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    OR Booksadded a book to the bookshelfOR Books21 days ago
    The WikiLeaks publisher and free speech campaigner Julian Assange has, since April 2019, been remanded at a maximum security prison in London facing extradition to the United States over WikiLeaks’ groundbreaking 2010 publications. Now, in this crisp anthology, Assange’s voice emerges — erudite, analytic and prophetic.

    Julian Assange In His Own Words provides a highly accessible survey of Assange’s philosophy and politics, conveying his views on how governments, corporations, intelligence agencies and the media function. As well as addressing the significance of the vast trove of leaked documents published by WikiLeaks, Assange draws on a polymathic intelligence to range freely over quantum physics, Greek mythology, macroeconomics, modern literature, and empires old and new.

    Drawing on his insights as the world’s most famous free speech activist Assange invites us to ask further questions about how power operates in a world increasingly dominated by a ubiquitous internet.

    Assange may be gagged, but in these pages his words run free, providing both an exhortation to fight for a better world and an inspiration when doing so.
  • OR Booksadded a book to the bookshelfOR Bookslast month
    “I have created for each of you a fate, one tailored specifically for your needs and desires. Each of you has a defining moment—not before, not after—when a wrong turn or decision led to the disastrous outcome that you and I mourn. To isolate that malignant moment is an exacting, exhaustive process, which only the most well-trained and competent professionals, armed with the most sophisticated of predictive models and processing power, can accomplish. You can put your trust in me, as you would in an expert surgeon, a surgeon of the soul.”
    On a distant planet overlooking Earth, the nameless protagonist of The Compensation Bureau is one of a team of Actuaries at work on the innovative Lazarus Project. Conceived in response to the shocking violence observed in humankind, the project identifies people who have wrongfully died at the hands of others—whether victims of war, hate crimes, or random brutality—and attempts to compensate for the cruelty and pain they faced in life and death.
    But balancing the accounts for the sufferings and wrongdoings of humanity proves hardly a clinical exercise. The Actuary soon finds himself personally invested in the project’s mission, and the goals of the project itself are complicated as the fate of Earth’s inhabitants becomes more uncertain. The Compensation Bureau explores the power of individual and collective action, from a writer hailed by The Washington Post as “a world-novelist of the first category.”
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    A mesmerizing mix of Charles Bukowski, Hunter S. Thompson, and Philip K. Dick, Chameleo is a true account of what happened in a seedy Southern California town when an enthusiastic and unrepentant heroin addict named Dion Fuller sheltered a U.S. Marine who’d stolen night vision goggles and perhaps a few top secret files from a nearby military base.

    Dion found himself arrested (under the ostensible auspices of The Patriot Act) for conspiring with international terrorists to smuggle Top Secret military equipment out of Camp Pendleton. The fact that Dion had absolutely nothing to do with international terrorists, smuggling, Top Secret military equipment, or Camp Pendleton didn’t seem to bother the military. He was released from jail after a six-day-long Abu-Ghraib-style interrogation. Subsequently, he believed himself under intense government scrutiny — and, he suspected, the subject of bizarre experimentation involving “cloaking”— electro-optical camouflage so extreme it renders observers practically invisible from a distance of some meters — by the Department of Homeland Security. Hallucination? Perhaps — except Robert Guffey, an English teacher and Dion’s friend, tracked down and interviewed one of the scientists behind the project codenamed “Chameleo,” experimental technology which appears to have been stolen by the U.S. Department of Defense and deployed on American soil. More shocking still, Guffey discovered that the DoD has been experimenting with its newest technologies on a number of American citizens.

    A condensed version of this story was the cover feature of Fortean Times Magazine (September 2013).
  • OR Booksadded a book to the bookshelfOR Bookslast month
    It is all worse than we think. It is even worse than Mike Davis, for whom “every day is judgment day” (The Nation), could have imagined. The contributions to this volume are explorations of what Davis—in typical wry fashion—once referred to as the field of “disaster studies.” Collectively, they show how our “disaster imaginary” has been rendered inadequate by the existing order’s ability to feed off and coopt our resistance to it.

    Contemporary mass protests are now subsumed as instances of an established, profitable politics of rage. Geopolitical conflict poses not as a threat to hegemonic power but rather serves the interests of a global market which capitalizes on lucrative, permanent war. Climate change itself, if it was ever thought to be a universalizing phenomenon, is now treated as an extensive market opportunity by global risk insurance conglomerates and predatory lenders who bet against any rescue of the planet.

