It’s now some seven years since the notorious ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ sign appeared. Owen Hatherley’s The Ministry of Nostalgia is a witty, exasperated and ferociously well-read exploration of the ‘Austerity Nostalgia’ phenomenon and its politicisation, with parties of both left and right drawing upon competing mythologies of wartime Britain to support their respective positions towards today’s austerity.
What is hope? What would it mean to wish that 2016 will be any better than 2015? As we enter the New Year the latest book by the prolific Terry Eagleton, Hope Without Optimism, offers a brief but wide-ranging meditation on the meaning of a seemingly simple concept that escapes easy definition.
For those of a certain age the success of the latest episode in the Star Wars series seems strangely important. Reflections on the abiding popularity of a cultural icon.
Is a future beyond neoliberalism possible? Justin Reynolds begins a new series of reviews of recent books that seek to imagine an alternative (left) economic and political order.
A new collection by electronica pioneer John Foxx imagining the rewilding of London offers a sonic tour through a new green city including ‘The Glades of Soho’ and ‘The Hanging Gardens of Shoreditch’.
In an age ever more obsessed with the importance of crafting effective political ‘stories’ and ‘narratives’, Jacqueline Mulhallen’s Percy Bysshe Shelley: Poet and Revolutionary is a timely review of the life and work of a poet writing 200 years ago acutely aware of the vital role the imagination plays in extending the horizons of political possibility.
Michel Houellebecq, ever controversial, imagines France shunning centre-left and -right and voting for an Islamic republic to defeat Marine Le Pen’s Front National. A piquant review of an acerbic novel on the limits of liberalism.
Danny Dorling’s magisterial analysis (2009) of inequality has been republished in a revised edition and, as this review underlines, the gap between rich and poor has widened. What can we do? A lot..
A Very British Coup, Chris Mullin’s 1982 thriller about a radical Labour leader brought down by a fearful establishment makes for fascinating re-reading in light of Jeremy Corbyn’s unexpected success in this year’s leadership campaign.
British politicians famously ‘don’t do God’. But much of Labour’s programme for government is inspired by an avowedly theological movement: Blue Labour. Justin Reynolds reviews a new book challenging orthodoxies of the left and right.