Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Mandarins by Simone de Beauvoir

The book follows the personal lives of a close-knit group of French intellectuals from the end of WWII to the mid fifties. The title refers to the scholar-bureaucrats of imperial China. The characters at times see themselves as ineffectual "mandarins" as they attempt to discern what role, if any, intellectuals will have in influencing the political landscape of the world after WWII. As in De Beauvoir's other works, themes of Feminism, Existentialism, and personal morality are explored as the characters navigate not only the intellectual and political landscape but also their shifting relationships with each other.



Sunday, February 21, 2010

Against the Law: Labour Protests in China’s Rustbelt and Sunbelt by Ching Kwan Lee

In a superb recent piece in the London Review of Books, Perry Anderson described this work as the following: “Although quite different in mode and scale, in power nothing like it has appeared since E.P. Thompson’s Making of the English Working Class. In fact, it could well have been called The Unmaking and Remaking of the Chinese Working Class. The product of seven years’ research and interview work on the ground, it is an ethnographic and analytic masterpiece.”  High enough praise for me.  Be sure to buy a hardcopy if you can afford it. Comrade Lee’s scholarship should be supported.



Friday, February 19, 2010

Ends in Sight by Gregory Elliott

Reading through this now, also planning to read Elliott’s older work on Perry Anderson at some point.  Description and links below…


Following the disappearance of the Soviet Union, scholars across the political spectrum tackled the world-historical significance of the end of communism. This book addresses the balance-sheets of modern political history offered by three writers -- Francis Fukuyama, Eric Hobsbawm and Perry Anderson -- comparing them with the future projected by Marx in The Communist Manifesto. Gregory Elliott argues that Marx is central to all three accounts and that, along with the Manifesto, they form a quartet of analyses of the results and prospects of capitalism and socialism, which are of enduring significance for the Left. This book provides a readable survey of key historical and political thinkers that will appeal to anyone interested in modern political thought.


rapidshare (formatted, ebook-ready PDF)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

History and Class Consciousness by György Lukács

In between hitting on other people’s girlfriends I’ve spent a portion of my Valentine’s weekend reading Louis Althusser and buying his "epistemological break" argument.  I’m more of a fan than I should be, perhaps I should reread this 1923 classic to cleanse my system?  See Wikipedia for more info.


ifile.it (scanned PDF)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Who’s Gerardo?

The mildly amusing poll on the right sidebar has prompted this question a few times.  I’ve never been more disappointed in my life.

Listen and learn:

The Age of Extremes: 1914-1991 by Eric Hobsbawm

As promised….

British historian Hobsbawm is most noted for his three-volume history of the "long 19th century" (1789-1914). Here he turns his attention to what he terms the "short 20th century" ( 1914-1991), which roughly coincides with his own life. It also corresponds to the lifespan of Soviet Communism, which naturally receives a major share of attention in this account. But Hobsbawm covers ideas more than events in this book, which is international in scope. In a work addressed to "the non-academic reader with a general interest in the modern world," he assimilates mountains of information from all over the century and tries to arrange it into a cohesive whole. The result is certainly not light reading, but it is a book that most libraries will need.


rapidshare (DJVU format)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Age of Capital: 1848-1875 by Eric Hobsbawm

In this book, Eric Hobsbawm chronicles the events and trends that led to the triumph of private enterprise and its exponents in the years between 1848 and 1875. Along with Hobsbawm's other volumes, this book constitutes and intellectual key to the origins of the world in which we now live.

Next to EP Thompson, whose opus I posted a few days ago, Hobsbawm is the historian of the 20th century.  The Age of Extremies is forthcoming sometime next week.


rapidshare (DJVU format)

New Left Review 61 Jan/Feb 2010

NLR cover image

I’ve held back on posting my New Left Review archives since I’d like to encourage people to subscribe to that journal, despite some of their recent political shortcomings (I personally can’t stand much of Tariq Ali).  However, this issue was particularly loaded with prime contributions… so enjoy.  As always, support the site the obvious way if you’re so inclined.  Or don’t.  I’m sure my liver will thank you.


rapidshare (.pdf in a .zip file, no password)

Monday, February 1, 2010

If You're an Egalitarian, How Come You're So Rich? by G. A. Cohen

This book presents G. A. Cohen's Gifford Lectures, delivered at the University of Edinburgh in 1996. Focusing on Marxism and Rawlsian liberalism, Cohen draws a connection between these thought systems and the choices that shape a person's life. In the case of Marxism, the relevant life is his own: a communist upbringing in the 1940s in Montreal, which induced a belief in a strongly socialist egalitarian doctrine. The narrative of Cohen's reckoning with that inheritance develops through a series of sophisticated engagements with the central questions of social and political philosophy.


4shared.com (PDF, 5 x 8 ebook)

The Making of the English Working Class by E.P. Thompson

The Making of the English Working Class.gif

We all love and miss Howard Zinn, but if he’s your favorite historian and you’ve never read this classic…

“I am seeking to rescue the poor stockinger, the Luddite cropper, the "obsolete" hand-loom weaver, the "utopian" artisan, and even the deluded follower of Joanna Southcott, from the enormous condescension of posterity.” ~ (Thompson, 12)


ifile.it (RARed,DJVU… this isn’t my scan, can’t take credit for it)