    Such catastrophic developments resist the language we use to describe and deconstruct them. The contributions to this volume seek to reimagine our understanding of disaster, and, following the example of Davis himself, to refuse outdated models of political transcendence as vigorously as they reject narratives of resignation.
  • OR Booksadded a book to the bookshelfOR Bookslast month
    Bernie Sanders’ tilt at the US presidency has come under fire from an establishment that derides his social democratic policies as alien to the American way. But, as Ted Hamm reveals in this engaging and concise history, the sort of socialism Bernie advocates was commonplace in the Brooklyn where he grew up in the 1940s and 50s.

    Policies like free college tuition, rent control, and infrastructure projects including extensive public housing, parks and swimming pools were part of the New Deal city run by a progressive Mayor, Fiorello La Guardia, and supported by FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt. While Arthur Miller, resident in Brooklyn Heights, was staging Death of a Salesman, a play with which Bernie’s dad closely identified, Woody Guthrie was penning his paeans to the American worker in Coney Island and Jackie Robinson was breaking the color bar on Ebbets Field in a Dodgers team yet to be relocated in California.

    Drawing deeply on interviews with his brother and friends, and delving skillfully into the history of the borough, Bernie’s Brooklyn shows how, far from being an anomaly in US politics, Sanders’ 2020 platform is rooted firmly in the progressivism of the New Deal.
  • OR Booksadded a book to the bookshelfOR Bookslast month
    Reluctant Reformers explores the centrality of racism to American politics through the origins, internal dynamics, and leadership of the major democratic and social justice movements between the early nineteenth century and the end of World War II. It focuses in particular on the abolitionists, the Populist Party, the Progressive reformers, and the women’s suffrage, labor, and socialist and communist movements.

    Despite their achievements, virtually all these predominantly white movements failed to oppose, capitulated to, or even advocated racism at critical junctures in their history, with their efforts undercut by their inability to build and sustain a mass movement of both Black and white Americans.

    Reluctant Reformers examines both the structural roots of racism in US radical movements and the impact of racist ideologies on the white-dominated core of each movement, how some whites resisted these pressures, and how Black people engaged with these movements. This edition includes a postscript describing the Black freedom movement of the 1960s and the central role it has played in the development of today’s radical social justice movements.
  • OR Booksadded a book to the bookshelfOR Books3 months ago
    Tiyo Attallah Salah-El died in 2018 on “Slow Death Row” while serving a life sentence in a Pennsylvania prison. He was a man with a dizzying array of talents and vocations: author, scholar, teacher, musician, and activist: he was the founder of the Coalition for the Abolition of Prisons. He was also, as is apparent from the letters written over a decade and half to his friend Paul Alan Smith that make up this book, an extraordinarily eloquent correspondent.
    Tiyo’s missives present a vivid picture of the tribulations faced by those incarcerated, especially the nearly 60% who are non-white: habitual racism, arbitrary lockdowns, brutal beatings and hospitalizations, stifling heat and bitter cold. Here too are descriptions of Tiyo’s individual struggles with cancer, aging, and the sirens of personal demons.
    Tiyo’s refusal to succumb to such hardships is evident in dispatches that are generous, philosophical and often laugh-out-loud funny. Through them we learn of his many friendships, including those with the historian Howard Zinn, a range of activist/advocate supporters on the outside, and two fellow people in prison who were leaders of the Black liberation group MOVE.
    At a time when the appalling racial bias of America’s police and criminal justice system is under the spotlight as never before, Pen Pal is both a vital intervention and moving portrait of someone whose physical confinement could never extinguish an extraordinary free spirit.
  • OR Booksadded a book to the bookshelfOR Books3 months ago
    A Wired Magazine Top Tech Book of 2017

    Real democracy and the Internet are not mutually exclusive.Here, for the first time in one volume, are some of the most cogent thinkers and doers on the subject of the cooptation of the Internet, and how we can resist and reverse the process. The activists who have put together Ours to Hack and to Own argue for a new kind of online economy: platform cooperativism, which combines the rich heritage of cooperatives with the promise of 21st-century technologies, free from monopoly, exploitation, and surveillance.The on-demand economy is reversing the rights and protections workers fought for centuries to win. Ordinary Internet users, meanwhile, retain little control over their personal data. While promising to be the great equalizers, online platforms have often exacerbated social inequalities. Can the Internet be owned and governed differently? What if Uber drivers set up their own platform, or if a city’s residents controlled their own version of Airbnb? This book shows that another kind of Internet is possible—and that, in a new generation of online platforms, it is already taking shape.
  • OR Booksadded a book to the bookshelfOR Books3 months ago
    Street protests are one side of a worldwide citizens' movement. Another side is the increasing use of boycotts, one of the most powerful weapons in the organizer’s arsenal: it is an effective and moral lever for civil rights, most notably today in its adoption by the BDS movement.

