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Front Page » Table of Contents » Archive: Books & Book Reviews: September 2007

By an everyday book reader on September 1, 2007

Most Americans would be shocked to discover that slavery still exists in the United States. Yet most of us buy goods made by people who aren't paid for their labor - people who are trapped financially, and often physically. In Nobodies, award-winning journalist John Bowe exposes the outsourcing, corporate chicanery, immigration fraud, and sleights of hand that allow forced labor to continue in the United States while the rest of us notice nothing but the everyday low price at the checkout counter.

Nobodies is a vivid and powerful work of investigative reporting, but it is also a lively examination of the eternal struggle for power between free people and unfree people. Against the American landscape of shopping mall, outlet stores, and Happy Meals, Bowe reveals how humankind's darker urges remain alive and well, lingering in the background of every transaction and how understanding them may lead to overcoming them.

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By an everyday book reader on September 1, 2007

blackfarmers1.jpgThrough essays and photographs, the author reflects on an America that many hope and others assume is in the past.

Old, tangled roots tie black Americans to the nation's farmland. Black labor on Southern plantations formed the backbone of the nation's first economy, an agricultural economy. Slave labor provided the cheap cotton that set in motion the textile factories at the beginning of the industrial age and the rise of the American economy to the best in the world.

With the end of slavery, freed blacks began a struggle of biblical proportions to gain land and enjoy the same economic rewards as whites. At the heart of that gospel lay the failed promise of "Forty Acres and a Mule," which had its genesis in General William T. Sherman's Special Field Order Number 15, issued on January 16, 1865. The general's command allowed former slaves to begin farming on land abandoned by fleeing Confederate soldiers. In March of that year, the Congress authorized General Sherman to rent out the land and supply as many plow mules as possible to the new farmers.

Here are John Ficara's masterful images of a modern version of "twilight's last gleaming" -- what is left of America's heritage of strong black farmers. These photographs are taken with the care required to preserve a precious American heritage. American history is on view here. These are deeply felt memories. There is much sweetness in these pictures but also a trace of bitterness. Today, all that remains of the nation's black farmers is a few older folks working the same rich, dark southern soil as their forefathers.

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By an everyday book reader on September 1, 2007

Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman, levels unusually harsh criticism at President George Bush and the Republican Party. Greenspan argues that Bush and the Republican Congress abandoned the central conservative principle of fiscal restraint.

Greenspan paints a picture of George Bush as a man driven more by ideology and one that is incurious about the effects of his economic policy. The book implies that the Bush administration is one incapable of executing economic policy.

The former Fed Chairman says that while he served under Bush, "I was soon to see my old friends veer off in unexpected directions."

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By an everyday book reader on September 1, 2007

News for a Change provides step-by-step instructions for working with the media to promote social change. The authors are seasoned activists in the use of media advocacy - the strategic use of news media, advertising and community organizing to change public policy.

In this media-driven age, strategic media approaches are vital to achieving visibility, gathering support, and challenging those in positions of power.

The authors here designed this book around 10 key rules that should shape your media efforts. Throughout each chapter, they provide "Advocacy in Action" examples - stories of groups who have used media successfully to advance their policy goals, as well as checklists, pointers, and exercises to help you apply the lessons of media advocacy to your work. Worksheets and additional resources are collected in appendices at the end of the book.

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By an everyday book reader on September 1, 2007

In her groundbreaking reporting over the past few years, Naomi Klein introduced the term disaster capitalism. Whether covering Baghdad after the U.S. occupation, Sri Lanka in the wake of the tsunami, or New Orleans post-Katrina, she witnessed something remarkably similar. People still reeling from catastrophe were being hit again, this time with economic shock treatment, losing their land and homes to rapid-fire corporate makeovers.

At the core of disaster capitalism is the use of cataclysmic events to advance radical privatization combined with the privatization of the disaster response itself. Klein argues that by capitalizing on crises, created by nature or war, the disaster capitalism complex now exists as a booming new economy, and is the violent culmination of a radical economic project that has been incubating for fifty years.

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The previous archive is Books & Book Reviews: August 2007.

The next archive is Books & Book Reviews: October 2007.

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The previous archive is Books & Book Reviews: August 2007.

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