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Alibi Creek by Bev
Magennis (Torrey House Press). In this
exceptionally well written novel, a New Mexican ranch woman’s life is turned
upside down when her brother returns from prison, the county commissioners she
works for order her to facilitate corrupt financial practices, her husband
leaves her, and she begins to see her Christian faith in a new light.
Cold Blood, Hot Sea by
Charlene D’Avanzo (Torrey
House Press). A plot-driven mystery novel follows a young climate
scientist on the Maine coast whose life is in danger because she is
investigating big energy companies.
The Walls of Delhi by Uday
Prakash (Seven Stories). Three
innovative novellas cast a light on class in today’s India. A janitor stumbles
on a cache of money. An untouchable has his identity stolen by an upper-caste
thief. A slum family faces a crisis when their baby keeps getting smarter by
leaps and bounds.
Pale Harvest by Braden Hepner (Torrey House Press). The young men in a western dairy
community who are at the center of this touching novel struggle to understand
faith, hope, and fate as they cope with poverty, isolation, and lack of power
in the face of larger economic forces.
The Creatures at the Absolute
Bottom of the Sea by Rosemary McGuire (University of Alaska). A woman
who worked for years in commercial fishing gives an insider view of that life
in this collection of short stories.
Woman Missing by Linda
Nordquist (Hard Ball
In this novel written by a former steelworker, a worker disappeared 20 years
ago while challenging a mill closure, and the authorities had no interest in
investigating. Now, her daughter returns to her hometown to discover what
happened, putting herself in danger.
Dirt Work by Christine Byl (Beacon). A woman who has spent much of her adult life on
trail crews in the western states provides an entertaining memoir of her
The Big Book of Nature Activities by Drew
Monkman and Jacob Rodenburg (New Society). An
extremely useful 350-page guide describes specific activities and games to engage
young people in the natural world, have fun, and develop skills.
The God of the Whole Animal by
Lewis Mundt (Beard
This collection of highly original and personal poems comes from Beard Poetry,
an independent publisher based in Minneapolis.
Tomlinson Hill by Chris
Tomlinson (St. Martin’s). A
journalist who is the great-great-grandson of slave owners returns to his roots
in a small town in Texas to tell the unvarnished story of the relationship over
many generations between his family and black residents, including retired NFL
star LaDainian Tomlinson. One striking aspect of the story is the similarity
between what the white elite did to maintain political and economic power and
cheap labor after the Civil War and the tactics being used today.
Environmentalism of the Rich by
Peter Dauvergne (MIT). A
professor argues that an environmental movement focused on recycling, energy
efficiency, and wilderness preservation is not making change fast enough
because it does not challenge the root issues of overconsumption, extreme
inequality, destructive growth, and excessive corporate power over decision
Secrets of a Successful Organizer
by Alexandra Bradbury, Mark Brenner, and Jane Slaughter (Labor Notes). While designed for use in a workplace
context, this guide contains useful tips for any kind of organizing.
Among Wolves by Gordon Haber
and Marybeth Holleman (University
of Alaska). A compilation of the writings of a scientist who studied
wolves in Alaska for 43 years provides comprehensive information about how
these animals live, the important role they play in their ecosystem, and what
it will take to allow them to thrive rather than disappearing.
Listen, Liberal by Thomas
The Democratic Party presents itself as the party of working people, yet at the
top it is run by a corporate and cultural elite whose economic and foreign
policy positions benefit Wall Street and global companies at everyone else’s
expense. The history of how that transformation has taken place is essential
reading for all Americans, including those who may choose to vote Democratic anyway
for tactical reasons.
The American War in Vietnam by John
Marciano (Monthly Review Press). The U.S.
government has launched a multi-year project to “commemorate” its war in
Vietnam, framing that invasion as a patriotic effort to promote democracy
around the world. A retired professor reviews the actual history of the war and
debunks the myths being created by those who seek to build support for similar
military interventions today.
The Drone Eats With Me by
Atef Abu Saif (Beacon). A Palestinian writer
describes how he and his young family and neighbors tried to maintain some normalcy
in their lives during a nearly two-month conflict with Israel on the Gaza Strip
Power 50 edited by Sylviane A. Diouf
and Komozi Woodard (The New Press). Anniversaries of major events in the civil rights movement of the
1960s get far more attention than the 50 anniversary in 2016 of
the emergence of the Black Power movement that was more militant, more critical
of capitalism, and more concerned with local black empowerment than with racial
integration. This collection of essays is accompanied by personal accounts by
participants and more than a hundred dramatic photographs and other images.
Achieving Workers’ Rights in the
Global Economy edited by Richard P. Appelbaum and Nelson Lichtenstein (Cornell University Press). A
collection of essays by activists and academics examines how giant retail
supply chains controlled by companies like Walmart, Apple, and Nike hold
working people in poverty around the world. Includes discussion about possible
of a Man.This highly unusual French feature film focuses on an unemployed man put
through absurd and humiliating “retraining,” “coaching,” and interviews for
jobs he won’t get, until he finally accepts a position as part of the
surveillance staff in a big box store.
Lamb. A beautiful
Ethiopian feature film tells the story of two characters who don’t fit into traditional
rural life in that country. One is a young boy more adept at cooking than typically
male tasks. The other is an outspoken teenage girl who is being drawn into local
radical political debates.
Worlds Collide. Backed
by a “free trade” agreement with the U.S., the president of Peru launched a
plan to turn over indigenous Amazonian land to big corporations for mining and
oil and gas extraction. Indigenous communities fought back. The filmmakers
immersed themselves in this drama and produced incredible footage showing the
courage and sacrifice of the native people, juxtaposed with the familiar
invoking of “progress” and “the rule of the law” by the corporations’ allies in
Deepwater Horizon. A Hollywood thriller recreates the 2010 disaster in
which a BP oil rig caught on fire and exploded, killing 11 people and releasing
tens of millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. High-level acting
and special effects help tell the story of BP’s greed that led to the worst oil
spill in U.S. history.
The Ruins of Lifta. A Jewish
filmmaker whose family was devastated by the Holocaust has made a film about a
Palestinian village whose inhabitants lost their homes when Israel was
established. Survivors of both experiences meet at the present-day village
site, now a battleground among developers, the Israeli government, and
War Surplus by Becky Warren. This 12-song album by a country rocker now touring
with the Indigo Girls tells a continuous story about a soldier who was sent to
Iraq and his girlfriend, following each of them from the time they meet to his
return with PTSD.
Marshall, Walshand Borderland by Joe Walsh. Two new albums of tuneful roots music, some
original, some traditional, some instrumental, with innovations like a
rendition of Phil Ochs’ “There But for Fortune” or a Yeats poem put to music.
American Band by Drive-By
Truckers. The dynamic white southern
rockers have been touring with a Black Lives Matter sign on stage, and sing
about a school massacre in Oregon, religious hypocrites, the Confederate flag,
and police shootings of black men:
“If you say it wasn’t racial
when they shot him in his tracks,
Well, I guess that means that you ain’t black,
I mean Barack Obama won and you can choose where to eat,
But you don’t see too many white kids lying bleeding on the street.”