    Since the days of the 19th century Irish land wars, when Irish tenant farmers defied the actions of Captain Charles Boycott and English landlords, “boycott” has been a method that’s had an impact time and again. In the 20th century, it notably played central roles in the liberation of India and South Africa and the struggle for civil rights in the U.S.: the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott is generally seen as a turning point in the movement against segregation.

    Assuming Boycott is the essential reader for today’s creative leaders and cultural practitioners, including original contributions by artists, scholars, activists, critics, curators and writers who examine the historical precedent of South Africa; the current cultural boycott of Israel; freedom of speech and self-censorship; and long-distance activism. It is about consequences and causes of cultural boycott. Far from withdrawal or cynicism, boycott emerges as a productive tool of creative and productive engagement.
  • OR Booksadded a book to the bookshelfOR Books3 months ago
    We all know the book: it’s been hailed as one of the most important documents on how the world economy works, or doesn’t work, and it’s been a colossal bestseller since it first appeared in 2014, with more than 1.5 million copies sold. Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century makes a powerful case that wealth, and accumulated wealth, tends to stay where it lands: and with the passage of time, just gets bigger… and bigger. But how many of us who bought or borrowed the book—or even, perhaps, reviewed it—have read more than a fraction of its 696 pages? How many more shuddered at the thought of committing $40 to such a venture? And how many of Piketty’s groundshaking concepts have gone unappreciated, all for want of intellectual stamina?Deliverance is at hand in the form of Pocket Piketty, written in clear and accessible prose by an experienced economist and teacher–and one whose work was relied on by Piketty for his masterpiece. In this handy and slim volume, Jesper Roine explains all things Piketty.
    OR Booksadded a book to the bookshelfOR Books3 months ago
    As the man himself might say, there’s so much to write about! There’s racist Trump, sexist Trump, bankrupt Trump, lying Trump, paranoid Trump, clueless Trump, conman Trump, bullying Trump, and more. Here, in one lovingly researched and slim volume, is Trump stripped bare: the truth behind the glitz. If it sounds frightening, it is: the man who might well be the next President of the United States has the integrity of roadkill.Never before in American history has anyone quite like Donald Trump gotten so close to the presidency. He’s been called America’s savior, a demagogue, and a potential dictator. Whether or not he is elected this November, it behooves us to know the facts about the man—and yes, there are plenty to be had.Buy it now—before he sues to cover up Trump Unveiled!
  • OR Booksadded a book to the bookshelfOR Books3 months ago
    In June 2011, Julian Assange received an unusual visitor: the chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, arrived from America at Ellingham Hall, the country residence in Norfolk, England where Assange was living under house arrest.For several hours the besieged leader of the world’s most famous insurgent publishing organization and the billionaire head of the world’s largest information empire locked horns. The two men debated the political problems faced by society, and the technological solutions engendered by the global network—from the Arab Spring to Bitcoin. They outlined radically opposing perspectives: for Assange, the liberating power of the Internet is based on its freedom and statelessness. For Schmidt, emancipation is at one with US foreign policy objectives and is driven by connecting non-Western countries to American companies and markets. These differences embodied a tug-of-war over the Internet’s future that has only gathered force subsequently.When Google Met WikiLeaks presents the story of Assange and Schmidt’s encounter. Both fascinating and alarming, it contains an edited transcript of their conversation and extensive, new material, written by Assange specifically for this book, providing the best available summary of his vision for the future of the Internet.
  • OR Booksadded a book to the bookshelfOR Books3 months ago
    The first English-language anthology of contemporary Tibetan fiction available in the West, Old Demons, New Deities brings together the best Tibetan writers from both Tibet and the diaspora, who write in Tibetan, English and Chinese.

