RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS

  • Marx Returns
    Jason Barker
    The coming and going with history, with all the paths of these revolutionaries more or less lost, stranded in London; the references to new conceptual frameworks proposed by the sciences; a Jenny Marx who has so much in common with Joyce's Molly... In short, the chaosmos of Jason Barker's Marx and his struggles interests me in so many respects. ~ Pascal Bataillard, French translator, James Joyce's Ulysses

  • Marx Returns
    Jason Barker
    An outstanding work of fiction that goes to the very heart of Marx's revolutionary thinking. ~ Slavoj Zizek, European Graduate School, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities

  • Secret People, The
    Melusine Draco
    I have read one other book by Ms. Draco. I love the way she writes, and it is so relaxed and laid-back. She doesn’t complicate her words. She is able to keep a reader fascinated about the subject she is writing about.

    This book, “The Secret People” is a complete recipe book. It gives some great insights into foods, herbs and linen cupboard. There are subjects in this book that I have not seen written in others. It was a pleasure to read and visualize how this used to be the way people lived, and in some places still can. ~ Jennifer Wright , PaganPages.org

  • 365 Blessings to Heal Myself and the World
    Pierre Pradervand
    This is a lovely book that you will want to buy a hard copy of right away. It is filled with blessings from all different religions that touch your soul. The author has included Native American Blessings that truly are some of the most poignant I have every read. I recommend you start each day reading a blessing from, this book. It will uplift you for the day and inspire you to new heights.
    A wonderful book that I highly recommend. This body of work was done with love and attention to every blessing a reader may need. A very touching book . ~ Lori Reed, NetGalley

  • Pagan Portals - Odin
    Morgan Daimler
    As a beginner in Norse Mythology, I must say this was a very informative and enlightening read for me. It's been a while since I've been interested in getting to know the norse pantheon a bit more, and although this book is centred around Odin, there's also an introduction to the whole context of his being, from the beginning of everything, to the most known Norse Gods. ~ Melanie Laing , NetGalley

  • Emajen
    Ashley Ledigo
    An engaging fantasy for young readers! I enjoyed reading Ledigo's debut novel. Her complex multi-world story was well-paced and intriguging. I appreciated her optimistic caring voice and look forward to reading more about Ledigo's characters and worlds.

    ~ Melanie Laing , NetGalley

  • SoulWorks
    Jane Bailey Bain
    This is a beautiful book which can really help people. It as a wealth of interesting connections about the mind, body soul and makes fascinating links with music and myth, interwoven with the author's personal reflection. The good provides practical steps and visualisations to engage the reader in doing the work, moving them forward to having more agency in their life experience. ~ Melanie Laing , NetGalley

  • Fall, The (new edition with Afterword)
    Steve Taylor
    Looking at so many variables that impacted change in the way humankind responds as individuals, as community, and regarding spirituality, your thoughts and observations will not be the same after consuming these ideas. ~ Melanie Laing , NetGalley

  • Meaning of Trump, The
    Brian Francis Culkin
    The meaning of Trump tries to explore further the real meaning of Donald Trump's electoral victory in November 2016. After the wave of indignation and surprise traveled the world Brian Francis Culkin thinks now it is the right moment to analyse the figure of the President not only through his words and deeds but also as a symbol which represents something bigger in our current society. The avalanche of books, articles and general information has been so overwhelming since his election that it is difficult to add something new and refreshing and even though parts of the book sound merely introductory Culkin manages to contribute to the debate with his views. The most interesting input is the relation that the author establishes between Trump and digital society, or rather, the idea that Donald Trump is a direct consequence of the ways we use to communicate in social media and specially in Twitter. This permanent tension, the unnecessary but constant search for conflict, and the lack of any ideas apart from continuous insults and disrespect are the main characteristics of this kind of discourse, one that never listens to what the other person is saying and only generates noise and anxiety. Politicians are a symptom of the societies that create them and nourish them and never isolated cases coming from nowhere. They represent ideas and values that explicit or implicitly are present in our society and thus when a character like Donald Trump becomes against all odds President of the United States we must fight back, protest and push for change but also look to ourselves and see which are our priorities and what kind of place we want to live in. ~ Guillermo Fernandez , NetGalley

