Phil Shannon

GLW author Phil Shannon

The story of one activist's anti-fracking stance

Slick Water: Fracking – and One Insider’s Stand Against the World’s Most Powerful Industry
Andrew Nikiforuk
Greystone Books/David Suzuki Institute
2015, 350 pages

The fracturing of rocks to mine more fossil fuels was born with the oil business, writes the Canadian journalist, Andrew Nikiforuk, in Slick Water.

During the world’s first oil boom in Pennsylvania in the 1850s, highly volatile nitro-glycerine and other explosives were used on sluggish wells with lethal risk, to turn them into gushers by creating new fractures to channel blocked oil to the surface.

Diagnosing Donald Trump – poster boy for the 1%

Never Enough: Donald Trump & the Pursuit of Success
Michael D’Antonio
St Martin’s Press, 2015
389 pages

What will the United States and the world be getting from “President Donald Trump” if such a frightful prospect comes to pass?

Michael D’Antonio’s biography of the Republican Party’s front-running presidential candidate gives us some clues — denial of global warming, vaccination, marriage equality and abortion; insults and worse for religious and ethnic minorities, and for women and the disabled; and a turbo-charged US imperial power.

Malcolm Turnbull's 'born to rule' life dismantled

Born To Rule: The Unauthorised Biography of Malcolm Turnbull
Paddy Manning
Melbourne University Press,2015
442 pages

Coalition Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull likes to downplay his image as a privileged, wealthy silvertail by touting his time as a flat-dwelling young boy from a broken family.

But, writes the business journalist Paddy Manning in his biography of the former investment banker, Turnbull's upbringing was not that humble.

Shorten too indistinct for even David Marr to nail down

Faction Man: Bill Shorten's Path to Power
David Marr
Quarterly Essay No. 59
Black Inc., 2015

Even the usually perceptive journalist David Marr, in his latest political profile for Quarterly Essay, is defeated by the indistinct and bland Shorten who, in public opinion polls, trails behind “Someone Else” as preferred leader of the Labor Opposition.

Flannery's climate 'Third Way' well intended, but dodges the problem

Atmosphere of Hope: Searching for Solutions to the Climate Crisis
By Tim Flannery
Text Publishing, 2015
245 pages

Australian scientist Tim Flannery became fascinated with proposals to extract excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and oceans when the billionaire aeronautics carbon-polluter Richard Branson, in response to Flannery's first book on climate change, The Weather Makers, invited Flannery to be a judge on Branson's £25 million Virgin Earth Challenge prize for methods of carbon withdrawal and storage.

The British royal knee-deep in fascist mud


Wallis Simpson, Edward of Windsor, Adolf Hitler (fourth, fifth and sixth from left).

17 Carnations: The Windsors, The Nazis & The Cover-Up
By Andrew Morton
Michael O’Mara Books, 2015,
327 pages

Australian inequality skewered, but few solutions found in Labor

Battlers & Billionaires: The Story of Inequality in Australia
Andrew Leigh
Black Inc. Books, 2013
210 pages, $19.99 (pb)

In Australia, notes economist and Labor MP Andrew Leigh, the poorest 20% of the population own just 1% of total household wealth. The top 20%, however, hog a fat 62%.

Three books show how close nuclear catastrophe is

Command & Control
Eric Schlosser
Allen Lane, 2013
632 pages
A Short History Of Nuclear Folly
Rudolph Herzog
Melville House, 2014
252 pages
Atomic Comics: Cartoonists Confront The Nuclear Age
Ferenc Szasz
University of Nevada Press, 2013
179 pages

Atomic bombs have only been used in warfare twice, but they have nearly been detonated, through accident or mistake, many more times, writes Eric Schlosser in his book on nuclear weapons mishaps, Command and Control.

Qatar's ugly World Cup exposed


Migrant workers are employed in slave-like conditions on construction of Qatar's World Cup facilities.

The Ugly games: The Qatari Plot to Buy the World Cup
Heidi Blake & Jonathan Calvert
Simon & Schuster, 2015 472 pages

The only surprising thing about the FIFA corruption scandal is that anyone should be surprised, given the long history of credible allegations of bribery in world football’s governing body.

Guantanamo horrors shift military men's views

In The Company Of Cowards: Bush, Howard & Injustice at Guantanamo
Michael Mori
Viking, 2014
292 pages, $29.99 (pb)

Murder At Camp Delta: A Staff Sergeant’s Pursuit Of The Truth About Guantanamo Bay
Joseph Hickman
Simon & Schuster, 2015
245 pages, $29.99 (pb)

Major Michael Mori was a Republican-leaning, US military lawyer who “embraced the values I had been taught in scouts, sports, high school, college, law school and the Marines” — above all the ideal of fair play.

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