1 August 2023 Virginia Moffatt

Stories of Light, 2023; 184pp; £10; available from

Gog-Magog is a modern fantasy steeped in ancient myths of England and Wales.

Gwern is the last born of the Gog clan of the Mharos, the old giants of Albion (England) exiled to the Himalayas. A hunter and bard, he knows nothing of the modern world.

When he and his cousin Barl discover men have breached the Veil that protects their tribe, they are puzzled that tribe elders seem indifferent to the danger.

To save their dying community, they defy orders, travelling to Albion in search of the lost head of Bran the…

1 August 2023 Penny Stone

The Palestine Museum, 2023; available free online at:  

Reem Kelani's online concert For the People By the Sea was hosted by the Palestinian Museum, in Birzeit, just a few miles north of Jerusalem. And while the physical museum is important, they are equally dedicated to curating online resources that shine a light on Palestinian experience and cultural life. 

Reem is a Palestinian singer based in London, from where this concert was live-streamed, and is available to watch for free all over the world. Because of the Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948, the Naksa (setback) of 1967 as well…

1 August 2023 Ian Sinclair

Allen Lane, 2022; 260pp; £20

Due to the impacts of global warming, ‘human movement on a scale never before seen will dominate this century and remake our world.’

This is the central proposition of this important popular science book. Gaia Vince, an honorary senior research fellow at University College London, believes we are on course for a 3 – 4 °C of temperature rise by 2100, with tens of millions of people forced to leave their homes by mid-century.

Vince points to some African cities: by 2030, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania will have a population of 11…

1 August 2023 Emily Johns

Spokesman, 2022; 78pp; £7.99

This is a beautifully-written biography of an artist whose life began months before the Great War and ended in the depths of the Cold War.

Gerald Holtom’s professional work began in 1935, creating joyful and life-affirming textile designs which he sold in his furniture shop in Tottenham Court Road in Central London. In 1939, the shop was requestioned as an air raid shelter.

As a conscientious objector (CO), Holtom stated: ‘A cause of war appears to me to be that, where creative activity is stifled and profit is the absorbing…

1 August 2023 Gabriel Carlyle

Pluto, 2021; 272pp; £18.99

Last year, the UK economy lost an estimated 2.52 million working days, as postal workers, nurses, railworkers and others went on strike to resist real-term pay cuts and defend the essential services we all depend on.

Long absent from both the media and public awareness, trade unions were suddenly news again.

Yet this was very far from being an historic high.

Indeed, as Holgate points out, 23.9mn working days were lost in 1972 (mainly due to a strike by coalminers) and 29.5mn in 1979 (during the so-called ‘winter of…

1 June 2023 Gabriel Carlyle

 Sublation Press, 2023; 544pp; £24.70

Longtime PN readers will know that I’ve long been a fan of Norman Finkelstein’s work. Nonetheless, I almost didn’t read this book.

I’d seen Finkelstein online recently, defending the moral (if not the legal) ‘right’ of Russia to invade Ukraine and raging about pronouns (‘Whenever I see he/ him or she/her, I think fuck/you’). And, frankly, I wondered if he’d lost the plot.

But I’m glad that I tracked his new book down and (with some qualifications that I’ll come to) would strongly recommend it to others.


1 June 2023 Ian Sinclair

University of Hertfordshire Press, 2021; 166 pp; £16.99

Following the January 2023 mass trespass on Dartmoor, the 2014 – 2018 campaign to stop the felling of trees in Sheffield and the government’s 2011 U-turn on the privatisation of the forests, Saving The People’s Forest is a timely reminder that activists working today are part of a long line of popular struggles to protect public access to nature in the UK.

The book’s title refers to Epping Forest, on the border of Greater London and Essex. At 5,900 acres, it is the largest open space in the London area, visited by millions…

2 April 2023 Emily Johns

30 minutes; premiered at the Unlimited festival, London’s Southbank Centre last September, now touring  

Having a bath will never be the same again after experiencing Thirst Trap, an affecting piece of audio theatre which takes place in your own bathroom.