  • Capitalism vs. Freedom
    Rob Larson
    Are we really free in a capitalist system? Neoliberals such as Friedman and Hayek would say yes, because they claim free-market capitalism is the social arrangement that most encouraged human freedom. Rob Larson’s book demonstrates that they were wrong, because capitalism and freedom are two antagonistic concepts, as suggested in the title of this book. Many people in the world are beginning to suspect that they are not free to choose what they want to do with their life and others don’t feel free to safely express their opinion online.
    Larson’s book shows us how free-market capitalism based on a competitive market is not creating an overall freedom, but is concentrating more power in the hands of bigger firms and creating towering corporations with full monopoly all by itself.
    What is even more surprising is that capitalism is putting at risk one of the most important among our freedoms. The practice of controlling information is becoming more and more prevalent. Free markets are not allowing a free flow of information, but instead are creating a more consolidated industry, less diverse. Free-market forces narrowed the diversity of opinion in the media, because media firms’ owners and advertisers warp and shape the information that reaches the average citizen. The philosophy of the market is not to share real information, but to supply the right information, that which is most conducive to immediate profit-making. The media markets bring us information warped by concentrated ownership and by their advertising revenue-based business model.
    Concentrated power is also making difficult for the average citizen to freely express his political opinion, because dollars in the market give far more votes to those with a lot of money. Our having to say is being flooded by money surging through the electoral and political process. Most working people have not the necessary resources required to fight political confrontations. Parties are no longer debating about ideas, because gigantic amounts of cash are involved in shaping policy today. Therefore, average citizens’ preferences are non-significant. Ordinary people do not have any power over policy decisions. Policies are all driven by decisions and strategic maneuvers of coalitions of political investors in shifting economic conditions.
    Capitalism has also a great impact on the environment, therefore it has power over future generations. The decisions made through the modern period of capitalism have rarely taken into account the welfare of the people who must live in the world we leave them. The side-effects of capitalism are very serious, but neoliberals tend to ignore them. Among the side-effects of capitalism are climate change, the extinction of some species, the over-consuming of natural resources and pollution. The actual economic system needs to be more sustainable, otherwise the future generations will not have the possibility to enjoy adequate fresh air and water, and will not have the freedom to enjoy nature.
    Larson’s solution is to eradicate capitalism abolishing private ownership of productive capital and gigantic power arising from it and limiting concentrated power and maximizing freedom. A socialist society can limit the scale of private property and workers can cooperate and collaborate in the decision-making. A collaboration of equal companions can replace the command of masters and obedience of servants. A socialist economy can be created by the solidaric collaboration of the workers with hand in each special branch of production. Socialism, according to Larson, can contribute to a spiritual change among humanity, because it gives ordinary people the possibility to contribute in the economic process.

    ~ Francesco Camodeca , NetGalley

  • Mediumship Within
    Chris Ratter
    I buy many books Chris and I can’t recommend your book highly enough. The information you provide is not available everywhere. It is easy to read and understand, and I find it hard to put it down so it would be a good read for everyone. Your personal stories add to the authenticity. I can’t wait to read your next book. ~ Lynda Frame , Facebook

  • Serf's Journal, A
    Terry Tapp
    Subtitled “The story of the United States’ longest wildcat strike”, A serf’s journal depicts the months leading up to, as well as the undertaking of, the strike at JeffBoat in Jeffersonville, Indiana, in 2001, through the eyes of welder Terry Tapp.

    Setting the scene with his initial hiring at the company and going through his life at work, he details how the continued grind and dehumanisation of the JeffBoat workforce leads to a confrontation with both the company and their union, which, rather than fighting for the workers’ interests, largely acts as a middle manager, enforcing the company’s rules except when forced otherwise. At the same time, he intersperses this narrative with vignettes of the JeffBoat workers attempting to maintain some level of humanity and control over their lives, both on and off the job. While formally united in the sense that both stories take place in the context of the JeffBoat shipyard, they do not fully come together until the shipyard workers reject the pittance contract they were offered and are abandoned by their union in the strike that is supposed to follow, forcing them to either knuckle under or take the strike into their own hands. It is a story of hard, dangerous work, the machinations of trade union misleadership, and the ordinary heroics that people are able to undertake when pushed to the limit of their own lives, yet still able to reach out and support others, and makes for inspiring reading.

