The Far Right Today by Cas Mudde

The Blurb On The Back:

The far right is back with a vengeance.  After several decades at the political margins, far-right politics has again taken center stage.  Three of the world’s largest democracies – Brazil, India, and the United States – now have a radical right leader, while far-right parties continue to increase their profile and support within Europe.

In this timely book, leading global expert on political extremism Cas Mudde provides a concise overview of the fourth wave of postwar far-right politics, exploring its history, ideology, organisation, causes, and consequences, as well as the responses available to civil society, party, and state actors to challenge its ideas and influence.  What defines this current far-right renaissance, Mudde argues, is its mainstreaming and normalisation within the contemporary political landscape.  Challenging orthodox thinking on the relationship between conventional and far-right politics, Mudde offers a complex and insightful picture of one of the key political challenges of our time.

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Resisters: 52 Young Women Making Herstory Right Now by Lauren Sharkey and Manjit Thapp

The Blurb On The Back:

”We’re not the future.  We’re doing it right now.”

Across the world, young women are uniting to create change and stand up for what they believe in.

Resisters introduces you to 52 activists doing just that.  Some are campaigning for LGBTQ+ rights, to save the environment or to combat feminist issues like period poverty.  While others are active in STEM, politics and diversity.  Yet, whether it be Twitter campaigns or life-saving apps, their great ideas are changing the world as we know it!

Packed with inspiring true stories, tips and takeaways, this is a must-have for those who dare to make a difference. 

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Generation Left by Keir Milburn

The Blurb On The Back:

Increasingly age appears to be the key dividing line in contemporary politics.  Young people across the globe are embracing left-wing ideas and supporting figures such as Corbyn and Sanders.  Where has this ‘Generation Left’ come from?  How can it change the world?

This compelling book by Keir Milburn traces the story of Generation Left.  Emerging in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash, it has now entered the electoral arena and found itself vying for dominance with ageing right-leaning voters and a ‘Third Way’ political elite unable to accept the new realities.

By offering a new concept of political generations, Milburn unveils the ideas, attitudes and direction of Generation Left and explains how the age gap can be bridged by reinventing youth and adulthood.  This book is essential reading for anyone, young or old, who is interested in addressing the multiple crises of our time.  

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Asia’s Reckoning: China, Japan, The US And The Struggle For Global Power by Richard McGregor

The Blurb On The Back:

The dramatic story of the relationship between the world’s three largest economies, by one of the foremost experts on East Asia. 

For more than half a century, American power in the Pacific has successfully kept the peace.  But it has also cemented the toxic rivalry between China and Japan, consumed with endless history wars and entrenched political dynasties.  Now, the combination of these forces with Donald Trump’s unpredictable impulses and disdain for America’s old alliances threatens to upend the region.  If the United States helped lay the post-war foundations for modern Asia, Asia’s Reckoning will reveal how that structure is now crumbling.

With unrivalled access to US and Asian archives, as well as many of the major players in all three countries, Richard McGregor shows how the confrontational course on which China and Japan have increasingly set themselves is no simple spat between neighbours.  And the fallout would be a political and economic tsunami for all of us.  

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The Demons Of Liberal Democracy by Adrian Pabst

The Blurb On The Back:

Liberals blame the global retreat of liberal democracy on globalisation and authoritarian leaders.  Only liberals, so they assume, can defend democratic rule against multinationals or populists at home and abroad.  In this provocative book, Adrian Pabst contends that liberal democracy is illiberal and undemocratic – intolerant about the values of ordinary people while concentrating power and wealth in the hands of unaccountable elites.

Under the influence of contemporary liberalism, democracy is sliding into oligarchy, demagogy and anarchy.  Liberals, far from defending open markets and free speech, promote monopolies such as the new tech giants that undermine competition and democratic debate.  Liberal individualism has eroded the social bonds and civic duties on which democracy depends for trust and cooperation.  To bank liberal democracy’s demons, Pabst proposed radical ideas for economic democracy, a politics of persuasion and a better balance of personal freedom with social solidarity.

This book’s defence of democratic politics against both liberals and populists will speak to all readers trying to understand out age of upheaval.  

