Some more substantial reading just in time for your holidays.
Rebel crossings : new women, free lovers, and radicals in Britain and America / Sheila Rowbotham.
“Rebel Crossings relates the interweaving lives of four women and two men as they journey from the nineteenth to the twentieth century, from Britain to America, and from Old World conventions toward New World utopias. Radicalised by the rise of socialism, Helena Born, Miriam Daniell, Gertrude Dix, Robert Nicol and William Bailie cross the Atlantic dreaming of liberty and equality. …offers fascinating perspectives on the historical interaction of feminism, socialism, and anarchism and on the incipient consciousness of a new sense of self, so vital for women seeking emancipation.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Four futures : visions of the world after capitalism / Peter Frase.
“Capitalism is going to end: Peter Frase argues that increasing automation and a growing scarcity of resources, thanks to climate change, will bring it all tumbling down. In Four Futures, Frase imagines how this post-capitalist world might look, deploying the tools of both social science and speculative fiction to explore what communism, rentism, socialism and exterminism might actually entail. A whirlwind tour through science fiction, social theory and the new technologies already shaping our lives, Four Futures is a balance sheet of the socialisms we may reach if a resurgent Left is successful, and the barbarisms we may be consigned to if those movements fail.” (Syndetics summary)
The optician of Lampedusa / Emma Jane Kirby.
“From an award-winning BBC journalist, this moving book turns the testimony of an accidental hero into a timeless story about the awakening of human courage and conscience. Emma-Jane Kirby has reported extensively on the reality of mass migration today. In The Optician of Lampedusa she brings to life the moving testimony of an ordinary man whose late summer boat trip off a Sicilian island unexpectedly turns into a tragic rescue mission.” (Syndetics summary)
North Korea’s hidden revolution : how the information underground is transforming a closed society / Jieun Baek.
“One of the least understood countries in the world, North Korea has long been known for its repressive regime. Yet it is far from being an impenetrable black box. Media flows covertly into the country, and fault lines are appearing in the government’s sealed informational borders. Drawing on deeply personal interviews with North Korean defectors from all walks of life, ranging from propaganda artists to diplomats, Jieun Baek tells the story of North Korea’s information underground–the network of citizens who take extraordinary risks by circulating illicit content…” (Syndetics summary)
No place to hide : climate change : a short introduction for New Zealanders / Jim Flynn.
“Millions of educated people all over the world feel powerless in the face of climate change and its consequences, partially because the literature on the environment is so vast it is difficult to know where to begin. This short book is intended to make their search for truth manageable. …Its strongest claim is that there are really two kinds of sceptics we must rebut: not just climate change deniers but also climate engineering deniers. …we must face the fact that climate engineering is necessary to buy the time to achieve carbon-free energy, and unless this is implemented soon, we will pass the point of no return.” (Book jacket)
The master plan : ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the Jihadi strategy for final victory / Brian H. Fishman.
“An incisive narrative history of the Islamic State, from the 2005 master plan to reestablish the Caliphate to its quest for Final Victory in 2020. Given how quickly its operations have achieved global impact, it may seem that the Islamic State materialized suddenly. In fact, al-Qaeda’s operations chief, Sayf al-Adl, devised a seven-stage plan for jihadis to conquer the world by 2020 that included reestablishing the Caliphate in Syria between 2013 and 2016. Despite a massive schism between the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, al-Adl’s plan has proved remarkably prescient. In summer 2014, ISIS declared itself the Caliphate after capturing Mosul, Iraq–part of stage five in al-Adl’s plan… Only by understanding the Islamic State’s full history–and the strategy that drove it–can we understand the contradictions that may ultimately tear it apart.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Whiplash : how to survive our faster future / Joi Ito and Jeff Howe.
“The world is more complex and volatile today than at any other time in our history. The tools of our modern existence are getting faster, cheaper, and smaller at an exponential rate, just as billions of strangers around the world are suddenly just one click or tweet or post away from each other… The logic of a faster future oversets the received wisdom of the past, and the people who succeed will be the ones who learn to think differently. In WHIPLASH, Joi Ito and Jeff Howe distill that logic into nine organizing principles for navigating and surviving this tumultuous period.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
The social organism : a radical understanding of social media to transform your business and life / Oliver Luckett and Michael J. Casey.
“In barely a decade, social media has positioned itself at the centre of twenty-first-century life. The combined power of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine have helped topple dictators and turned anonymous teenagers into celebrities overnight. How did this happen? The scope and pace of these changes have left traditional businesses — and their old-guard marketing gatekeepers — bewildered. We simply do not comprehend social media’s form, function, and possibilities. It’s time we did.” (Book jacket)
Thank you for being late : an optimist’s guide to thriving in the age of accelerations / Thomas L. Friedman.
“We all sense it – something big is going on. You feel it in your workplace. You feel it when you talk to your children. You can’t miss it when you read the newspapers or watch the news. Our lives are speeding up – and it is dizzying. Friedman’s thesis is that to understand the twenty-first century, you need to understand that the planet’s three largest forces – Moore’s law (technology), the market (globalization) and Mother Nature (climate change and biodiversity loss) – are all accelerating at once, transforming the workplace, politics, geopolitics, ethics and community.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)