    In some ways, though, the epilogue to the book - written a decade after the strike - is almost as important as the description of the events that came before. Tapp writes of a new spirit of togetherness felt by the workers at JeffBoat in the initial months after the strike, directly stemming from the workers on the site having had to organise not only the picket lines, but also the family and community support that was needed for their action to succeed, especially since they were getting no help from their union. But because of the success of the strikers (in that they got the union to back down on forcing through the contract and were able to return to work with no retaliation), that spirit among the workers survived, and even spread. Indeed, as Tapp writes, “[the] JeffBoat wildcat strike of 2001… inspired a number of actions regionally, nationally and internationally”.

    While these actions were largely un- or under-reported in mainstream media, enthusiastic coverage on the relatively new and alternative venue of the internet meant that the strikers “received many emails from people who had heard of what we did and felt stronger about making positive change in their workplaces”. And, when a strike in a nearby city was called that September, JeffBoat workers and their supporters started organising people and resources to support it, so it could be at least as successful as the JeffBoat workers felt theirs was.

    Then September 11 happened. In the shock and disorientation that followed, the company struck back against the JeffBoat workers - not through disciplinary action, but through charts, graphs and other propaganda of statistics. Despite having been defeated in its attempt to force though a contract, and theoretically then agreeing that a new one be drafted, the company’s representatives explained that, due to the economic circumstances they found themselves in, it was unable to share out the prosperity it had achieved at all, meaning that striking would be ineffective and pointless.

    Furthermore, now that the United States had been attacked, and was (so it was said) under constant threat, striking would not only be pointless, but actively harmful to the well-being of the nation. To strike would be “a form of terrorism ... aiding America’s enemies” in its assault on the nation. While by and large the JeffBoat workers were not fooled by the spiel of “economic terrorism”, it did serve to disrupt the sense of collective power that had been built up over the strike and sustained since. And over the following few years, many workers simply drifted away to other jobs.

    Lessons
    Could things have happened differently? Tapp reckons so; he notes that, while they were able to successfully strike for a marginally better contract a year later with some tepid union support, he thinks that, had “those events of September” not taken place, then the energy built up by the wildcat strike would not have been so thoroughly undercut, and any future strikes would have been able to draw from those lessons to force a different outcome. This could easily have been so, but more should be added.

    The last lines of A serf’s journal are of one of Tapp’s co-workers saying to him: “We won. What are we going to do now?” It is an important question, which starts to get at the limits of what is achievable within a single action or workplace. On the one hand, when the JeffBoat workers went out on strike, they started to circumvent the limits placed upon them by lack of union support through pooling their own money in strike funds, and organising food and care for both the strikers and their families. Combined with reaching out for (and getting) broader community support, this was the main reason why the strike was able to last as long as it did and end in what the workers felt was a victory. And, as noted above, the JeffBoat workers were starting to spread those lessons to help out strikers in nearby workplaces. But the fact that the company was able to counterattack so effectively, thereby cutting the thread of the lessons learned at JeffBoat (except through long-after-the-fact retellings like this book), points to the lack of an organisation that could absorb those lessons for the long term.

    For communists, this organisation - at least in its highest form - would be the Communist Party, which can provide a centralisation of the experiences of the working class in all its forms in order to struggle more effectively for workers’ immediate interests, as well as develop a programme which can politically arm the working class to rule society and offer practical (if partial) experience in that rulership.

    But such a party did not exist in the United States during the strike; indeed, it has not existed in a meaningful form in over half a century due to a concerted effort on the part of rightwing labour bureaucrats and the capitalist state to purge the labour movement of socialists, communists and other radicals. Larger and smaller groups attempt to carry on some of the tasks that such a party would need to undertake, but their relative detachment from the workers’ movement as a whole has meant that their successes would be limited, and that even these limited successes would be interpreted through the sectarian blinders of most of these organisations primarily as the success of their particular sect, rather than of the workers’ movement as a whole. Communist politics still exist in the US, but largely do so on the fringes of that movement rather than as an all-pervasive force.

