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‘A Book in Five Minutes’

‘Ramblinactivist’ Paul Mobbs’ book review blog, examining a significant, ‘old’, or often overlooked book; but one that provides an insightful analysis of current political or ecological debates.


2022 review posts

Title frame for ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.14: ‘Food for Free’ (1972) ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.14, 16th June 2022:

‘Food for Free’ (1972)

The 1970s surge in ecological awareness saw many books published on our relationship with the natural world. ‘Food for Free’, by Richard Mabey, was published fifty years ago in 1972.

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An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Title frame for ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.13: ‘Silent Spring’ (1962) ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.13, 24th May 2022:

‘Silent Spring’ (1962)

An historically significant book, its hypothesis proven right, its message undimmed by the passing of six decades – and yet it is so seldom discussed today.

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An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Title frame for ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.12: ‘Rules for Radicals’ (1971) ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.12, 6th May 2022:

‘Rules for Radicals’ (1971)

In this review of ‘Rules for Radicals’ I’m not going to list those ‘rules’. Nor the oft-neglected list of ‘means and ends’. That’s because, if you read the book, that’s not the point of these lists. Alinsky’s philosophy is broader than that.

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An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Title frame for ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.11: ‘A Short History of Progress’ (2004) ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.11, 13th April 2022:

‘A Short History of Progress’ (2004)

This is the last in a series of three ‘techno-critical’ reviews, examining the excuse that underpins the whole project of industrialisation: ‘Progress’ – examining Ronald Wright’s 2004 book that, 18 years later, still provides well-observed (if bleak) view of the future.

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An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Title frame for ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.10: ‘My Name Is Chellis and I’m in Recovery from Western Civilization’ (1994) ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.10, 29th March 2022:

‘My Name Is Chellis and I’m in Recovery from Western Civilization’ (1994)

This second in a techno-critical review trilogy might seem unrelated to the previous book on ‘The Luddites’, and yet it provides the same kind of criticism from a completely different angle – that of ecopsychology, and the trauma that the modern lifestyle creates for many of those subject to it.

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An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Title frame for ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.9: ‘Rebels Against the Future’ (1995) ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.9, 16th March 2022:

‘Rebels Against the Future’ (1995)

In the late 1990s, on the back of the rising and soon-to-burst dot-com bubble, the media often featured Kirkpatrick Sale. His 1995 book, ‘Rebels Against the Future’, presents a detailed history of the Luddite movement, and what that historic movement represents to our ‘modern’ society today.

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An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Title frame for ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.8: ‘The Conquest of Bread’ (1906) ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.8, 28th February 2022:

‘The Conquest of Bread’ (1906)

Peter Kropotkin’s 1906 book doesn’t just challenge the power elite. At its core it challenges the general approach of ‘the left’, and the left's infatuation with lofty ideals rather than the basic needs and conditions of the people.

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Title slide of 'A Book in 5 Minutes' espisode 7 ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.7, 19th January 2022:

‘The Deep Ecology Movement’ (1980)

Forty-two years on from its publication, Bill Devall’s paper and its clear critique – now realised in the predicted failure of the movement to make change – deserves a much greater audience.

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