Books by Friends – December 2010

Family and friends,

It’s been another banner year for friends of mine publishing books! Below are several that have appeared since I sent you August’s exciting titles. You can find that earlier list and ones from previous years on the Revolution in the Air website, which also contains a selection of materials on left history, book reviews and comments, and an updated report on my 2010 Marathon for Peace.

Few of the volumes below get publicity from the mainstream media or their corporate sponsors. So especially at a time when freedom of information and alternative perspectives are under fierce attack, please consider spreading the word about these volumes or buying one for yourself or as a holiday gift.

Happy reading! And in the spirit of the season – here’s to peace and justice on earth and good will to all. All my best for 2011 and beyond.


First up is a shout out to dear friend Elizabeth ‘Betita’ Martinez whose 85th birthday celebration is tomorrow and who authored one of the essays in the outstanding new collection Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC. It’s a must-read essay in a must-read volume. Also in the anthology department, take a look at The Hidden 1970s: Histories of Radicalism, edited by Dan Berger, with several chapters by other friends including Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (“How Indigenous People Wound Up at the U.N.”; James Tracy (on Chicago’s Rising Up Angry organization); and Andy Cornell (“The Movement for a New Society”).

Alan Senauke’s The Bodhisattva’s Embrace: Dispatches from Engaged Buddhism’s Front Lines looks at the activist experience from a different angle and offers the author’s “dharma reflections on the suffering we all see and experience.” (Check out the Clear View Project website for more information.) My old friend from Wisconsin days Charlie Dee has co-authored a history of the first teacher’s strike in Wisconsin history, a highly successful fight at Milwaukee Area Technical College where Charlie and several other old comrades now teach. You can get a copy of Forty Days That Forged a Union at the Local 212 website, look on the right side of the page.

Back to California, take a look at Larry Shoup’s new book Rulers and Rebels: A People’s History of Early California, 1769-1901; complete information at the book’s website. And check out the “public history book” Filipinos in Carson and the South Bay by longtime activists Florante Ibanez and Rose Ibanez – details here.

Working for Justice: The L.A. Model of Organizing and Advocacy, edited by Joshua Bloom, Ruth Milkman and Victor Narro, offers eleven case studies of recent low-wage worker organizing campaigns in Los Angeles. Based on original field research on organizing campaigns among L.A. day laborers, garment workers, car wash workers, security officers, janitors, taxi drivers, hotel workers as well as the efforts of ethnically focused worker centers and immigrant rights organizations, the volume delineates a distinctive “L.A. Model” of union and worker center organizing.

In a different vein, my old friend and comrade Tim Patterson is not only a veteran of many movement struggles but a man of many different interests and skills. An award-winning home winemaker, Tim is the author of the just-released Home Wine-Making for Dummies. Did you know that it is estimated that one million North Americans make their own wine?

Two books previously mentioned in these messages are now up for special mention. Karen Tei Yamashita’s I-Hotel, an “epic saga that explodes and combines the genres of the political novel, the postmodern historical novel, and the testimonio” was honored as a National Book Award Finalist in 2010. And The Forbidden Book: The Philippine-American War in Political Cartoons, by Abraham Ignacio, Enrique de la Cruz, Jorge Emmanuel and the late and terribly missed Helen Toribio has been re-issued in its third printing thanks to East Wind Books.

Last, two items that aren’t books but are just as stimulating. One, the historic All of Us or None political poster archive assembled by Michael Rossman and since Michael’s passing curated by Lincoln Cushing has been added to the Oakland Museum of California collection. Two, keep your eyes and ears open for Aimie Suzara’s A History of the Body, “a multidisciplinary work using dance, visual images, and poetry to explore the impact of colonization on the body.” You can learn more about Aimie’s exciting work here.

Apologies for any volumes I’ve missed. Please send me additions and corrections for the future. Peace be with you all…