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Back You are here: Home Reviews Books Recommended Reading: August/September 2011

Recommended Reading: August/September 2011

BookgenericBe inspired, motivated, challenged and intrigued by this month's selection of books.









Power and Terror
Noam Chomsky
Pluto Books. Distributed in Australia through Palgrave Macmillan

Power_TerrorThe 10 years of US foreign policy since 9/11 have been characterised by war, torture and rendition. In Power and Terror, Noam Chomsky places these developments in the context of America's long history of aggression and imperialism.

Arguing that the US is responsible for much of the terror that it claims to be fighting, Chomsky elegantly explains US actions abroad and their deadly consequences.

Including talks, question and answer sessions and unpublished essays, this collection offers the perfect introduction to Chomsky for those unfamiliar with his work, as well as a handy reference guide for seasoned activists.

As Obama continues, and in some ways escalates, Bush's militarism, Power and Terror is a timely reminder of why it is so important to insist that the United States lives up to the moral standards it demands of others.

 





Junk: Art and the Politics of Trash
Gillian Whiteley
L.B. Tauris. Distributed in Australia through Palgrave Macmillan

JunkTrash, garbage, rubbish, dross, and detritus – in this enjoyably radical exploration of 'Junk', Gillian Whiteley rethinks art's historical and present appropriation of junk within our eco-conscious and globalised culture.

She does this through an illustrated exploration of particular materials, key moments and locations and the telling of a panoply of trash narratives.

Found and ephemeral materials are primarily associated with assemblage – object-based practices which emerged in the mid-1950s and culminated in the seminal exhibition 'The Art of Assemblage' in New York in 1961.

With its deployment of the discarded and the filthy, Whiteley argues, assemblage has been viewed as a disruptive, transgressive artform that engaged with narratives of social and political dissent, often in the face of modernist condemnation as worthless kitsch.

In the ’60s, parallel techniques flourished in Western Europe, the US and Australia but the idiom of assemblage and the re-use of found materials and objects – with artist as bricoleur – is just as prevalent now.

This is a timely book that uncovers the etymology of waste and the cultures of disposability within these economies of wealth.




Dreams
Derrick Jensen
Seven Stories Press. Distributed in Australia through Palgrave Macmillan

DreamsJensen's furthest-reaching book yet, Dreams challenges the "destructive nihilism" of writers like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris who believe that there is no reality outside what can be measured using the tools of science.

He introduces the mythologies of ancient cultures and modern indigenous peoples as evidence of alternative ways of understanding reality, informed by thinkers such as American Indian writer Jack Forbes, theologian and American Indian rights activist Vine Deloria, Shaman Martin Prechtel, Dakota activist and scholar Waziyatawin, and Okanagan Indian writer Jeannette Armstrong.

He draws on the wisdom of Dr. Paul Staments, author of Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World, sociologist Stanley Aronowitz, who discusses science's lack of accountability to the earth, and many more.

As in his other books, Jensen draws heavily from his own life experience living alongside the frogs, redwoods, snails, birds and bears of the upper northwest, about which he writes with exquisite tenderness.

Having taken on the daunting task of understanding one's dreams as a source of knowledge, Jensen achieves the near-impossible in this breathtakingly brave and ambitious new work.

 


Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base
Annie Jacobsen
Orion. Distributed in Australia through Hachette

Area51It is the most famous military installation in the world. And no credible insider has ever divulged the truth about his time inside of it. Until now.

This is the first book based on interviews with scientists, pilots, and engineers – 58 in total – who provide an unprecedented look into the mysterious activities of a top-secret base, from the Cold War to today.

With a jaw-dropping ending, it proves that facts are often more fantastic than fiction, especially when the distinction is almost impossible to make.

The explosive, untold story of the Cold War's biggest secret: The real X-Files.







The Whistleblower: Sex Trafficking, Military Contractors and One Woman’s Fight for Justice
Kathryn Bolkovac with Cari Lynn
Palgrave Macmillan

whistleblower3When Nebraska police officer and divorced mother of three Kathryn Bolkovac saw a recruiting announcement for private military contractor DynCorp International, she applied and was hired.

Good money, world travel, and the chance to help rebuild a war-torn country sounded like the perfect job.

Bolkovac was shipped out to Bosnia, where DynCorp had been contracted to support the UN peacekeeping mission. She was assigned as a human rights investigator, heading the gender affairs unit.

The lack of proper training provided sounded the first alarm bell, but once she arrived in Sarajevo, she found out that things were a lot worse.

At great risk to her personal safety, she began to unravel the ugly truth about officers involved in human trafficking and forced prostitution and their connections to private mercenary contractors, the UN, and the U.S. State Department.

After bringing this evidence to light, Bolkovac was demoted, felt threatened with bodily harm, was fired, and ultimately forced to flee the country under cover of darkness—bringing the incriminating documents with her.

Thanks to the evidence she collected, she won a lawsuit against DynCorp, finally exposing them for what they had done.

This is her story and the story of the women she helped achieve justice for.

 

White Riot: Punk Rock and the Politics of Race
Stephen Duncombe & Maxwell Tremblay (Eds)
Verso. Distributed in Australia through Palgrave Macmillan

WhiteRiotThe ultimate collection on punk and race, from the Clash to Los Crudos.

From the Clash to Los Crudos, skinheads to afro-punks, the punk rock movement has been obsessed by race. And yet the connections have never been traced in a comprehensive way.

White Riot is the definitive study of the subject, collecting first-person writing, lyrics, letters to zines, and analyses of punk history from across the globe.

This book brings together writing from leading critics such as Greil Marcus and Dick Hebdige, personal reflections from punk pioneers such as Jimmy Pursey, Darryl Jenifer and Mimi Nguyen, and reports on punk scenes from Toronto to Jakarta.






Books selected and reviewed by Katrina Fox, Editor-in Chief.

For details of where to send review copies, click on the Contact menu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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