Andy Jon Carr

The Gulf: High Culture/Hard Labor Edited by Andrew Ross

The Gulf: High Culture/Hard Labor Edited by Andrew Ross

Much has been written in recent years about the exploitative labor practices inherent to globalization, especially those pertaining to vulnerable migrant workers from the developing states. The Gulf: High Culture/Hard Labor, edited by Andrew Ross and featuring a deep bench of contributors from the social sciences, labor advocacy groups, and protest artists from around the world, provides a distinct voice and a highly specific contribution to the conversation. Focusing on the labor systems and practices of Persian Gulf states and the massive investments those states have recently made in cultural institutions–landmark museums, Western university satellite campusesThe Gulf makes a compelling case for opportunities to shine light on both egregious conditions ongoing from Dubai and Abu Dhabi to Riyadh, as well as opportunities to confront and dismantle these oppressive systems.

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Carl Schmitt: A Biography by Reinhard Mehring

Carl Schmitt: A Biography by Reinhard Mehring

Reinhard Mehring’s Carl Schmitt: A Biography, dutifully translated by Daniel Steuer, is a difficult book for two reasons. At well over 500 pages, with complex jargon and a healthy dose of German-language legalese, it is an exceptionally dense biography by necessity; to truly appreciate Schmitt, the man and one of the leading legal minds of the Third Reich, understanding his juridic and philosophical development is a prerequisite for virtually all else. While his life’s broad personal and familial outlines are thoroughly rendered in the text, it is his ideas, his arguments, his contributions to Nazism which appropriately receive primary attention. Second, and related to the focus on Schmitt’s evolving political thought, this book is difficult for the reading experience it provides—a brilliant man’s steady descent from the traditions of realist international relations theories and debates over the role of the state toward justifying and rationalizing total state capacity for domination of civic life.

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Method and Madness by Norman G. Finkelstein

Method and Madness by Norman G. Finkelstein

Norman G. Finkelstein’s latest volume chronicling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Method and Madness, immediately outlines the scope of the book in the preface. Unlike his earlier books, such as 1995’s seminal Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, here Finkelstein focuses on a narrow temporal and substantive series of events: the evolution and escalation of Israeli military operations in Gaza between 2006 and late 2014. Rather than developing a broad explanation of the socioeconomic and geopolitical forces which have long prevented a resolution of the decades-long conflict, Method and Madness seeks to explain three major Israeli operations in Gaza: Operation Cast Lead (2008-9), Operation Pillar of Defense (2012), and Operation Protective Edge (2014). Finkelstein provides a contrarian account of “the accepted interpretation” and the “key triggers, features, and consequences” of each new operation by  chronologically tracing Israel’s strategic and domestic political developments across successive assaults (xi). Throughout this concise book, ancillary issues are brought into focus, including Israel’s relations with key Western allies—such as the United States, notably—as well as the domestic Israeli political actors’ motives for rhetorical and military escalation of strategies against the Gazan population. Overall Method and Madness remains a primarily descriptive account, albeit one which will resonate with longtime critics of Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories, and one which explores primary source accounts of the three operations in extraordinary detail.

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