about 1 month left

Reading List

End of Year Highlights 2022

End_of_year_highlights_pink-

Check out our highlights from 2022, featuring theories of the crises of capitalism, calls to abolish prisons, police, borders and the family, essays from Black Communist women, a manifesto for an internet for the people, a guide to degrowth economics, a philosophy of self-defense, a new novel from Norwegian author Vigdis Hjorth, a rethinking of gay politics, and an account of a feminist revolution in the middle of the Arab Spring.

Until January 2, 2023 at 11:59PM EST, we have 40% off ALL books (see full details here)!

See our Gift Guide and all our reading lists, including The Year in 10 BooksRadicalize Your NiblingsRadical HappinessTis the Season to Abolish the FamilyUnderstanding the Cost of Living CrisisChristianity and Anticapitalism.
 

In this tightly argued and urgent volume, leading Marxist feminist theorist Nancy Fraser charts the voracious appetite of capital, tracking it from crisis point to crisis point, from ecological devastation to the collapse of democracy, from racial violence to the devaluing of care work. 

In this fiery, theoretical tour-de-force, Beatrice Adler-Bolton and Artie Vierkant offer an overview of life and death under capitalism and argue for a new global left politics aimed at severing the ties between capital and one of its primary tools: health.

Abolish the Family traces the history of family abolitionist demands, beginning with nineteenth century utopian socialist and sex radical Charles Fourier, the Communist Manifesto and early-twentieth century Russian family abolitionist Alexandra Kollontai. 

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.

A World without Police argues that abolition is not a distant dream or an unreachable horizon but an attainable reality. In communities around the world, we are beginning to glimpse a real, lasting justice in which we keep us safe.

Black Communist women throughout the early to mid-twentieth century fought for and led mass campaigns in the service of building collective power in the fight for liberation. Through concrete materialist analysis of the conditions of Black workers, these women argued that racial and economic equality can only be achieved by overthrowing capitalism.

This polemic by the author of 24/7 dismantles the presumption that social media could be an instrument of radical change and contends that the networks and platforms of transnational corporations are intrinsically incompatible with a habitable earth or with the human interdependence needed to build egalitarian post-capitalist forms of life.

Red Valkyries explores the history of socialist feminism in Eastern Europe. Through the revolutionary careers of five prominent socialist women active in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—the aristocratic Bolshevik Alexandra Kollontai; the radical pedagogue Nadezhda Krupskaya; the polyamorous firebrand Inessa Armand; the deadly sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko; and the partisan, scientist, and global women’s activist Elena Lagadinova—Kristen Ghodsee tells the story of the personal challenges faced by earlier generations of radicals.

Gathering together Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s work from over three decades, Abolition Geography presents her singular contribution to the politics of abolition as theorist, researcher, and organizer, offering scholars and activists ways of seeing and doing to help navigate our turbulent present.
 

The internet is broken because it is owned by private firms and run for profit. Google annihilates your privacy and Facebook amplifies right-wing propaganda because it is profitable to do so. But the internet wasn't always like this—it had to be remade for the purposes of profit maximization, through a years-long process of privatization that turned a small research network into a powerhouse of global capitalism. Tarnoff tells the story of the privatization that made the modern internet, and which set in motion the crises that consume it today.

Road to Nowhere exposes the flaws in Silicon Valley’s vision of the future: ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft to take us anywhere; electric cars to make them ‘green’; and automation to ensure transport is cheap and ubiquitous. Such promises are implausible and potentially dangerous.

Economic growth isn’t working, and it cannot be made to work. Offering a counter-history of how economic growth emerged in the context of colonialism, fossil-fueled industrialization, and capitalist modernity, The Future Is Degrowth argues that the ideology of growth conceals the rising inequalities and ecological destructions associated with capitalism, and points to desirable alternatives to it.

In this groundbreaking analysis, Matthew T. Huber argues that the carbon-intensive capitalist class must be confronted with its disproportionate effect on the climate. 

A brilliant study of violent self-defense in the struggle for liberation by an award-winning philosopher.

Paris is constantly changing as a living organism, both for better and for worse. This book is an incitement to open our eyes and lend an ear to the tumult of this incomparable capital, from the Périphérique to Place Vendôme, its markets of Aligre and Belleville, its cafés and tabacs, its history from Balzac to Sartre. In some thirty succinct vignettes, from bookshops to beggars, Art Nouveau to street sounds, Parisian writers to urban warts, Jacobins to Surrealism, Hazan offers a host of invaluable aperçus, illuminated by a matchless knowledge of his native city.

