‘Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable’ – this famous phrase seems apt for some of the new Pluto titles which we present here. Some, most notably Saleem Shahzad’s courageous and ground-breaking Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban which was published just before he was brutally murdered in Pakistan, are a thorn in the side of those in power.
Others, such as Abeer Baker and Anat Matar’s Threat: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel, give a voice to the voiceless and aim to bring their experiences to a wider audience.
All are guaranteed to provide a feast of ideas for those who like their books critical, provocative and against the grain.
Titles released in June
Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, Understanding Al Qaeda – Second Edition: Changing War and Global Politics
Changing War and Global Politics
Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou
Updated edition of the controversial book which argues that the only way to defeat Al Qaeda it is to engage with its arguments in a serious way.
“Mohamedou is a top-notch academic. In today’s world, you can’t afford to miss this book.” – Tim Sebastian, award-winning former BBC foreign correspondent and presenter of HARDtalk
“Mohammad Mohamedou has written a political analysis which provides a much-needed secular understanding of Al Qaeda as one among several organised forces in a rapidly changing international arena. Unlike most writers on the subject who tend to be mesmerised by Al Qaeda’s religious discourse, Mohamedou insists on understanding the changing significance of the discourse against a historical backdrop of actions and events.” – Mahmood Mamdani, Herbert Lehman Professor of Government, Columbia University
Tommy McKearney, The Provisional IRA, From Insurrection to Parliament
From Insurrection to Parliament
Analyses the Provisional IRA’s formation, development, and prospects for the future.
“Tommy McKearney’s story is one of those ‘must read’ books for anyone interested either in the struggle within Northern Ireland itself or in the overall relationship between England and Ireland.” – Tim Pat Coogan, former editor of the Irish Press and author of The I.R.A (1970; 2000).
“If we had to choose one person who served in the ranks of the IRA to contextualize the organization’s development from revolution to reform it would be Tommy McKearney. A seasoned volunteer with considerable military and political experience McKearney knows his subject matter. In terms of both left-wing politics and IRA activism he has walked the walk. Now he explains to a wider audience the dynamics behind the IRA and in the process gives the reader a new intellectual window through which the IRA campaign can be reappraised. Any student of the IRA who does not have this book in their library will find their comprehension diminished.” – Anthony McIntyre, former IRA volunteer and ex-prisoner
Martin Barker, A ‘Toxic Genre’: the Iraq War Films
The Iraq War Films
Analyses the production and reception of recent Iraq war films, such as the Oscar winning The Hurt Locker. Fascinating survey of post-9/11 cinema.
“A critical, multidimensional analysis of how film culture deals with war and politics. Clearly written, broadly informed, and engagingly insightful.” – Michael Parenti, author of God and His Demons and The Face of Imperialism
“An excellent and original analysis of a range of films related to the war in Iraq that also makes a wider contribution to our understanding of the various pressures and shaping influences brought to bear on such productions in both Hollywood and parts of the independent sector. Lucidly argued and a model of level-headed analysis.” – Geoff King, Director of the Screen Media Research Centre at Brunel University, London
Titles released in May
Syed Saleem Shahzad, Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11
Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11
Syed Saleem Shahzad
A unique insight into the post-Osama bin Laden generation of Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders from a journalist who interviewed many of them.
“[Shahzad’s] work reporting on terrorism and intelligence issues in Pakistan brought to light the troubles extremism poses to Pakistan’s stability.” – Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State
“When Syed Saleem Shahzad talks, I listen. He is the most fearless and reliable journalist covering Pakistan and Afghanistan, and that’s why his work is read even in the halls of the Pentagon. No journalist passing through Pakistan should miss an opportunity to talk to him and nobody interested in the region, in Al-Qaeda or in the Taliban can afford to ignore his work.” – Nir Rosen, author of The Triumph of the Martyrs: A Reporter’s Journey Into Occupied Iraq
Kieran Allen, Marx and the Alternative to Capitalism
An accessible and comprehensive overview of the ideas of Karl Marx that elucidates his theories and suggests crucial alternatives to capitalism.
