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The Work of Sartre by István Mészáros

The Work of Sartre reviewed in LSE Review of Books

Although Jean-Paul Sartre was a popular and influential philosopher, he has not become as common a topic for serious scholarship as some of his peers. While Husserl and Heidegger are engines of continental thought, and Merleau-Ponty has a sizable following, Sartre tends to be used in introductory courses more than dissertations. Nonetheless, many philosophers do consider his work important and look forward to new insights about his legacy. The Work of Sartre promises to be such a book.

America’s Education Deficit and the War on Youth

America’s Education Deficit and the War on Youth reviewed on Counterfire

Giroux asserts that a fundamental attack on democracy is currently occurring in the US, and urgent action is needed to defend democratic values against this assault. His view is that an examination of the education system provides evidence for this attack, and that education is itself both a key battleground, and the crucible in which the defence of democracy can be formed.

One Day in December: Celia Sánchez and the Cuban Revolution by Nancy Stout

One Day in December reviewed in Z Magazine

In the opening pages of a new biography, Alice Walker’s Foreword sets the stage for the poignant portrayal of a person with scant name recognition in North America. Until, that is, the publication of One Day in December. Author Nancy Stout divides the book into four parts: Pilón, Manzanillo, Sierra Maestra, and Havana, Cuba, the main places where Sánchez and scores of other Cubans resisted, eventually toppling the Cuban government and replacing it with a revolutionary regime.

The Ecological Rift by John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark, & Richard York in South Africa's Mail & Guardian

Unbelievably the family of sciences that should shoulder the burden of enlightening society in the light of the alarming findings of the natural sciences, seems to be struck by a debilitating paralysis, except that the truth is far worse. In The Ecological Rift – Capitalism’s War on the Earth (Monthly Review Press, 2010) John Bellamy Foster and his fellow authors draw one’s attention to the scandalous complicity, on the part of the social sciences, with the very economic system that is driving ecological ruin. One might wonder why this is the case. In fact, one might expect human scientists to be more radical in their approach to the matter than their natural science colleagues, while the opposite is in fact the case.

Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti by Jeb Sprague

Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti reviewed in WorkingUSA

A sense of the arguments and perspective that drive Jeb Sprague’s detailed study of paramilitarism in Haiti from the early 1990s to 2004 is given in the following quote, which comes in a closing chapter: “As with all historical processes, Haiti’s recent history cannot be reduced to pure good versus pure evil—the popular Lavalas movement had its own contradictions and failures. Even so, right-wing paramilitarism and its backers have produced, by far, the most victims of political violence in Haiti in recent history” (p. 281). Sprague supports this point—and at the same time aims to expose layers of political complexity—with an intriguing assessment of the role of paramilitary organizations in ensuring that popular movements in the Caribbean republic are kept hobbled.

A Freedom Budget for All Americans

A Freedom Budget for All Americans reviewed in Library Journal

Socialist intellectuals (e.g., Bayard Rustin) and radical labor leaders (e.g., A. Philip Randolph) were trusted advisers and allies of Martin Luther King Jr. Their social-democratic economic ideas … embodied in the “Freedom Budget” … called for the elimination of poverty by 1976 through programs to create full employment, eliminate slums, and ensure a minimum standard of living for all. The book ends with a proposed updated version of the Freedom Budget; the budget includes federal programs for full employment, a restructuring of education and job-training systems, and more. … Invaluable for restating the influence of the American left on King’s views and enriching the historical record.