Verso's end-of-year highlights 2015!

As we approach the end of the year we look back on a great year of publishing, from Patrick Cockburn's best-selling The Rise of Islamic State, to Kate Evans' graphic biography of Rosa Luxemburg; from Walter Benjamin's Archive in paperback, to Portraits: John Berger on on Artists, a beautiful history of art by John Berger, from the Chauvet cave paintings to Cy Twombly, brought together by Tom Overton.

This blog post is split into sections - highlighted in red - such as Current Afffairs, Memoir, History, Theory/Philosophy, to help you find your favourite books!

AMERICAN POLITICS



Outsider in the White House
by Bernie Sanders, with Huck Gutman. Afterword by John Nichols

The political autobiography of the insurgent presidential candidate.

“I endorse Brother Bernie Sanders because he is a long-distance runner with integrity in the struggle for justice for over fifty years. Now is the time for his prophetic voice to be heard across our crisisridden country.” – Cornel West, author of Race Matters

Good Neighbors: Gentrifying Diversity in Boston’s South End

Sylvie Tissot

“Sylvie Tissot—a hip, brilliant, de Tocqueville of the post-’68 left—casts a fair but jaundiced eye on America’s plump underbelly of tolerant privilege and its flattened idea of diversity. A truly memorable account of gentrification and its discontents.” – Michael Sorkin

Class War: The Privatization of Childhood

Megan Erickson

“Informed by her own experiences in the classroom, Erickson shares her outrage over the disparities between the haves and the rest with a clear-eyed analysis. A counterweight to ‘reformers’ whose anti-union, corporatization of education threatens the very tenets of our democratic society.” – Annette Fuentes, journalist and author of Lockdown High

American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers
Perry Anderson

“His writing is sharp and erudite and even those who do not share his politics will learn from his book.” – Gideon Rachman, Financial Times

“Like everything Anderson writes, American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers deserves careful reading. He’s one of the world’s great historians, unrivalled in his ability to master and synthesize vast historical literatures (often drawing on many languages).” – Jeet Heer, The New Republic

BRITISH / EUROPEAN POLITICS



Politics in a Time of Crisis: Podemos and the Future of Democracy in Europe

Pablo Iglesias. Foreword by Alexis Tsipras

“There are few precedents for such an explosive political ascent in modern western Europe … Podemos has thrived because it has shredded the old left rulebook.” – Owen Jones

“Iglesias and his Podemos party are radically shaking up Spain’s political establishment.” – New York Times

Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work
Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams

“A fascinating book about an alternative to austerity: can't wait to read it.” – Owen Jones

“A powerful book: it not only shows us how the postcapitalist world of rapidly improving technology could make us free, but it also shows us how we can organise to get there. This is a must-read.” – Paul Mason, author of Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future

The Extreme Centre: A Warning

Tariq Ali

“A radical’s rage at the resilience of the right… The typical Financial Times reader might find his bias so irksome they cannot continue.” – Financial Times

“Ali remains an outlier and intellectual bomb-thrower” – Observer

Private Island: Why Britain Now Belongs to Someone Else

James Meek

Winner of the Orwell Prize for Books

“Do yourself a favour: read Private Island and find out what has really happened in Britain over the past 20 years.” – John Gray, Guardian

“An energetic and colourfully told polemic against privatisation.” – Financial Times

Inequality and the 1%

Danny Dorling

“An incredibly thoughtful book. With wit, expertise and a necessary anger, Danny Dorling makes the case for a ‘slow revolution’ against the concentrated wealth of the top 1%, who threaten our national and global well-being. Read him. Enjoy him. Join him.” – Melissa Benn, writer and campaigner

CURRENT AFFAIRS



The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution

Patrick Cockburn

The essential “on the ground” report on the fastest-growing new threat in the Middle East from the Winner of the 2014 Foreign Affairs Journalist of the Year Award.

