books

Reconstructing Karl Polanyi: Excavation & Critique
By Gareth Dale
Pluto, 2016
246 pp., $33.88

As a well-known British socialist activist and an academic political economist, Gareth Dale is thus ideally placed to write about Karl Polanyi, writes Derek Wall.

Polanyi was a leading 20th century critic of the free market economics that crystallised into the neoliberal system that is now threatening our planet.

Heather Rogers has written a brilliant book about a very relevant topic given the current crisis in Australia over recycling.

Dissent didn’t obey strict decade-demarcation lines on Australian campuses in the radical 1960s, writes Sally Wood in Dissent: The Student Press in 1960s Australia.

Night Shift: 270 Factory Stories
David Macaray
CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Los Angeles, 2015
360 pages, US$17.99

David Macaray’s enjoyable and readable Night Shift is an exquisite study of industrial work in a US manufacturing site between the mid-1970s and the mid-’90s. Being a marvel of industrial sociology, it avoids managerialism’s dehumanisation of factory workers — e.g. human resources (HR) and of management studies that turn into an academic research object.

Poisoning Our Children: The Parent’s Guide to the Myths of Safe Pesticides, shows there is plenty of peer-reviewed science finding monumental faults with pesticide use and regulation — science ignored by regulators.

The title of Adam Hochschild’s marvellous book on the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War is taken from French author Albert Camus’s requiem for that doomed struggle: “Men of my generation have had Spain in our hearts … It was there that they learned … that one can be right and yet be beaten, that force can vanquish spirit, and there are times when courage is not rewarded”.

Climate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus looks at five important new books on famines, deadly epidemics and the pesticide poisons in our food.

In Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 11-12 last year, an infamous mobilisation of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other far-right groups was met by anti-fascist and anti-racist protesters. In violent clashes, attacks by the far right resulted in many counter-protesters being injured and one dead — anti-fascist activist Heather Hayes, who was killed when a fascist drove a car into the crowd.

US President Donald Trump, whose election was supported by and emboldened the far right, refused to condemn the far right, stating: “You had many fine people on both sides.”

The furore surrounding Michael Wolff’s book is unsurprising because he lifts the lid on the foetid cesspit that is US President Donald Trump’s White House. In the tradition of scandal-mongering journalism, he reveals the back-stabbing, in-fighting and squabbling of this ramshackle administration of bigots, ignoramuses and incompetents.

Game of Mates tells the story of two Australian men, the working-class Bruce and the capitalist James — two imaginary but emblematic men with very different lives.

Written by economists Cameron Murray and Paul Fritjers, these two archetypal characters are used to tell the story of economic theft across Australia.

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