The Nation calls Jeremy Harding's Mother Country "a delicate and absorbing account of Harding's investigation into the circumstances of his adoption" in a lovely new review of the book.
John Palattella, The Nation's books editor, goes on to describe how
with persistence and luck, Harding learns his natural mother's identity and discovers, contrary to his belief, that Margaret is alive and living in West London near the housing projects where she was pregnant with him. But the book's big surprise concerns [his adoptive mother] Maureen. From discussions with old friends of Margaret's, Harding learns that there were no Dalmatians or skiing trips for Maureen. Rather, there was a childhood in public housing and later a marriage (her first, and not to Jeremy's adoptive father) that catapulted her from a hardscrabble life into a world of leisure.
Visit the Nation to read the review in full.
Gareth Peirce's Dispatches from the Dark Side: On Torture and the Death of Justice appeared in the Guardian and Observer this weekend.
Pulse Media sings the praises today of The Verso Book of Dissent, alongside an online posting of Tariq Ali's preface to the book:
To commemorate 40 years of radical publishing Verso Books has published The Verso Book of Dissent: From Spartacus to the Shoe-Thrower of Baghdad. I have just finished reading this brilliant collection of historical passages of resistance and dissent taken from ca. 1800 BCE to the present and am delighted to have the words of Ali Ibn Muhammad, Marquis de Sade, Audre Lorde and Harold Pinter in one place. This is a must-have volume.
Visit Pulse Media to read Ali's preface—please note the competition to win a copy of the book has now ended ... but watch this space for further copies up for grabs.
Ernest Gellner: An Intellectual Biography by John A. Hall is selected by Eric Hobsbawm for the Observer's books of the year 2010 feature.
The most interesting biography was that of the witty, cosmopolitan and controversial Ernest Gellner (1925-1995), philosopher, anthropologist and all-purpose social thinker—Ernest Gellner: An Intellectual Biography by John A Hall (Verso). Few books have more successfully combined the study of personal life and intellectual development in the turbulent setting of the 20th century.
Visit the Observer to read the full list.