Born OTD in 1872, British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, essayist, social critic, political activist, & Nobel laureate, Bertrand Russell. “Like most of my generation, I was brought up on the saying ‘Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.’ Being a highly virtuous child, I believed all that I was told & acquired a conscience which has kept me working hard down to the present moment. But although my conscience has controlled my actions, my opinions have undergone a revolution. I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, & that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has been preached.”

Intolerance and bigotry lie at the heart of all human suffering. So claims Bertrand Russell at the outset of In … More

Book talk next Tuesday (21st May), at PM Bookshop, 6pm, with art historian, Christine Lindey. £3 tickets in advance (redeemable against purchase of book). ‘Art for All’ reveals a forgotten or marginalised area of 20th century British art. Christine Lindey delves into the fascinating treasure trove of British socially-committed art from the 30s through to the Cold War, and of which most people will be unaware. She demonstrates that the work of these artists deserves to be rediscovered and enjoyed.

In her lavishly-illustrated volume, she also examines the circumstances that turned these individuals into socially committed artists, often swimming against … More

The one & only Zadie Smith, prize-winning, bestselling author of Swing Time & White Teeth, is back with a second unmissable collection of essays. No subject is too fringe or too mainstream for the unstoppable Zadie Smith. From social media to the environment, from Jay-Z to Karl Ove Knausgaard, she has boundless curiosity & the boundless wit to match. In Feel Free, pop culture, high culture, social change & political debate all get the Zadie Smith treatment, dissected with razor-sharp intellect, set brilliantly against the context of the utterly contemporary, & considered with a deep humanity & compassion.

Out now in paperback. This electrifying new collection showcases its author as a true literary powerhouse, demonstrating once again her … More

Available now in paperback, The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah. Benjamin Zephaniah, who has travelled the world for his art & his humanitarianism, now tells the one story that encompasses it all: the story of his life. In the early 80s when punks & Rastas were on the streets protesting about unemployment, homelessness & the National Front, Benjamin’s poetry could be heard at demonstrations, outside police stations & on the dance floor. His mission was to take poetry everywhere, & to popularise it by reaching people who didn’t read books.

His poetry was political, musical, radical and relevant. By the early 1990s, Benjamin had performed on every continent in the … More

A powerful, groundbreaking history of the Occupied Territories from one of Israel’s most influential historians. From the author of the bestselling study of the 1948 War of Independence comes an incisive look at the Occupied Territories, picking up the story where The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine left off. In this comprehensive exploration of one of the world’s most prolonged & tragic conflicts, Pappe uses recently declassified archival material to analyse the motivations & strategies of the generals & politicians – & the decision-making process itself – that laid the foundation of the occupation.

From a survey of the legal and bureaucratic infrastructures that were put in place to control the population of over … More

Our next PM Book Club, we’ll be discussing Nancy MacLean’s ‘Democracy in Chains’. An explosive expose of the man who devoted his career to shackling democracy – and succeeded. Libertarian billionaires are using their wealth & power to drastically curtail the US democratic process, disempowering ordinary citizens whilst entrenching the influence of corporations as never before. In Democracy in Chains, award-winning historian Nancy MacLean reveals how the ideas of Nobel Prize-winning political economist James McGill Buchanan have been used to undermine the power of voters in a country whose Constitution is founded on the principle ‘We the people’.

In a brilliant and engrossing narrative, Nancy MacLean shows how Buchanan forged his ideas about government in a last gasp … More

An explosive expose of the man who devoted his career to shackling democracy – and succeeded. Libertarian billionaires are using their wealth and power to drastically curtail the US democratic process, disempowering ordinary citizens whilst entrenching the influence of corporations as never before. In Democracy in Chains, award-winning historian Nancy MacLean reveals how the ideas of Nobel Prize-winning political economist James McGill Buchanan have been used to undermine the power of voters in a country whose Constitution is founded on the principle ‘We the people’.

Democracy in Chains is a timely, important book, which should be read by anybody interested in the future of democracy. … More

Born OTD in 1954, Robert Gerard Sands. This is the best-selling biography of the IRA resistance fighter and hunger-striker, Bobby Sands. In this updated, new edition, Denis O’Hearn draws from a wealth of interviews with friends, comrades, fellow prisoners and prison wardens, to provide a faithful and shocking insight into life in Northern Ireland’s H-Block prisons, an exploration of the motivations and thoughts of the Republican strikers and the story of one of the world’s most radical, inspirational figures.

Following his journey from its very beginnings – an ordinary boy from a working-class background in Belfast to a highly … More

Born OTD in 1923, the late great Harry Leslie Smith. Harry was an English writer and political commentator. He grew up in poverty in Yorkshire, served in the Royal Air Force in World War II, & emigrated to Canada in 1953. After retiring, Smith wrote his memoirs, and about the social history of Great Britain in the 20th century.

A survivor of the Great Depression, a Second World War veteran, a lifelong Labour supporter and a proud Yorkshire man, … More

Governments today in both Europe & the United States have succeeded in casting government spending as reckless wastefulness that has made the economy worse. In contrast, they have advanced a policy of draconian budget cuts―austerity―to solve the financial crisis. We are told that we have all lived beyond our means & now need to tighten our belts. This view conveniently forgets where all that debt came from. Not from an orgy of government spending, but as the direct result of bailing out, recapitalizing, & adding liquidity to the broken banking system. Through these actions private debt was rechristened as government debt while those responsible for generating it walked away scot free, placing the blame on the state, and the burden on the taxpayer.

That burden now takes the form of a global turn to austerity, the policy of reducing domestic wages and prices … More