social nothingness, cut off from political power, what Stiglitz sometimes refers to as a “wasted generation”,

    The Indignados movement of Confluence against a perceived unrepresentative and unresponsive Transition State amounts to more than effervescence (p. 12).

    This apparently “lost generation” and their movement in Spain have become something, despite their lack of hold on traditional sources of economic and political power, perhaps even because of it. They have learned to be creative and structure their demands in new, effective and original ways.

    Weiner and López also discuss the question of legitimacy and democracy in 21st century Spain and in the context of western democracies generally. They paint a very accurate and poignant picture of the various phases from authoritarian rule to a transitional state form towards something new that has not yet fully developed.

    They portray the nature of the distrust towards the major political parties. Weiner and López explain the phenomenon of “social washing”. Parties present themselves as close to the people but serve the interests of economic elites:

    They pose insincerely as “socially concerned” in their promotional communication and marketing, while actually operating the other way. It is a manipulating of discourse and legitimation claims in a misleading way. (P. 38)

    This type of “social washing” was also widely noted and denounced by the student protesters of 2012 in the province of Quebec (Canada). The student protests spread and eventually led to the downfall of the Liberal party then in power. The difference being that in Spain a large and durable social movement, including a new political party, emerged from the mass social protests.

    Another major aspect of this major work in political sociology is their analysis of the question of “social insertion”. How do the people who do not have access to traditional forms of economic and social power manage to organize and become active in the construction of a better and viable future?

    The concept of “social insertion” goes back to before the Franco regime. As Weiner and López explain (p. 44),

    The concept of “social insertion” has roots in the municipalismo of mutual aid practised by Spanish anarchists […] although it is used in new ways by the Indignados.

    The authors also note that there is a tension within the larger social movement and the Podemos party. A tension between organizing outside and around the state or rather attempting to use the State’s “institutionalizing power”.

    Weiner and López describe much of what has happened in recent years in Spain as a contemporary form of what Polanyi famously dubbed the “double movement”. (Re)insertion and (re-)embedding are two processes that seem to be happening together and to be supporting each other in the movement presented by Weiner and López.

    Beyond resentment, the authors (p. 35) point us to the concept of rhizomatic form of social insertion as a “constitutive provenance,” one articulating “an emergent imaginary” in the precarious, the marginalized and the displaced. There are significant chapters (7, 8 and 11), grounded statistically, that chronicle — in two decades in public opinion polling — a growing mistrust and existential insecurity foreshadowing the legitimation crisis of the post-Franco Transition State.

    Los Indignados is a must read book for anyone interested in social movements and who wishes to better understand the mechanisms of social change. ~ The West Network

  • Disordered Minds
    Ian Hughes
    “Ian Hughes’ book Disordered Minds is essential reading in the era of Donald Trump. Hughes explains with insight and eloquence how leaders with disordered minds – psychopathy, narcissism, and paranoia – can take control in unstable societies and create mass movements that empower other disordered minds as well. The results can be disastrous: murder, mayhem, starvation, and war. Hughes emphasizes not only the threats of today’s mega-greed and massive inequality but solutions as well, including democratic institutions, a social democratic ethos, and the global movement towards sustainable development.” ~ Jeffrey Sachs,, University Professor, Columbia University.,author of The End of Poverty, Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet, The Price of Civilization and To Move the World: JFK's Quest for Peace

  • Made in Brooklyn
    Amanda Wasielewski
    This was a great book. Highly researched, Made in Brooklyn offers a perspective on how and why makers culture took over bad areas of NY (and other cities in the world - the motives seem applicable in most big cities with hip neighbourhoods) and transformed them into middle-class, eclectic, gentrified areas. I'll recommend this book to all of my friends who believe that buying triple organic vegetables is better than (average) organic products from local markets.
    ~ Silvia Patriche , NetGalley

  • Meaning of Trump, The
    Brian Francis Culkin
    The election of Donald Trump was a shattering moment to the political sensibilities of America; immediately sending the country into a frenzy of commentary, critique, and a never-ending media coverage that has bordered on the absurd. But the question still remains: what does it all mean?
    The Meaning of Trump is an ideological critique that sees the election of Donald Trump as a completely natural progression to the general trajectory of digitized technologies, neoliberalism, and a new breed of financialized capitalism; destructive global forces that know no party affiliation or national boundary. Although Donald Trump is undoubtedly the symptom that has exploded to the surface after nearly four decades of failed policies and broken promises by both Republicans and Democrats alike, his election can also be seen as an existential fork in the road for both the United States and even humanity itself.
    What path is taken still remains to be seen.

    Read this book --- it is definitely an education! (and not one from TrumpU!)

