Born OTD in 1933, American writer, filmmaker, philosopher, teacher, and political activist, Susan Sontag. Sontag was active in writing & speaking about, or travelling to, areas of conflict, including during the Vietnam War & the Siege of Sarajevo. She wrote extensively about photography, culture & media, AIDS & illness, human rights, communism & leftist ideology. Sontag wrote Illness as Metaphor in 1978, while suffering from breast cancer herself. In her study she reveals that the metaphors and myths surrounding certain illnesses, especially cancer, add greatly to the suffering of the patients and often inhibit them from seeking proper treatment.

By demystifying the fantasies surrounding cancer, Sontag shows cancer for what it is – a disease; not a curse, not … More

Born OTD in 1809, French politician & the founder of mutualist philosophy, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. His best-known assertion is that ‘property is theft!’, contained in his first major work, What Is Property?, published in 1840. Proudhon favored workers’ associations or co-operatives as well as individual worker/peasant possession over private ownership or the nationalization of land and workplaces.

The first English translation of Guerin’s monumental anthology of anarchism, published here in one volume. It details a vast array … More

Born OTD in 1908, French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist and social theorist, Simone de Beauvoir. When this book was first published in 1949 it was to outrage and scandal. Never before had the case for female liberty been so forcefully and successfully argued. De Beauvoir’s belief that `One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman’ switched on light bulbs in the heads of a generation of women and began a fight for greater equality and economic independence.

These pages contain the key passages of the book that changed perceptions of women forever. Available in store and online.

Born OTD in 1842, Russian activist, zoologist, scientist, geographer, & philosopher who advocated anarcho-communism, Peter Kropotkin. The essays, initially published in the English periodical ‘The 19th Century’ between 1890 & 1896, explore the role of mutually-beneficial cooperation & reciprocity (or “mutual aid”) in the animal kingdom & human societies both past & present. It is an argument against theories of social Darwinism that emphasize competition and survival of the fittest.

Writing partly in response to Social Darwinism, Kropotkin draws on his scientific knowledge to illustrate the phenomenon of cooperation. After … More

Born OTD in 1757, English poet, painter, and printmaker, William Blake. His poetry consistently embodies an attitude of rebellion against the abuse of class power as documented in David Erdman’s large study Blake: Prophet Against Empire: A Poet’s Interpretation of the History of His Own Times. Blake was concerned about senseless wars & the blighting effects of the Industrial Revolution. Much of his poetry recounts in symbolic allegory the effects of the French and American revolutions. Erdman claims Blake was disillusioned with them, believing they had simply replaced monarchy with irresponsible mercantilism and notes Blake was deeply opposed to slavery, and believes some of his poems read primarily as championing “free love” have had their anti-slavery implications short-changed.

Peter Marshall’s study draws on Blake’s complete writings, his poetry and his prose. It offers a lively and perceptive account … More

The greatest wisdom comes from the smallest creatures. There is so much we can learn from birds. Through twenty-two little lessons of wisdom inspired by how birds live, this charming french book will help you spread your wings and soar. We often need the help from those smaller than us. Having spent a lifetime watching birds, Philippe and Elise – a French ornithologist and a philosopher – draw out the secret lessons that birds can teach us about how to live, and the wisdom of the natural world. Along the way you’ll discover why the robin is braver than the eagle, what the arctic tern can teach us about the joy of travel, and whether the head or the heart is the best route to love (as shown by the mallard and the penguin).

By the end you will feel more in touch with the rhythms of nature and have a fresh perspective on … More

Born OTD in 1821, Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist & philosopher, Fyodor Dostoevsky. Dostoevsky’s literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social, & spiritual atmospheres of 19th-century Russia, & engage with a variety of philosophical & religious themes. Notes from Underground & Other Stories is a comprehensive collection of Dostoevsky’s short fiction. Many of these stories, like his great novels, reveal his special sympathy for the solitary & dispossessed, explore the same complex psychological issues & subtly combine rich characterization and philosophical meditations on the (often) dark areas of the human psyche, all conveyed in an idiosyncratic blend of deadly seriousness and wild humour.

In Notes from Underground, the Underground Man casually dismantles utilitarianism and celebrates in its stead a perverse but vibrant masochism. … More

Born OTD in 1935, professor of literature at Columbia University, a public intellectual, & a founder of the academic field of postcolonial studies, Edward Said. For generations now, Said’s Orientalism has defined our understanding of colonialism & empire, and this Penguin edition contains a preface written by Said shortly before his death in 2003. In this highly-acclaimed work, Said surveys the history & nature of Western attitudes towards the East, considering orientalism as a powerful European ideological creation – a way for writers, philosophers & colonial administrators to deal with the ‘otherness’ of eastern culture, customs and beliefs.

He traces this view through the writings of Homer, Nerval and Flaubert, Disraeli and Kipling, whose imaginative depictions have greatly … More

Born OTD in 1935, Marxist economic geographer and Distinguished Professor of anthropology and geography, David Harvey. This major new textbook from the premier Marxist political thinker guides us through the classic text of political economy. For nearly forty years, David Harvey has taught and lectured on Marx’s “Capital”. In this book he draws on his rich knowledge of the text to create a step-by-step guide to the most important and influential study of capitalism.

Aimed to guide first-time readers through a dense and complicated as well as a rich and fascinating text, the book … More