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Book reviews

This Changes Everything book jacketThis Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate

Naomi Klein

(Allen Lane, 576 pages, £20.00)

‘Climate change will change everything about our world. All we have to do is nothing,’ states Naomi Klein in her new book, This Changes Everything.

Climate change, she writes, is a wake-up call to fix a failing global economic system that reaps misery and destruction for most of the world. But we need to act now.

The author is no stranger to challenging the values by which we live. Her best-selling books, No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, are regarded as cultural flashlights, illuminating the less-than-savoury aspects of globalisation.

In This Changes Everything, she confronts one of the biggest and most contentious issues of our time – climate change – arguing that capitalism is waging a war against our planet.

So what’s to be done? Klein builds a case for abandoning our ‘free-market ideology’, restructuring the global economy and reforming political systems.

She challenges the self-indulgent arguments of climate-change deniers, the free-market thinking that keeps our planet on an ever-warming trajectory, the misplaced optimism of business moguls in developing a technological ‘fix’, and the reasons why the market has not – and will not – find a solution to global warming.

Although sometimes protracted, Klein’s powerful arguments stir outrage and incite a desire to stand up for the future of our planet. Her case that the climate movement can be a ‘catalysing force for positive change’ – a chance to take action on a scale akin to the anti-slavery and anti-apartheid movements – is inspiring and well thought out.

This is our opportunity to reclaim our democracies from corrosive corporate influence and harmful trade deals; an opportunity we should seize before it’s too late.

Whether we have the will is unclear, but one thing is certain: climate change will change everything. To what extent is down to us. Louise Parfitt

 

Ishmael's Oranges book jacketIshmael’s Oranges

Claire Hajaj

(One World, 336 pages, £16.99)

Salim’s family lost their home in Jaffa after fleeing Israeli attacks in 1948. Jude is the granddaughter of a Jew who escaped the Russian pogroms of 1903.

They’re both hostage to their people’s pasts. But can they make a future together?

Author Claire Hajaj, herself of Palestinian and Jewish heritage, skilfully weaves historical fact with page-turning fiction in this compelling story of a couple engaged in a fierce battle against the odds – and occasionally each other. Laura Pledger

 

 

 

Blue Dahlia, Black Gold book jacketBlue Dahlia, Black Gold: A Journey into Angola

Daniel Metcalfe

(Arrow, 352 pages, £9.99)

Thanks to a recent oil-fuelled boom, Angola boasts one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

Yet its newfound, eye-watering wealth is enjoyed by a tiny elite, leaving most Angolans – still reeling from years of brutal civil war – dirt poor.

In this exhilarating travelogue, Daniel Metcalfe expertly lays bare the country’s poverty, corruption and tragic past, while capturing an enduring Angola of humanity, kizomba dancing and joy. Caroline Atkinson

 

 

 

 

Band of Angels book jacketBand of Angels: The Forgotten World of Early Christian Women

Kate Cooper

(Atlantic Books, 336 pages, £9.99)   

Rigorous history meets captivating storytelling in this unique perspective on the women of early Christianity.

From the chattering Corinthians to the wise Desert Mothers, Cooper introduces a host of personalities relegated to the footnotes of history, though their creative influence was so vital to the faith’s spread.

As you read, you come to realise that we owe them our collective ear, and you’re already pulling up a stool to listen. Claire Jones

  


 

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