List #2: POLITICS
Just a few of the interesting books at VOLUME on political issues.
Come and browse our full selection.
The Mother of All Questions: Future feminisms by Rebecca Solnit $28
Feminism if for everyone. Solnit continues the sharp and important wok she began in Men Explain Things to Me with this collection of commentary essays on feminism, misogyny, gendered binaries, masculine literary insecurity and related topics.
"No writer has weighed the complexities of sustaining hop in our times of readily available despair more thoughtfully and beautifully, nor with greater nuance." - Maria Popova
BWB Texts (various titles) $15 each
Incisive comment on social, political and environmental issues facing New Zealand from a swathe of leading writers and thinkers. Click through to find out more. Intelligent stocking-fillers.
The Journal of Urgent Writing, 2017 edited by Simon Wilson $40
Essays towards a better national conversation, including: Morgan Godfery on identity • Jess Berentson-Shaw on social investment • Andrew Judd on racism • Carys Goodwin on climate change • Conor Clarke on dirt • David Cohen on Popper, Plato, Hegel and Marx • Emma Espiner on a tikanga Māori world • Gilbert Wong on growing up Chinese • Giselle Byrnes on why universities matter • Jo Randerson on dying • Māmari Stephens on our threatened marae • Victor Rodger on being actually brown • Maria Majsa on Johnny Rotten • Max Harris on dreams • Mike Joy and Kyleisha Foote on dams • Raf Manji on a new progressive agenda • Sarah Laing on menstruation • Sylvia Nissen on youth and politics • Teena Brown Pulu on three Tongan funerals • Tim Watkin on explaining Trump • Simon Wilson on a radical centre.
Out of the Wreckage: A new politics for an age of crisis by George Monbiot $27
The neoliberal experiment has brought society and the environment to the brink of disaster (and for many, over the brink). But humans are characterised not as much by competitive individualism as by altruism and co-operation. How can these be built into a politics that addresses the crises the world currently faces?
Precarity: Uncertain, insecure and unequal lives in Aotearoa New Zealand edited by Shiloh Groot et al $40
The precariat is a class-in-the-making. The precariat are our fellow citizens (if they are not us) for whom poverty, age, disability, homelessness, estrangement, mental or physical illness or estrangement from communities and cultures have resulted in uncertainty, dependency, powerlessness, perilousness and insufficiency. The precariat is very much an outcome of the dismantling of the welfare state and the violation of unwritten social contracts by the privileged.
The New Zealand Project by Max Harris $40
We face unprecedented challenges - climate change, rising inequality, economic uncertainties, a rapidly changing concept of ‘work', to mention just a few. The New Zealand Project is a serious, intelligent and thoughtful vision that challenges our preconceptions, tackles the tough questions, and gives us a framework on which to think about New Zealand’s political future and how changes in political concepts are vital to creating a better society for all. Max Harris wants a discussion - he wants people to ask questions and debate concepts. This is a book that should be read, absorbed and discussed.
No is Not Enough: Defeating the new shock politics by Naomi Klein $35
"Trump, as extreme as he is, is less an aberration than a logical conclusion - a pastiche of pretty much all the worst and most dangerous trends of the past half century. A one-man megabrand, with wife and children as spin-off brands." Klein sees Donald Trump's presidency as the conclusion of the long corporate takeover of politics, using deliberate shock tactics to generate wave after wave of crises and force through radical policies that will destroy people, the environment, the economy and national security. This book provides a toolkit for resistance, starting with clarity of perception.
"I count Naomi Klein among the most inspirational political thinkers in the world today." -Arundhati Roy
"Naomi Klein as a writer is an accusing angel." - John Berger
The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui $40
The Best We Could Do explores the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child. Thi Bui documents her family's daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s and the diffiulties they faced building new lives for themselves in America.
A Moral Truth: 150 years of investigative journalism in New Zealandedited by James Hollings $45
Spanning the wars in the Waikato to the present day, and including pieces from Robyn Hyde and Pat Booth to Sandra Coney and Phillida Bunkle, Mike White, Jon Stephenson, Nicky Hager and Phil Kitchin, the pieces in this anthology are fresh whatever their age, and remind us of the importance of the contribution made by journalists to public knowledge and discourse.
Basic Income, And how we can make it happen by Guy Standing $28
"Guy Standing has been at the forefront of the movement for nearly 4 decades, and in this superb and thorough survey he explains how it works and why it has the potential to revitalise life and democracy in our societies. This is an essential book." - Brian Eno
>> Protecting the precariat.
Democracy and its Crisis by A.C. Grayling $37
Why are the institutions of representative democracy seemingly unable to sustain themselves against forces they were designed to manage, and why does it matter?
Five Ideas to Fight For: How our freedom is under threat and why it matters by Anthony Lester $22
Human Rights, equality, free speech, privacy, the rule of law: these dearly held principles of civilised society are under threat globally - from forces within government and without.