“A wealth of telling detail.” – New York Times

“Amid the many books published on the current conflicts reshaping the Middle East, few are as informative or perceptive as The Rise of Islamic State.” – The Observer

Disaster Capitalism: Making a Killing out of Catastrophe

Antony Loewenstein

“A journey into a world of mutated economics and corrupt politics that we ignore at our peril.” – John Pilger

“I am very grateful that Antony Loewenstein has brought his meticulous reporting to this subject, and the result is a keenly observed and timely investigation into rampant resource plunder, privatized detention centers, and an array of other forms of corporate rapacity on four continents.” – Naomi Klein

No Such Thing as a Free Gift: The Gates Foundation and the Price of Philanthropy

Linsey McGoey

“Fierce...provocatively examines the power imbalances and ambiguities of charitable giving...a clear-eyed and much-needed study.” – Andy Beckett, Guardian

“The charitable model represented by the Gates Foundation is failing to address the root causes of inequality and ecological crisis. This path-breaking book is a sorely needed, historically grounded investigation into the difference between philanthropy and justice.” – Naomi Klein

The New Prophets of Capital

Nicole Aschoff

“Anyone persuading you to ‘lean in,’ engage in ‘conscious capitalism’ or admire philanthropists will be (rightfully) upset by Aschoff’s takedown of some of the big-name ‘ethical capitalists’ of our era: Sheryl Sandberg, Bill Gates, Whole Foods’ John Mackey. Aschoff takes apart the platitudes of liberal capitalism and offers a solid set of alternatives that stress the collective over the individual, people over profit, and real narratives over cover stories.” – Nina Power

“A highly original and fascinating exploration… Aschoff tackles this slippery subject with confidence and subtlety, providing readers with key intellectual tools to separate fact from fiction.” – Naomi Klein

The Reproach of Hunger: Food, Justice and Money in the 21st Century
David Rieff

“Hunger, [Rieff] writes, is a political problem, and fighting it means rejecting the fashionable consensus that only the private sector can act efficiently.” – New Yorker

Syrian Notebooks: Inside the Homs Uprising

Jonathan Littell

“There was never any magic or mystery to the emergence of Isis—it was born from levels of grotesque suffering that would be hard to imagine had they not been witnessed at first hand by individuals such as Littell. Reading his account, the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of climbing into bed with Assad becomes clear” – Anthony Loyd, Times

“Documents a pivotal moment in the conflict … Littell conveys his sense of horror in stark, fragmented prose.” – Independent


Kill Chain: Drones and the Rise of High-Tech Assassins

Andrew Cockburn

“In this first-rate history, Andrew Cockburn takes readers from the Pentagon’s mainframe-driven dreams of the Vietnam War era through today’s visions of stealth super-drones, exposing the dark realities of twenty- first-century robotic warfare.” – Nick Turse, author of Kill Anything That Moves


The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to US Empire
WikiLeaks

“Long after the debate over the publication of these cables has been forgotten, the documents themselves will remain a valuable archive for scholars and students of US foreign policy. The essays that make up The WikiLeaks Files shed critical light on a once secret history.” – Edward J. Snowden

MEMOIR



Trans: A Memoir
Juliet Jacques. Afterword by Sheila Heti

“An honest, articulate account of one life so far.” – Stephen Burt, Guardian

“Powerful and engaging. . . it’s hard not to see her as anything other than brave, even as she pushes readers to recognize that what is revolutionary is the very ordinariness of her day-to-day life.” – New York Times


Red Rosa: A Graphic Biography of Rosa Luxemburg
Kate Evans. Edited by Paul Buhle

“Utterly brilliant” – Steve Bell, Guardian

“Stunningly good” – Paul Mason, author of Postcapitalism

The Prophet: The Life of Leon Trotsky
Isaac Deutscher

“This is the critical voice the velvet revolution faded out. The republication of Deutscher’s classic trilogy is good news for a new generation who want to know what went wrong with communist-style socialism.” – Sheila Rowbotham



Return: A Palestinian Memoir

Ghada Karmi

In Search of Fatima was a beautifully written and moving narrative of her displacement from Jerusalem in 1948 set against the backdrop of the major political events that shaped the course of modern Palestinian history. Return is both a sequel and a stand-alone memoir. On display is the same fluent writing style, the psychological insight and the outstanding skill for mixing the personal with the political.” – Avi Shlaim, Guardian

ART



Portraits: John Berger on Artists

John Berger. Edited by Tom Overton

“A volume whose breadth and depth bring it close to a definitive self-portrait of one of Britain’s most original thinkers” – Financial Times

“Shows the 88-year-old British art critic at his bristling best.” – Wall Street Journal

Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency

Hal Foster

“Deft, opinionated … Foster is one of those rare art theorists whose measured prose can engage a wider readership, cutting through the philosophical inflationism that afflicts much of the higher gossip among art critics.” – Guardian

