books

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.

The People’s Referendum: Why Scotland Will Never Be the Same Again
by Paul Geoghegan
Luath Press 2015
177 pages

The British-wide general election for the Westminster parliament scheduled for May 7 looks set to be very close, perhaps even closer than the 2010 election that resulted in the Labour Party being replaced by a Conservative Party-Liberal Democrat coalition government.

Opinion polls suggest that neither of the two main British parties, Conservative or Labour, will win enough seats for a majority of their own in the House of Commons.

Günter Grass, who was one of Germany’s most important post-war novelists, died on April 13 at the age of 87 in the town of Lübeck, in northern Germany.

Grass was perhaps most famous for his 1959 book The Tin Drum, a novel that embodied fantastical elements in its critique of Weimar and Nazi Germany. As such, his style bore resemblances to Latin America’s genre of magical realism. In 1979, the book was turned into an Academy Award winning film by Volker Schlöndorff, which won the Oscar for best foreign film.

The Inconvenient Genocide: Who Remembers the Armenians?
Geoffrey Robertson QC, Vintage Books,
Sydney, 294 pages, 2014

On the eve of Nazi Germany’s 1939 invasion of Poland, Adolf Hitler urged his generals “to kill without mercy men, women and children of the Polish race or language”.

“Only in such a way will we win [what] we need,” Hitler said. “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians.”

The Nazi leader was referring to the genocide carried out by the Ottoman Turkish empire in 1915 against the Armenian people within its borders.

Hell-Bent: Australia’s Leap Into The Great War
Douglas Newton
Scribe, 2014
344 pages, $32.99 (pb)

Behind all the froth, then and now, about the noble cause of World War I — defence of freedom against German aggression — lay a far less exalted reality, writes retired University of Western Sydney historian Douglas Newton.

The war’s “grand plan” for Britain, candidly called “The Spoils” by the British Colonial Secretary, was to divvy the world up among the victors.

Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous
Gabriella Coleman
464 pages
Published November 2014
Verso
www.versobooks.com

In the early days of hacker collective Anonymous, political activism seemed to be the last thing on its members' minds.

Seeking only laughs, usually at the expense of others, members would dismiss anyone they disapproved of as "fags". They held particular disdain for anyone hinting at political activism, who they slammed as "moralfags".

Blood & Guts: Dispatches From The Whale Wars
Sam Vincent
Black Inc., 2014, 274 pages, $29.99 (pb)

Industrial-scale whaling, writes Sam Vincent in Blood & Guts, had picked clean the world’s oceans until only the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary remained, protected by the icy remoteness of Antarctica and a worldwide ban on commercial whaling.

The Secret History of Wonder Woman
By Jill Lepore
Knopf, 2014, 410 pages

Wonder Woman cannot marry, according to Amazon law. She doesn’t want to, either. Especially if it would mean that she — the comic book superhero disguised as a secretary — would be stuck in the kitchen cooking dinner for her would-be domesticator, Captain Steve Trevor, the US pilot she fell in love with after rescuing him from his plane crash on her woman-only, feminist island utopia.

No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban and the War Through Afghan Eyes
By Anand Gopal
Metropolitan books, 2014
304 pp, $27

Anand Gopal's book should be compulsory reading for every federal politician in Australia. Nobody could finish it and still have a shred of belief in US foreign policy.

What comes through this history is that it is very dangerous to be an enemy of the US. However, it is just as dangerous to be an ally.

Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk Amongst Us
John Quiggin
Black Inc., 2012
265 pages, $26.95 (pb)

“Being already dead,” says John Quiggin of zombie ideas in economics, “they can absorb all kinds of damage and keep lumbering on.”

And so, despite severe reality checks such as the historical Great Depression and the more recent Global Financial Crisis (GFC), classical free market economics continues to lead its undead life in the neoliberal form Quiggin calls “market liberalism”.

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