on 16 June 2011
This was first book that I have read on anarchism and Kinna has certainly made me anxious to read more on the topic.
The book is well organised and written. It encapsulates the many different adherents to anarchism and criticisms of them.
The book is extensively researched and well referenced. Each chapter ends with many suggestions for further reading which I found very helpful.
For those curious about anarchism, ie. what it is?, different types of it and what they stand for, this is an great book to begin with. But this isn't just a quick intro to anarchism it is a thoroughly researched project which I will definitely re-read in the future.
Excellent book from an expert on the topic.
on 8 January 2006
Anarchism has the numbers, the thousands of activists who march against the IMF and oppose neo-liberal globalisation are most likely to identify themselves as anarchists than greens or socialists. Anarchism is an ideology whose time has come, so for all of us interested in politics, whether we are A level students, undergraduates, anarchists ourselves or sympathetic critics (like me), a good introduction such as this is useful.
Ruth is obviously sympathetic to anarchism but this does not stop her from carefully assessing the weaknesses and strengths of various forms of anarchism including the pro-market libertarians, anarcho-communists, primitivists and other green anarchists. The book is well written and is clear to non academic readers, however it has the academic virtues of logical argument and effective references.
I am sure that committed 'political' anarchists would find some fault, for example, many would reject the need to refer to libertarian capitalists like Ayn Rand (who incidentally I had always assumed was a fictional character like 'Paris Hilton', invented by situationalists to ridicule their enemies).....I am sure that there are many debates that non-anarchists readers like myself would be unaware of that are of great importance to members of anarchist groups that might be picked upon the committed to criticise Ruth's book.
However, whatever ones position/sectarian preference the inclusion of excellent lists for further reading and links to numerous anarchist networks and publications from Black Flag to the Wombles, must surely please.
I think it would have been good for Ruth to have dealt with the huge expansion of open source, the victories of anarchist influenced populists in South America like Chavez and the important work of Toni Negri and Michael Hardt. They are all evidence that anarchists principles are having a real practical effect...although I suppose at the end of the day Chavez, Hardt and Richard Stallman are not really anarchists.
Anyway I feel this is much more interesting and up to date than similar introductions to anarchism, so buy, borrow, read and enjoy.
author of 'Babylon and Beyond: the economics of anti-capitalist, anti-globalist and radical green movements' Pluto. 2005