Free Thought and Official Propaganda (Bertrand Russell)

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Free Thought and Official Propaganda

“This is the Conway memorial lecture, delivered by Mr. Russell at South Place Institute, London, 24 March, 1922.

Moncure Conway, in whose honour we are assembled to-day, devoted his life to two great objects: freedom of thought and freedom of the individual. In regard to both these objects, something has been gained since his time, but something also has been lost. New dangers, somewhat different in form from those of past ages, threaten both kinds of freedom, and unless a vigorous and vigilant public opinion can be aroused in defence of them, there will be much less of both a hundred years hence than there is now. Continue reading…

Profiles in Courage (John F. Kennedy)

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Profiles in Courage

“In this book Kennedy chose eight of his historical colleagues to profile for their acts of astounding integrity in the face of overwhelming opposition. These heroes, coming from different junctures in our nation’s history, include John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, and Robert A. Taft.

Now, a half-century later, the book remains a moving, powerful, and relevant testament to the indomitable national spirit and an unparalleled celebration of that most noble of human virtues. It resounds with timeless lessons on the most cherished of virtues and is a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit. Continue reading…

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (J.D. Vance)

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Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. Continue reading…

State of Power 2016: Democracy, Power and Resistance (Yanis Varoufakis, Leigh Phillips, et al.)

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State of Power 2016: Democracy, Power and Resistance

“TNI’s fifth annual State of Power 2016 report explores the intersect of power and democracy. Featuring prominent activists and academics, its essays feature the long battle between economic power and popular democracy, expose the different powers seeking to undermine democracy today, and tell the stories of radical popular democratic alternatives emerging worldwide.”

New Books Playground says: State of Power 2016: Democracy, Power and Resistance is not old and rather an important treatise when it comes to understanding contemporary Europe. Continue reading…

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

From our journey through random or quality (or random quality) books, here are some highlights from Lysander Spooner’s Natural Law: Or The Science of Justice (1882).

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.

Natural Law: Or The Science of Justice

[…] all legislation whatsoever is an absurdity, a usurpation, and a crime. 

[The science of justice] 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. 

[…] each man shall do, towards every other, all that justice requires him to do; as, for example, that he shall pay his debts, that he shall return borrowed or stolen property to its owner, and that he shall make reparation for any injury he may have done […].

Continue reading…

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)

Natural Law: Or The Science of Justice: Learn more at Amazon or at Goodreads.

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…