Alex Callinicos, political philosopher and Marxist-Trotskyist activist, launches a blistering attack against the leading stars in the postmodern, or poststructuralist, trends in recent thought, such as Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze and Lyotard, by regarding their idealist irrationalism as the last decadent gesture of late capitalism. His "symptomatological" critique interprets their efforts to decentre the autonomous, undifferentiated "subject", or self, in addition to their tepid relativism and their tortuously obscure writing style as signs of a reactionary nihilism on the part of disillusioned, middle-aged bourgeois academics. Central to Callinicos's analysis were the events surrounding the failure of the student insurrection of Paris '68, which, in consolidating peacemeal reformism in the form of trade unionism on the one hand, and allowing the Maoist left to emerge triumphant on the other, effectively ruled out any chance of a people's revolution,leading to the detumescent revolutionary fervour of many intellectuals, which culminated, according to Callinicos, in the "crisis" which he considers the postmodern phenomena. Callinicos also discounts any claim made by postmodernism towards elaborating a coherent or practicable theory of political resistance. He also takes issue with major thinkers in the post-Marxist camp, such as Marcuse, Adorno and Horkheimer, whom he dismisses for their political quietism, even though his critique is greatly indebted to at least one neo-Marxist, Jurgen Habermas, in his urge to continue the project of modernity, in a bid to rewaken the hope of further human emancipation. Callinicos's broad-ranging critique also leads him to attack the theorists of the post-industrial society, who maintain that classical Marxism is incapable of penetrating the mystified structures of global, or "disorganised capital", and he rebuts by claiming that there has been no significant change in the methods of capital accumulation since Marx' day, and that worldwide revolution is still necessary and justified. He also argues that postmodernism does not in any way represent a qualitative break with the Modernism, in terms of literary, aesthetic or architectural styles, but is merely a refinement of it. However, Callinicos's optimism leads him into a blind-alley, as his findings, compiled in 1989, has been overtaken by events, such as the growth of thw worldwide web (e-commerce, m-commerce) the heightening of globalised capital, the further erosion of nation-state boundaries and the proliferation of the services industry as opposed to manufacture - all which have inaugurated a new phase in capital formation which may elude even Callinicos's efforts at analysis. Secondly, Callinicos's negative criitque, though effective at times in pointing out some of the contradictions that bedevil cultural theory, does not offer a clear programme for political action. The only path open to him, of course, is the attempt to establish another "meta-narrative" such as the working-class emancipation, a course that his no become out-of-date subsequent to the colossal failure of communism in the Soviet Union, and the establishment of the Stalinist terror state. By contrast, poststructuralism, with its obsession with the fragment, the paradox and the plural nature of values, seems to occasionally offer a not always positive, but often energetic engagement with, political aporias. Nevertheless, Callinicos's study contains a wealth of useful information and many interesting observations on the historical, economic, literary and aesthetic trends dominant up to the Modernist impasse, and is supported by extensive quotations and a bibliography. Overall, however, he misses the point, as his analysis is far too partisan and hence, incomplete, to be totally convincing.