New Review by Paresh Chattopadhyay

Paresh Chattopadhyay has published a review of a collection of socialist writings edited by Irfan Habib, a prominent Marxist historian of Mughal India, in the most recent issue of Economic and Political Weekly (Vol. 45, Issue 41; Oct. 9-15, 2010). As usual, Chattopadhyay does not let his scholarly respect for an individual deter him from […]

No Politics Are Local: A Critique of Robin Kelley’s Hammer and Hoe

I have finally taken the time to read Robin D.G. Kelley’s Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression. The book was written twenty years ago, but it is still widely read and its subject matter is of such importance that it warrants a brief review here. Kelley is a professor of American Studies […]

Surrealism and the Non-White World

Black, Brown and Beige: Surrealist Writings From Africa and the Diaspora Edited by Franklin Rosemont and Robin D.G. Kelley University of Texas Press. 2009. 395 pages. A title in the Surrealist Revolution series. ••• African-American historian Robin Kelley and Surrealist Franklin Rosemont (who passed away in 2009) have produced a provocative compilation of Surrealist texts […]

Breton and Haiti, Once Again

I just had the opportunity to read André Breton: Magus of Surrealism by Anna Balakian, the first American scholar to seriously investigate Surrealism. Balakian, who passed away in 1997 (see obituary in The New York Times, August 15, 1997), published Literary Origins of Surrealism in 1947, after having interviewed Breton when he lived in New […]

The Martinique Route

Martinique: Snake Charmer by André Breton, with text and illustrations by André Masson University of Texas Press, 2008. 117 pages. One of Franklin Rosemont’s final contributions before his death in 2009 was seeing this book—part of the University of Texas Press Surrealist Revolution series, which he edited—through to print. As Rosemont says in his valuable […]

Struggling with James

Urbane Revolutionary: C.L.R. James and the Struggle for a New Society (University Press of Mississippi , 2008, 282 pages) *** While not exactly a new book, Frank Rosengarten’s Urbane Revolutionary: C.L.R. James and the Struggle for a New Society is an important addition to the large body of James literature and deserves a serious critical […]

Between Uncle Sam and Papa Doc

Red & Black in Haiti: Radicalism, Conflict, and Political Change, 1934-1957 Matthew J. Smith (University of North Carolina Press, 2009) *** Even for those sympathetic to Haiti, the big events—the great revolution at the close of the eighteenth century, the brutal Duvalier regime, and the roller coaster ride of Aristide’s political career—are probably all they […]

Death in Stalin’s forest

Class Cleansing: The Massacre at Katyn by Victor Zaslavsky Telos Press, 2008. 133 pp. I hesitate to review anything connected to the Telos school. The journal has undergone a precipitous theoretical decline from its origin as a center of phenomenological Marxism, critical theory, and council communism to become a vehicle for the Americanization of French […]

Thumbnail Reviews

This blog is intended to be largely a critical exploration of ideas through the medium of the book review. Sadly, my pile of “books finished” is much larger than my capacity to produce thoughtful reviews. I am introducing the category of “Thumbnail Review” to permit me to share a few lines about books I consider […]