    Modern Tibetan literature is just under forty years old: its birth dates to 1980, when the first Tibetan language journal was published in Lhasa. Since then, short stories have become one of the primary modern Tibetan art forms. Through these sometimes absurd, sometimes strange, and always moving stories, the English-reading audience gets an authentic look at the lives of ordinary, secular, modern Tibetans navigating the space between tradition and modernity, occupation and exile, the personal and the national. The setting may be the Himalayas, an Indian railway, or a New York City brothel, but the insights into an ancient culture and the lives and concerns of a modern people are real, and powerful.

    For this anthology, editor and translator Tenzin Dickie has collected 21 short stories by 16 of the most respected and well known Tibetan writers working today, including Pema Bhum, Pema Tseden, Tsering Dondrup, Woeser, Tsering Wangmo Dhompa, Kyabchen Dedrol, and Jamyang Norbu.
  • OR Booksadded a book to the bookshelfOR Books3 months ago
    “In this compelling, wise, and passionate memoir, Jonathan Lerner gives us a deeply honest and self-questioning depiction of his youthful radicalism. By telling his particular story of life at the far edge of the 60s and 70s counter culture (with all its intricate complexities), he is able to be precise and unstinting about the wages of resistance and rebellion without sacrificing his continuing and moving idealism.” —Dana Spiotta, author of Innocents and Others and Eat the Document

    Against the vividly evoked chaos and conflicts of the Vietnam Era, Jonathan Lerner probes the impulses that led a small group of educated, privileged young Americans to turn to violence as a means of political change. Beyond that, he tells the true story of an intellectually adventurous but insecure gay man immersed in the macho, misogynistic and physically confrontational environment of the Weathermen.

    Variously known as the Weather Underground, the Weathermen, or Weatherman, the group unleashed a series of bombings across the United States, attacking the Pentagon, the Capitol Building, and the U.S. State Department, among many other places. At its height, the organization consisted of several hundred people, all committed to violent change and toe-to-toe battles with the police.

    Inventing himself first as “minister of propaganda” for a movement — and along the way participating in the Venceremos Brigade in Cuba and observing the Native American uprising at Wounded Knee — and then reinventing himself as a high-rolling gay hustler, Lerner recounts a wild and utterly American journey from idealism to destruction and beyond. Other Weatherpeople have written memoirs; none has explored the painful history of the consequential group with such penetrating honesty.
  • OR Booksadded a book to the bookshelfOR Books3 months ago
    “A comically committed exploration of current life-hacking wisdom in areas ranging from athletic and intellectual prowess to spirituality, creativity, wealth, and pleasure.” —The New Yorker

    In these pages, the authors of the widely-acclaimed Wellness Syndrome throw themselves headlong into the techniques of self-optimization, a burgeoning movement that seeks to transcend the limits placed on us as mere humans, whether the feebleness of our bodies or our mental incapacities.

    Cederstrom and Spicer, devoted each month of a roller coaster year to a different way of improving themselves: January was Productivity, February their bodies, March their brains. June was for sex and September for money. Perhaps the trickiest was April, a month devoted to relationships, when their feelings for each other came under the microscope, with results that were both hilarious and painful. Carl thought Andre was only “dialing it in,” Andre felt Carl was too controlling.

    In fact, both proved themselves willing guinea pigs in an extraordinary (and sometimes downright dangerous) range of techniques and technologies, had hitherto undertaken little by way of self-improvement. They had rarely seen the inside of a gym, let alone utilized apps that deliver electric shocks in pursuit of improved concentration. They wore head-bands designed to optimize sleep, and attempted to boost their memory through learning associative techniques (failing to be admitted to MENSA bit learning pi to 1,000 digits), trained for weightlifting competitions, wrote what they (still) hope might become a bestselling Scandinavian detective story, attended motivational seminars and tantra workshops, went on new-age retreats and man-camps, and experimented with sex toys and productivity drugs. Andre even addressed a London subway car whilst (nearly) naked in an attempt to overcome a negative body image.

