New books from Pluto in September – What We Are Fighting For / How to Look Good in a War / Peacebuilding and Reconciliation / Al-Qaeda and Sacrifice / Beyond Occupation

The raddest political press there is…

Good afternoon book lovers and radicals! Just to let you know Pluto has five amazing new titles out this month, which you can check out, and (we hope) buy. As we move into September and a new academic year, now seems like the best moment to build up a healthy-sized reading list – or at least to add new books to your pre-existing pile…

Covering topics such as state violence and propaganda; occupation, colonialism and apartheid; sacrifice and terrorism; peace and conflict resolution; and radical alternatives to capitalism, it’s definitely a bumper crop.

Brian Rappert’s How to Look Good in a War offers a powerful, concise examination of the methods used to depict, defend and justify the use of state violence in recent wars, from Iraq to Libya.

Virginia Tilley’s edited collection, Beyond Occupation, is a timely and urgent analysis that looks at three contentious terms that regularly arise in contemporary arguments about Israel’s practices towards Palestinians in the occupied territories – occupation, colonialism and apartheid. She considers whether their meanings in international law truly apply to Israel’s policies.

Melissa Finn’s pioneering Al-Qaeda and Sacrifice goes beyond the usual simplistic accounts of Jihadi movements in her insightful examination of the idea of ‘sacrifice’ in al-Qaeda suicide attacks.

Marwan Darweish and Carol Rank edit Peacebuilding and Reconciliation, a cutting-edge collection using different global case studies of societies experiencing or emerging out of violent conflict.

Finally, Federico Campagna and Emanuele Campiglio’s essential What We Are Fighting For serves as both sword and shield (in paperback form) against the logic of capitalism and the new age of austerity it has wrought. The book features vivid visions of a different society run in the interests of the 99%. In over 20 chapters, leading activist voices including Nina Power, Owen Jones, David Graeber and John Holloway answer the questions the media loves to ask the protesters.

To buy any of these books, go to

How to Look Good in a War

Justifying and Challenging State Violence

Brian Rappert

Examines the methods used to depict, defend and justify the use of state violence in recent wars, from Iraq to Libya.

“Brian Rappert is one of our shrewdest commentators on the complicated ways in which we come to believe that wars are right and weapons are good. His brilliant case studies of official British enquiries into the Iraq War, of controversies over casualties in that war and of the international movement to ban cluster bombs turn settled wisdom on its head and show us new ways of looking at familiar issues.” – Hugh Gusterson, Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at George Mason University

“In war, governments habitually lean towards closure rather than openness in matters of policy and practice. There then exists the issue of ‘striking the right balance’, with this seen as the core of any debate. Rappert challenges the very basis of such discussion, arguing with considerable insights that seeking balance or redressing imbalance may well be praiseworthy, yet structuring the argument in these terms can obscure the underlying issue of the legitimacy of force. This is an important book with much to offer to anyone concerned with the study of statecraft in time of war.” – Paul Rogers, Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University and author of Losing Control

£17.99 only £16.00 on the Pluto site

Beyond Occupation

Apartheid, Colonialism and International Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Edited by Virginia Tilley

“A responsible re-evaluation of the legal relationship between Israel and the Palestinian territories under its control is long overdue. This compelling study, by reputable legal scholars, answers the international community’s need for new analytical tools to understand a conflict that defies conventional legal categories.” – George Bisharat, Professor of Law, University of California Hastings College of the Law

“An excellent and very full study that examines in great detail the legal concepts of colonialism and apartheid, and considers their implications in the context of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” – Christine Chinkin, Professor of International Law, London School of Economics and Political Science

£75 only £67.50 on the Pluto site

Al-Qaeda and Sacrifice

Martyrdom, War and Politics

Melissa Finn. Foreword by Yasir Qadhi

Insightful examination of the idea of ‘sacrifice’ in al-Qaeda suicide attacks. Goes beyond the usual simplistic accounts of Jihadi movements.

“Excellent. An intelligent, nuanced and innovative analysis of a key phenomenon of our times. Melissa Finn takes the scholarly debate on transnational terrorism into the next phase by critically unpacking Al-Qaeda’s thought, phraseology, and logic of political violence.” – Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and Geneva Centre for Security Policy, author of Understanding Al Qaeda

“This book fills a large void in the literature and shows the promise of offering practical solutions to one of humanity’s major challenges at this time. It will find a wide audience including academics, policy makers, and broadly all those interested in a better understanding of terrorism.” – Wanda Krause, Assistant Professor and Coordinator, Gulf Studies Program, College of Arts & Sciences, Qatar University

£21.99 only £19.50 on the Pluto site

Peacebuilding and Reconciliation

Contemporary Themes and Challenges

Edited by Marwan Darweish and Carol Rank

Cutting-edge collection on global peacebuilding and reconciliation from members of the renowned UK Centre for Peace & Reconciliation Studies.

“Using case studies from countries like Canada, Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Nepal, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the authors share their experiences and articulate a range of issues which are central to conflict transformation and peace building. This is a useful resource for academics and civil society organisations.” – Dr. Deusdedit R.K Nkurunziza, Makerere University, Uganda

“Each chapter is fascinating, engaging with the detailed complexity and special features of conflict situations and attempts to build peace, and applying an extensive literature. In combination the chapters provide a valuable representative sample of responses to conflict, together with critical reflection on attempts at peacebuilding and reconciliation.” – Gordon Burt, Chair of the Conflict Research Society

£19.99 only £17.50 on the Pluto site

What We Are Fighting For

A Radical Collective Manifesto

Edited by Federico Campagna and Emanuele Campiglio

Visions of a different society run in the interests of the 99%. Leading activist voices answer the question the media loves to ask the protesters.

“Here are the first flowers of spring: the beginning of an epochal dialogue about the human future. Inspired by the Occupy movements across the world, What We Are Fighting For should inspire all of us to join the conversation.” – Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums and City of Quartz

“This collection provides a rallying point for all those who resist the dogmas of contemporary politics and seek a fresh set of alternatives. What We Are Fighting For is a manifesto full of urgent, articulate responses to the current situation.” – Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy at the New School, New York, and author of The Faith of the Faithless (2012).

£14.99 only £13.00 on the Pluto site

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