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Friday, February 01, 2008

Best Progressive Books of 2007 By Don Hazen

2007 was a banner year for progressive books, but two stand out as true groundbreakers: Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine and Jeremy Scahill's Blackwater, published by Nation Books. They are co-winners in AlterNet's 10 Best Books of 2007 contest.

1. Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army

by Jeremy Scahill

Meet Blackwater USA, the world's most secretive and powerful mercenary firm. Based in the wilderness of North Carolina, it is the fastest-growing private army on the planet with forces capable of carrying out regime change throughout the world. This extraordinary exposé by one of America's most exciting young radical journalists is the unauthorized story of the epic rise of one of the most powerful and secretive forces to emerge from the U.S. military-industrial complex, hailed by the Bush administration as a revolution in military affairs but considered by others as a dire threat to American democracy. (Amazon and Nation Books websites)

1. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
by Naomi Klein

In The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein explodes the myth that the global free market triumphed democratically. Exposing the thinking, the money trail and the puppet strings behind the world-changing crises and wars of the last four decades, The Shock Doctrine is the gripping story of how America's "free market" policies have come to dominate the world -- through the exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries. (book website)

3. Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq
by Dahr Jamail

One of the few unaffiliated journalists in Iraq, journalist Jamail went to see the conditions for himself, and the compelling, heartbreaking stories he sent back over his eight-month stay were carried in publications worldwide: from family houses destroyed with their inhabitants to mosques full of people held under siege to the ill-equipped medical facilities and security forces meant to deal with them. (Publishers Weekly)

4. Blue Grit: True Democrats Take Back Politics From the Politicians
by Laura Flanders

Fiery polemic, assured narrative and acute political commentary, Blue Grit will be crucial reading for everyone interested in the future of the Democrats and this country. Based on Flanders' bottom-up style of journalism, it tells a story of good news: Progressives are coming after the conservative establishment with new talent, new ideas, new media and new cash, and they have their sights set on building a new progressive movement, whether the Democratic Party is ready or not. (Penguin Group)

5. Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia
by Camilo Mejia

Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejía became the new face of the anti-war movement in early 2004, when he applied for a discharge from the Army as a conscientious objector. After serving in the Army for nearly nine years, he was the first known Iraq veteran to refuse to fight, citing moral concerns about the war and occupation. His principled stand helped to rally the growing opposition and embolden his fellow soldiers. Now released after serving almost nine months, the celebrated soldier-turned-pacifist tells his own story. (New Press website)

6. The World Without Us
by Alan Weisman

Teasing out the consequences of a simple thought experiment -- what would happen if the human species were suddenly extinguished -- Weisman has written a sort of pop-science ghost story in which the whole earth is the haunted house ... After thousands of years, the Chunnel, rubber tires and more than a billion tons of plastic might remain, but eventually a polymer-eating microbe could evolve, and with the spectacular return of fish and bird populations, the earth might revert to Eden. (New Yorker)

7. The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot
by Naomi Wolf

The End of America is an impassioned call to return to the aspirations and beliefs of the Founding Fathers. In a stunning indictment of the Bush administration and Congress, Wolf shows how events of the last six years parallel steps taken in the early years of the 20th century's worst dictatorships. In The End of America, Wolf gives voice to the cause of every American patriot: the preservation of the Constitution and the liberties it embodies and protects. (Chelsea Green Publishing)

8. Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic
by Chalmers Johnson

A staggering tale of American hubris, Nemesis details the world of secrecy surrounding Capitol Hill from government-sanctioned domestic spying, to unacknowledged CIA prisons, to the dubious budgeting to back it all up. Johnson documents the crippling militarism that has left what was once the greatest industrial power in the world producing mainly weaponry, and the corruption of a toothless Congress that is undermining checks and balances so crucial to American democracy. (book website)

9. Legacy of Ashes: A History of the CIA
by Tim Weiner

Now Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tim Weiner offers the first definitive history of the CIA -- and everything is on the record. Legacy of Ashes is based on more than 50,000 documents, primarily from the archives of the CIA itself, and hundreds of interviews with CIA veterans, including ten directors of Central Intelligence. It takes the CIA from its creation after World War II, through its battles in the cold war and the war on terror, to its near-collapse after 9/ll.

10. Army of None: Strategies to Counter Military Recruitment, End War, and Build a Better World
by Aimee Allison and David Solnit

Army of None is a comprehensive guide to counter-recruitment campaigns -- from personal counseling to legislative change to direct action. The book is an unprecedented and practical resource for activists containing compelling photos and artwork, spoken word, sample fact sheets, how-to guides, lobbying directions, resource lists and ideas for direct action


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