Archive | Review

  • ‘Financialisation’ and the Tendency to Stagnation

      John Bellamy Foster and Fred Magdoff, The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences, New York: Monthly Review Press/Kharagpur, India: Cornerstone Publications, 2009, pp 160, US$12.95/Rs 100. Beginning with the failure of two Bear Stearns hedge funds and the consequent freezing of the high-risk collateralised debt obligations market in June 2007, the financial crisis deepened […]

  • Images of Women in the Maghreb: Persistent Clichés and Changing Realities

      L’image de la femme au Maghreb (Images of Women in the Maghreb), a collection of articles edited by Barzakh in Algeria and by Actes Sud and the Mediterranean Center for the Humanities (MMSH) in France, is a work of research by four writers on the representation of women in their countries.  The project was […]

  • Humanitarian Blues

      Conor Foley, The Thin Blue Line: How Humanitarianism Went to War, Verso, 2008. All is not well within the world of humanitarian aid organisations.  In his new book, The Thin Blue Line, Conor Foley, an experienced aid worker, discusses many of the problems associated with the burgeoning relationship between contemporary aid organisations and recent […]

  • Gringo: Reviewing a North American Anti-imperialist Student’s Experience of Latin America

      Chesa Boudin, Gringo: A Coming of Age in Latin America, 240 pages, Scribner (April 2009). Chesa Boudin’s South American travel memoir and coming of age story Gringo is good and useful on several levels.  It’s a poetically personal On the Road for a new generation and a vivid primer in the human cost of […]

  • Reading, Writing, and Union-Building

    “It’s a well-established fact,” reports the New York Times Book Review, “that Americans are reading fewer books than they used to.”1  According to the National Endowment for the Arts, more than 50% of those surveyed haven’t cracked a book in the previous year.  In labor circles, the percentage of recent readers may be even smaller.  […]

  • The Zionist Masquerade

      James Renton.  The Zionist Masquerade: The Birth of the Anglo-Zionist Alliance 1914-1918.  New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.  xi + 231 pp. ISBN 978-0-230-54718-6; $69.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-230-54718-6. The word “masquerade” is not one to be used lightly by historians.  Obviously, James Renton is aware of this, and he strives to justify his choice of […]

  • Che Guevara: The Economics of Revolution

      ‘I didn’t know Che had any economic ideas’ has been a frequent reply I’ve received when telling people about the topic of my research and my book Che Guevara: The Economics of Revolution.   It reflects the caricature of Guevara as a romantic guerrilla fighter with idealist notions of how human beings are motivated […]

  • Interview with Dongping Han, Author of The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village

      “Our community is expanding: MRZine viewers have increased in number, as have the readers of our editions published outside the United States and in languages other than English.  We sense a sharp increase in interest in our perspective and its history.   Many in our community have made use of the MR archive we […]

  • Everyday Life in Central Asia

      “Our community is expanding: MRZine viewers have increased in number, as have the readers of our editions published outside the United States and in languages other than English.  We sense a sharp increase in interest in our perspective and its history.   Many in our community have made use of the MR archive we […]

  • Civil Society against Democracy?

      Amaney A. Jamal.   Barriers to Democracy: The Other Side of Social Capital in Palestine and the Arab World.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.  216 pp.  $37.50 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-691-12727-9. Amaney Jamal’s central insight in this carefully researched book may seem obvious once it is stated.  Her “overall hypothesis” is simply that “linkages to […]

  • Ferment and Fetters in the Study of Kurdish Nationalism

    Hakan Ozoglu. Kurdish Notables and the Ottoman State: Evolving Identities, Competing Loyalties, and Shifting Boundaries.   Albany: State University of New York Press, 2004.  xv + 186 pp.  $35.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-7914-5993-5. Identifying Kurdish nationalism as “one of the most explosive and critical predicaments in the Middle East,” the author notes that “the subject regrettably […]

