LF book thread: Reading is the whitest form of discontent – Dante – Aug 10

Lets talk about, recommend and ask for recommendations about books! For your viewing pleasure a LF reading recommendations list that will make you feel suitably depressed and bourgeois has been included in the OP.

Economic history

  • Ha-Joon Chang, Bad Samaritans and Kicking Away the ladder (Refutes neoliberal economic development theory entirely, excellent reads)
  • Andre Gunder Frank, ReORIENT
  • Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence
  • James Blaut, The Colonizer’s Model of the World and Eight Eurocentric Historians (Refutes all Eurocentrism, including but not limited to Diamond and Landes)
  • Vijay Prashad, Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World (this is actually mainly about the concept of the “third world”)
  • Paul Bairoch, Economics and World History (good introduction, though I think Bairoch is wrong about colonialism)
  • Janet Abu-Lughod, Before European Hegemony
  • David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
  • Noami Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

Economic theory

  • Robin Hahnel, The ABCs of Political Economy (Teaches you basic economics, everyone should read it)
  • Steve Keen, Debunking Economics (A good place to start)
  • Bowles, Richards & Roosevelt, Understanding Capitalism: Competition, Command and Change
  • Gintis et al., Moral Sentiments and Material Interests (On human behavior and psychology as regards economics)
  • Fehr et al., Foundations of Human Sociality (Same as above plus anthropological evidence)
  • Lichtenstein & Slovic, The Construction of Preference (More on the above, kinda technical)
  • Fine & Jomo, The New Development Economics


  • Mazoyer & Roudart, A History of World Agriculture
  • Michael Williams, Deforesting the Earth
  • Giovanni Federico, Feeding the World: An Economic History of World Agriculture, 1800-2000
  • Raj Patel, Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System

Feminism/Gender Theory

  • bell hooks, Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love and Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center.
  • Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Epistemology of the Closet.
  • Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex.
  • Christopher Kilmartin, The Masculine Self.
  • Allan G. Johnson , Gender Knot Revised Ed: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy


  • William Blum, Killing Hope: U. S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II
  • Maurice Meisner, Mao’s China and After (Good and balanced history of Communist and ‘communist’ China)
  • Mary Lefkowitz, Not Out of Africa (Refutes Afrocentrism)
  • Lawrence Friedman, American Law in the Twentieth Century
  • Chris Harman, A People’s History of the World
  • Peter Linebaugh, The London Hanged: Crime and Civil Society in the Eighteenth Century
  • Marcus Rediker, The Many-Headed Hydra (with Linebaugh) and The Slave Ship
  • Mike Haynes, Refuting Revisionism (In particular the parts about the French Revolution are important)
  • Frances Stonor Saunders, The Cultural Cold War (Also published as “Who Paid the Piper?”, this shows the degree of CIA collaboration of many famous cultural people in the West, which is a different story than the usual tall tales about Soviet spies)
  • Paul Hehn, A Low Dishonest Decade (On the economic origins of WWII)
  • Adam Tooze, The Wages of Destruction (Same as above)
  • Mike Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts and Planet of Slums

Marx & Engels

  • Communist Manifesto
  • The Condition of the Working-Class in England
  • Writings of the Young Marx on Society and Philosophy
  • Selected Journalism of Karl Marx
  • Marx -Engels: Selected Correspondence (any edition will do)
  • Capital Vol. I, Volume II, Volume III


  • Fine & Saad-Filho, Marx’s Capital Fifth Edition and Anti-Capitalism: A Marxist Introduction (Marx’s Capital is the best intro book to marxist economics by far, start here)
  • David Harvey, Limits to Capital
  • David McLellan, Karl Marx: A Biography
  • Michael Perelman, The Invention of Capitalism
  • J.D. Hunley, Life and Thought of Friedrich Engels (Not essential but useful)
  • Michael Lebowitz, Beyond Capital

Media Analysis

  • Edward Herman & Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent (Also pick up Necessary Illusions which basically just expands on it)
  • Alex Carey, Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty
  • Robert W. McChesney, Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times
  • Ben H. Bagdikian, The New Media Monopoly
  • Howard Friel & Richard A. Falk, The Record of the Paper: How the New York Times Misreports US Foreign Policy and Israel-Palestine on Record: How the New York Times Misreports Conflict in the Middle East
  • William Puette, Through Jaundiced Eyes: How the Media View Organized Labor
  • Nick Davies, Flat Earth News

