books

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”.

50 Shades of Grey
Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson
Starring Dakota Johnson & Jamie Dornan
Based on the novel by EL James
In cinemas now

Perhaps the most concerning thing about 50 Shades of Grey is not that it is a film adaptation of a novel that was written in an online forum — and a Twilight fan forum at that.

Clivosaurus: The Politics Of Clive Palmer
Guy Rundle
Quarterly Essay
November 2014
Black Inc., $19.99

Elected in 2013 by the curious, the disaffected and the dark arts of preference deals, billionaire Queensland coal baron Clive Palmer and his Senate threesome, were, at first, writes Guy Rundle in Clivosaurus, ignored or played for laughs by the establishment media.

Disunited Kingdom: How Westminster Won a Referendum But Lost Scotland
By Iain MacWhirter
Cargo Publishing, 2014,
174 pages

The independence referendum on September 18 last year has been hailed by many as the most important event in the recent Scottish history.

The result was far closer than any supporter of independence would have dared predict even a few months before the vote. About 1.6 million voters (45%) refused to be swayed by a sustained fear campaign by the British state and its allies ― voting “Yes” to Scottish independence.

Left-wing London-based US journalist and author Mike Marqusee passed away on January 13 from cancer, aged 61. Below, radical sports writer and socialist Dave Zirin pays tribute. It is abridged from The Nation.

***

Radical journalist Mike Marqusee, the greatest professional influence on my life, has died. Losing Mike is like losing several pints of blood. I’m left dizzy by the prospect of his absence.

Blowing The Roof Off The Twenty-First Century: Media, Politics, and the Struggle for Post-Capitalist Democracy
Robert W McChesney
Monthly Review Press
272 pages
Published November 2014
www.blowingtheroofoff.com

The work of renowned media critic Robert McChesney “has been of extraordinary importance”, says the “world's top public intellectual”, Noam Chomsky. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward spoke to McChesney about his new book, Blowing The Roof Off The Twenty-First Century.

* * *

Australians have begun the grim journey through the centenary of World War I. Our newspapers have special articles and multi-page wrap arounds commemorating every significant date.

This is driven by a multi-million dollar government fund designed to whip up militarisation in contemporary Australia by obscuring the truth about WWI.

Part of the truth is that in Christmas 1914, just months after the war began, millions of soldiers ceased fighting and fraternised across the trenches. In some areas, this lasted for a week.

The Political Bubble: Why Australians Don’t Trust Politics
Mark Latham
Macmillan, 2014
291 pages, $32.99 (pb)

The only thing surprising about the 4% of Australians who a poll last year said “almost always” trusted the federal government is that the figure is that high.

Further evidence of the many failures of Australian politics comes in The Political Bubble via an angry Mark Latham, the former leader of the federal Labor Party.

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