World Wide Work, summer 2016 -- new books, films, music
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Istanbul Istanbul by Burhan Sonmez (OR Books). Four Turkish political prisoners are being held underground. To pass the time before interrogation, they tell each other stories, parables, and riddles which as a whole provide the reader with a deeply engaging novel about life above ground.

And West is West by Ron Childress (Algonquin). A plot driven novel features two characters who don't know each other – a woman who launches drone missiles on Afghanistan from a desk in Las Vegas and a young Wall Street whiz kid who creates algorithms to profit from the timing of those launches.

My Last Continent by Midge Raymond (Simon and Schuster). Two researchers who met in Antarctica while studying penguins and fell in love are back for a new season, but it does not go the way they imagined.

Hogs Wild by Ian Frazier (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). A collection of reporting pieces from the New Yorker and other publications shows Frazier's range, from profiles of quirky people and odd situations to in-depth stories about projects grappling with social problems like homelessness.

Kingdom of the Unjust by Medea Benjamin (OR Books). At a time when the U.S. government fights to cover up the connection between the Saudi government and the men who carried out 9/11, a leading peace activist investigates the close relationship under Democrats and Republicans alike between the U.S. and the repressive dictatorship that is the largest customer for the American weapons industry.

Chain of Title by David Dayen (The New Press). In this dramatic true story, a nurse, a car dealership worker, and an insurance specialist in Florida during the Great Recession slowly uncovered massive foreclosure fraud carried out by banking executives across the U.S. This account masterfully mixes their personal experiences with the broader context, while revealing how the Obama administration has continued to turn its back on one of the biggest crimes in American history.

Blackballed by Lawrence Ross (St. Martin's). An activist looks at the history and current state of racism in U.S. colleges.

Charleston Syllabus edited by Chad Williams, Kidada E. Williams, and Keisha N. Blain (University of Georgia). For those who want readings to provide context for the murder of nine African Americans at a church in South Carolina, this collection includes new essays plus excerpts from scholarly books and general-interest articles.

The South Side by Natalie Y. Moore (St. Martin's). Police profiling is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to policies that promote racial segregation, discrimination, and inequality of wealth. A journalist explains how institutional racism works in her hometown of Chicago, drawing in part on her own family's experiences.

Caught by Marie Gottschalk (Princeton). A comprehensive study of the explosion of the number of people incarcerated in America persuasively challenges reformers to be bolder both in proposed solutions and in strategies to win.

Prelude to Prison by Marsha Weissman (Syracuse University). The director of the Center for Community Alternatives gives voice to poor young people of color who have been suspended from school as society starts them in the school-to-prison pipeline.

Tomas Young's War by Mark Wilkerson (Haymarket). A no-holds-barred biography reveals the personal life of a paralyzed Iraq War veteran who spoke out against the war during his final years.

How the World Breaks by Stan Cox and Paul Cox (The New Press). In reporting on the victims of disasters caused by man-made climate change and fossil fuel extraction, the authors question the goal of “resilience,” which they see as temporary adaptation to destructive trends rather than establishing true sustainability.

China on Strike edited by Hao Ren (Haymarket). Dozens of interviews document the experiences of Chinese workers protesting exploitation in factories that supply Apple, Nike, and other global corporations.

See You in the Streets by Ruth Sergel (University of Iowa). An artist and organizer who led a major coalition marking the 100 anniversary of the deadly Triangle factory fire in New York explores a variety of interesting issues that come up in using art and history to advance the progressive movement.

Spain in Our Hearts by Adam Hochschild (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). In the late 1930s, about 2,800 idealistic Americans volunteered to go to Spain to join the first military battle of what would become World War II. Spanish citizens were fighting fascist forces, armed by Hitler and Mussolini, for control of their country. While the U.S. government refused to help, Texaco provided oil on credit to the fascists. The story makes particularly interesting reading as corporate-funded fascists appear to be on the rise in a number of countries today.

Sing It! By Meryl Danziger (Seven Stories). A music teacher has created an easy-to-understand biography of Pete Seeger for young people.

Mycelial Mayhem by David and Kristin Sewak (New Society). You, too, can grow mushrooms at home.


Klamath. Independent filmmaker Aaron Moffatt spent three years capturing gorgeous footage in remote areas of the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains along the border of Oregon and California. This 55-minute documentary shows the importance of interconnection and balance in an ecosystem like this.

When Justice Isn't Just. Black people are shot by police and incarcerated at rates far higher than their white counterparts. This documentary shows the movement to change that and includes interviews with Black Lives Matter activists, police officials, civil rights and criminal defense attorneys, and more.

East of Salinas. A 53-minute documentary profiles a 3 grader from a migrant farm worker family who, with support from his teacher, dreams of going to college someday – except that he is undocumented. Viewers learn in human terms about the obstacles faced by one of the two million undocumented children in the U.S.

Indian Point. The Indian Point nuclear power plant is just 35 miles from New York City and is up for re-licensing for the next 20 years with the strong support of federal regulators. The filmmaker got amazing access to the plant's personnel to get their perspective, while showing the strong community movement pushing to shut the operation down.

Sworn Virgin. This most unusual feature film is about a girl in a remote village in Albania who resists limitations put on her because of her gender. In keeping with local custom, she agrees to live as a man and take an oath of eternal virginity. As she gets older, she begins to question her situation.


Alegria Da Casa by Anat Cohen & Trio Brasileiro (Anzic Records). Virtuoso musicians playing clarinet, bandolim, 7 string guitar, and percussion clearly are having fun as they play lively tunes in a variety of Brazilian musical traditions.

Still the Birds by Darryl Purpose (Blue Rock). Original songs delivered with a voice like James Taylor's, including a love song duet in which the two singers each affectionately chronicle the other person's flaws, a haunting story of a Vietnam draft dodger seeking revenge, and an ode to an old girlfriend's dog.

Colvin & Earle. Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle sing about Ferguson, admitting you are wrong, the golden rule, and more.

Case/Lang/Veirs. Three alt-country women – Neko Case, K.D. Lang, and Laura Veirs – join forces to produce a smooth sound and a variety of relationship stories.

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