Barry Healy

Where No Doctor Has Gone Before: Cuba’s Place in the Global Health Landscape
By Robert Huish
Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2013
Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla
By David Kilcullen
Scribe, 2013
342 pp, $32.95

It is interesting that Robert Huish and David Kilcullen inhabit the same world, because their books indicate that they view the planet differently, like black and white or perhaps like life and death.

Forgotten Voices of Mao's Great Famine, 1958-1962, An Oral History
By Zhou Xun
Yale University Press, 2013
336 pp, $35.00

In his excellent history book Timelines, John Rees has a graph, which in one image sums up the people’s history contained in Zhou Xun’s Forgotten Voices. The line showing improvements in life expectancy in China suddenly shows a total reversal, a deep plunge into an abyss and then a quick return to the original curve.

This abyss was Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward.

Federal minister for the environment Greg Hunt faces two big threats to waste reduction in Australia, but appears not to be aware of the problems.

Hunt boasted on March 6 about the effectiveness of the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme.

Australia had recycled “the equivalent of four Eiffel Towers in weight” of used televisions, computers and other electronic waste, he said.

However, growing piles of e-waste on the ground in Queensland show that Hunt is out of touch with reality. Australia is amassing e-waste with no plan for recycling it.

Sense & Sensibility, an Annotated Edition
By Jane Austen (edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks)
Harvard University Press 2013
448 pp, $54.95
The Annotated Frankenstein
By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (edited by Susan J. Wolfson & Ronald Levao)
Harvard University Press 2012
400pp., $45.00

In January, federal education minister Christopher Pyne announced that he wants the national school history curriculum to recognise “the legacy of Western civilisation”.

Spartacus (Revealing Antiquity)
By Aldo Schiavone (translation by Jeremy Carden)
Harvard University Press, 2013
208 pp., $29.95

Karl Marx was a great admirer of ancient Roman and Greek philosophers and leaders. However, there was one he singled out as the “finest fellow antiquity had to offer”: Spartacus, the Thracian who led the most significant slave revolt against the Roman empire.

Marx was not the only member of the Spartacus fan club. German Communists led by Rosa Luxemburg named their party after him.

Alienation: An Introduction to Marx’s Theory
By Dan Swain
Bookmarks, 2012

The human race lives in a terrible contradiction. Quite obviously, there is enough wealth to create a decent life for every person on the planet. Yet, billions suffer deprivation and are denied basic human rights so that the capitalist profit-making system can maintain itself.

Haiti’s New Dictatorship: The Coup, the Earthquake & the UN Occupation
Justin Podur
Pluto Press, 2012
280 pp, $44.00

There seems to be no lie too base, no crime too awful that the “international community” has not committed against the tiny nation of Haiti ― the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

Canadian solidarity activist Justin Podur explains in exacting detail every slander and misrepresentation peddled by imperialist governments and retailed by the Western media to justify the continuing denial of Haitian sovereignty that began in 2004.

The Big Truck That Went By, How the World Came to Save Haiti and left Behind a Disaster
By Jonathan M. Katz
Palgrave Macmillan, 2013
282 pp., $24.95

On January 12, 2010, Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, was devastated by a huge earthquake.

Death toll estimates range from between 100,000 to more than 300,000. Nobody really knows, because Haiti was poorly governed beforehand and virtually taken over by foreign governments and non-government organisations (NGOs) afterwards.

Karl Marx: A Nineteenth Century Life
Jonathan Sperber
Liveright Publishing, 2013

In life, Karl Marx lived a tumultuous, revolutionary life. His death, too, has been less than tranquil.

Alive, he was the best hated man in Europe. For the ruling classes and police spies he personified the “spectre” that was haunting the continent, the demonic rise of workers’ revolution.

After his death he was bleached of his humanity, canonised by admirers and slandered by enemies. Both misrepresented him.

Love & Struggle, My Life in SDS, the Weather Underground & Beyond
By David Gilbert, PM Press, 2012
336 pp, $22.00

From the earliest anti-capitalist revolutions, starting almost as soon as capitalism cemented its political mastery of Europe in the late 1700s, there has been dispute between those whose moral outrage at oppression led them to conspiratorial methods and those saying that open political struggle is superior.

Originally this debate was between the Blanquists and Marxists and later between Bakuninite anarchists and (again) Marxists.

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