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Jezza (London)

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The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class
The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class
by Guy Standing
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Important but flawed book about the re-composition of work and the working classes, 2 Dec. 2014
Part of this book are great; other parts are a bit weak. I think that’s partly because, as an engaged academic, Guy Standing is not entirely sure whether he ought to have written a call to action or a rigorous academic text. The book has ended up falling between two stalls. It’s clearly written, without lots of sociological jargon. There’s some really good analysis of what it means to live in the precariat – all the ways that one is in deficit compared to workers who sell their labour power in a more secure employment environment. The section on migration and migrants is really outstanding and should be required reading for everyone who purports to be on the left.

But the final chapter, the ‘what is to be done’, is really weak. The only practical suggestion is that the precariat form coops to sell their labour collectively instead of individually. Leaving aside the issue of whether any employer who currently buys labour from precarious employees would want to contract with a worker-owned coop, this is a very partial solution to all the issues that Standing correctly identifies. I think he’s too quick to write off trade unions as a vehicle for precariat organising, and I’d like to see some understanding of what the IWW did to organise workers like this.

This points to the main deficit in the book – an almost total lack of historical perspective. To me the precariat sounds a lot like the classical Marxist ‘reserve army of labour’, and to the people that Gareth Stedman Jones described in Outcast London. Arguably the (albeit temporary) triumph of labourism and social democracy was due to its ability to weld the respectable working class and the dangerous class into an alliance. If Standing sees a difference, the reader doesn’t know, because he doesn’t address the history of the ‘dangerous class’ at all. The only discussion of history is about the Athenian metics, which is really interesting to me but surely not as relevant as the history of casual workers in the East End or the Liverpool docks.

Still, this is a good book and an important contribution to understanding what is happening to our society and workplaces.


Pink & Black Heavy Duty XYLO-DEFENCE Extreme Case / Shock Proof Cover / Hard Builders Workman Skin for the Samsung Galaxy S5 / Galaxy S 5.
Pink & Black Heavy Duty XYLO-DEFENCE Extreme Case / Shock Proof Cover / Hard Builders Workman Skin for the Samsung Galaxy S5 / Galaxy S 5.
Offered by Xylo Uk
Price: £4.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Not fit for purpose, never used., 28 Nov. 2014
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Not a good thing. Didn't fit properly, ugly and uncomfortable/


Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe
Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe
by Byron Preiss
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars A box of chocolates for Chandler fans and others, 22 Nov. 2014
A treat for Marlowe/Chandler fans, as lots of famous detective fiction authors take their turn at writing short stories with Marlowe as the central character. Some are great (I loved the one with Brecht in it), some are only passable, but none is a dud. A few are closer to pastiche. And the collection closes with Chandler's last Marlowe story, which is head and shoulders better than all the others. A lovely book that brought me hours of enjoyment.


Among the Thorns: A Tor.Com Original
Among the Thorns: A Tor.Com Original
Price: £0.83

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you like your magical realism Jewish, buy this!, 22 Nov. 2014
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Why no other reviews? Anyway, a beautifully done retelling of the Grimm fairly tale 'The Jew Among Thorns', with lots of cultural references. Very much a woman's telling, with a woman/girl first person narrator, but I'm a bloke and I really enjoyed this. And pointers to lots of other Aggadic and hidden Jewish traditions, including the one that the Shekinah is a female aspect of God or even a separate deity. Great.


A Zany Slice of Italy (The Zany Series Book 1)
A Zany Slice of Italy (The Zany Series Book 1)
Price: £2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A lovely first-person account of moving to Italy and into your in-laws' family!, 8 Nov. 2014
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An enjoyable first-person narrative about two Canadians moving to Italy, written with an engaging style and lots of humour. This will be enjoyed by anyone who has lived in Italy, or moved to another country, or been married to someone with a large family. I tick two out of three of the boxes, and I loved this. I laughed out loud several times as I read it, and that doesn't happen all that often for me. If I had a criticism, it would be that there's not enough of a narrative structure, but it's not really that sort of book. Still, De Felice has such a good eye for telling detail, and such nice way with words, that I look forward to her next book. I hope it's a novel - I am sure she will write a very good one. Oh, and there are some recipes at the end as a bonus!


Journeys Into Darkness: Midnight Street Anthology
Journeys Into Darkness: Midnight Street Anthology
Price: £2.23

3.0 out of 5 stars Loved the story by Rosanne Rabinowitz which included all my ..., 8 Nov. 2014
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Loved the story by Rosanne Rabinowitz which included all my favourite historical radicals stuff, didn't much like the others; not that there is anything wrong with the collection, I just don't much like horror - all the rest are firmly located in that genre.


Burning Girls: A Tor.Com Original
Burning Girls: A Tor.Com Original
Price: £0.83

4.0 out of 5 stars I loved this - I can't believe it was free, 8 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I loved this - I can't believe it was free, actually. I feel a bit like I stole something. I don't do horror or the occult, but this was so beautifully done, with considerable humour and really good writing. The Yiddish demons reminded me a bit of 'the Merkabah riders' book, but this was much better. I can't write much more about what I liked without spoiling the story, but I thoroughly recommended this.


An Officer and a Spy
An Officer and a Spy
Price: £4.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Readable but not as good as it could have been, 17 Oct. 2014
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A bit of a disappointment. I like Robert Harris as a writer and a person but this is not interesting enough. The first-person narrator, Picquard, is just too much of an all-round straight-up honourable hero to be interesting. There really isn't much indication that he is a man of his time; the real Picquard was a casual antisemite, which makes his decision to do the right thing by Dreyfus more dramatic and interesting and honourable. There isn't much of that here. There isn't much atmosphere either - the conspiracy is not sinister, the deaths are not surprising, the plot not complex enough. Still, this is not a bad introduction to the Dreyfus story, which is complex enough to defeat most casual readers.


A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this though I know it's not great, 5 Oct. 2014
'Like' is about right. I enjoyed this though I know it's not great. I'd previously enjoyed the TV series and when I started found that the prose of this didn't live up to the 'production values' of the filmed version. The made-up names and titles grated in a way they didn't when the visual images were present. Gradually, though, I got used to it, and the plot and characters carried me along. From time to time it's interesting to see how the TV series has simplified the plot line (surprisingly rare, actually), and the characters are actually more rounded and interesting on the printed page, even though I'm still not crazy about the writing style. I'll probably read the others eventually, though I am not in any particular rush.


Jews without Money
Jews without Money
by Michael Gold
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars He's got the ability to be a real good writer, but he chooses not to use it ..., 28 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Jews without Money (Paperback)
Most interesting when it's not being political. The portraits of the first generation immigrant characters, including the chassidim and the Romanian immigrants in the wine cellar, and his mother missing the green of the Hungarian countryside and mushroom-hunting, are drawn with real skill and affection; the capitalists, and the gangsters and prostitutes and pimps who are the victims of capitalism, are caricatures and not very interesting ones at that. He's got the ability to be a real good writer, but he chooses not to use it for fear of failing to get his message across. So he never misses an opportunity to point out that capitalism is to blame, rather than let the readers work that out for themselves.


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