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K. Bellamy "coronationpinetree" (Scotland)

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Israel:  A Colonial -Settler State?
Israel: A Colonial -Settler State?
by Maxime Rodinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.45

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST BOOK ON ISRAEL EVER, 22 Feb 2007
This should be read by anyone who wants to understand the nature of the state of Israel. I read it for an uni essay and it literally is the best thing out there. Rodinson's analysis is basically that Israel (and before it the Yishuv settlement) is essentially a colonial phenomenon. In other words it functioned (and continues to do so) as an agent of western imperialism in the Middle East, with Europe acting as the collective mother country (the US having basically taken over this role now). Rodinson highlights the fact that Zionism is a completely RACIST, reactionary ideology which only really recognised 'civilised' Europeans and north Americans as human, the rest of humanity being worthless. This explains the expalantion of Isreal/Palestine as 'a land without a people, for a people wiothout a land', there were people there, but because they were 'backward' and 'primitive', they weren't recognised as such by the Zionists. This book never lets the imperialist countries (especially Britain) off the hook, highlighting their atrocious behaviour in support of their agents. As well as this the books follows the history of the Yishuv settelment in becoming Israel. A major advantage is the fact that it's nice and short with a useful intro, proving that books about complex issues don't need to be massive and inaccessible (this book is of academic quality but is accessible enough for even a casual reader to understand). I will definately be reading Rodinson's other (and more famous) works such as Islam and Capitalism and Muhammad. Just to finish on: Rodinson wasn't a partisan anti-Jew, he was ethnically Jewish (but didn't practice the religion), his parents were killed in Auschwitz, he didn't support the PLO because they weren't a secular group, and his books have been (very) critical of Islam as well.

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)
by Robert Tressell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.70

43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best English novel ever!, 2 Aug 2005
I first read this for a hight school English essay and I can honestly save that this is one of the finest novels I have ever read. It is a story that really draws you in and challenges (and changes) your views on society. The basic plot involves two socialist workmen, the bitter, passionate Frank Owen and his enigmatic young friend, Barrington, attempting to persuade their fellow workers that they can change the world and do away with the terrible poverty that they experience. What this book achieves so well (and few books have done so as well as this one) is to create a world that seems real to the reader, you begin to care about the many characters that you are reading about. There points that make you want to cry and others that make you laugh out loud. Aside from the two socialists and their loved ones there are other workers, such as the borderline alcoholic Easton, the ignorant foreman Crass and religious hypocrite Slyme, as well as their familes and bosses (including the infamous Mr Hunter/Nimrod). This book is written with immense passion, because Tressell experienced what he wrote about and wanted to change it (he actually wrote this in his spare time and died in a workhouse before it was published, at one point he dispared and attempted to burn the manuscript on the fire before his daughter restrained him). This book succeeds in illustrating the contradictions of capitalism better than most scholorary works. It is simple: the workers toil and live in want and destitution, while those that employ them do not work and live lives of abundance and luxury. In terms of passion and emotion it outdoes even the great American working class novel The Grapes of Wrath, as well as Zola's Germinal. In terms of its poitics they are overt to the extreme, but this should not put people off, it is a novel first and foremost. Besides, this is how politics (especially socialism) should be written about, accessible to all and conveying not just the objective reasons for something, but the emotive ones too, which are just as important; I was a liberal before reading this novel, now I am a socialist. It is good to see so many new editions of this novel appearing, if more people read it then the we might not be stuck with the stale, reactionary and xenophobic politics of our time!

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