Reading for change

Ecosocialist Bookshelf, April 2022

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Our monthly selection of new books for people who want to change the world

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Ecosocialist Bookshelf is a monthly Climate & Capitalism feature, hosted by Ian Angus. Books described here may be reviewed at length in future. Inclusion of a book does not imply endorsement, or that C&C agrees with everything (or even anything!) these books say.

Eric Williams
Penguin Classics, 2022
A new edition of a Marxist Classic! Arguing that the slave trade was at the heart of Britain’s economic progress, Eric Williams’s landmark study revealed the connections between capitalism and racism, and has influenced generations of historians ever since. Seventy years after its first publication, it remains absolutely essential reading for anyone who wants to understand racism, capitalism, and the origins of the modern world.

Olivier Besancenot and Michael Löwy
Translated by Todd Chretien
Haymarket Books, 2022
The Paris Commune of 1871 was one of the most important events in revolutionary history. This well-researched and very enjoyable short novel imagines what might have happened if Karl Marx and his eldest daughter Jenny had secretly travelled to Paris to meet and discuss with the most important leaders of the first proletarian revolution, and to draw their own conclusions about what it meant for humanity’s future.

Kevin E. Trenberth
Cambridge University Press, 2022
Energy flows play a fundamental role in the climate system and climate change. The distribution of heat, or more generally, energy, is the main determinant of weather patterns in the atmosphere and their impacts. Trenberth, one of the world’s most respected climate scientists, explains the role of global energy cycles and the disruptions responsible for our unevenly warming planet and changing weather extremes.

Richard Seymour
Reflections on Ecosocialism & Barbarism

Indigo Press, 2022
Seymour, an editor of the Marxist journal Salvage, describes his essays as “a chronicle of my ecological awakening.” They track his striving to comprehend the coming catastrophe, and his attempts to formulate a new global sensibility in which we value anew what matters unconditionally.

Jonathan Crary
Beyond the Digital Age to a Post-Capitalist World

Verso, 2022
The ‘digital age’ is synonymous with the disastrous terminal stage of global capitalism and its financialization of social existence, mass impoverishment, ecocide, and military terror. Crary surveys the wrecking of a living world by the internet complex and argues that the networks and platforms of transnational corporations are incompatible with a habitable earth and an egalitarian post-capitalist way of life.

Joseph L. Graves Jr. and Alan H. Goodman
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

The science is clear. Common categories like ‘Black,’ ‘white,’ and ‘Asian’ do not represent genetic differences among groups. The true source of inequities in health, wealth, and other life outcomes is racism, not race. Using an accessible question-and-answer format, the authors dismantle the malignant myth of gene-based racial differences, showing that antiracist principles are both just and backed by sound science.