Mat Ward

The Rise of the Green Left: Inside the Worldwide Ecosocialist Movement
By Derek Wall
Pluto Press, 190 pages, paperback

Review by Mat Ward

As the threat of climate catastrophe looms ever larger, Derek Wall has written what he calls "an explicit call to non-violent arms".

King Brown Country: The Betrayal of Papunya
by Russell Skelton
260 pages
Allen & Unwin



The Northern Territory community of Papunya is known worldwide for its Aboriginal art. But this book by Melbourne Age reporter Russell Skelton paints a very different picture of it.

Papunya, says Skelton, is "a metaphor for all that has gone wrong with Indigenous policy since the 1970s". He says former prime minister Gough Whitlam's policy of self-determination for Aboriginal communities in the 1970s was "unworkable and unsustainable".

Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam
By Mark Curtis
352 pages (pb), Serpent's Tail, 2010.

In Tony Blair's new memoir, A Journey, the former British prime minister says one of his biggest regrets is introducing the Freedom of Information Act, because journalists have used it “as a weapon”.

When US director Danny Schechter’s 2006 film In Debt We Trust predicted a huge financial crisis was coming, he was laughed at. It turned out he was right.

His latest film, Plunder: The Crime of Our Time shows how the crisis was created by Wall Street bankers breaking the law to manipulate the markets — and suggests a bigger crisis is on the way.

Whoops! Why Everyone Owes Everyone & No One Can Pay
By John Lanchester
224 pages
Penguin, Allen Lane

Review by Mat Ward

If you don't know the difference between a credit default swap (CDS), a collateralised debt obligation (CDO) and a cheese sandwich, this highly readable book could help you in a painless, entertaining way.

Its author, John Lanchester, grew up in 1960s Hong Kong. He says the contrasts of obscene wealth and crushing poverty were “like a lab test in free-market capitalism”.

Review by Mat Ward

Fit to Print: Misrepresenting the Middle East
By Joris Luyendijk
Scribe Publications, 250 pages, $29.95

If you've ever felt like shaking your fist in anger at some of the reporting that comes out of the Middle East, this very honest book by a disillusioned Middle East correspondent will make you shake your head in wonder.

Joris Luyendijk says he had no journalistic experience when he was hired by a newspaper in his native Netherlands to report on the Middle East. He was taken on solely because he could speak Arabic.

Trans-Continental Hustle
Gogol Bordello
Colombia/ DMZ

Review by Mat Ward

Gogol Bordello have always said their aim is to smuggle Roma music into mainstream Western society.

Their latest album, produced by former Beastie Boys DJ-turned-super-producer Rick Rubin, might just do that.

The US-based band, whose music combines elements of traditional Romani music with punk rock, is largely made up of Eastern European Roma immigrants who understand the long-standing persecution of their people.

New World of Indigenous Resistance
By Noam Chomsky and voices from North, South, and Central America
City Lights Open Media, 2010, 300 pages

Review by Mat Ward

This book bills itself as a “virtual hemispheric conversation” and claims to be the first book of its kind.

It is certainly an eye-opener.

By Howard Goldenberg
Hybrid Publishers, 2009
225 pages, $29.95 (pb)

When it comes to closing the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal health, Howard Goldenberg's new book, Raft, could be just what the doctor ordered.

Goldenberg is a Melbourne-based medic who also works as a locum, stepping in for doctors in some of Australia's farthest-flung communities. Raft is his account of those experiences.

Listening to Grasshoppers: Field Notes on Democracy
By Arundhati Roy
Penguin, 2009
256 pages, $30


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