    Fortunately, however, the struggle to defend and advance immediate conditions still continues, as A serf’s journal wonderfully illustrates. For that, the book serves to hearten partisans of working class power and communism that the current broad period of defeat and reaction is not absolute, and can be turned around. For a short period of time, and in its own small way, the JeffBoat strike did just that. ~ Weekly Worker

  • Reiki Insights
    Frans Stiene
    Here you will find the important lessons of trusting in yourself, of not falling into strict dogma, and learning your own flow. A great addition to any energy healer’s library.
    ~ J. Aislynn d'Merricksson, http://www.aislynndmerricksson.com/

  • Boundary
    Mary Victoria Johnson
    Oh wow, this was a surprise! What a fantastic concept - 6 teenagers mysteriously being raised by a cruel and barely / non- human master, in a mansion totally segregated from the rest of the world.

    Penny is inquisitive, questioning and has many dreams of other people and wonders what exactly is beyond the boundary of the mansion. Her questions cause her to break some of the rules, and put in motion a test for them all.

    I really want to read what happens next.... ~ Anne Flanagan , NetGalley

  • Fall, The (new edition with Afterword)
    Steve Taylor
    The thoughts and arguments are well thought out, presented and supported. It is actually fascinating reading... your thoughts and observations will not be the same after consuming these ideas.

    ~ Laura DogsMom-Roth , NetGalley

  • Being a Supervisor 1.0
    Joseph F Duffy, LLD
    As a new supervisor, I found this book to be very helpful. There were some great tips on listening. Also some good tips on relating to staff. ~ Renee Brawdy , NetGalley

  • Feral Chickens
    C. McGee
    This story was so funny.The chickens were bonkers like a crazy-funny retelling of the birds. If you want a laugh, read this book.
    ~ Carley Adair, NetGalley

  • The Tragic Daughters of Charles I
    Sarah-Beth Watkins
    Praise for Catherine of Braganza: Charles II’s Restoration Queen'...an interesting, straight forward and fast paced overview of the life of one of England’s less well known queens.' ~ Tamise Hill, www.ladyjanegrey.info

  • Witchcraft...into the wilds
    Rachel Patterson
    I shall start this enthusiastic book review by saying that “Witchcraft…Into the Wilds,” by Rachel Patterson, was a delight to read. This is one of those books that I will read again when the occasion arises, and when time is right, because it seems to be one of those that surprise you each time you grab it; it is filled with so many surprises.

    Patterson clearly explains how she started working by her own rules, the results, and encourages the reader to do the same, but always making it clear that any system the practitioner feels comfortable with is fine as long as they understand the logic behind it.

    The writing style is easy to follow most of the time, not as serious as other books I’ve seen, and with a healthy dose of personal experiences that blend perfectly with the more academic content of the book. The author has given me a very comfortable reading!

    About the actual content, it would be way too pretentious to say that everything is covered in here, but I feel that hardly anything else could have been added to Witchcraft…Into the Wilds since it is a complete approach to a topic of general interest and a good starting point for many who may seem a little lost about where to begin with in terms of paganism, religion and belief.

    One of the things I liked the most is that we’re not left only on the theory, for there are also tools to practice what is explained. Each of the chapters serve as an introduction to the topic it will explore, and almost each of them come with two or more meditations and journal prompts in order to have not only a reading but a whole experience while navigating this book.

    Additionally, I would recommend that readers have a notebook near because of the large amount of topics this books has included. It could seem to be confusing at time, I certainly had a hard time following the content because of what I thought was a lack of connection, but that perception changes pretty quickly when you get used to Patterson’s style.

    Rachel Patterson isn’t afraid of including her own point of view on certain topics or show her personal meaning for something when the need arises, but she also gives enough room for the reader to create their own opinion, not forcing her standards on other but using them as a trustworthy reference to take into consideration. Well done and, perhaps, one of my favorite aspects about this book.

    However, I did have problems with the structure of some exercises, with many of them having the very same starting point and following a similar procedure. I’m not to fond on repetition if not in incantations, but given the fact that this is an introduction to the topic, or that’s how I perceived it, it will be of use for many to have those who are curious; it just didn’t work that well on my case.

    This is a perfect choice for whoever wants to deepen in terms of nature and reinforcing the connection we have with it, a book that defies standards in a simple way in order to clearly know what is happening with the energy and our magic when we work with a certain system, and that also makes the reader interested in new topics or acquire a broader vision about others. I’m certainly waiting for a next book on this topic! ~ Lightwork Review

  • Headline Murder
    Peter Bartram
    A good page-turning murder mystery with a likeable protagonist and great setting. I would be very interested in reading more from this series. Good read. ~ The Bookworm Chronicles

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