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Offline Crudblud

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #260 on: May 27, 2016, 07:44:41 PM »
Günter Grass - The Tin Drum

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Offline rooster

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #261 on: May 31, 2016, 12:33:16 PM »
Neil Gaiman - Stardust

Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #262 on: June 08, 2016, 12:09:28 AM »
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - The Sign of Four

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Offline Crudblud

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #263 on: June 08, 2016, 12:31:33 AM »
Michel Houellebecq - Atomised

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Offline rooster

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #264 on: June 17, 2016, 12:20:35 PM »
Ann Rule - The Stranger Beside Me

I've read Ann Rule before, but I didn't realize she was actually friends with Ted Bundy before any of it even happened. A true crime author is friends with one of America's most prolific serial killers and she didn't even fucking know it. It's fantastic. She was even writing about his murders as they happened and when they finally had the name 'Ted' to go on, she offered him up to her cop friends as a possibility... but could he have possibly done it? The man she spent so many nights with at the crisis center hotline talking down suicide callers? The man who always wanted to walk her to her car just to make sure she got there safely? The book is great, she goes back and forth from describing her friend and writing about their communications to reporting on horrific and violent crimes and you somehow have to see it as the same person. Ann Rule really struggles with a lot of emotions in this one.

Also,

Neil Gaiman - Neverwhere

Offline Dionysios

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #265 on: July 10, 2016, 07:19:58 PM »
'Devils in Amber - The Baltics'
By Phillip Bonosky

A history of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia from 1918 to 1991 published in 1992.  I am interested in books that educate with perspectives and knowledge which is unfamiliar, and this book delivers since it totally goes against the nigh universal anti-communist trend of the late 1980's - criticizing, for example, the removal of communist statues at that time as an ignorance of the lessons of WWII and their liberators.

I liked a passage about the failure of American propaganda in communist countries during the majority of the Cold War not because it was blocked (it wasn't), but because it's lack of knowledge and familiarity of actual conditions and its agenda became so obvious to peoples in those countries. 

I reckon that Bonosky's account of how a genuine old school nationalism that defeated Nazism and harmonized communism was gradually replaced during the 1970's and 1980's by a shallow nationalism that harmonized with American propaganda.

It's nice to see a book from the 1990's which accounts for those events and yet written in the (quite edifying) style of old school communist books of the 1930's and 40's.

I think the historical trends traced in this book have since continued on the same paths since it was written with regard to things like American engineering of elections in foreign countries such as the Orange "revolution" in Ukraine and similar events in Georgia and eastern Europe. Gerald Sussman wrote a great book about American rigging elections and puppet governments in Eastern Europe which is a good follow up to this one.  I just picked up both of these, and their really great. Sussman's book nails down the major government and corporate organizations that make the propaganda part of it in particular.

'Branding Democracy: US Regime Change in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe'
By Gerald Sussman

Offline Dionysios

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #266 on: July 10, 2016, 07:58:37 PM »
Not that Putin is a Marxist (he isn't), but it's worth noting that at the opposite end of the spectrum from Gerald Sussman would be anti-Putin books such as 'Faking Democracy' by Andrew Wilson of Yale. The agenda of such books are like fearing a German Shepard while ignoring a combative lioness that's next to you.

Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #267 on: July 10, 2016, 10:42:09 PM »
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Offline Dionysios

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #268 on: July 13, 2016, 02:10:16 AM »
'The Negro Question in the U.S.' (1936)
By Sol Auerbach
aka James S. Allen (pseudonym)
http://www.marx2mao.com/Other/NQ36.pdf

A pretty thorough and methodical history of blacks in the South from the end of Reconstruction to communist party led unionizing and integration campaigns in the south in the 1930's and concluding with chapters proposing a sovereign predominantly black interracial communist government in the US South and the confiscation of land and property from rich whites and its redistribution to poor blacks and whites.

I think the book is an ideal prelude to Harry Haywood's autobiography 'Black Bolshevik' which describes a predominantly black communist yet interracial militant (as in armed and often willing to take on southern police) sharecropping Union in Alabama in the 1930's which spread to other states and was a significant step towards dismantling the strongholds of American power in the South and which failed not because of racist southerners with guns but because CPUSA chairman Earl Browder forced the abandonment of the program about 1936.

Musician Pete Seeger in an interview mentioned a book entitled 'The Challenge of Interracial Unionism' which is a history of the perseverance of non-conformist interracial mine worker unions in Alabama from the 1870's to the 1920's which indicates to me that Alabama apparently preserved the essence of the antebellum Underground Railroad throughout the Jim Crow era.

Harry Haywood also wrote a classic entitled 'Negro Liberation' in 1948 which argues for a sovereign communist South and which criticizes black conformist groups like the NAACP and the Urban League which in spite of their rhetoric have leaders like the Democrat Party which bows to the immoral white power structure at every critical point and run away from ideas which are deemed too radical and beyond the pale. In other words, they are the black bourgousie conformists - although it's necessary to recognize the white chauvinism is the chief problem.

Offline Dionysios

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #269 on: July 13, 2016, 02:16:00 AM »
Historian and educator James Lloewen (Lies My Teacher Told Me) seems to me to be one of the best historians of racial issues around. Once I was turned onto his writings, I bought up all of his books. I particularly like his 'Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader'.

Sol Auerbach (a communist Jew from Russia who became the communist party's expert on Afro-American issues in the 1930's along with Harry Haywood) also wrote an uncommon history of Reconstruction celebrating its triumphs unlike the more familiar and predominant southern historical point of view).