Draw Your Weapons by Sarah Sentilles $38
"Now more than ever, the world needs a book like Draw Your Weapons. With mastery, urgency and great courage, Sarah Sentilles investigates the histories of art, violence, war and human survival. In her haunting and absorbing narrative, the act of storytelling itself becomes a matter of life and death." -- Ruth Ozeki
"A beautiful, harrowing, and moving collage that portrays the making of art as a powerful response to making war." - Alice Elliott Dark
Talking to My Daughter About the Economy: A brief history of capitalism by Yanis Varoufakis $35
What is money and why does debt exist? Where do wealth and inequality come from? How come economics has the power to shape and destroy our lives? An excellent primer, using stories to explain and question the drivers of society.
""The reason Varoufakis seems to have captured the imaginations of so many is that his words about the European crisis speak universal truths about democracy, capitalism and social policy." - Guardian
Freedom Hospital: A Syrian story by Hamid Sulaiman $48
A graphic novel giving insight into one the tragedies of out time. Over 40,000 people have died since the start of the Syrian Arab Spring. In the wake of this, Yasmin has set up a clandestine hospital in the north of the country. The town that she lives in is controlled by Assad's regime, but is relatively stable. However, as the months pass, the situation becomes increasingly complex and violent.
Age of Anger: A history of the present by Pankaj Mishra $40
How can we explain the origins of the great wave of paranoid hatreds that seem inescapable in our close-knit world - from American 'shooters' and ISIS to Trump, from a rise in vengeful nationalism across the world to racism and misogyny on social media?
"Urgent, profound and extraordinarily timely. Throws light on our contemporary predicament, when the neglected and dispossessed of the world have suddenly risen up to transform the world we thought we knew." - John Banville
A Constitution for Aotearoa New Zealand by Geoffrey Palmer and Andrew Butler $25
New Zealand needs a constitution that is easy to understand, reflects our shared identity and nationhood, protects rights and liberties, and prevents governments from abusing power.
The Future is History: How totalitarianism reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen $37
Gessen follows the lives of four Russians born in the last days of the Soviet Union and considers how their prospects have dwindled as the country has descended into what is effectively a Mafia state.
Antifa: The antifascist handbook by Mark Bray $35
Traces the history of movements to counteract far-right, authoritarian and white supremacist movements from their roots in 1920s Europe to the grass-roots response to the fascist populism of Trump-era USA. The book also is a guide to recognizing and counteracting reactionary and racist invective and behaviour wherever it is found.
The Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers confront the occupation edited by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman $33
26 writers (including Colum McCann, Rachel Kushner, Colm Toibin, Dave Eggers, Madeleine Thien and Eimear McBride) from 14 countries bear witness to the human cost of the 50-year Israeli occupation of the West Bank.
"Moving, heartbreaking, and infuriating, testifying to the chilling cruelty of Israel's policy toward Palestinians. Deeply unsettling and important." - Kirkus
Free Speech: Ten principles for a connected world by Timothy Garton Ash $28
With the internet providing instant audience for any statement, how are we preserve our freedoms and also progress to a more humane and inclusive mode of discourse?
"Garton Ash's larger project is not merely to defend freedom of expression, but to promote civil, dispassionate discourse, within and across cultures, even about the most divisive and emotive subjects." - Guardian
The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 29 psychiatrists and mental health experts assess a President edited by Bandy Lee $45
Everything you've ever suspected is backed up by an expert, but what is the mental health status of the nation that elected him?
A World of Three Zeroes: The new economics of zero poverty, zero unemployment and zero carbon emissions by Muhammad Yunus $38
In the decade since Yunus first began to articulate his ideas for a new model of economics, thousands of companies, nonprofits, and individual entrepreneurs around the world have embraced them. From Albania to Colombia, India to Germany, newly created businesses and enterprises are committed to reducing poverty, improving health care and education, cleaning up pollution, and serving other urgent human needs in ingenious, innovative ways. Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in alleviating poverty.
The New Odyssey: The story of Europe's refugee crisis by Patrick Kingsley $25
An incomparable account from The Guaridan's refugee correspondent, who travelled to 17 countries and interviewed hundreds of refugees.
"A must-read for our times." - Yannis Varoufakis
The Courage of Hopelessness: Chronicles of a year acting dangerously by Slavoj Žižek $30Do we endorse the predominant acceptance of capitalism as a fact of human nature, or does today's capitalism contain strong enough antagonisms to prevent its infinite reproduction? Can we move beyond the perceived failure of socialism, and beyond the current wave of populist rage, and initiate radical change before the train hits?
Spinfluence: The hardcore propaganda manual for controlling the masses by Nick McFarlane $22
A useful guide to the malleability of truth and the control of public opinion.