I received a black box from the postman. It puzzled me – here was a conventional home spa kit: the bath bomb, the candle, the tea sachet. I thought I had been sent a marketing gimmick by a company called Ray Young wanting to sell me something.

Eventually, by sleuthing on the internet, I realised the box was my entry into a performance, but I didn’t yet know that it led…

2 April 2023 Henrietta Cullinan

Fortress Press, 2022; 190pp; £14.99  

In this book, the author investigates how self-identifying Christians, followers of Jesus’ message of peace and compassion, can follow a nationalist movement that is inherently violent and racist.

Using her knowledge of political psychology and an understanding of the history of Christianity and evangelism in the US, Pamela Cooper-White tackles this wide-ranging, complex topic with the purpose of outlining the possibilities for change.

Christian Nationalism is defined by researchers Whitehead and Perry, quoted here, as a ‘…

2 April 2023 Andrea Needham

Proving Ground Media;

In the first episode of this podcast, one of the three presenters asks why we need a war on cars – and more specifically, a ‘War on Cars’ podcast.

In reply, presenter Sarah Goodyear describes an incident when she was cycling to the studio that day and was almost flattened by an SUV driver steaming through a stop sign.

When Goodyear remonstrated with the driver, she received outraged abuse: ‘You shouldn’t even be in the fucking street!’ Her conclusion? ‘I gotta talk about this shit.’

And talking about this shit – our…

2 April 2023 Gabriel Carlyle

Cambridge University Press, 2023; 454pp; £11.99

This book explains how we could use existing technologies, such as wind turbines and heat pumps, to create a worldwide energy system based entirely on wind, water (tides and waves) and solar power (WWS).

Such a system would help solve three major crises: the air pollution crisis (which currently claims some seven million lives a year); global warming (overwhelmingly caused by fossil fuels); and energy insecurity (dramatically illustrated in the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine).

It would also be considerably (63…

2 April 2023 Emily Johns

Repeater Books, 2022; 492pp; £16.99

Vron Ware is exactly the sort of person I would like to go for a walk with. She picks at the landscape, sifts it through a geographer’s mind, looks at a gate, a fingerpost, and unravels a social history of land.

In Return of a Native, she brings an adulthood of feminist, anti-racist, anti-militarist scholarship and activism back to her childhood village in (North) Hampshire and examines the forces that made the place and which play out across the flinty chalklands of Pill Heath today.

The book is written and presented…

2 April 2023 Erica Smith

Darton, Longman & Tidd, 2021; 160pp; £11.95  

If these uncertain times are wearing you down and you are feeling hope-less (or someone you know is), then this small book offers an opportunity for you to face the darkness, meditate on hope and re-kindle the burnt-out activist.

David Gee is a writer with a special interest in the meaning of hope in the face of global crises. Since 2008, he has written reports and books about recruitment and employment in the armed forces, peace education and children’s rights.

Hope’s Work, a series of short essays, introduces us to…

2 April 2023 Ian Sinclair

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2022; 422pp; £30

A long-time war correspondent with the Washington Post, Thomas E Ricks has turned his attention to the US civil rights movement.


‘The overall strategic thinking that went into the Movement, and the field tactics that flowed from that strategy’ reminded him of US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The comparison with war-fighting is certainly interesting but it’s his focus on strategy and tactics, including recruitment, training, planning, logistics and communications, that will surely be of…

1 February 2023 Andrea Needham

Verso 2022; 272pp; £14.99

Paris Marx is a Canadian tech writer and host of the 'Tech Won't Save Us' podcast – a view which more or less sums up this enraging and englightening book. Electric cars, autonomous cars, ridesharing apps, Elon Musk's tunnels, beyond-batshit ideas like flying cars. What do they all have in common? They're 'solutions' to our transport problems dreamt up by men who have no interest in the vital issue of how we do transport such that it is equitable, safe, affordable and low-carbon. What they want is shiny and profitable 'tech' solutions aimed…