James Lloewen
http://sundown.afro.illinois.edu
« Last Edit: July 13, 2016, 02:21:50 AM by Dionysios »

Offline Dionysios

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #270 on: July 13, 2016, 02:38:12 AM »
When I read or contemplate books like those of Harry Haywood or Sol Auerbach, it occasionally brings to mind themes like country music group Alabama's 'Song of the South' which has an interesting theme and fitting music with alas chickenshit conformist lyrics which is doubtless why the song was permitted to become a hit. If the song was given completely new lyrics advocating the old communist themes of Haywood and Auerbach or at least Pete Seeger style, it would be so much more intellectually satisfying and verily important.

That's what I like most about Pete Seeger is that his music is subordinate to lyrics since he recognizes music has a purpose. It was a consistent principle with him. Apologize if this last post appears to belong more in a music thread, but the theme is connected to the books I mentioned above.


Offline Dionysios

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #271 on: July 14, 2016, 04:34:21 AM »
'Pete Seeger in His Own Words'

This book is an autobiography of sorts which consists exclusively only of things written and said by Pete Seeger put together by the editor to form his life story.

It especially dwells on his wisdom and also interesting history of music, musicians, the music industry its interaction with people and politics over the decades and trends and insights therein: from the 1930's to the Obama era.

(At Obama's inauguration, Bruce Springsteen played with Seeger and introduced him as the "father of American folk music."
« Last Edit: July 14, 2016, 04:37:56 AM by Dionysios »

Offline Dionysios

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #272 on: July 16, 2016, 08:31:05 PM »
'Origin of the Family, Private Property & the State' (1892)
By Engels

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1884/origin-family/

I had not paid attention to this book before understanding some of its themes as quoted in a 1936 economics for beginners book entitled 'Political Economy' by Leontiev of which I'll post about more when I finish it.

From my perspective, one thing I initially surmised which a check of its contents has actually further confirmed is that this book does not contradict biblical and Christian views about marriage. Of course, Engels was an adherent of biological evolution who questioned or even rejected what the Bible says about marriage, but all that is simply totally irrelevant to the majority of this book of which the first part accurately covers marriage, family and community in diverse cultures in the ancient world - generally what the Bible calls the Gentiles. Without diving into detail, this complements rather than contradicts the Bible - at least to me. I certainly do disagree with Engels as to biological evolution, but I appreciate that this does not confuse or hamper his elucidation of this subject.

Engels shows that neither private property nor government have always existed and that both were invented and have always existed as instruments of exploitation. This considerably  illuminates much history about, for example, the Roman Empire and its decline. It also refutes some basic propaganda of capitalism which falsely asserts that private property is as fundamentally human as bread and butter. He distinguishes between personal property and private property and shows that much of what was communal property until recent times has been verily stolen by individuals who now claim sole rights and exclude others. The system of laws which legalize this new status are immoral and illegitimate. This approach of Friederich Engels appears to me to essentially agree with that of Saint John Chrysostom who stated that whatever a rich man possesses in excess of his needs is in fact stolen from the poor and needy.

Offline Blanko

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #273 on: September 25, 2016, 10:39:01 PM »
Martin Heidegger - Being and Time

Offline Dionysios

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #274 on: October 03, 2016, 01:41:56 AM »
'Negro Comrades of the Crown'
By Gerald Horne

A history of the loyalty of African-American slaves to the British Empire from 1776 to the U.S. civil war demonstrating among other things that one of the major causes of the American Revolution was america's antipathy to the abolitionist movement against slavery in London in the 1770's and that the US became the most right wing pro-slavery segment of the British empire later rewriting its own history to make itself an alleged beacon of freedom and democracy in much the same way that Ukrainian and German Nazi collaborators rewrite history transforming themselves into enemies of Hitler.

This book views early nineteenth century America as sinister and both the American founding fathers and the American revolution as evil.

The author is a very knowledgeable and prolific (judging by his output of non-conformist books) Marxist African-American university professor.

Offline Dionysios

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #275 on: October 03, 2016, 01:47:14 AM »
Apparently, Charles Dickens, H G Wells, and George Bernard Shaw are later British writers who preserved vestiges of this early nineteenth century British sympathy and support for African slaves and former slaves coupled with a sharp criticism of the United States of their time. It would be interesting to read their anti-American writings.

Offline Dionysios

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #276 on: October 03, 2016, 01:55:52 AM »
Another thought concerning this book is that of self determination of the predominantly black belt across the southern US as a sovereign nation.  This book tends to evidence international recognition of this black nation as an occupied people during the nineteenth century.

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Offline rooster

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #277 on: October 03, 2016, 12:22:08 PM »
The Amber Spyglass which is the third book in His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman.

It's been a long time since I've read the whole trilogy. The books get better as it progresses. The third book is full blown anti-God and the Church. It's fabulous and I completely forgot about the finale of the story. I originally read these books in elementary school and they changed the way I thought about the world with topics like dark matter, parallel universes, puberty, souls, and religion.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2016, 12:25:17 PM by rooster »

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Offline Crudblud

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #278 on: October 12, 2016, 04:50:23 PM »
After slogging at a snail's pace through the turgid mire of supercilious vomit that is Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities (it was so boring that I wasn't even moved to pick it up for entertainment when my monitor broke) I am re-reading Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon.

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Offline Ghost Spaghetti

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #279 on: October 13, 2016, 08:09:26 AM »
I enjoyed Bonfire of the Vanities. It could have done with losing a little bit of padding, but I never felt the pace felt turgid.