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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.


I’ve been actively researching ecological issues, and their associated political and scientific framework, for almost forty years; at first for personal interest, but that soon developed into a long career as an author, researcher, and consultant.

Over this time I have read many books and scientific reports. As I see issues discussed today, I find that a large amount of valuable insight from past writing and research is being ignored or overlooked because people today are not aware of this historic body of work.

Recent review posts

The four most recent reviews – see the Reviews Archive a complete list of previous reviews:


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.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

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.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

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.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

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.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

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