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Speak Up! by Laura Coryton

The Blurb On The Back:

What do YOU want to change in the world?

This must-have empowering guide by inspirational Laura Croydon, leader of the incredible international campaign against tampon tax, gives you the tools to find your voice and stand up for what you believe in so that YOU can make a difference.

Channel Laura’s campaigning superpowers with her step-by-step toolkit and create your own successful campaign.  Laura’s experience will give you the confidence to deal with setbacks and internet trolls, and ways to speak up about everyday situations, such as relationships, too.

YOUR VOICE MATTERS.

YOU ARE POWERFUL.

YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD.

IT’S TIME TO SPEAK UP!

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The Alt-Right: What Everyone Needs To Know by George Hawley

The Blurb On The Back:

In recent years, the so-called Alt-Right, a white nationalist movement, has grown at an alarming rate.  Taking advantage of high levels of racial polarization, the Alt-Right seeks to normalize explicit white identity politics.  Growing from a marginalized and disorganized group of Internet trolls and propagandists, the Alt-Right became one of the major news stories of the 2016 presidential election, and exploded into public consciousness after its mark through Charlottesville in summer 2017.  Discussions of the Alt-Right are now a regular part of political discourse in the United States and beyond.  In The Alt-Right: What Everyone Needs To Know, George Hawley, one of the world’s leading experts on the conservative movement and right-wing radicalism, provides a clear explanation of the ideas, tactics, history, and prominent figures of one of the most disturbing movements in America today.  Although it presents itself as a new phenomenon, the Alt-Right is just the latest iteration of a longstanding radical right-wing political tradition.  Throughout, Hawley discusses the other primary ideological influences on the Alt-Right: libertarianism, paleoconservatism, neo-reaction, and the Men’s Rights Movement.  Dispassionate and accessible, this is an essential overview for anyone seeking to understand this disruptive and dangerous political movement. 

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The Joy Of Missing Out: The Art Of Self-Restraint In An Age Of Excess by Svend Brinkmann

The Blurb On The Back:

”Because you’re worth it”, proclaims the classic cosmetics ad.  “Just do it!” implores the global sports retailer.  Everywhere we turn, we are constantly encouraged to experience as much as possible, for as long as possible, in as many ways as possible. FOMO – Fear of Missing Out – has become a central preoccupation in a world fixated on the never-ending pursuit of gratification and self-fulfilment.

But this pursuit can become a treadmill leading nowhere. How can we break out of it?  In this refreshing book, bestselling Danish philosopher and psychologist Svend Brinkmann reveals the many virtues of missing out on the constant choices and temptations that dominate our experience-obsessed consumer society.  By cultivating self-restraint and celebrating moderation we can develop a more fulfilling way of living that enriches ourselves and our fellow humans and protects the planet we all share – in short, we can discover the joy of missing out. 

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Against Hate by Carolin Emcke

The Blurb On The Back:

Racism, extremism, anti-democratic sentiment – our increasingly polarized world is dominated by a type of thinking that doubts others’ positions but never its own.

In a powerful challenge to fundamentalism in all its forms, Carolin Emcke, one of Germany’s leading intellectuals, argues that we can only preserve individual freedom and protect people’s rights by cherishing and celebrating diversity.  If we want to safeguard democracy, we must have the courage to challenge hatred and the will to fight for and defend plurality in our societies. Emcke rises to the challenge that identitarian dogmas and populist narratives pose, exposing the way in which they simplify and distort our perception of the world.

Against Hate is an impassioned call to fight intolerance and defend liberal ideals.  It will be of great interest to anyone concerned about the darkening politics of our time and searching for ways forward. 

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Future Politics by Jamie Susskind

The Blurb On The Back:

Politics in the twentieth century was dominated by a single question:

how much of our collective life should be determined by the state, and what should be left to the market and civil society?

Now the debate is different:

to what extent should our lives be directed and controlled by powerful digital systems – and on what terms?