Abeer Baker and Anat Matar (ed’s), Threat: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel
Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel
Edited by Abeer Baker and Anat Matar
Highlights the plights of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israel. Includes contributions from current and former prisoners.
“This is a timely and urgent volume that brings to the fore the systematic injustices endemic to the Israeli emprisonment of Palestinians. The volume not only provides extensive documentation that establishes the particular violence of the legal apparatus as it contains and disciplines arrested Palestinians, but it offers a detailed description of the widespread deviation from accepted standards of justice and procedural law. At stake throughout is the criminalisation of political protest, and this volume offers extensive evidence and analysis to resist this violent use of law.” – Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor, Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature, UC Berkeley
“Out of the grim reality of Palestinians as a People of Prisoners and Israeli-Jews as a People of Wardens, this book offers not only nuanced information and unconventional insights, but also the feasibility of an anti-occupation, anti-colonial life of action, developed together by Palestinians and Jews.” – Amira Hass, Ha’aretz
Kate Bayliss, Ben Fine and Elisa Van Waeyenberge (ed’s), The Political Economy of Development, The World Bank, Neoliberalism and Development Research
The World Bank, Neoliberalism and Development Research
Edited by Kate Bayliss, Ben Fine and Elisa Van Waeyenberge
A thorough look at the evolution of the World Bank’s scholarship and activities. Essential for students of development studies.
“This powerful volume provides a highly effective critique of the ‘knowledge’ activities of the World Bank, both substantively and methodologically. It is highly recommended to anyone who wants to really understand how ideas are developed, legitimised, and propagated in the development policy establishment.” – Ha-Joon Chang, University of Cambridge, author of Kicking Away the Ladder and Bad Samaritans
“Most critical analyses of the World Bank have focused on the adverse impact of the tens of billions of dollars it lends each year. Only a few of us have ventured into the equally important terrain of World Bank research. Bayliss, Fine and Van Waeyenberge do a great service by putting together what I believe to be the first book, and certainly the most comprehensive, on this subject.” – Dr Robin Broad, Professor at American University, Washington DC and co-author of Development Redefined: How the Market Met its Match
Colin Cremin, Capitalism’s New Clothes: Enterprise, Ethics and Enjoyment in Times of Crisis
Enterprise, Ethics and Enjoyment in Times of Crisis
Explains why the more capitalism is revealed to be damaging and regressive, the more it gains acceptance in everyday life and popular culture.
“Slicing through the evasions and double think of contemporary accounts of pleasure, Colin Cremin has produced a must-read text on the sociology of enjoyment. Accessible, penetrating, unmissable.” – Chris Rojek, Professor of Sociology & Culture, Brunel University, West London
“With a ruthless elegance, Colin Cremin exposes the vacuousness of ‘creative’ capitalism’s pretensions to newness. Cremin shows that ‘entrepreneurialism’ and ‘enterprise’ are relics of a system that has run out of time, and dares to proclaim that, once again, the future belongs to the left.” – Mark Fisher, Visiting Fellow at Goldsmiths, University Of London, and author of Capitalist Realism (2010)
Anna Hartnell, Rewriting Exodus: American Futures from Du Bois to Obama
American Futures from Du Bois to Obama
Places black America at the centre of the study of US culture, suggesting new ways of thinking about the US relationship with the post-colonial world.
“Perceptive, provocative and persuasive… This important, smartly written, and insightful study facilitates deeper understanding of why President Barack Obama’s election failed to reconcile fundamental fissures in American society so graphically on display in New Orleans during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Anna Hartnell’s Rewriting Exodus is an intellectual tour de force. It is essential reading for everyone in African American Studies.” – Darlene Clark Hine, Board of Trustees Professor of African American Studies & Professor of History, Northwestern University Chair, Department of African American Studies, Northwestern University