Reading lists

Owen Jones: Books that moved us forward in 2017

Writer and political activist Owen Jones shares his standout reads of 2017, from feminism and global politics to the role of Artificial Intelligence in the not-so-distant future


1997: The Future That Never Happened

Richard Power Sayeed

After 18 years of wretched Tory government, New Labour's 1997 landslide was a moment of exuberance for many. But what did it really represent? Richard Power Sayeed's superb and illuminating new book, 1997: The Future That Never Happened, exposes the failure of the New Labour project to transform Britain. Indeed, it explains how the Britain of today – chronically polarised, riddled with injustice, convulsed by crisis – partly emerged out of the failures of Blairism. Critical to understanding the Britain of 2017.

Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics

Richard Seymour

For many years, Britain's left ranked amongst the most marginalised in the Western world. After the Tories' triumph in the 2015 election, an even more bitter political winter for the left seemed to beckon. Instead, a left-wing backbencher – Jeremy Corbyn – who was unknown to most led a successful insurgency to claim the mantle of the Labour party leadership. Richard Seymour's Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics is a superbly written and deeply insightful look at how socialism became a mass political force in Britain again. Want to understand Labour's dramatic electoral surge this year? This book is essential.

Playing with Fire

Lawrence O'Donnell

This is the year where the bigoted demagogue Donald Trump – to the horror of much of the world's population – became the most powerful man on earth. Playing With Fire by Lawrence O'Donnell is the fascinating account of the 1968 presidential election, without which modern US politics is impossible to understand. The 'whitelash' against the civil rights movement, and the deployment of racist tropes for political gain; the movement against the calamitous and increasingly humiliating Vietnam War; the assassinations and riots. The current state of American politics did not fall randomly out of the sky: this book is critical to understanding it.


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