Planet/Cuba: Art, Culture, and the Future of the Island

Rachel Price

“A rich revelation of Cuban art today; it will amaze, fascinate and instruct.” – Fredric Jameson

Bento’s Sketchbook

John Berger

“The book coheres because Berger’s is a humane and uniquely confiding voice, and this voice is co–extensive with his skill as a draftsman. The two attributes act in concert with Spinoza’s enigmatic philosophical propositions. All three constitute a singular act of witness.” – Teju Cole, New York Times

“Inspiring, challenging and rewarding.” – Carl Wilkinson, Financial Times

Dead Children Playing: A Picture Book

Stanley Donwood and Dr. Tchock

“As much inspired by the writing of J. G. Ballard and Iain Sinclair as the work of Alan Moore and L. S. Lowry.” – GQ

“I’ve read lots of his stuff and it’s always good and I am in no way biased.” – Thom Yorke, lead singer of Radiohead

THE CITY



Capital: New York, Capital of the 20th Century

Kenneth Goldsmith

“[Goldsmith] gives you the feel of what it is like to be living in New York now.” – Marjorie Perloff, New Yorker

“Capital is as enriching as it is unwieldy, and a must-read for anyone who has even a little skin in this game. Ultimately, with both New York City and Goldsmith’s book, all you have to do is say “yes”; to begin. Then, suddenly, everything comes at you all at once.” – Scott Heins, Gothamist

Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London

Matthew Beaumont. Foreword by Will Self

“Nothing less than a grand unifying theory of the counter-enlightenment.” – Will Self

“Part literary criticism, part social history, part polemic, this is a haunting addition to the canon of psychogeography.” – Financial Times

FEMINISM



Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman
Michele Wallace

“A landmark black feminist text ... Deserves rereading.” - Ms.

Read more: From #BlackLivesMatter to Anti-Austerity: Women of Colour and the Politics of Solidarity

Also in our Feminist Classics series: Beyond the Pale: White Women, Racism, and History by Vron Ware

Separate and Dominate: Feminism and Racism after the War on Terror
by Christine Delphy. Translated by David Broder

“France’s most exciting feminist writer.” – Simone de Beauvoir

The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution
Shulamith Firestone

“No one can understand how feminism has evolved without reading this radical, inflammatory second-wave landmark.” – Naomi Wolf

“A landmark manifesto.” – Susan Faludi, New Yorker

Feminist Radical Thinkers: 

The Anti-Social Family by Michèle Barrett and Mary McIntosh
Straight Sex: Rethinking the Politics of Pleasure by Lynne Segal
Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s World by Sheila Rowbotham 
Woman’s Estate by Juliet Mitchell

Download our FREE Feminist Radical Thinkers ebook sampler!

THEORY / PHILOSOPHY



Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming

Andreas Malm

“The definitive deep history on how our economic system created the climate crisis. Superb, essential reading from one of the most original
thinkers on the subject.” – Naomi Klein

The Capitalist Unconscious: Marx and Lacan

Samo Tomšič

The Capitalist Unconscious does the simple thing that’s so hard to do: taking Lacan seriously as a reader of Marx. Against all the confusions and failures that have often characterized attempts to synthesize Freud and Marx, Tomšič argues that we must think the structure of the unconscious and the structure of capitalism together.” – Benjamin Noys

Walter Benjamin’s Archive

Walter Benjamin

“Esther Leslie’s translation reveals that no thought should go un-noted” – Peter Conrad, Guardian

“Elegantly brings together the materials of Benjamin’s bequest and reminds us of what his friend Theodor Adorno rightly said was its greatest significance for subsequent thinking.” – Frieze

The Beach Beneath the Street: The Everyday Life and Glorious Times of the Situationist International

McKenzie Wark

“Wark’s readable explanation of the movement’s ideas ... is the best I have read.” – Edwin Heathcote, Financial Times

“Wark is a fine aphorist ... Playful, angry, depressed, celebratory, this is a book for anyone not convinced that there is no alternative to the way we live now.” – Christopher Bray, Observer

A Philosophy of Walking

Frédéric Gros

“A passionate affirmation of the simple life, and joy in simple things. And it’s beautifully written: clear, simple, precise.” – Carole Cadwalladr, Observer

