Books by Friends – and by Me! March 2018

Family and Friends,

Next month Verso will release a new, third edition of my book, Revolution in the Air with a Foreword by Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza. The press release announcing the volume is here.

Meanwhile even since the previous “Books by Friends’ message in December, a number of friends have released fascinating volumes that will stimulate both your mind and your heart.

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’ latest volume is Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment.  This book is indispensable if you want to trace the history of gun violence in the U.S. back to its roots. The book reviews the historical record to show that “…gun love is as American as apple pie – and those guns have often been in the hands of a powerful white majority to subjugate minority natives, slaves, or others who might stand in the way of the broadest definition of Manifest Destiny.”

On the poetry front, check out Gerald Lenoir’s first collection, Amandla! Poems of Love and Struggle. Shaped by 40-plus years as a social justice activist, Gerald writes “verses that reflect the universal experiences of racial injustice, class exploitation and imperial domination.” And if you read Sue Blaustein’s In the Field – Autobiography of an Inspector you will get a get a uniquely vivid picture of Milwaukee’s streets and workplaces and the people who live there.

Vicki Alexander, a retired physician and president of Healthy Black Families, is one of six Black women featured in the new volume, What We Carry: Stories Black Women Never Tell. Volume One of a projected series, the process of reading stories to one another led the participants to “understand that together, we were addressing the principles of destiny, humility, conscience and truth and that we are our sister’s keeper.

Josina Morita, who made history as the first Asian American elected to a county-wide board seat in Chicago-centered Cook County, is on the cutting edge again. Josina contributes one of the stories in No, My Place: Reflections on Sexual Harassment in Illinois Government and Politics.

Radical sociologist and cult expert Janja Lalich’s new book, Escaping Utopia: Growing Up in a Cult, Getting Out, and Starting Over is based on the results of interviews with 65 people who were born in or grew up in 39 different cult groups in more than a dozen countries – all of whom left on their own, without outside help. A rich exploration of questions about human development, group dynamics, abuse, control and the triumph of the human spirit.

Paul Buhle’s latest volume is The Young C.L.R. James: A Graphic Novelette. Paul is co-editor, the unique comic is by Milton Knight, the book illuminates the early years of the man known in much later years as the “last great Pan-Africanist.”

Veteran labor organizer Peter Olney authors one of the chapters in Choke Points: Logistics Workers Disrupting the Global Supply Chain, edited by Jake Alimahomed-Wilson and Immanuel Ness. “Global capitalism depends on the work of millions in docks, warehouses and logistics centres… This is the global supply chain, and, if the chain is broken, capitalism grinds to a halt. This book looks at case studies across the world to uncover a network of resistance by these workers who, despite their importance, often face vast exploitation and economic violence.”

Previous Books by Friends messages flagged the release of A Time to Rise: Collective Memoirs of the Union of Democratic Filipinos (KDP), edited by Rene Ciria Cruz, Cindy Domingo and Bruce Occeña and including contributions by many other friends and comrades. Events accompanying the book’s release are scheduled in various cities, you can find information on the volume’s Facebook page here.

Peace, hope and happy reading,