Reading list

Books They Would Ban If They Could

Books that terrify the far-right!

Verso Books25 August 2022

Books They Would Ban If They Could

As book-banning becomes more prevalent, books on race, colonialism, gender politics and leftist politics are being removed from school curriculums and public libraries. 

Florida’s ‘don’t say gay’ law is in full effect and being used to erase  LGBTQ+ history and stigmatize LGBTQ+ students, and young people are forming ‘banned-book clubs’. Ted Cruz even ranted about the dangers of books on Critical Race Theory being assigned in schools during Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Senate confirmation hearing— leading to skyrocketing sales of The End of Policing by Alex Vitale (thanks Ted!)

And schools aren’t the only venues where our books are being banned. Julian Assange’s family was barred from taking copies of The Trial of Julian Assange by Nils Melzer into Australia’s parliament as it was deemed “protest material.”

These are the books that terrify the far-right, including a brilliant introduction to trans politics, a study of violent self-defense, and a call to abolish borders!


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When Ted Cruz waved this book around at a Senate confirmation hearing as an example of the ‘dangerous’ rhetoric being spread in schools, he brought police abolition to a massive and hungry audience. If only all of our books could get such an endorsement…

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The case of Julian Assange sets a chilling precedent: for when telling the truth has become a crime, we will all be living in a tyranny.

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“Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.” The Communist Manifesto is the most influential political book ever written—few others have fundamentally changed the world.

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A classic study of the origin of white privilege from the activist who first coined the term.

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This history of policing reveals the true character of a state that tries to silence dissent with violence. Protest will, however, not be suppressed.

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SCUM Manifesto was considered one of the most outrageous, violent and certifiably crazy tracts when it first appeared in 1968. But for all its vitriol, it is impossible to dismiss.

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So often trans people are the subjects of a toxic debate which generates reliable controversy for newspapers and talk shows. We are having the wrong conversation, a conversation in which trans people themselves are reduced to a talking point and denied a meaningful voice.

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These amazing life stories expand and challenge mainstream assumptions about sexual identity: showing that homosexuality itself was an idea that emerged in the 19th century, one central to major historical events.

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Remembering the forgotten and ignored stories of Empire is one important step in the long hard work of making amends for centuries of injustice.

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Malm argues that we must force fossil fuel extraction to stop—with our actions, with our bodies, and by defusing and destroying its tools. We need, in short, to start blowing up some oil pipelines. 

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The ten myths that Pappe explores—repeated endlessly in the media, enforced by the military, accepted without question by the world’s governments—reinforce the regional status quo of Israel.

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America has a long tradition of justifying war as the defense of democracy, especially in schools. But what is the true purpose of the American War Machine?

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Today, some lives are seen to be worth so little that Black teenagers can be shot in the back for appearing "threatening" while their killers are understood, by the state, to be justified. That those subject to the most violence have been forcibly made defenseless raises, for any movement of liberation, the question of using violence in the interest of self-defense.

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Against Borders is a passionate manifesto for border abolition, arguing that we must transform society and our relationships to one another, and build a world in which everyone has the freedom to move and to stay.


All books are 40% off as part of our Student Reading Sale. Ends September 30 at 11:59PM EST. See all our student reading lists here.



The End of Policing
The massive uprising following the police killing of George Floyd in the summer of 2020--by some estimates the largest protests in US history--thrust the argument to defund the police to the forefr...
The Trial of Julian Assange
Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, uncovers a systematic campaign to persecute Assange. He reveals that Assange has faced grave and systematic due process violations, judicial bia...
The Invention of the White Race
When the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, there were no 'white' people there; nor, according to colonial records, would there be for another sixty years. Historical debate about the orig...
Charged is an essential investigation into the role of policing protest in Britain today. As the UK government tries to suppress all forms of dissent, in their pursuit of more control, how do the p...
SCUM Manifesto

SCUM Manifesto

“Life in this society being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of society being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the...
The Transgender Issue
In this brilliant introduction to trans politics, journalist Shon Faye gives an incisive overview of systemic transphobia and argues that the struggle for trans rights is necessary to any struggle ...
Bad Gays
Too many popular histories seek to establish heroes, pioneers and martyrs but as Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller argue, the past is filled with queer people whose sexualities and/or dastardly deeds have ...
Britain's Empire
As the call for a new understanding of our national history gets louder, this book turns the received imperial story of Britain on its head. Britain’s Empire recounts the long overlooked narrative ...
How to Blow Up a Pipeline
The science on climate change has been clear for a very long time now. Yet despite decades of appeals, mass street protests, petition campaigns, and peaceful demonstrations, we are still facing a...
Ten Myths About Israel
In this groundbreaking book, published on the fiftieth anniversary of the Occupation, the outspoken and radical Israeli historian Ilan Pappe examines the most contested ideas concerning the origins...
The Spoils of War
Fully updated from the original edition. As the retreat from Kabul shows, America goes to war not to bring democracy, or glory, but in the pursuit of profit. In The Spoils of War, leading Washingto...


Is violent self-defense ethical? In the history of colonialism, racism, sexism, capitalism, there has long been a dividing line between bodies "worthy of defending" and those who have been disar...
Against Borders
Borders harm all of us: they must be abolished.Borders divide workers and families, fuel racial division, and reinforce global disparities. They encourage the expansion of technologies of surveilla...

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