Digital technologies – from artificial intelligence to blockchain, from robotics to virtual reality – are transforming the way we live together.  Those who control the most powerful technologies are increasingly able to control the rest of us.  As time goes on, these powerful entities – usually big tech firms and the state – will set the limit of our liberty, decreeing what may be done and what is forbidden.  Their algorithms will determine vital questions of social justice.  In their hands, democracy will flourish or decay.

A landmark work of political theory, Future Politics challenges readers to rethink what it means to be free or equal, what it means to have power or property, and what it means for a political system to be just or democratic.  In a time of rapid and relentless changes, it is a book about how we can – and must – regain control. 

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Egypt by Robert Springborg

The Blurb On The Back:

Egypt is one of the few great empires of antiquity that exists today as a nation state.  Despite its extraordinary record of national endurance, the pressures to which Egypt is currently subjected and which are bound to intensify are already straining the ties that hold its political community together, while rendering the task of governing it ever more difficult.

In this timely book, Robert Springborg explains how a country with such a long and impressive history has come to find itself in this parlous condition.  As Egyptians become steadily more divided by class, religion, region, ethnicity, gender, and contrasting views of how, by whom, and for what purposes they should be governed, so their rulers become ever more fearful, repressive, and unrepresentative. Caught in a downward spiral in which poor governance is both cause and consequence, Egypt is facing a future so uncertain that it could end up resembling neighbouring countries that have collapsed under similar loads.  The Egyptian “hot spot”, Springborg argues, is destined to become steadily hotter, with ominous implications for its peoples, the Middle East and North Africa, and the wider world. 

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The Shock Doctrine Of The Left by Graham Jones

The Blurb On The Back:

Shocks, from natural disasters to military catastrophes, have long been exploited by the state to impose privatisation, cuts and rampant free markets.  This book argues that the left can use such moments of chaos to achieve emancipation.

Graham Jones illustrates how everyone can help to exploit these shocks and bring about a new world of compassion and care.  He examines how combining mutually reinforcing strategies of ‘smashing, building, healing and taming’ can become the basis of a unified left.  His vivid personal experience underpins a compelling, practical vision for activism, from the scale of the individual body to the global social movement.

This bold book is a toolkit for revolution for activists and radical millennials everywhere. 

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The Real Politics Of The Horn Of Africa by Alex de Waal

The Blurb On The Back:

The Real Politics Of The Horn Of Africa delves into the business of politics in the turbulent, war-torn countries of north-east Africa.  It is a contemporary history of how politicians, generals and insurgents bargain over money and power, and use violence to achieve their goals.

Drawing on a thirty-year career in Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, including experience as a participant in high-level peace talks, Alex de Waal provides a unique and compelling account of how these countries’ leaders run their governments, conduct their business, fight their wars and, occasionally, make peace.  De Waal shows how leaders operate on a business model, securing funds for their ‘political budgets’, which they use to rent the provisional allegiances of army officers, militia commanders, tribal chiefs and party officials at the going rate.  This political marketplace is eroding the institutions of government and reversing state building – and it is fuelled by oil exports, aid funds and western military assistance for counter-terrorism and peacekeeping.

The Real Politics Of The Horn Of Africa is a sharp and disturbing book with profound implications for international relations, development and peacemaking in the Horn of Africa and beyond.

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Directorate S: The CIA And America’s Secret Wars In Afghanistan And Pakistan, 2001 – 2016 by Steve Coll

The Blurb On The Back:

In the wake of the terrible shock of 9/11, the CIA scrambled to work out how to destroy Bin Laden and his associated. The CIA had long familiarity with Afghanistan and had worked closely with the Taliban to defeat the Soviet Union there. Superficially the invasion was quick and efficient, but Bin Laden’s successful escape, together with that of much of the Taliban leadership, and a catastrophic failure to define the limits of NATO’s mission in a tough, impoverished country the size of Texas, created a quagmire, which has now lasted many years.

At the heart of the problem lay ‘Directorate S’, a highly secretive arm of the Pakistan state, which had been covertly arming and training the Taliban for years as part of a wider competition for global influence, and which assumed that the USA and its allies would soon be leaving.

This remarkable new book tells a powerful, bitter story of just how badly foreign policy decisions can go wrong. 