  • Tracing the Development of Islamic Criminal Law

      Rudolph Peters.   Crime and Punishment in Islamic Law: Theory and Practice from the Sixteenth to the Twenty-first Century.   Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.  xi + 219 pp. $30.99 (paper), ISBN 978-0-521-79670-5; $74.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-521-79226-4. In his Crime and Punishment in Islamic Law, Rudolph Peters has provided an excellent, accessible, clearly delineated, […]

  • The Rise and Fall of the Arab Middle Class in the Middle East: Between Modernization, Nationalism, and Revolution

      Keith David Watenpaugh.   Being Modern in the Middle East: Revolution, Nationalism, Colonialism, and the Arab Middle Class.   Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006.  xi + 325 pp. $37.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-691-12169-7. One of the great modern landmarks of the city of Aleppo is the Baron Hotel.  The Mazloumians, a wealthy Armenian family of […]

  • Humanity’s Highest Need?The Politics of Art and Culture in Syria

      miriam cooke.   Dissident Syria: Making Oppositional Arts Official.   Durham: Duke University Press, 2007.  vii + 208 pp. Illustrations. $74.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8223-4016-4; $21.95 (paper), ISBN 978-0-8223-4035-5. To live and do research in Syria is to confront contradictions at almost every turn.  In a repressive state, artists not only create works that are […]

  • Making Environmentalism in Postsocialist Hungary

      Krista Harper.   Wild Capitalism: Environmental Activists and Post-Socialist Ecology in Hungary.   Boulder: Eastern European Monographs, 2006.  160 pp. $30.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-88033-592-8. Wild Capitalism offers a set of ethnographic essays on environmental activism in Hungary from the 1980s through the 1990s, in which Krista Harper “interrogates how the meanings of ‘environment,’ ‘citizenship,’ […]

  • Nationalism, Gender, and Politics in Egypt

      Beth Baron.  Egypt As a Woman: Nationalism, Gender, and Politics.   Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.  292 pp. $60.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-520-23857-2. In Egypt as a Woman Beth Baron explores the connections between Egyptian nationalism, gendered images and discourses of the nation, and the politics of elite Egyptian women from the late nineteenth […]

  • “Next Year We’ll Go Back. . .”: The History of Turkish “Guest Workers” in the Federal Republic of Germany

      Karin Hunn.   “Nächstes Jahr kehren wir zurück. . .”: Die Geschichte der türkischen “Gastarbeiter” in der Bundesrepublik.  Moderne Zeit: Neue Forschungen zur Gesellschafts- und Kulturgeschichte des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts.  Göttingen: Wallstein, 2005. 598 pp. Tables, bibliography.  EUR 46.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-3-89244-945-4. Karin Hunn’s meticulously researched, highly informative, and well-structured study is a […]

  • Multiplicity at the Heart of Asia: “Chinese Turkestan” in Broad Historical Perspective

      James Millward.   Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang.   New York Columbia University Press, 2007.  352 pp.  $41.50 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-231-13924-3. There are precious few well-written and well-researched books on Central Asia/Eurasia on any topic or period, especially for a non-specialist readership.  This magnificent survey history of an important heartland in the region […]

  • Solidarity Forever?

      William Minter, Gail Hovey, and Charles Cobb, Jr., eds.  No Easy Victories: African Liberation and American Activists over a Half Century, 1950-2000.   Trenton: Africa World Press, 2008. xvii + 248 pp. Illustrations, maps, notes, index.  $29.95 (paper), ISBN 978-1-59221-575-1. This is a remarkable and often insightful collection of essays and reflections, many of […]

  • The Politics of Malaria Eradication in the Holy Land

      Sandra M. Sufian.   Healing the Land and the Nation: Malaria and the Zionist Project in Palestine, 1920-1947.   Chicago  University of Chicago Press, 2007.   xviii + 385 pp.  $40.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-226-77935-5. In this meticulously researched book, Sandra M. Sufian, an assistant professor of medical humanities and history at the University of Illinois […]