Soviet history

  • Richard Stites, Revolutionary Dreams (The absolute best book on the culture of the early Soviet Union in existence)
  • Moshe Lewin, The Soviet Century and Lenin’s Last Struggle
  • Neil Harding, Leninism
  • Kevin McDermott, Stalin: Revolutionary in an Era of War (Best ‘neutral’ book on Stalin that I know, represents the consensus well and makes no errors)
  • Oleg Khlevniuk, The History of the Gulag
  • Rex Wade, The Russian Revolution
  • Getty & Naumov, The Road to Terror


New edition of this classic out as of 2nd of november


Consistently lauded for its lively, readable prose, this revised and updated edition of A People’s History of the United States turns traditional textbook history on its head. Howard Zinn infuses the often-submerged voices of blacks, women, American Indians, war resisters, and poor laborers of all nationalities into this thorough narrative that spans American history from Christopher Columbus’s arrival to an afterword on the Clinton presidency.
Addressing his trademark reversals of perspective, Zinn–a teacher, historian, and social activist for more than 20 years–explains, “My point is not that we must, in telling history, accuse, judge, condemn Columbus in absentia. It is too late for that; it would be a useless scholarly exercise in morality. But the easy acceptance of atrocities as a deplorable but necessary price to pay for progress (Hiroshima and Vietnam, to save Western civilization; Kronstadt and Hungary, to save socialism; nuclear proliferation, to save us all)–that is still with us. One reason these atrocities are still with us is that we have learned to bury them in a mass of other facts, as radioactive wastes are buried in containers in the earth.”

If your last experience of American history was brought to you by junior high school textbooks–or even if you’re a specialist–get ready for the other side of stories you may not even have heard. With its vivid descriptions of rarely noted events, A People’s History of the United States is required reading for anyone who wants to take a fresh look at the rich, rocky history of America

The current darling of leftist literature:


It is well established that in rich societies the poor have shorter lives and suffer more from almost every social problem. Now a groundbreaking book, based on thirty years’ research, takes an important step past this idea. The Spirit Level shows that there is one common factor that links the healthiest and happiest societies: the degree of equality among their members. Not wealth; not resources; not culture, climate, diet, or system of government. Furthermore, more-unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them—the well-off as well as the poor.
The remarkable data assembled in The Spirit Level reveals striking differences, not only among the nations of the first world but even within America’s fifty states. Almost every modern social problem—ill-health, violence, lack of community life, teen pregnancy, mental illness—is more likely to occur in a less-equal society. This is why America, by most measures the richest country on earth, has per capita shorter average lifespan, more cases of mental illness, more obesity, and more of its citizens in prison than any other developed nation.
Wilkinson and Pickett lay bare the contradiction between material success and social failure in today’s world, but they do not simply provide a diagnosis of our woes. They offer readers a way toward a new political outlook, shifting from self-interested consumerism to a friendlier, more sustainable society. The Spirit Level is pioneering in its research, powerful in its revelations, and inspiring in its conclusion: Armed with this new understanding of why communities prosper, we have the tools to revitalize our politics and help all our fellow citizens, from the bottom of the ladder to the top.

New book by the star of heterodox development theory, worldwide release in january:


Chang (Bad Samaritans) takes on the “free-market ideologues,” the stentorian voices in economic thought and, in his analysis, the engineers of the recent financial catastrophe. Free market orthodoxy has inserted its tenterhooks into almost every economy in the world–over the past three decades, most countries have privatized state-owned industrial and financial firms, deregulated finance and industry, liberalized international trade and investments, and reduced income taxes and welfare payments. But these policies have unleashed bubbles and ever increasing income disparity. How can we dig ourselves out? By examining the many myths in the narrative of free-market liberalism, crucially that the name is itself a misnomer: there is nothing “free” about a market where wages are largely politically determined; that greater macroeconomic stability has not made the world economy more stable; and a more educated population itself won’t make a country richer. An advocate of big, active government and capitalism as distinct from a free market, Chang presents an enlightening précis of modern economic thought–and all the places it’s gone wrong, urging us to act in order to completely rebuild the world economy: “This will some readers uncomfortable… it is time to get uncomfortable.”