Books

There’s no more overused an adjective than legendary. ‘Legend’ used to be reserved those men and achievements that surpassed the norms of everyday experience. Now it is called into service to validate everything from the engine of a Dodge pickup truck to the onion rings at the local diner. If ever the term was properly applied,  it would be to Jon “Metalion” Kristianson and his Slayer fanzine. (More…)

Edited by Titus Hjelm, Keith Kahn-Harris, Mark LeVine, Heavy Metal Controversies and Countercultures presents a wide range of perspectives and approaches to the topic, probing the ways that race, gender, violence, and politics find expression in the wide range of instantiations of metal. The editors of this collection all have serious bona fides in the scholarly study of metal. (More…)

“I am just glad there isn’t a cactus on the cover.” Justin St. Germain is in the Tap Room of Tucson’s historic Hotel Congress, discussing his stunning new memoir Son of a Gun. At the time, I think he is simply expressing the saguaro fatigue that afflicts longtime residents of the Sonoran Desert. Images of the tree-sized cactus are stamped on everything imaginable. But when I drive through Tombstone a month later, I realize my mistake: (More…)

Serial killer fiction and time travel fiction are two troubling genres. At its worst, the serial killer story offers the cheap thrill of watching a charming genius killing at will. And time travel can be an irritating, messy plot device that hogs the spotlight and drains a story of its reality. But South African writer Lauren Beukes’ third novel The Shining Girls avoids these pitfalls. (More…)

David Graeber is unlikely to get a fair shake.  Despite publishing respectable works in anthropology, as well as a lauded tome on debt, his newest book, The Democracy Project, offers an insightful analysis of democracy and the Occupy Wall Street protests through the eyes of a self-identified anarchist. For many, this will be a hard pill to swallow. (More…)

For someone who grew up in an athletic family, I have a hard time paying attention to sports. It’s not so much the games as it is the process of navigating the spectacular cultural industry that surrounds them. (More…)

Robert P. Helms is a Philadelphia-based radical historian who has extensively researched the anarchist movement of the early 20th century. He is especially interested in the legendary Philadelphia anarchist Voltairine de Cleyre and her friends and associates, and has written biographies of many of them. (More…)

They’re ideal leftwing subjects. Irreplaceable, they can make demands of employers. Exploited, they’re inclined towards solidarity with one another. Foreign, they’re intensely marginalized, for cultural, as well as economic reasons. Impoverished, their hunger inspires them. In other words, they have something to fight for; not just anything, but social equality. (More…)

Former squatter Hannah Dobbz’ Nine-Tenths of the Law: Property and Resistance in the United States (AK Press) couldn’t arrive at a more fitting time. The housing crisis unquestionably complicated and challenged Americans’ notion of the American Dream of universal homeownership, leaving fertile ground to explore and question who or what grants the right to live in a dwelling.  (More…)

And then there was a ray of light. In the wake of the May 2012 race riot in Tel Aviv, the mainstream media was suddenly paying attention to African refugees in the Jewish state. My agent called to say that we might be able to ride the wave of violence to sell my book about migrants in Israel.  (More…)

Warren Ellis’s latest novel Gun Machine is like a cop thriller set in a fever dream, twisted genre fiction that employs the conventions of a primetime police drama to investigate a series of brutal crimes, but also the bloody history of New York City itself. (More…)

When my agent and I shopped my book about Israel’s migrant workers and African refugees around, we got a lot of those, “We love it but it’s not right for us” and “This is an important book that needs to be published. But there’s no audience for this.” But perhaps the most common response was, “Where are the Palestinians?” (More…)