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Book Reviews

An exercise in myth-making

Gough Whitlam: A Moment in History by Jenny Hocking

By Nick Beams, November 26, 2012

Whitlam's demise is presented as the downfall of a social reformer, almost totally ignoring the global context in which the 1975 Canberra Coup took place.

Book review

Wolfgang Brenner’s Hubert in Wonderland: A life in the shadow of Stalinism

By Sybille Fuchs, October 29, 2012

The well-documented story of a boy from a small village in Germany’s Saar region, who travels to Moscow at the age of ten in late 1933. He is destined never again to see his homeland or most of his family.

A guest review

Bento’s Sketchbook—John Berger’s “Way of Seeing” Spinoza

By Kamilla Vaski, September 20, 2012

Bento’s Sketchbook is a collection of stories, some of them simply vignettes, always connected to a drawing, either as the source of the story or the result of it. The “Bento” of the book’s title is Baruch or Benedict de Spinoza, the seventeenth century philosopher.

A brief for racial politics

The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander

By Helen Halyard, Fred Mazelis, September 18, 2012

For Alexander, the driving force of American society is racial “caste” oppression, not the class struggle.

College Leadership Crisis: The Philip Dolly Affair—a satire of contemporary American community colleges

By Charles Bogle, August 22, 2012

College Leadership Crisis: The Philip Dolly Affair is largely successful in satirizing the corporate model so prevalent on American college campuses.

Book review:

A hard life, then Hurricane Katrina: Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones

By Sandy English, August 13, 2012

Jesmyn Ward’s second novel, Salvage the Bones, is an organic and spontaneous portrait of a family living in Mississippi before, during and after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

A portrait of a “people smuggler”

By Mike Head, July 21, 2012

The People Smuggler puts a human face on those involved in refugee boat voyages, and exposes myths peddled by Australian governments.

The reactionary politics of Grace Lee Boggs

By Shannon Jones, July 2, 2012

In The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the 21st Century, Detroit’s Grace Lee Boggs advances a political perspective thoroughly hostile to the interests of the working class.

Book Review:

Canadian imperialism’s intervention in the Russian Civil War

By Vic Neufeld, June 30, 2012

Benjamin Isitt has excavated an important, but long-buried historical chapter—the story of the Canadian ruling class’ intervention in the Russian Civil War and the fierce opposition it provoked among Canadian workers, including among the conscript soldiers sent to fight alongside the counter-revolutionary White armies.

Film critic Andrew Sarris 1928-2012: An appreciation

Andrew Sarris and American filmmaking

By David Walsh, June 26, 2012

The World Socialist Web Site is reposting here an article originally published on July 1, 1998. See also the accompanying interview with Andrew Sarris, also from 1998, with a new introduction following his death June 20.

Daniel Woodrell’s The Outlaw Album: Short, honest, brutal and beautiful stories

By Christine Schofelt, March 9, 2012

Set in the small towns and rural areas of Woodrell’s native Missouri and Arkansas, the stories in The Outlaw Album depict troubles of a universal nature.

Jack London’s The Iron Heel: An enduring classic

By Jack Hood, March 8, 2012

In his futuristic novel, The Iron Heel (1908), American author and socialist Jack London chronicled a revolutionary struggle beginning a century ago this year, in 1912.