Reading Matters

Ecosocialist Bookshelf, November 2022

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Six new books and six recent essays: important reading for reds and greens

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Ecosocialist Bookshelf is a monthly column, 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.

Six new books

Adrienne Buller
On the Illusions of Green Capitalism

Manchester University Press, 2022
A searing and insightful critique that examines the fatal biases that have shaped the response of our governing institutions to climate and environmental breakdown. Buller shows what’s wrong with carbon pricing, ‘green growth’, and the commodification of nature, exposing the self-defeating logic of ‘solutions’ based on creating new opportunities for profit.

David Camfield
Capitalism and the Politics of Climate Change

PM Press & Fernwood Books, 2022
Only disruptive mass social movements can force governments to make the changes we need. Camfield argues that even a ravaged planet is worth fighting for and that ultimately the only solution to the ecological crisis created by capitalism is a transition to ecosocialism.

Beatrice Adler-Bolton & Artie Vierkant
Verso, 2022
Disability and healthcare activists Adler-Bolton and Vierkant argue for a radical new politics of solidarity built on an understanding that we must not base the value of human life on one’s willingness or ability to be productive within the current political economy.

Elena Conis
The Rise, Fall, and Toxic Return of DDT

Bold Type Books, 2022
The story of an infamous poison that left toxic bodies and decimated wildlife in its wake — and now it’s back! Conis follows DDT from postwar farms, factories, and suburban enclaves to the floors of Congress, where industry barons and Madison Avenue brain trusts are selling the idea that a little poison in our food and bodies was nothing to worry about.

Jennifer Raff
A Genetic History of the Americas

Twelve Books, 2022
Studies of complete genomes are providing new insights into who the first peoples in the Americas were, how and why they made the crossing, how they dispersed south, and how they lived. An overview of these new histories throughout North and South America, and a glimpse into how the tools of genetics reveal details about human history and evolution.

Seirian Sumner
The Secret Life of Wasps

Harper Collins, 2022
Everyone worries about the collapse of bee populations. But what about their cousins, the much-maligned wasps? Wasps are 100 million years older than bees; there are ten times more wasp species than there are bees. As predators and pollinators, they keep the planet’s ecological balance in check. A world without wasps would be just as ecologically devastated as one without bees, or beetles, or butterflies.

Six recent essays