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A New Politics From The Left by Hilary Wainwright

The Blurb On The Back:

Millions passionately desire a viable alternative to austerity and neoliberalism, but they are sceptical of traditional leftist top-down solutions.

In this urgent polemic, Hilary Wainwright argues that this requires a new politics for the left that comes from the bottom up, based on participatory democracy and the everyday knowledge and creativity of each individual.  Political leadership should be about facilitation and partnership, not expert domination or paternalistic rule.

Wainwright uses lessons from recent movements and experiments to build a radical future vision that will be an inspiration for activists and radicals everywhere. 

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Syriza In Power by Costas Douzinas

The Blurb On The Back:

Amid the turmoil of economic crisis, Greece has become the first European experiment of left rule in a sea of neoliberalism. What happens when a government of the Left, committed to social justice and the reversal of austerity, is blackmailed into following policies it has fought against and strongly opposed? What can the experience of the Syriza government tell us about the prospects for the Left in the twenty-first century?

In this engaging and provocative book, Costas Douzinas uses his position as an ‘accidental politician’, unexpectedly propelled from academia into the world of Greek politics as a Syriza MP, to answer these urgent questions.  He examines the challenges facing Syriza since its ascent to power in 2015 and draws out the theoretical and political lessons from one of the boldest and most difficult experiments in governing from the Left in an age of neoliberalism and austerity.  

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The Ascendancy Of Finance by Joseph Vogl

The Blurb On The Back:

The global financial crisis of 2008 ushered in a system of informal decision-making in the grey zone between economics and politics.  Legitimised by a rhetoric of emergency, ad hoc bodies have usurped democratically elected governments.  In line with the neoliberal credo, the recent crisis has been used to re-align executive power with the interests of the finance industry.

In this important book, Joseph Vogl offers a longer perspective on these developments, showing how the dynamics of modern finance capitalism have always rested on a complex and constantly evolving relationship between private creditors and the state.  He argues that over the last three centuries, finance has become a ‘fourth power’, marked by the systematic interconnection of treasury and finance, of political and private economic interests.

The Ascendency Of Finance provides valuable and unsettling insight into the genesis of modern power and where it truly resides.

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What Everyone Needs To Know About Tax by James Hannam

The Blurb On The Back:

What the taxman hopes you won’t find out.

What Everyone Needs To Know About Tax is an entertaining and informative guide to the tax system in the United Kingdom.  This easy to understand explanation of tax and tax policy is written for the layman, with no accounting or legal background necessary.  It lifts the fog surrounding the latest political arguments and public controversies over taxation, including the effect of Brexit, whether multinational companies are unfairly avoiding their dues, the special privileges of the ultra-wealthy non-doms and more.

Tax expert and historian James Hannam gives insight on every aspect of the tax system, along with practical case studies illustrating how taxation functions in the real world.  He shows how taxes are kept as invisible as possible, why there are so many different taxes and how they almost all end up being paid by ordinary people.  Having read this book, you will:

–           Find out how much of your money goes in taxes without your noticing it

–           Understand the logic behind the wrinkles and foibles in the UK tax system

–           See through the cant of politicians and the media on the subject of tax

Above all, this book shows how, when it comes to tax, there are no easy answers.  May yourself a better-informed voter and taxpayer by reading What Everyone Needs To Know About Tax!

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Loos Save Lives: How Sanitation And Clean Water Help Prevent Poverty, Disease And Death by Seren Boyd

The Blurb On The Back:

The humble loo is a lifesaver.  Over two billion people in the world don’t have access to a proper toilet or clean water to drink or to wash their hands – and that stinks!  Access to sanitation and clean water literally saves lives.  Loos also help schools.  When children have access to a safe, clean loo at school, they are more likely to stay in education, get better jobs and escape poverty.

Toilet Twinning is a charity that empowers people in low-income countries to build proper toilets and help make their communities healthier, safer and more prosperous.  This book visits some of the places Toilet Twinning have worked in, across Africa, Asia and Central America, and reveals the stories of the people they have helped.  It’s packed with stats, facts and lots of information all about water and waste.  