    Somewhat surprisingly, the two young professors survived this year of rigorous research. Further, they produced a hilarious and eye-opening book based upon it. Written in the form of two parallel diaries, Desperately Seeking Self-Improvement provides a biting analysis of the narcissism and individual competitiveness that increasingly pervades a culture in which social solutions are receding and individual self-improvement is the only option left.
  • OR Booksadded a book to the bookshelfOR Books3 months ago
    After being forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy, Julian Assange is now in a high security prison in London where he faces extradition to the United States and imprisonment for the rest of his life.
    The charges Assange faces are a major threat to press freedom. James Goodale, who represented the New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case, commented: “The charge against Assange for ‘conspiring’ with a source is the most dangerous I can think of with respect to the First Amendment in all my years representing media organizations.”
    It is critical now to build support for Assange and prevent his delivery into the hands of the Trump administration. That is the urgent purpose of this book. A wide range of distinguished contributors, many of them in original pieces, here set out the story of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, the importance of their work, and the dangers for us all in the persecution they face. In Defense of Julian Assange is a vivid, vital intervention into one of the most important political issues of our day.
  • OR Booksadded a book to the bookshelfOR Books5 months ago
    With Joe Biden stepping back into the national scene, the time is ripe for a close assessment of the administration in which he served as vice-president.
    The Center Did Not Hold weighs the progressive—and not so progressive—contributions of the Obama-Biden White House across more than a hundred issues involving international relations, domestic cultural and economic matters, and social justice.
    While Obama and Biden campaigned in the early 2000s on a host of progressive promises, Eisenberg’s meticulous accounting shows that, over eight years, they failed to achieve any substantial, lasting change to that end, instead perpetuating a tradition of cautious centrism.
    Among the disappointments, the former president and vice-president reneged on environmental promises, pandered to lobbyists, prosecuted a record number of whistle-blowers, and failed to implement the simplest of financial reforms in response to the 2008 crisis. Under Biden’s trademark “counterterrorism plus” strategy, they oversaw tens of thousands of civilian deaths in Afghanistan, and escalated violence in the Middle East.
  • OR Booksadded a book to the bookshelfOR Books5 months ago
    “When I first committed to three full months in El Salvador, the feeling that I was signing up for the equivalent of marriage and reproduction was assuaged only by the awareness that, come March 2020, I’d be dashing around Mexico before flying to Istanbul and resuming freneticism in that hemisphere. Little did I know that the scribbled itinerary would never come to fruition, and that I’d only get as far as the coastal village of Zipolite in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, where March 13–25 would turn into March 13 until further notice.”
    Since leaving her American homeland in 2003 Belén Fernández had been an inveterate traveler. Ceaselessly wandering the world, the only constant in her itinerary was a conviction never to return to the country of her childhood. Then the COVID-19 lockdown happened and Fernandez found herself stranded in a small village on the Pacific coast of Mexico.
    This charming, wryly humorous account of nine months stuck in one place nevertheless roams freely: over reflections on previous excursions to the wilder regions of North Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe; over her new-found friendship with Javier, the mezcal-drinking, chain-smoking near-septuagenarian she encounters in his plastic chair on Mexico’s only clothing-optional beach; over her protracted struggle to obtain a life-saving supply of yerba mate; and over, literally, the rope of a COVID-19 checkpoint, set up directly outside her front door and manned by armed guards who require her to don a mask every time she returns home.
  • OR Booksadded a book to the bookshelfOR Books5 months ago
    The only optician on the island of Lampedusa in the Mediterranean is an ordinary man in his fifties, who used to be indifferent to the fate of the thousands of refugees landing on the coast of the Italian island. One day in the fall of 2013, the unimaginable scale of the tragedy became clear to him, and it changed him forever: as he was out boating with some friends, he encountered hundreds of men, women and children drowning in the aftermath of a shipwreck. The Optician and his seven friends managed to save 47 people (his boat was designed to hold ten people). All the others died. This is a poignant and unforgettable account about the awakening of conscience: more than that, it brings home the reality of an ongoing refugee crisis that has resulted in one of the most massive migrations in human history.More than 360 people died in the disaster off the coast of Lampedusa on October 3, 2013. The original interview with Carmine Menna, the basis for this book, can be heard at http://bit.ly/optlamp
  • OR Booksadded a book to the bookshelfOR Books5 months ago
    Governor Andrew Cuomo, scion of Mario Cuomo, is today as famous as his father, also a governor of New York state for three terms. Like Robert Moses, he is one of New York’s great and infamous power brokers. Though initially lavishly celebrated for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, not least by himself, it is now apparent that Cuomo’s management of the crisis was a juddering and fatal failure. Thousands died because, ignoring the advice of experts, he shut down too late and returned still sick patients to nursing homes. The crisis was intensified by his previous commitment to austerity, which saw the slashing of funding to hospitals.
    A vital riposte to Cuomo’s recently published book about the pandemic, now increasingly derided as self-serving and deceitful, The Prince is a searing indictment of Cuomo’s handling of coronavirus and his time overall in the highest office of the state.
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