“A long walk, Gros suggests, allows us to commune with the sublime.” – New York Times

SCIENCE AND CAPITALISM



Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous
Gabriella Coleman

“A long-awaited and compelling study of the activist collective … Anyone interested in Anonymous, or the shape of protest in the age of the internet, will find abundant new details and smart insight here.” – Guardian

“Essential reading.” – Glenn Greenwald

“Nuanced and compelling.” – Astra Taylor, Bookforum

Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital

Jason W. Moore

“If nothing else, the climate crisis demonstrates that the history of capitalism is a thoroughly ‘environmental’ one. This energizing book proposes an inventive framework for making sense of that past, and for orienting ourselves as we get down to the business of changing the future.” – Naomi Klein

“Probably the most significant work of eco-Marxism out there.” – Benjamin Kunkel

Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene

McKenzie Wark

“A call to arms in which art and leisure, science and philosophy hack into each other in order to produce a way of thinking that works on both a pragmatic (proletarian) and a philosophical (bourgeois) level.” – Art Review

The Earth: From Myths to Knowledge

Hubert Krivine

“Krivine’s new book should be read, distributed, and defended: it outlines — allowing only for the uncertainties of science inquiry — how we know what we know about the earth.” – Flavorwire

PSYCHOLOGY



The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold us Well-Being
William Davies

“Deeply researched and pithily argued, Davies's work is a welcome corrective to the glut of semi-scientific happiness books that have become so popular in business and management circles, and which rarely, if ever, acknowledge the larger ideological goals of workplace well-being.” – New York Magazine



The Man Who Closed the Asylums: Franco Basaglia and the Revolution in Mental Health Care
John Foot

“a portrait of imperfect people who had the passion and pragmatism to put an end to a brutal and broken system.” – Financial Times

Heroes: Mass Murder and Suicide

Franco “Bifo” Berardi

What is the relationship between capitalism and mental health? In his most unsettling book to date, Franco “Bifo” Berardi embarks on an exhilarating journey through philosophy, psychoanalysis and current events, searching for the social roots of the mental malaise of our age. See the rest of the books in our Futures series here.

Radical Thinkers: Psychoanalytics Set

The Dialectics of Liberation edited by David Cooper
Freud: The Theory of the Unconscious by Octave Mannoni
Read My Desire: Lacan Against the Historicists by Joan Copjec
The Weary Sons of Freud by Catherine Clément

ECONOMICS

Against the Troika: Crisis and Austerity in the Eurozone
by Heiner Flassbeck and Costas Lapavitsas. Afterword by Alberto Garzón Espinosa. Foreword by Oskar Lafontaine. Preface by Paul Mason

“Lapavitsas is fascinating and thoughtful.” – Financial Times

“Costas Lapavitsas is part of the cadre of academics-turned-politicians forging Syriza’s economic thinking.” – Wall Street Journal

Radical Thinkers: Economics Set
The Formation of the Economic Thought of Karl Marx: 1843 to Capital
by Ernest Mandel;
Marx on Money by Suzanne de Brunhoff;
A Theory of Capitalist Regulation: The US Experience by Michel Aglietta;
Value: The Representation of Labour in Capitalism, edited by Diane Elson

LATIN AMERICA



The Story of Vicente, Who Murdered His Mother, His Father, and His Sister: Life and Death in Juárez

by Sandra Rodríguez Nieto.

“As crime-beat reporter for the local paper (a job that cost her closest colleague his life), Sandra Rodríguez lives and narrates the brutalization of her city, Ciudad Juárez, at a range so close and raw it is painful to read. Yet this book—on intimate terms with Mexico’s narco-carnage, and from under its skin—draws us irretrievably into an abyss we need to know; this is the masterpiece of reportage from the murder capital of the world.” –  Ed Vulliamy, author of Amexica: War Along the Borderline

La Lucha: The Story of Lucha Castro and Human Rights in Mexico

Illustrated by Jon Sack. Edited by Adam Shapiro. Preface by Lucha Castro.

“This book provides unique, first-person insight into the struggle for justice in what remains one of the world’s most dangerous places for human rights defenders.” – Mary Robinson, former UN Commissioner for Human Rights

HISTORY



Communal Luxury: The Political Imaginary of the Paris Commune

Kristin Ross

“Ross’s vision of the Commune extends beyond the 72 days, and beyond the space of Paris (and indeed of France), to encompass its echoes throughout the rest of the 19th century” – Financial Times

“No work specifies more fully Marx’s claim that, the greatest achievement of the Paris Commune was its ‘actual working existence.’” – Jacobin

A History of the Barricade

Eric Hazan

How the French invented the barricade, and its symbolic impact on popular protests throughout history.

