Reviews

1 January 2001 Sian Jones

Syracuse University Press, 2000. 217pp, ISBN 0 8156 0602 8

Alice Ackerman's case for the Republic of Macedonia, as a rare - if not unique - example of conflict prevention by preventative diplomacy, makes a welcome addition to a relatively small body of literature which looks at how we can prevent war.

By way of introduction, she includes a brief survey of preventative diplomacy - and its critics - from cold-war attempts by the UN to keep the superpowers out of local conflicts, to the Boutros Ghali doctrine of preconflict prevention and early warning. With a chapter on case studies in which…

1 January 2001 Nicole Drouilly

Latin America Bureau, 2000. ISBN 1 899365 42 7, £11.99

History can be told in many ways,but this book does it with the naked honesty of personal testimonies, from different sides of the Colombian conflict. The wholebook is the process of meeting, listening to and speaking the truth. From the eyes and hearts of Gabriela, Daniel, Mercedes, Socorro, Laura, Antonia, Marcos, Alejandra, Ana Dolores and Angela, we get to know the lives of the displaced, the farmers, the guerrillas.

It reads like a very strange book of short stories but these tales are stark, like trees in winter: without…

1 January 2001 Theresa Wolfwood

Common Courage Press 2000. $16.95 - or send US$18 direct to W Blum, #707, 5100 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008-2064, USA for a post-paid autographed copy

This is a guide to a trip every activist should take. There is, of course, only one rogue state -the United States of America. Any evil deed of the US that an activist can imagine in the wildest of paranoid dreams is described and referenced in this comprehensive guide by Blum, a journalist and ex-US State Department official.

In spite of the efforts of US leaders to make their actions appear humanitarian and democratic, Blum makes it clear that the US has run a global protection racket based on four imperatives: making the world…

1 January 2001 Sarah Irving

Ocean Press, 2000. ISBN 1 875284 98 2. £11.95

The opening page of this book reads like an unpleasant army thriller, full of mystery and gung-ho action. However repellent this may be, don't let it put you off, because it's not characteristic of most of the rest of Rodriguez's volume.

This is actually a detailed and often fascinating account of the runup to the attempted invasion of Cuba by anti-Castro forces backed by the US. The extent of this backing, and the depth of US hatred of any attempts at independence by states within its orbit, is seen in the speedy reaction to the…

1 January 2001 Michael Randle

Spark M Matsunaga Institute for Peace, University of Hawai'i, Honolulu, Hawai'i. Paperback, 369 pp. ISBN 1 880309 11 4. Distributed by University of Hawai'i. Press, Honolulu, Hawai'i.

Is there a nonviolent alternative to military intervention in those situations which cry out for some kind of international response? In Bosnia, for example, or Kosova,or Rwanda? This is the main challenge which has led to recurrent attempts to undertake cross-border interventions and to establish a permanent peace brigade or “peace army”.

The attempts to date have met with varying degrees of success depending in part on the kind of situation being confronted and the methods adopted. In this excellent and readable book Yeshua…

1 January 2001 Martyn Lowe

Zed Books, 2000. ISBN 1 85649 873 5 paperback, £15.95

This is a book which looks at what has traditionally been regarded as “gun running”, but which is in reality a covert aspect of many nations' foreign policy.

This covers the “small arms” (guns and rifles to you and me), which are used to fuel many of the world's civil wars. This includes arms that are also sold on, from nation to nation and from nation to insurrectionary groups, as a form of covert government activity. Plus arms which might publicly be represented as a form of aid to client states, but which are by many regarded as…

1 January 2001 Andrew Rigby

Westport, CT: Praeger, 2000. ISBN 0 275 96516 3, 193pp

Genocide, according to the UN Convention of 1948, is defined as any acts committed with the intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. This book represents a review of the various dimensions of a strategy that might lead to a genocide-free world.

The key strands identified include 1) Strengthening the institutions and actors like the UN and NGOs that are dedicated to the monitoring and the protection of human rights - including the establishment of an international criminal court; 2)…

1 January 2001 Melanie Jarman

Macmillan 2000, ISBN 0 333 90164 9, £12.99

“Only one thing can reverse the corporate take-over of Britain. It's you” ends Captive State and, wow,given the extent of corporate capture of public life that the book describes, what a task you will have. A long road ahead then, butat least mapped and made so much more comprehensible by Monbiot's Manifesto of Multinational Malevolence.

That's not really a fair reference - whilst the book makes compelling reading and calls for some response, Monbiot avoids painting a cliche'd picture of corporate greed and sticks to rational…

1 January 2001 Antonia Young

Pluto Press, 2000. 266pp. ISBN 0 7453 2569 0, £9.99

In writing this book, former PN editor Howard Clark has drawn on his close involvement with Kosov@ for over a decade, and with nonviolent theory and action for several decades. Fascinated by a remarkable movement, he hoped to assist in the prevention of war (“Why was the war most warned about not prevented?” p213).

Clark provides a minutely detailed account of these unique developments throughout the decade up to the eruption of extreme violence of 1998-9. Using a wide variety of sources, especially interviews and…

1 January 2001 Janet Kilburn

Published by War Resisters League, 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012, USA. tel +1 212 228 0450; fax 228 6193; email wrl@igc.org. Price £8.99 from Housmans

As an antimilitarist and probably a feminist, I rather liked this diary. While it has, in some ways, quite a US orientation (national holidays, significant events, the relationship between days and dates etc), it is still perfectly usable for anyone using the Christian-derived calendar.

It has a one week to a page display, plus a directory of WRI members, and a list of national (US) peace organisations and publications. However I think the best thing about this diary is the profiles of 57 radical women from around the world who have…

1 January 2001 Ippy D

Yombo 2000, 74 mins. See http://www.survival-international.org

This fundraiser CD for Survival -the campaign group supporting tribal people - makes very easy listening. Billed as “A fusion of chilled tribal beats, ambient dub and trance music”, it certainly is!

While it has several tracks from famous artists, such as Leftfield, and Banco de Gaia, it also showcases less well-known performers, and all cite tribal influences in their music.

Basically it starts off very chilled, builds up to a more busy and dancey middle section - with tracks from Juno Reactor and a remix by Leftfield of…

1 January 2001 Ippy D

AK Press/Alternative Tentacles, spoken-word CD, 54 mins. Available from radical bookshops, or see http://www.akpress.org or http://www.alternativetentacles.com

This interesting, engaging and often humorous CD is the edited recording of a lecture given in the summer of 1997 at Colorado College in the US by radical activist and academic Angela Davis.

At the core of this fairly simple lecture is the exposing of links between capitalism, racism and the prison system - and this is done fairly eloquently on the whole.

Drawing on her own prison experience and the experiences of her friends and comrades, combined with a professed ex-communist turned-socialist, feminist analysis, Davis…