History

An image from a medieval translation of Avicenna's Canon

There would have been no Enlightenment without Avicenna and his successor, Averroes – who Bloch sees as forming an “Aristotelian left” trend, writes Barry Healy.

African-American novelist Toni Morrison — winner of the Pulitzer Prize (1988), the Nobel Prize for Literature (1993), and many other awards — died on August 5 at the age 88. 

Following the announcement, Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the civil rights organisation NAACP, remarked: "Rest in power to #ToniMorrison, one of the most prolific writers of our time."

August 18 is Vietnam Veterans’ Day in Australia. Every year we can rely on right-wing commentators to trot out the now-familiar stories of Vietnam vets being abused when they returned to Australia.

The role of individuals in history has been a long-standing bone of contention within the Marxist tradition.

Angels & Demons: A Radical Anthology of Political Lives
By Tony McKenna
Zero Books, 2018
263 pp, $16.99

The role of individuals in history has been a long-standing bone of contention within the Marxist tradition.  Stalinism, with its mechanical historical understanding, relegated individuals to the anonymous mass to be manipulated by Great Leaders, who shone like the Sun.

The inside story of a successful, but difficult, 14-year campaign to force BHP to hire women is nearing completion after 3 years. But the Women of Steel film needs your help to get to the finishing line.

In A Natural Battleground, Bobbie Oliver, historian and author of the award-winning The Workshops — A history of the Midland Government Workshops, documents the ongoing attempts to preserve Western Australia's Government Railway workshops site.

Red Joan
Starring Judi Dench, Sophie Cookson, Tom Hughes & Tereza Srbova
Directed by Trevor Nunn
In cinemas

Red Joan is loosely based on the spying activities of British civil servant Melita Norwood, who was nearly 90 years old when she was exposed as a Soviet agent.

Mutiny on The Western Front: 1918
Greg Raffin
Big Sky Publishing, 2018
216 pages

For those who may have been living in a cave without electricity for a while, it may need pointing out that the Australian establishment likes to conduct extravagant khaki-and-slouch-hat festivals to annually celebrate the gore-filled Australian invasion of Gallipoli on April 25 in 1915.

American Heiress: The Kidnapping, Crimes & Trial of Patty Hearst
Jeffrey Toobin
Profile Books, 2017, 371 pages

“Death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people.” With this hyperbolic declaration by “General Field Marshall” Cinque M’tume (the nom-de-plume of a Black prison escapee), the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) introduced itself to the American people in the early 1970s.

Operation Chaos: The Vietnam Deserters Who Fought the CIA, the Brainwashers & Each Other
Matthew Sweet
Picador, 2018, 351 pages

Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet
By Yasha Levine
Icon Books, £14.99

As accusations continue to swirl through social media around foreign meddling in Britain’s Brexit referendum and the last US election, Yasha Levine’s Surveillance Valley is a timely intervention in revealing how undermining democracy has always been the modus operandi of the internet since its inception.

Thousands marched through Berlin on January 13 to pay their respects 100 years after the brutal murders of revolutionary socialists Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, Morning Star Online said.

Marchers came from across Germany and many countries. They laid red flowers at the tombs of Luxemburg, Liebknecht and other revolutionaries in the Friedrichsfelde Socialist Cemetery in east Berlin.

The death of George H.W. Bush has dominated the U.S. news for days, but little attention has been paid to the defining event of Bush’s first year in office: the invasion of Panama. On December 19, 1989, Bush Sr. sent tens of thousands of troops into Panama, ostensibly to execute an arrest warrant against its leader, Manuel Noriega, on charges of drug trafficking. General Noriega was once a close ally to Washington and on the CIA payroll.

The Darkening Age
By Catherine Nixey
Pan Macmillan, 2018
352 pp, $32.99

Do you remember the horror in 2015 when ISIS seized the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, killed archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad who had protected its monuments and attacked the 12-metre-high statue of Athena?

It wasn’t the first time that statue was attacked by religious fanatics. As Catherine Nixey records, in the 4th Century, Christian zealots attacked Palmyra and pulled the statue down. It lay in ruins until Muslim experts put it back together.

November 11 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, but not before tens of millions died in the four-year-long unprecedented industrial carnage. Amid all the media coverage, almost entirely missing is the actual story of how such bloodshed and misery was ended: by a mass popular rebellion in Germany that brought down the monarchy and established a republic.

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