2012 Recommended Books

 



International Herbert Marcuse Society
Book of the Month
January 2012


It Started in Wisconsin: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Labor Protest

Edited by Paul Buhle and Mari Jo Buhle 

Foreword by Michael Moore

Introduction by John Nichols 

First-hand accounts of the largest pro-labor mass mobilization in modern American history

 

            In the spring of 2011, Wisconsinites took to the streets in what became the largest and liveliest labor demonstrations in modern American history. Protesters in the Middle East sent greetings—and pizzas—to          the  thousands occupying the Capitol building in Madison, and 150,000 demonstrators converged on the city.

            In a year that has seen a revival of protest in America, here is a riveting account of the first great wave         of grassroots resistance to the corporate restructuring of the Great Recession.

            It Started in Wisconsin includes eyewitness reports by striking teachers, students, and others (such as Wisconsin-born musician Tom Morello), as well as essays explaining Wisconsin’s progressive legacy by  acclaimed historians. The book lays bare the national corporate campaign that crafted Wisconsin’s anti-union legislation and similar laws across the country, and it conveys the infectious esprit de corps that pervaded         the protests with original pictures and comics.


Paperback, 192 pages

ISBN: 9781844678884

January 2012



                                                                                                                                                 


International Herbert Marcuse Society
Book of the Month
February 2012






An Introduction to Africana Philosophy

by

Lewis R. Gordon

 

                "In this undergraduate textbook Lewis R. Gordon offers the first comprehensive treatment of Africana philosophy, beginning with the emergence      of an Africana (i.e. African diasporic) consciousness in the Afro-Arabic world of      the Middle Ages. He argues that much of modern thought emerged out of early conflicts between Islam and Christianity that culminated in the expulsion of the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula, and from the subsequent expansion of racism, enslavement, and colonialism which in their turn stimulated reflections on        reason, liberation, and the meaning of being human. His book takes the student reader on a journey from Africa through Europe, North and South America, the Caribbean, and back to Africa, as he explores the challenges posed to our understanding of knowledge and freedom today, and the response to them which    can be found within Africana philosophy."


Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008



                                                                                                                                                 

International Herbert Marcuse Society
Book of the Month
March 2012




A Dictionary of Critical Theory

by
Ian Buchanan


 
              
                 
Boasting more than 750 entries, this is the most wide-ranging and up-to-date dictionary of critical theory           available, covering the whole range of critical theory, including the Frankfurt school, cultural materialism, cultural           studies, gender studies, film studies, literary theory, hermeneutics, historical materialism, internet studies,                sociopolitical critical theory, and much more. Entries clearly explain even the most complex of theoretical discourses,         such as Marxism, psychoanalysis, structuralism, deconstruction, and postmodernism. There are biographies of                important figures in the field, with feature entries for those who have heavily influenced areas of the discipline. Entries        are fully cross-referenced and contain further reading where appropriate. To provide relevant extra information, this edition features recommended web links for many entries, accessible via the Dictionary of Critical Theory companion website, where they are checked regularly and kept up to date. Covering all aspects of the subject from globalization            and race studies, to queer theory and feminism, this multidisciplinary A-Z is essential for students of literary and            cultural studies and is useful for anyone studying a subject requiring a knowledge of theory.


Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2010





                                                                                                                                                 

International Herbert Marcuse Society
Book of the Month
April 2012




The Dunayevskaya-Marcuse-Fromm Correspondence, 1954-1978:      Dialogues on Hegel, Marx, and Critical Theory

Kevin B. Anderson and Russell Rockwell, eds.

 

            This book presents for the first time the correspondence during the years 1954 to 1978 between the Marxist-Humanist and feminist philosopher Raya Dunayevskaya (1910-87) and two other noted thinkers, the Hegelian Marxist philosopher and social theorist Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979) and the psychologist and social critic Erich Fromm (1900-80), both of the latter members of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory.

            In their introduction, editors Kevin B. Anderson and Russell Rockwell focus on the theoretical and political dialogues in these letters, which cover topics such as dialectical social theory, Marxist economics, socialist humanism, the structure and contradictions of modern capitalism, the history of Marxism and of the Frankfurt School, feminism and revolution, developments in the USSR, Cuba, and China, and emergence of the New Left of the 1960s. The editors’ extensive explanatory notes offer helpful background information, definitions of theoretical concepts, and source references.  

            Among the thinkers discussed in the correspondence – some of them quite critically– are Karl Marx, G. W. F. Hegel, Rosa Luxemburg, Georg Lukács, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, V. I. Lenin, Nikolai Bukharin, Sigmund Freud, Leon Trotsky, Mao Zedong, Daniel Bell, and Seymour Martin Lipset.   As a whole, this volume shows the deeply Marxist and humanist concerns of these thinkers, each of whom had a lifelong concern with rethinking Marx and Hegel as the foundation for an analysis of capitalist modernity and its     forces of opposition.


Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield / Lexington Books, 2012.




                                                                                                                                                 


International Herbert Marcuse Society
Book of the Month
May 2012




Max Horkheimer and the Foundations of the Frankfurt School

by
John Abromeit


 

                This book is the first comprehensive intellectual biography of Max Horkheimer during the early and middle phases of his life (1895-1941).  Drawing on unexamined new sources, John Abromeit describes the critical details of Horkheimer's intellectual development. This study recovers and reconstructs the model of early Critical Theory that guided the work of the Institute for Social Research in the 1930s.  Horkheimer is remembered primarily as the 
co-author of Dialectic of Enlightenment, which he wrote with Theodor W. Adorno in the early 1940s. But few people realize that Horkheimer and Adorno did not begin working together seriously until the late 1930s or that the model        of Critical Theory developed by Horkheimer and Erich Fromm in the late 1920s and early 1930s differs in crucial       ways from Dialectic of Enlightenment.  Abromeit highlights the ways in which Horkheimer's early Critical Theory   remains relevant to contemporary theoretical discussions in a wide variety of fields.


Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011



                                                                                                                                                 


International Herbert Marcuse Society
Book of the Month
June 2012


Herbert Marcuse: An Aesthetics of Liberation
by
Malcolm Miles


 

                 "When capitalism is clearly catastrophically out of control and its excesses cannot be sustained      socially or ecologically, the ideas of Herbert Marcuse become as relevant as they were in the 1960s. This             is the first English introduction to Marcuse to be published for decades, and deals specifically with his   aesthetic theories and their relation to a critical theory of society.

              "Although Marcuse is best known as a critic of consumer society, epitomised in the classic One-Dimensional     Man, Malcolm Miles provides an insight into how Marcuse's aesthetic theories evolved within his broader attitudes, from his anxiety at the rise of fascism in the 1930s through heady optimism of the 1960s, to acceptance in the 1970s   that radical art becomes an invaluable progressive force when political change has become deadlocked.

              "Marcuse's aesthetics of liberation, in which art assumes a primary role in interrupting the operation of     capitalism, made him a key figure for the student movement in the 1960s. As diverse forms of resistance rise once   more, a new generation of students, scholars and activists will find Marcuse’s radical theory essential to their struggle."


"Miles goes back to Marcuse’s work on aesthetics to link philosophy, art, history, political 
analysis, and sociological insights in a deeply humane search for the way to a better world. 
It deserves a very wide readership."

--Peter Marcuse, Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning, Columbia University.



"This book presents a comprehensive critical overview and a comprehensive interrogation of Marcuse's writings on art and aesthetics. Miles reads Marcuse as envisaging art as a way in which societies re-imagine themselves and project visions of a freer, happier, and better way of life. In these troubled times, it is refreshing to re-engage with Marcuse's utopian visions of art and society and Miles proves a highly capable guide to this adventure.

--Douglas Kellner, UCLA, author of Herbert Marcuse and the Crisis of Marxism and Media Spectacle   and the Crisis of Democracy.

 

                                                                    "Introducing the aesthetic writings of radical philosopher Herbert Marcuse, cultural theorist 
                                                                    Malcolm Miles explores the role the imagination plays for Marcuse in political transformation, 
                                                                    offering us the hope of a horizon to neo-liberal capitalism’s treachery. How we need this book 
                                                                    today: intelligently argued – clever, funny, sometimes wistful – it is a call to arms (to art), 
                                                                    beautifully written from the heart." 

              -- Jane Rendell, Professor of Art and Architecture and Vice Dean of Research,                              The Bartlett, UCL, and author of Site-Writing (2010), Art and Architecture (2006) and The Pursuit of Pleasure (2002).


                                                                                    London: Pluto Press, 2012.






                                                                                                                                                 


International Herbert Marcuse Society
Book of the Month
July 2012



9781844678652_many-headed_hydra


 

The Many-Headed Hydra:                                  

The Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic

by Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker

             
                "Long before the American Revolution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man, a motely crew of sailors, slaves, pirates, labourers, market women, and indentured servants had ideas about freedom and equality that would for ever change history. The Many-Headed Hydra recounts their stories in a sweeping history of the role of the dispossessed in the making of the modern world."


  • “A landmark in the development of an Atlantic perspective on early American history. Ranging from Europe to Africa to the Caribbean and North America, it makes us think in new ways about the role of working people in the making of the modern world.”

    – Eric Foner

  • “This is a marvelous book. Linebaugh and Rediker have done an extraordinary job of research into buried episodes and forgotten writings to recapture, with eloquence and literary flair, the lost history of resistance to capitalist conquest on both sides of the Atlantic.”

    – Howard Zinn

  • “More than just a vivid illustration of the gains involved in thinking beyond the boundaries between nation-states. Here, in incendiary form, are essential elements for a people’s history of our dynamic, transcultural present.”

