Illan Pappe – The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

The year 1948 evokes strong memories in the Middle East. It is celebrated by the Israeli’s and commemorated by the Palestinians. This book by Israeli academic, Illan Pappe explores the events of that time and the mythology surrounding the accepted historiography within Israeli academic circles and public memory. This is the most in depth analysis … Continue reading

Chris Harman – A People’s History of the World

It is almost impossible to review a book with such an unrivalled scope as this. Chris Harman present a history of the world, a social history documenting the struggles of people the world over from 3000BC right through to the new millennium. It is a beautiful and admirable volume, packed with interesting facts about the … Continue reading

Raj Patel – The Value of Nothing

In his second book, Raj Patel turns his attention from the food industry focus of his previous book, Stuffed and Starved, to the wider world of inequality and turbo-capitalism we inhabit. Patel is a master of the simple explanation of seemingly complex global problems. The theme of book is to take issue with the modern … Continue reading

Peter Hallward – Damming the Flood

There is a political party in Haiti called Fanmi Lavalas, roughly translated in to English as Waterfall Family, this is the Flood of the title of this book, the flood is the people. The damming is the attempt by the international community to stop the people having their day. I consider myself sceptical of developed … Continue reading

Natasha Walter – Living Dolls

How much does our modern society objectify women, and to what extent have women themselves been duped in to joining in, in a bizarre ritual of compulsive self-loathing? Those seem to be the central questions behind this latest book from Natasha Walter. She argues that feminism is ripe for a new “third wave” given the … Continue reading

Shlomo Sand – The Invention of the Jewish People

Shlomo Sand is one of the academic writers that Israel loves to hate. He vigorously researches his work and turns up evidence of things that the Israeli leadership, and Zionist academia would rather keep hidden. The more evidence unearthed that disproves the fictitious historic claim to the land of Israel, the more grasping and ill-tempered … Continue reading

Tariq Ali – The Duel

Tariq Ali has written a series of books on the state of Pakistan in the past and this is his latest offering sub-titled “on the flightpath of American power”. As always it pulls no punches and provides a good account of the politics in Pakistan up to and including the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in … Continue reading

Felicity Lawrence – Eat Your Heart Out

There are parts of this book where you never want to eat anything again. Personally, I eat and enjoy meat, and I have always known I do it from a point of indefensible hypocrisy. This book confirms my worst fears about the increasingly globalised food industry. It follows on well from Stuffed and Starved (Raj … Continue reading

Alison Weir – Henry VIII: King and Court

Just over 500 years since Henry VIII became king his legacy and story is still able to amaze and his reputation remains hotly debated. Given that this book is about the king and his court there is a lot of detail here about official expenditure on running costs and capital spending. At times this can … Continue reading

Claire Tomalin – Thomas Hardy – Time Torn Man

Claire Tomalin is fast becoming the epitome of the biographer. Her books are praised far and wide and this one regarding the wonderful Thomas Hardy is no exception. She separates the man from his writing very well but also emphasises the deep connection Hardy has to his creations and the biographical nature of some of … Continue reading