Reviews

The Audacity of Disappointment: Barack Obama’s A Promised Land

Picture Credit: Karl-Ludwig Poggemann The President of the United States is having that recurring dream again. He finds himself on an unmarked street in an unknown neighbourhood; possibly on foot, possibly on bike, but distinctly alone regardless. The physical trappings of the office – motorcades, security details – are absent, as are the emotional weights. His decisions are no longer of consequence.…

Labour’s two camps: a response to Open Labour’s foreign policy pamphlet

As was probably expected, Open Labour’s pamphlet on foreign policy, launched this week, has caused some controversy. Co-authored by Harry Pitts and Paul Thompson, the pamphlet seeks to develop a new foreign policy for Labour, breaking from the ‘two camps’ mentality and narrowly conceived ‘anti-imperialism’ of the Corbyn leadership, which Pitts and Thompson argue is unsuited to the post-Cold War world. Much…

Review: Red Metropolis: Socialism and the Government of London by Owen Hatherley

Red Metropolis is a strange book, largely because, somewhat by its own admission, it’s not really a book at all: it’s somewhere between an overgrown essay and a coping mechanism. This is not to say that it is bad (quite the contrary: it is good) but to say that it is somewhat hard to pin down, accordingly, somewhat hard to write about.…

Books that Informed Our Politics: The Carbon Diaries

One of mine and my friend Beth’s favourite pastimes is talking about all the weird, ill conceived and forgotten novels, primarily fantasy and dystopia, that we read as children and young teenagers. We were both extremely bookish in the way that only adolescents can be, reading indiscriminately and without coming up for air, plundering book shops, school and local libraries. Born two…

The Social Review Podcast Episode 62: Left Out of This Land

Joe, Lines and Julia meet to discuss two big new books about Corbyn’s Labour Party: ‘This Land: The Story of a Movement’ by Owen Jones, and ‘Left Out: The Inside Story of Labour Under Corbyn’ by Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire. The team discuss the book’s different conclusions, whether it casts new light on Corbyn’s Labour or not, the importance of interpersonal…

On The Internet No One Can Hear You Scream (Because You Don’t Have A Mouth)

Harlan Ellison’s 1967 work “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream” looms large on the internet. The Hugo award winning short story tells the tale of the only five people left alive after civilisation has been wiped out by a supercomputer called “AM”. Initially a weapons system in an escalated cold war (“Allied Mastercomputer”), AM becomes self aware (and namewise moves…

Review: A People’s History of Tennis

Credit: UA Archives – Upper Arlington Public Library (Repository: UA Historical Society) I have never considered myself a “sports person”.  In my salad days, I hardly brimmed with natural athleticism. To me, school sport was at best an irritant and at worst an exercise in humiliation–I faked injuries in order to do my homework in the library (I know, I know) and declared…

Review: Yesterday’s Man: The Case Against Joe Biden by Branko Marcetic

Picture Credit: Wiki Famously, Franklin Roosevelt was described by none other than Supreme Court Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes as possessing a “second class intellect but a first class temperament”. While perhaps they wouldn’t say as much out loud, one gets the feeling that this is an epithet with which supporters of Joseph R. Biden, former Vice President, 6-term Senator from Delaware…