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"Peace News has compiled an exemplary record... its tasks have never been more critically important than they are today." Noam Chomsky

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Tom Engelhardt, 'The American Way of War: How Bush's Wars Became Obama's'

Haymarket, 2010; 224pp; £11.99

Info-packed articles from Engelhardt’s popular anti-war blog TomDispatch.com (much better known in the US). Includes the text of a speech Obama could have given in December 2009, announcing the beginning of negotiations with the Taliban and the phased withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

Topics: Anti-militarism

Tricia Shapiro, 'Mountain Justice: Homegrown Resistance to Mountaintop Removal, For the Future of Us All'

AK, 2010; 372pp; £14

In Appalachia, coal companies blow the tops off mountains in order to mine the thin layers of coal underneath. They call it Mountaintop Removal (MTR) and its impact on local communities and the environment is predictably devastating. Opposition is rare, as those who stick their necks out “often get whacked in the head”. Nonetheless, over the past five years hundreds of people – both locals and outsiders – have stood up and taken part in nonviolent resistance to MTR. This is their story.

Lawrence S. Wittner, 'Confronting the Bomb: A Short History of the Nuclear Disarmament Movement'

Stanford, 2009; 256pp; £19.50

”Short” is the key word here

Topics: Nuclear Weapons

Jordan Flaherty, 'Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six'

Haymarket, 2010; 304pp; £11.99

Evocative, well-written account of post-Katrina struggles for social justice in New Orleans by (white) participant-journalist Flaherty, with plenty of lessons for activists further-afield. Indeed, as Flaherty himself notes, “These struggles are global, and should concern us all.” Not to be missed.

Chris Cole, Mary Dobbing and Amy Hailwood, 'Convenient Killing: Armed Drones and the ‘Playstation' Mentality'

Fellowship of Reconciliation, 2010; 20pp; available for £3 + p&p from Housmans Bookshop, www.housmans.com or free to download from www.for.org.uk/act/campaign

Impeccably researched and attractively presented, this should be the first port of call for anyone wishing to take action on the growing menace of robotic warfare.

Topics: Robotic Warfare

Peter Singer, 'The Life You Can Save: How to Play Your Part in Ending World Poverty'

Picador, 2010; 208pp; £8.99

The intellectual father of the modern animal rights movement takes on world poverty, advocating a form of radical philanthropy. Provocative and challenging, with some ingenious thought experiments and marvellous examples (eg the teacher who made $45m through real estate investing, gave almost all of it away, and donated one of his kidneys to a stranger). Arguably of greater moral significance than his work on either animals or abortion, the arguments in this book certainly deserve the widest possible airing. But surely there’s something awry with a perspective that suggests, however tacitly, that Bill Gates has led a better life than Sylvia Pankhurst?