April 3, 2020

[Also here]. I’ve been reading Gabriel and Joyce Kolko’s classic The Limits of Power: The World and United States Foreign Policy, 1945–54 (1972). Being a brilliant materialist analysis that’s utterly indispensable to an understanding of the postwar world, the book is out of print and hard to find anywhere. It’s a massive tome, but I thought I’d quote here just a few necessary cor...

July 22, 2019

[Years ago I took notes on the book mentioned below, which I thought I'd post here just for the heck of it. Maybe someone will find them useful.]

Reading Anthony Brewer’s Marxist Theories of Imperialism: A Critical Survey (1980). Sometimes my living in a postmodern culture makes me forget just how obvious the economic interpretation of history is. “The motives for imperial expansi...

December 13, 2018

Here's a list of some good leftist books I've come across over the years. Click on the titles for the PDFs. It's a somewhat arbitrary list, but I tried to keep it confined to fairly easy-to-read books, not overly theoretical or abstruse ones that might leave the beginning reader bewildered. I've been unable to find PDFs of certain excellent works, unfortunately. You can also cons...

September 13, 2018

With regard to the period between the 1530s and 1640s, the great Marxian historian Steve Stern divides the economic system that prevailed in the area around the city of Huamanga in Peru—and, by extension, the system in much of Spanish Latin America—into three stages.

The first stage, lasting until the 1570s, was dominated by encomenderos and priests who pioneered relationships wi...

August 6, 2018

In The Populist Vision, Charles Postel argues persuasively that Populism, the greatest popular movement in American history, should not be called (as it sometimes is) anti-modern, ‘traditional,’ anti-industrial, anti-progress, even anti-capitalist in a strict sense. What it opposed was not ‘modernity’ or industrial progress or technological efficiency or the market but a particul...

March 23, 2018

Just a quick note: I recently posted a long summary of and commentary on Georg Lukacs' masterpiece The Destruction of Reason, which has been absurdly--though not surprisingly, given the quality of the West's intellectual culture--neglected and virtually forgotten by everyone except Lukacs scholars. It describes the path to Hitler in the realm of culture, particularly philosophy,...

March 28, 2017

In history, few topics can be more relevant to our own world than the origin of capitalism. Ellen Meiksins Wood's book on that subject (second edition published by Verso in 2002) is a brilliant commentary on and synthesis of earlier scholarship that everyone interested in capitalism should read. The next best thing, though, is to read the notes I took on it.

March 5, 2017

I recently read a book by Chris Bambery called The Second World War: A Marxist History (2014) and decided it was good enough to take notes on. I posted them on, here. Marxist interpretations are typically the most interesting and valuable, so I recommend you read either the notes or the book itself. Especially because World War II was such a formative influence on ou...

February 13, 2016

Notes on a classic. (See also these notes.)-- In Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America (1993), Walter LaFeber interprets the history of U.S. imperialism in this region as consisting of several stages: first, the U.S.’s setting up of its Central American policy or “system” between the 1890s and World War II, a system that involved forcing a depende...

August 14, 2015

What is the significance of the fact that in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries certain (semi-fascist) sections of the middle and upper classes in Western society started obsessing over heroism, manliness, strength, military virtues, and, conversely, society’s increasing effeminacy, “neurasthenia,” desiccation, decadence, etc.? It was indeed a near-obsession, and i...

April 29, 2015

The nation-state and capitalism were born as twins from the fertile, ancient womb of greed and power-hunger. They grew up together, were playmates from an early age—going on treasure hunts, playing Cowboys and Indians, in their later years preferring Monopoly—learned from each other, helped each other achieve their dreams, relied on each other in difficult times. Their youths and...

Please reload

 Featured Posts 

Popular sanity

February 19, 2015

Please reload

 Recent Posts 
Please reload

 Search by Tags