Here is my list of the most memorable books I read in 2010. I've included only recently published books and minimized duplication with a list of best books for union activists that I'm working on.
- John Atlas, Seeds of Change
2. Ian Fletcher, Free Trade Doesn't Work
- Sally Jenkins and John Stauffer, The Sate of Jones
- Tony Judt, Ill Fares the Land
- Dennis Lahane, The Given Day
- Mark A. Lause, Race and Radicalism in the Union Army
- Benjamin Ross, Steven Amter, The Polluters: The Making of Our Chemically Altered Environment
If Earth Day or the Love Canal tragedy were the events that brought the environmental crisis into your consciousness, then you owe it to yourself to read The Polluters. Even more so, if it was Global Warming or the BP oil spill.
Killer smog in LA and mass zinc poisoning in Denora, Pennsylvania are two dramatic events, just after WWII, covered by Ross and Amter. But there is also the story of DDT and leaded gasoline. The coverups by companies and the obfuscations of industry-influenced scientific groups are constants in the story.
Government has rarely been an effective regulator. The chemical industry in pursuing its own pecuniary interests has promoted and exploited an ideology of market fundamentalism, which has helped to negate and undermine efforts at regulation.
- Eric Olin Wright, Envisioning Real Utopias
Encyclopedic in its breadth, daunting in its ambition, Envisioning Real Utopias is the culmination of Erik Olin Wright’s revamping of Marxism. Dispensing with ruptural change and laws of history, Wright restores the social to socialism. He keeps alive alternatives to capitalism by exploring real utopias—their internal contradictions, their conditions of existence and, thus, their possible dissemination. Only a thinker of Wright’s genius could sustain such a badly needed political imagination without losing analytical clarity and precision. (Michael Burawoy, UC Berkeley )
Hugely rich and stimulating, Envisioning Real Utopias is many books in one: an incisive normative diagnosis of the harms done by capitalism; a masterful synthesis of the best work in political sociology and political economy over the past thirty years; an innovative theoretical framework for conceptualizing both the goals of progressive change and the strategies for their achievement; an inspiring survey of actually existing challenges to capitalism that have arisen within capitalism itself; and a compelling essay on the relation between the desirable, the viable and the achievable. Anyone interested in the future for leftist politics has to read this book. (Adam Swift, Balliol College, Oxford )