A queer feminist theory of democracy.

Microverses comprises over a hundred short essays inviting us to think about society—and social theory—in new ways. Lockdown created the conditions for what Adorno once termed ‘enforced contemplation’. Dylan Riley responded with the tools of his trade, producing an extraordinary trail of notes exploring how critical sociology can speak to this troubled decade.

It was 1969, and temperatures were rising across the factories of the north as workers demanded better pay and conditions. Soon, discontent would erupt in what became known as Italy’s Hot Autumn. 

In this wide-ranging and fascinating study of the meshing of medicine, science, and politics, Abu El-Haj explores the concept of post-traumatic stress disorder and the history of its medical diagnosis. 

The Rise of a New Left gets behind the headlines about AOC and her cohort of elected officials to tell the stories of the young organizers who created the Squad and the new social movements that have roiled US politics, from the DSA to the Sunrise Movement to Justice Democrats.

Over the next generation, humanity will confront a dystopian future of climate disaster and mass extinction. Yet the only ‘solutions’ on offer are toothless cap-and-trade programmes, catastrophic geoengineering schemes, and privatized conservation, which will do nothing to reverse the damage suffered by the biosphere. Indeed, these mainstream approaches assume that hyper-consumerism in the Global North can continue unabated. It can’t.

In this groundbreaking work, Ellen Meiksins Wood rewrites the history of political theory, from Plato to Rousseau. Treating canonical thinkers as passionately engaged human beings, Wood examines their ideas not simply in the context of political languages but as creative responses to the social relations and conflicts of their time and place. 

NOT AVAILABLE IN THE UK

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 for social justice.

NOT AVAILABLE IN CANADA

What does gentrification look like? Can we even agree that it is a process that replaces one community with another? It is a question of class? Or of economic opportunity? Who does it affect the most? Is there any way to combat it? Leslie Kern, author of the best selling Feminist City, travels from Toronto, New York, London, Paris and San Francisco and scrutinises the myth and lies that surround this most urgent urban crisis of our times.

A cat and mouse game of surveillance and psychological torment develops between a middle aged artist and her aging mother, as Vigdis Hjorth returns to the themes of her controversial modern classic, Will and Testament.

Bad Gays is a passionate argument for rethinking gay politics beyond questions of identity, compelling readers to search for solidarity across boundaries.

Captives combines a thrilling account of Rikers Island’s descent into infamy with a dramatic retelling of the last seventy years of New York politics from the vantage point of the city’s jails. It is the story of a crowded field of contending powers—city bureaucrats and unions, black power activists and guards, crooked cops and elected leaders—struggling for power and influence, a tale culminating in mass incarceration and the triumph of neoliberalism.

A haunting, intimate account of the women and men who built a feminist revolution in the middle of the Arab Spring.

Why is our society so unequal? Why, despite their small numbers, do the rich dominate policy and politics even in democratic countries? Why is it so difficult for working people to organize around common interests? How do we begin to build a more equal and democratic society?

Originally published in French in 1974, radical feminist Françoise d’Eaubonne surveyed women’s status around the globe and argued that the stakes of feminist struggles were not about equality but about life and death—for humans and the planet. In this wide-ranging manifesto, d’Eaubonne first proposed a politics of ecofeminism, the idea that the patriarchal system’s claim over women’s bodies and the natural world destroys both, and that feminism and environmentalism must bring about a new “mutation”—an overthrow of not just male power but the system of power itself.

A jarringly sensual book about the peculiarities of our bodies and the impossibilities of our families, and a young woman trying to find a way forward with both.

Ending the horrors of police violence requires addressing economic inequality.

The question of ownership is the critical fault line of our times, and during the pandemic this issue has only become more divisive. Since March 2020 we have witnessed the extraordinary growth of asset manager capitalism and the explosive concentration of wealth within the hands of the super-rich. This new oligarchy controls every part of our social and economic lives.

How did we come to live in a world dominated by big tech and finance?

In this rigorously researched factual novel—drawn almost entirely from historical documents—Olivier Guez traces Mengele’s footsteps through these years of flight. This chilling novel situates the reader in a literary manhunt on the trail of one of the most elusive and evil figures of the twentieth century.

A renowned choreographer explores the dance of everyday life and reveals that art-making is as natural as walking down the street.

In Monumental Lies, Robert Bevan argues that monuments, architecture and cities are material evidence of history. They are the physical trace of past events, of previous ways of thinking and of politics, economics and values that percolate through to today. When our cities are reshaped as fantasies about the past, when monuments tell lies about who deserves honour or are destroyed and the struggle for justice forgotten, the historical record is being manipulated. 

