Reading, red and green

Ecosocialist Bookshelf, June 2017

Five new books on climate change and human health, ecology and imperialism, environmental economics, capitalism and universities, and the meaning of hegemony

Ecosocialist Bookshelf is an occasional feature. We can’t review every book we receive, but we will list and link to any that seem relevant to Climate & Capitalism’s mission, along with excerpts from the publishers’ descriptions. Inclusion of a book does not imply endorsement, or that we agree with everything (or even anything!) the book says. Titles listed here may be reviewed in future.


Anthony McMichael
CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE HEALTH OF NATIONS:
Famines, Fevers, and the Fate of Populations

Oxford University Press, 2017
From the very beginning of our species some five million years ago, human biology has evolved in response to cooling temperatures, new food sources, and changing geography. The prosperity and comfort that an agrarian society provides relies on the assumption that the environment will largely remain stable. Global warming is disrupting this balance, just as other climate-related upheavals have tested human societies throughout history. This sweeping book is not only a rigorous, innovative, and fascinating exploration of how the climate affects the human condition, but also an urgent call to recognize our species’ utter reliance on the earth as it is.

Corey Ross
ECOLOGY AND POWER IN THE AGE OF EMPIRE:
Europe and the Transformation of the Tropical World

Oxford University Press, 2017
The first wide-ranging environmental history of the heyday of European imperialism, from the late nineteenth century to the end of the colonial era. Covering the overseas empires of all the major European powers, Corey Ross argues that tropical environments were not merely a stage on which conquest and subjugation took place, but were an essential part of the colonial project, profoundly shaping the imperial enterprise even as they were shaped by it.

Kate Raworth
DOUGHNUT ECONOMICS:
Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist

Chelsea Green, 2017
Renegade economist Kate Raworth sets out seven key ways to fundamentally reframe our understanding of what economics is and does. Named after the now-iconic “doughnut” image that Raworth first drew to depict a sweet spot of human prosperity (an image that appealed to the Occupy Movement, the United Nations, eco-activists, and business leaders alike), Doughnut Economics offers a radically new compass for guiding global development, government policy, and corporate strategy, and sets new standards for what economic success looks like.

Henry Heller
THE CAPITALIST UNIVERSITY:
The Transformations of Higher Education in the United States, 1945-2016

Pluto Press, 2016
The university is in crisis. Skyrocketing student debt, decreased public financing, the weakening of tenure, the rise of adjunct labor, battles over the value of the humanities, calls for skills focused instruction—all the problems besetting contemporary higher education in the United States are interrelated, and they can all be traced to one fact: campuses and classrooms are now battlegrounds in the struggle between knowledge for its own sake and commodified learning.

Perry Anderson
THE H-WORD:
The Peripeteia of Hegemony

Verso, 2017
Few terms are so widely used in the literature of international relations and political science, with so little agreement about their exact meaning, as hegemony. In the first full historical study of its fortunes as a concept, Perry Anderson traces its emergence in Ancient Greece and its rediscovery during the upheavals of 1848–1849 in Germany. He then follows its checkered career in revolutionary Russia, fascist Italy, Cold War America, Gaullist France, Thatcher’s Britain, post-colonial India, feudal Japan, Maoist China, eventually arriving at the world of Merkel and May, Bush and Obama.

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Posted in Books & Reports, Capitalism, Climate Change, Health threats, History, Marxist theory

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