Ecosocialist Bookshelf, March 2024

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10 new books for reds and greens. To change the world we must understand it. To understand, we must read.

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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!) it says.

Climate & Capitalism has received review copies of some of these books, but we do not receive any payment for reviews or for reader purchases.

Ajay Singh Chaudhary
Politics in a Burning World

Replacing modern fairy tales and wishful thinking with science and radical politics, Chaudhary shows that the climate catastrophe demands a bitter struggle between those attached to the power, wealth, and security of business-as-usual and all of us, those exhausted, in every sense of the word, by the status quo.

Sean Creaven
CONTAGION CAPITALISM: Pandemics in the Corporate Age
MODERNITY AND THE PANDEMIC: Decivilization, Imperialism and Covid-19
A major contribution to ecosocialist theory and analysis. In two ambitious volumes, noted Marxist philosopher Sean Creaven critiques corporate-capitalist control of the economy, the state, and science, and the grave consequences this has on global public health policy, the ecological crisis of sustainability, and zoonotic pandemic events such as COVID-19. Not an easy read, and not cheap, but highly recommended.

John Vidal
How Diseases Emerge When We Harm Nature

As the climate crisis reaches a fever pitch and ecological destruction continues unabated, we are just beginning to reckon with the effects of environmental collapse on our global health. Vidal exposes how the way we farm, what we eat, the places we travel to and the scientific experiments we conduct create the perfect conditions for deadly new diseases to emerge and spread faster and further than ever.

James Walvin
Slavery in the Americas and the Origins of Global Power

University of California Press
A comprehensive study of how slavery and enslaved people shaped the modern world. The enforced transportation and labor of millions of Africans became a massive social and economic force, catalyzing the rapid development of multiple new and enormous trading systems with profound global consequences.

Sven-Eric Liedman
The Philosophy of Friedrich Engels and Nineteenth Century Science

What is the nature of the ‘laws’ that Marx and Engels sought to formulate for the development of capitalism? How do they relate to Engels’s attempt to formulate a scientific philosophy and worldview? This pathbreaking work that situates Marx and Engels’s writing against the background of the entire nineteenth-century world of scientific problems, from physics to historiography.

Nick Dearden
How Big Pharma Destroys Global Health

A deep dig into the way medicines are made finds that Big Pharma is failing us, with catastrophic consequences. Big Pharma is more interested in profit than health. Covid-19 is only the latest episode in a long history of financializing medicine, focused not on researching new medicines but on building monopolies.

Michael Mascarenhas
Environmental Racism and  Michigan’s Water War

University of California Press
How local communities fought for ownership of America’s third largest water system against am authoritarian state willing to maintain white supremacy at any cost — including poisoning an entire city and shutting off water to thousands of people.  A  fresh perspective on the ties between urban austerity, environmental harm, and racist agendas in predominantly Black and brown cities.

Tad Delay
The Ideologies of Climate Change

The scientific evidence of dangerous climate change us indisputable — but resistance to all forms of action remains a major political force. Will capitalists ever voluntarily walk away from hundreds of trillions of dollars in fossil fuels unless they are forced to do so? And, if not, who will apply the necessary pressure?

Bill McGuire
An Inhabitant’s Guide

ICON Books
McGuire argues that we cannot avoid disastrous, all-pervasive, climate breakdown that will come as a hammer blow to global society and economy. A blunt picture of the world our grandchildren grow up in; a world that we catch only glimpses of in today’s blistering heatwaves, calamitous wildfires and ruinous floods and droughts. Bleak though it is, the picture is one we must all face up to.