    ~ Janet Cousineau

  • Coming Revolution, The
    Ben Reynolds
    Tracing developments and revolutions through time, author Ben Reynolds shows he has done his citational homework. I recommended pairing this book with Kuhn’s work on paradigms. ~ JD De hart, NetGalley

  • Marx Returns
    Jason Barker
    If you're inclined to doubt the dramatic potential of differential calculus then take my advice and read this marvellous novel. ~ Rachel Holmes, author of Eleanor Marx: A Life

  • Meaning of Trump, The
    Brian Francis Culkin
    Fascinating. Culkin's book on Trump is like a live coal that glows in your brain as you read it. No one will ever look or think about Donald Trump the same way again. ~ John David Ebert, cultural critic and poet

  • Marx Returns
    Jason Barker
    Barker's book crosses the same terrain as Raoul Peck's film The Young Karl Marx, drawing together biography, narrative, and ideas, but it does so in a way that actively embraces fiction... Barker fills his novel with the sights and sounds of nineteenth-century London in the midst of the industrial revolution; reminding us that if "the forming of the five senses is a labor of the entire history of the world down to the present", then some of that history is also a forgetting, as the brutality of exploitation has been sanitized and moved out of sight. ~ Jason Read, Unemployed Negativity

  • All Things are Nothing to Me
    Jacob Blumenfeld
    Max Stirner has been presented in many ways, but never as a punk rock philosopher. This is a refreshing take on a highly controversial thinker. ~ Gabriel Kuhn, author of Anarchismus und Revolution

  • All Things are Nothing to Me
    Jacob Blumenfeld
    Max Stirner is the bad boy, the black sheep of post-Hegelian philosophy. Often derided and dismissed, his philosophy of ‘egoism’ and his powerful critique of the ‘spooks’ of modernity have continued to resonate with those who are at odds with the world around them. In this brilliant book, Blumenfeld discovers that the ghosts of Stirner are alive and well, and that his message of nothingness and indifference speaks particularly to us today, living as we do at the end of history. Yet, as this book shows, rather than being the nihilist he is often characterised as, Stirner guides us along the path of a new ethical and political sensibility based on singularity rather than identity – something urgently needed today. Blumenfeld’s original and heretical reading shows Stirner’s undoubted contemporary relevance. ~ Saul Newman, Goldsmiths University

  • Trump's Counter-Revolution
    Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen
    Trump is the symptom – but of what? Mikkel Bolt’s provocative answer is “of democracy,” that is, of democracy under conditions of capitalism and white supremacy. With this original intervention, Bolt rejects the conventional wisdom that makes democracy the cure for all that ails it. He challenges any and all concerned about the politics of Trump to consider what his victory tells us about democracy. ~ Jodi Dean, author of The Communist Horizon

  • Marx Returns
    Jason Barker
    An imaginative, uplifting, and sometimes disturbing alternative history. ~ Nina Power, Los Angeles Review of Books

  • Trump's Counter-Revolution
    Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen
    The rise of Donald Trump and his regime has produced an abundance of analysis, much of it merely ideological. But Marx cautioned us that it is not the job of a worker's movement to inquire into the thinking of capitalists, but to inquire into their power. Mikkel Bolt takes up this challenge with this important inquiry into what W.E.B. Dubois anticipated in his concept of 'democratic despotism' - a cross-class white alliance, allied with ethnocentric fascism around the globe. Bolt asks us to consider the potentiality of an emergent communist counter-power - the very one that provoked this fascist turn. ~ Stefano Harney, co-author of The Undercommons

  • Trump's Counter-Revolution
    Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen
    A lucid, clear-eyed analysis of the morbid spectacle of Trump's racist counterrevolution. Mikkel Bolt proposes to add to the rubble of the neoliberal order by demolishing the political form of capitalism - democracy itself - as it slides into fascism. Welcome to life in the postcolony. ~ Iain Boal, co-author of Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War

  • Disordered Minds
    Ian Hughes
    ‘However they are formed, our world produces them - the psychopaths and those with narcissistic or paranoid personality disorders. You have met them, worked with them, maybe even lived with them or been victimized by them and you know just how bafflingly plausible they can be and how disastrously evil. Disordered Minds introduces us to the vast wastelands they are capable of creating when you and I, our neighbors, friends, families and colleagues fail to see just how dangerous they are, when we fail to underpin our democracies with the infrastructures capable of withstanding the onslaught of the deceptively charismatic lunatic leader. Read this exceptionally fine and accessible work of scholarship and make it your business to keep their disordered minds from disordering our universe’. ~ Mary McAleese, Former President of Ireland, Personal email

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