Diet of Austerity: Class, Food & Climate Change By Elaine Graham-Leigh Zero Books, 2015 Like the author of this interesting book on food and climate change, I have been struck by the way that the question of diet, and in particular meat eating, has become central to debates on tackling climate change.
The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas about Living Ethically By Peter Singer Yale University Press, 2015 272 pages Living up to his moral philosophical tradition of utilitarianism, with its “greatest good” principle, Australian philosopher Peter Singer's latest instalment is The Most Good You Can Do. The book — endorsed by software monopolists and corporate philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates — is based on Singer's “Castle Lecture” at Yale University in 2013.
Zero K By Don DeLillo Simon & Schuster, 2016 Don DeLillo is known as one of America’s great authors, standing out for his effortless wisdom. So, now at 81, it is of no surprise that DeLillo tackles death and immortality in his recent novel Zero K. Having foreshadowed the horror of 9/11 (Underworld), the Great Financial Crisis and Occupy Movement (Cosmopolis) and the anthrax scare (White Noise), Zero K is his literary prophecy of the commodification of the last dignity: death.
Eight short months ago, much of the population celebrated Malcolm Turnbull's ascension to power. Small-l liberals were drunk with joy and rumour has it that even some self-styled socialists joined the love-in. Turnbull was the Great White Knight who had slain the Abbott Dragon. He would turn the political rudder to the left, so we were told, and we would all live happily ever after. Many writers, no doubt, were also sucked in by this master of spin and his chorus of sycophants. Eight months on, the illusions of those spring days pile up like dead leaves.
The Hidden Wealth Of Nations: The Scourge Of Tax Havens Gabriel Zucman University of Chicago Press 2015, 129 pages Criminal heists do not come any bigger than the global theft every year by the ultra-rich of about US$200 billion courtesy of the off-shore tax haven banking industry. The Panama Papers has grabbed headlines, but in The Hidden Wealth of Nations, Gabriel Zucman, economics professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, also takes a close look at the famous tax-evading practices in Switzerland.
Leon Trotsky By Paul Le Blanc Reaktion Books, 2015 224 pp, $39.99 Trotsky & the Problem of Soviet Bureaucracy By Thomas M. Twiss Brill, 2014 502 pp., $205.00 Leon Trotsky was one of the central leaders of the Russian Revolution. As the organiser and Commissar of the Red Army that saved the Soviet power and as the leading light of the struggle against Stalinism, he is surely one of the great heroic — and tragic — figures of the 20th century.
Fighters in the Shadow: A New History of the French Resistance By Robert Gildea Faber & Faber Press, London 593 pages, 2015 Upon his inauguration on May 16, 2007, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited the Bois de Boulogne in Paris and paid homage to 35 anti-fascist resistance fighters shot by the occupying Nazis in August 1944, just before Paris was liberated. He also read the last letter of Guy Moquet, a 17-year-old Communist, to his parents on the eve of his execution by the occupiers in 1941 along with 26 other Communist resisters.
Left-wing supporters of Scottish independence in the 2014 referendum campaign. Is There A Scottish Road to Socialism? Edited by Gregor Gall Scottish Left Review Press Third edition, 2016 £5.99, 164 pages This is the third edition in a series previously published in 2007 and 2013. A range of left-wing activists and commentators debate the question of whether Scottish independence would help or hinder the prospects for socialism in Scotland.
Black Panther #1 By Ta-Nehisi Coates Marvel comic series The new Black Panther is “Black as hell” — a phrase Ta-Nehisi Coates used to describe himself on Twitter a week ahead of the release of Black Panther #1, the highly anticipated first issue in a new 12-part Marvel series penned by Coates. That's no small thing in the comics world. Sure, comic companies have begun to show an understanding that their core audience is diverse, increasingly female and of colour.
Farmageddon The True Cost of Cheap Meat by Philip Lymbery with Isabel Oakeshott Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014 It is impossible to read Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat without coming to the conclusion that the world's food and agriculture system is screwed.