A Gentleman in Moscow (Amor Towles)

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A Gentleman in Moscow

He can’t leave his hotel. You won’t want to.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel.

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Continue reading…

Highlights from The Communist Manifesto (Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels)

From our journey through random or quality (or random quality) books, here are some highlights from Karl Marx’s and Friedrich Engels’s The Communist Manifesto (1848).

Emphasis as it appears in the original work may be missing, and our own edits, though marked, may be broad. Important: By sharing these highlights we neither endorse nor recommend respective authors and their views. Assume that we know little of the authors, and that we have nuanced views on the matter—as with all our book recommendations.

The Communist Manifesto

The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles. 

In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. 

Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes, directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat. 

The executive of the modern State is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie. 

[Free trade:] In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation. 

The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe.

Continue reading…

Why Don’t We Learn from History? (B.H. Liddell Hart)

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Why Don’t We Learn from History?

“A concise exposition of the fallacies of history, the conflict between history and propaganda, what it means to us, and what we may look forward to.”

New Books Playground says: Why Don’t We Learn from History? has taught us a lot more about what humans do and what we need to keep in mind when looking at history. Continue reading…

No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need (Naomi Klein)

No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need: Learn more at Amazon or at Goodreads.

No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need

“A road map to resistance in the Trump era from internationally acclaimed activist and bestselling author Naomi Klein.

‘This book is a toolkit to help understand how we arrived at this surreal political moment, how to keep it from getting a lot worse, and how, if we keep our heads, we can flip the script and seize the opportunity to make things a whole lot better in a time of urgent need. Continue reading…

Natural Law: Or The Science of Justice (Lysander Spooner)

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Natural Law: Or The Science of Justice

“‘The science of mine and thine—the science of justice—is the science of all human rights; of all a man’s rights of person and property; of all his rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is the science which alone can tell any man what he can, and cannot, do; what he can, and cannot, have; what he can, and cannot, say, without infringing the rights of any other person.

It is the science of peace; and the only science of peace; since it is the science which alone can tell us on what conditions mankind can live in peace, or ought to live in peace, with each other. Continue reading…

The Green Book (Muammar Gaddafi)

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The Green Book

“Libya, isolated by much of the international community over the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am plane above the Scottish town of Lockerbie, has undergone a dramatic rehabilitation. Tripoli formally took responsibility for the incident in 2003. The move, which was part of a deal to compensate families of the 270 victims, heralded the lifting of UN sanctions. Months later, Libya renounced weapons of mass destruction paving the way for a further blossoming of relations with the West. Libya’s leader, Colonel Muammar Al Gathafi, has expressed revolutionary thoughts that distinguish his country from the world around it. Continue reading…

Unholy Trinity: The IMF, World Bank and WTO (Richard Peet)

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Unholy Trinity: The IMF, World Bank and WTO

“Who really runs the global economy? Who benefits most from it?

The answer is a triad of ‘governance institutions’—the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO. Globalization massively increased the power of these institutions and they drastically affected the livelihoods of peoples across the world. Yet they operate undemocratically and aggressively promote a particular kind of neoliberal capitalism. Under the ‘Washington Consensus’ they proposed, poverty was to be ended by increasing inequality.

This new edition of Unholy Trinity, completely updated and revised, argues that neoliberal global capitalism has now entered a period of crisis so severe that governance will become impossible. Continue reading…

Cartoons of World War II (Tony Husband)

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Cartoons of World War II

“In peacetime cartoonists are a diverse collection of individuals with their own styles and projects, but when the trumpets of war blow it is like unleashing the dogs of war. Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt and Mussolini were a gift for them and, as this collection shows, one they weren’t about to turn down. This book shows that humour was one of the key weapons of war, with countries using cartoons to demoralise their opponents and maintain morale. Continue reading…

What It Is Like to Go to War (Karl Marlantes)

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What It Is Like to Go to War

“In 1968, at the age of twenty-three, Karl Marlantes was dropped into the highland jungle of Vietnam, an inexperienced lieutenant in command of a platoon of forty Marines who would live or die by his decisions. Marlantes survived, but like many of his brothers in arms, he has spent the last forty years dealing with his war experience. In What It Is Like to Go to War, Marlantes takes a deeply personal and candid look at what it is like to experience the ordeal of combat, critically examining how we might better prepare our soldiers for war. Continue reading…

The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For (David McCullough)

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The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For

“A timely collection of speeches by David McCullough, the most honored historian in the United States—winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among many others—that reminds us of fundamental American principles.

Over the course of his distinguished career, David McCullough has spoken before Congress, the White House, colleges and universities, historical societies, and other esteemed institutions. Now, at a time of self-reflection in America following a bitter election campaign that has left the country divided, McCullough has collected some of his most important speeches in a brief volume designed to identify important principles and characteristics that are particularly American. Continue reading…