    – Paul Gilroy, author of The Black Atlantic

  • The Many-Headed Hydra is a wonderful book. Its passion and commitment encourages its readers to think associatively, to make progressive connections”

    – Sukhdev Sandhu, Guardian

  • “Scum of the maritime sort had their spell in the limelight with The Many-Headed Hydra. This compellting history of the ‘revolutionary Atlantic’ portrays pirates, sailors, dockers, sea-going whores and other dregs of the ocean and coast as briny rebels who resisted the global commercial order and even disrupted the slave trade for decades.”

    Independent



    Verso

    2012







                                                                                                                                                     

International Herbert Marcuse Society
Book of the Month
August 2012



The Assault on the Universities:
A Manifesto for Resistance
Edited by
Michael Bailey and Des Freedman

London: Pluto Press, 2011.




                                                                                                                                                 


International Herbert Marcuse Society
Book of the Month
September 2012

9781844678976 less than nothing

 

Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism




                "For the last two centuries, Western philosophy has developed in the shadow of Hegel, whose influence each new thinker tries in vain to escape: whether in the name of the pre-rational Will, the social process of production, or the contingency of individual existence. Hegel's absolute idealism has become the bogeyman of philosophy, obscuring the fact that he is the dominant philosopher of the epochal historical transition to modernity; a period with which our own time shares startling similarities.

                "Today, as global capitalism comes apart at the seams, we are entering a new transition. In Less Than Nothing, the pinnacle publication of a distinguished career, Slavoj Žižek argues that it is imperative that we not simply return to Hegel but that we repeat and exceed his triumphs, overcoming his limitations by being even more Hegelian than the master himself. Such an approach not only enables Žižek to diagnose our present condition, but also to engage in a critical dialogue with the key strands of contemporary thought-Heidegger, Badiou, speculative realism, quantum physics and cognitive sciences. Modernity will begin and end with Hegel."




Verso
2012



                                                                                                                                                 


International Herbert Marcuse Society
Book of the Month
October 2012

The Making of Global Capitalism:
The Political Economy of American Empire

by
Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin

Groundbreaking account of the development of capitalism.

     "The all-encompassing embrace of world capitalism at the beginning of the twenty-first century was generally attributed to the superiority of competitive markets. Globalization had appeared to be the natural outcome of this unstoppable process. But today, with global markets roiling and increasingly reliant on state intervention to stay afloat, it has become clear that markets and states aren’t straightforwardly opposing forces.

     "In this groundbreaking work, Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin demonstrate the intimate relationship between modern capitalism and the American state, including its role as an “informal empire” promoting free trade and capital movements. Through a powerful historical survey, they show how the US has superintended the restructuring of other states in favor of competitive markets and coordinated the management of increasingly frequent financial crises."  









London & New York: Verso, 2012.



                                                                                                                                                 
International Herbert Marcuse Society

Book of the Month
November 2012

9781844676477 least of all possible evils


 

The Least of All Possible Evils: 

Humanitarian Violence from Arendt to Gaza

by Eyal Weizman


                "Groundbreaking exploration of the philosophy underpinning Western humanitarian intervention."

             "The principle of the “lesser evil”—the acceptability of pursuing one exceptional course of action in order to prevent a greater injustice—has long been a cornerstone of Western ethical philosophy. From its roots in classical ethics and Christian theology, to Hannah Arendt’s exploration of the work of the Jewish Councils during the Nazi regime, Weizman explores its development in three key transformations of the problem: the defining intervention of Médecins Sans Frontières in mid-1980s Ethiopia; the separation wall in Israel-Palestine; and international and human rights law in Bosnia, Gaza and Iraq. Drawing on a wealth of new research, Weizman charts the latest manifestation of this age-old idea. In doing so he shows how military and political intervention acquired a new “humanitarian” acceptability and legality in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries."




Verso
2012




                                                                                                                                                 

International Herbert Marcuse Society
Book of the Month
December 2012

9781844676675-frontcover


 

Critique of Economic Reason

by André Gorz 

“Gorz’s greatest work, and a crucial book for our time.”—Le Monde.

            "André Gorz's earlier books—from Ecology as Politics to Farewell to the Working Class and Paths to Paradise—have informed and inspired the most radical currents in Green movements in Europe and America over the last two decades. In Critique of Economic Reason, he offers his fullest account to date of the terminal crisis of a system where every activity and aspiration has been subjected to the rule of the market. By carefully delineating the existential and cultural limits of economic rationality, he emphasizes the urgent need to create a society which rejects the work ethic in favor of an emancipatory ethic of free time.

            "At the heart of his alternative is an advocacy not of 'full employment,' but of an equal distribution of the diminishing amount of necessary paid work. He presents a practical strategy for reducing the working week, and develops a radical version of a guaranteed wage for all. Above all, he argues that a utopian vision is now the only realistic proposal, and that 'economic reason must be returned to its true—that is subordinate—place.'"



Verso
2011


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