Title: Pessimism of the Intellect
Author: Duncan Thompson
Publisher: Merlin Press
Spartacus Website: Socialism
Duncan Thompson provides a concise summary of the hitherto neglected history of New Left Review and its political and intellectual development from 1962 to the present. Perry Anderson, Robin Blackburn et al. emerged as the leading figures of a second new left around New Left Review six years after the new left first emerged in the wake of the Soviet invasion of Hungary and Britain and France's invasion of Suez. Thompson traces NLR's attempts to develop socialist politics, through the 'old' Labour of Harold Wilson, through heady days in 1968, through new Marxist theory, through the Cold War years and into the era of contemporary capitalist globalisation. He surveys the achievements of NLR: a respectable academic reputation has been won, but it has not succeeded in achieving or facilitating the primary goal of the second New Left, that of finding a strategy for transition to socialism.
Title: Charlie Wilson's War
Author: George Crile
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Spartacus Website: USA Politics
In the last decade, two events have transformed the world: the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of militant Islam. This is the first book to explain the link between these two occurrences. George Crile spent nearly a decade researching and writing this original account of the biggest, most expensive secret war in history: the arming of the Afghan resistance to Soviet occupation. Moving from the secret chambers in CIA headquarters to stand-offs in the Khyber Pass, Charlie Wilson's "War" is one of the most thorough and vivid descriptions of CIA operations ever written. It is the missing chapter in the geopolitics of our time.