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Narcocapitalism by Laurent de Sutter

The Blurb On The Back:

What do the invention of anaesthetics in the middle of the nineteenth century, the Nazis’ use of cocaine, and the development of Prozac have in common?  The answer is that they’re all products of the same logic that defines out contemporary era: ‘the age of anaesthesia’.  Laurent de Sutter shows how large aspects of our lives are now characterised by the management of our emotions through drugs, ranging from the everyday use of sleeping pills to hard narcotics.  Chemistry has become so much a part of us that we can’t even see how much it has changed us.

In this era, being a subject doesn’t simply mean being subjected to powers that decide our lives: it means that our very emotions have been outsourced to chemical stimulation.  Yet we don’t understand why the drugs that we take are unable to free us from fatigue and depression, and from the absence of desire that now characterises our psycho-political condition.  We have forgotten what it means to be excited because our only excitement has become drug-induced.  We have to abandon the narcotic stimulation that we’ve come to rely on and find a way back to the collective excitement that is narcocapitalism’s greatest fear. 

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What Is Russia Up To In The Middle East? by Dmitri Trenin

The Blurb On The Back:

The eyes of the world are on the Middle East.  Today more than ever, this deeply troubled region is the center of power games between major global players vying or international influence.  Absent from this scene for the past quarter century, Russia is now back with gusto.  Yet its motivations, decision-making processes, and strategic objectives remain hard to pin down.

So just what is Russia up to in the Middle East?  In this hard-hitting essay, leading analyst of Russian affairs Dmitri Trenin cuts through the hyperbole to offer a clear and nuanced analysis of Russia’s involvement in the Middle East and its regional and global ramifications.  Russia, he argues, cannot and will not supplant the United States as the leading external power in the region, but its actions are accelerating changes that will fundamentally reshape the international system in the next two decades. 

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The Way Of The Strangers: Encounters With The Islamic State by Graeme Wood

The Blurb On The Back:

Graeme Wood’s The Way Of Strangers is a riveting, intimate journey into the minds of the Islamic State’s true believers, one which up-ends our understanding of their psychology, character and aims.

From the streets of Cairo to the mosques of London to the suburbs of Melbourne, Wood, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, interviews supporters, recruiters and sympathisers of the world’s most infamous jihadist group.  We meet an Egyptian tailor who once made bespoke suits for Paul Newman and now wants to live under Sharia; a garrulous Australian convert who translates the group’s sermons and threats into English; and a self-taught Muslim cleric who is now determined to see America, the nation of his birth, drenched in blood.  Drawing on insights from a wide spectrum of Islamic scholars, Wood explores the group’s apocalyptic dogma and the theology that influences its expansionist project.

The Islamic State is bent on murder and apocalypse, but its recruits find meaning and fellowship in a utopian dream.  This appeal of the Islamic State is key to understanding it – and predicting what its followers will do next.

With on-the-ground reporting, vivid character studies and clear-eyed analysis, The Way of Strangers uncovers a movement that has inspired tens of thousands of people to abandon or uproot their families.  It will shape how we see a new generation of terrorists.  

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Can The Internet Strengthen Democracy? by Stephen Coleman

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From its inception as a public communication network, the Internet was regarded by many people as a potential means of escaping from the stranglehold of top-down, stage-managed politics.  If hundreds of millions of people could be the producers as well as the receivers of political messages, could that invigorate democracy?  If political elites fail to respond to such energy, where will it leave them?

In this book, renowned scholar of political communication Stephen Coleman argues that the best way to strengthen democracy is to reinvent it for the twenty-first century.  Governments and global institutions have failed to seize the opportunity to democratize their ways of operating, but online citizens are ahead of them, developing practices that could revolutionize the exercise of political power. 

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101 Ways To Win An Election by Mark Pack and Edward Maxfield

The Blurb On The Back:

In politics there are no prizes for second place.

Packed with advice and practical examples, this guide reveals the insider secrets and skills you need to make sure you’re a winner on election day. In easily digestible bite-sized chapters, seasoned campaign professionals Mark Pack and Edward Maxfield share successful tactics from around the globe to help steer you on the course to power.

Learn to hate trees, always have more people than chairs and never, ever, forget the law of the left nostril – head those lessons and win that election.

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