Peasant-Citizen and Slave: The Foundations of Athenian Democracy; and The Pristine Culture of Capitalism: A Historical Essay on Old Regimes and Modern States - two new books in our World History Series from Ellen Meiksins Wood.

No God But Gain: The Untold Story of Cuban Slavery, the Monroe Doctrine, and the Making of the United States
Stephen Chambers

“Stephen Chambers brings a bright searchlight to a dark corner of history: the illegal slave trade that was so central to the rise of American capitalism. The book is especially valuable in a historical moment when the legacy of race and slavery haunts American politics.” – Marcus Rediker, author of The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom

LITERATURE



Man Tiger: A Novel

by Eka Kurniawan. Translated by Labodalih Sembiring. Introduction by Benedict Anderson

“Tight, focused and thrilling. Like a good crime novel, Man Tiger works best when read in a single sitting, and its propulsive suspense is all the more remarkable because Kurniawan reveals both victim and murderer in the first sentence.” – Jon Fasman, New York Times Book Review

“[It’s] telling that many have deemed Kurniawan the next Pramoedya Ananta Toer, an acclaimed pioneer of socialist realism.” – The New Yorker

The Islam Quintet


Tariq Ali’s acclaimed series of five novels addressing the long history of the clash of Islam and the West.

“If Pakistan is a land of untold stories, whispered conspiracy theories and closed-door mutinies, then thank heavens for Tariq Ali, whose access to its innermost secret chambers has made him the country’s finest historian and critic.” – Fatima Bhutto, New Statesman

“Episodic, redolent of Middle Eastern epic story cycles, it rearranges the Euro-centric geographical and historical world view ... a story rich with human passion and poetry.” – Guardian

“Tales of anguish, longing, lust and love all find their way to The Stone Woman. Ali paints a vivid picture of a fading world.” – New York Times Book Review

Everything to Nothing: The Poetry of the Great War, Revolution and the Transformation of Europe

Geert Buelens

“Extraordinary comparative range and discursive reach ... Paradigm shifting ... Few studies have attempted such ambitious attention to the interrelation of the unfolding historical events and concurrent literary perspectives. Buelens’ cross-European perspective, moreover, redraws the lines of national models for the literary history of the First World War.” –Times Higher Education

ISRAEL / PALESTINE



Letters to Palestine: Writers Respond to War and Occupation

Edited by Vijay Prashad

“The growing recognition of the plight of Palestinians, and support for their struggle for their rights, particularly among younger people, is a welcome and important phenomenon. The contributions here both reflect these developments and should help inspire them.” – Noam Chomsky

Palestine Speaks: Narratives of Life Under Occupation

Edited by Mateo Hoke and Cate Malek

“In a time when history is told in cheap television re-enactments, if at all, and personal tragedy is gobbled up in rapidly digestible magazine photos and reality shows, this project goes against the grain.” – Guardian

“Superb ... The voices of these ordinary individuals speak here with unsettling eloquence.” – New York Review of Books

The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza

Max Blumenthal

“Max Blumenthal’s new book about this Israeli attack [is] so compelling, so necessary … It humanizes this event like nothing else I’ve read … The book is filled with very well-documented history, facts and statistics relevant to what the Israeli military calls Operation Protective Edge. And all of those are both interesting and important.” – Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

SEE ALSO: VERSO GIFT GUIDE 2015 

We present our go-to-guide for the hard-to-buy-for theory fan in your life, or over-excited Bernie Sanders supporter. 

You'll find books for New York enthusiasts, Walter Benjaminites, Rosa Luxemburg obsessives, mindfulness sceptics, art lovers, and lots more! See the full guide here.

VERSO 2015 MIXTAPE:
 
a free ebook compilation featuring extracts from some of our favourite books this year!

STAFF PICKS! (non-Verso) BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2015! - featuring Elena Ferrante, Nawal El-Sadaawi, Ta-Nehisi Coates, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Paul Mason, & more.

All our books are 50% off with free shipping (worldwide), and bundled ebooks, until the end of the year.