A new edition of a celebrated contemporary work on race and racism.

A previously unpublished collection of Rodney’s essays on race, colonialism and Marxism.

For sixty years, Noel Ignatiev provided an unflinching account of “whiteness” — a social fiction and an unmitigated disaster for all working-class people. This new essay collection from the late firebrand covers the breadth of his life and insights as an autodidact steel worker, a groundbreaking theoretician, and a bitter enemy of racists everywhere.

What does it mean when humanitarianism is the response to death, injury and suffering at the border? This book interrogates the politics of humanitarian responses to border violence and unequal mobility, arguing that such responses mask underlying injustices, depoliticise violent borders and bolster liberal and paternalist approaches to suffering.

In this lyrical manifesto, noted climate scholar (and saboteur of SUV tires and coal mines) Andreas Malm makes an impassioned call for the climate movement to escalate its tactics in the face of ecological collapse. We need, he argues, to 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.

In this elegant, searching book—spanning science and popular culture; pornography and literature; debates on Me-Too, consent and feminism—Katherine Angel challenges our assumptions about women’s desire. Why, she asks, should they be expected to know their desires? And how do we take sexual violence seriously, when not knowing what we want is key to both eroticism and personhood?

Wide-ranging and polemical, Politics of Immunity lays down a major challenge to the ways in which the immunity of the self and the social are imagined.

The first English-language publication of the work of Izumi Suzuki, a legend of Japanese science fiction and a countercultural icon.

There are few writers about whom opinions diverge so widely as Anthony Powell, whose Dance to the Music of Time sequence is one of the most ambitious literary constructions in the English language. In Different Speeds, Same Furies, Perry Anderson measures Powell's achievement against Marcel Proust's celebrated In Search of Lost Time.

Mitchell Dean and Daniel Zamora examine the full historical context of the turn in Foucault’s thought, which included studies of the Iranian revolution and French socialist politics, through which he would come to appreciate the possibilities of autonomy offered by a new force on the French political scene that was neither of the left nor the right: neoliberalism.

In this fascinating account of the island from the earliest times to the present day, author and journalist Jamie Mackay leads us through this most elusive of places. From its pivotal position in the development of Greek and Roman mythology, and the beautiful remnants of both the Arab and Norman invasions, through to the rise of the bandits and the Cosa Nostra, The Invention of Sicily charts the captivating culture and history of Sicily.

With the verve and bite of Ottessa Moshfegh and the barbed charm of Nancy Mitford, Marlowe Granados’s stunning debut brilliantly captures a summer of striving in New York City.

In this brilliant history of a dangerous idea, Stuart Jeffries tells a narrative that starts in the early 1970s and still dominates our lives today. He tells this history through a riotous gallery that includes, among others: David Bowie, the iPod, Madonna, Jeff Koons’s the Nixon Shock, Judith Butler, Las Vegas, Margaret Thatcher, Grand Master Flash, I Love Dick, the RAND Corporation, the Sex Pistols, Princess Diana, Grand Theft Auto, Jean Baudrillard, Netflix, and 9/11.

This book thus merges ideas and representations by devoting an equal importance to theoretical and iconographic sources, offering for our troubled present a new intellectual history of the revolutionary past.

In this elegant book, Erik Olin Wright has distilled decades of work into a concise and tightly argued manifesto analysing the varieties of anti-capitalism, assessing different strategic approaches, and laying the foundations for a society dedicated to human flourishing. How to Be an Anticapitalist is an urgent and powerful argument for socialism, and a unparalleled guide to help us get there. Another world is possible.

In the first study of the far right’s role in the climate crisis, White Skin, Black Fuel presents an eye-opening sweep of a novel political constellation, revealing its deep historical roots. Fossil-fuelled technologies were born steeped in racism. No one loved them more passionately than the classical fascists. 

In this classic work Engels argued that matriarchal communal societies had been overthrown by class society and its emphasis on private, not communal, property and monogamous, rather than polygamous, sexual organisation. This historical development constituted “the world-historic defeat of the female sex.”

Further Reading

40% off all print books, 60% off all ebooks! See more here

2021 End of Year Highlights

Verso Gift Guide: ignite radical ideas

Imagining Radical Futures: books to help us re-imagine new futures

The Year in 10 Books: from abolition to a manifesto for the age of environmental breakdown, we bring you 10 books that have defined this momentous year

COP26: a radical climate reading list

Abolition is the only solution: a reading list for breaking police power