World Wide Work -- New Books, Films, Music

January 10, 2018

Green Springs Mountain FogGreen Springs Mountain FogCascade-Siskiyou National Monument, Oregon

Here’s the latest on films, books, and music you may have missed.

When They Call You a Terrorist
by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele (
St. Martin’s). One of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter tells the powerful story of her upbringing in a poor neighborhood, where her family faced police brutality and denial of basic human services, and her development as a movement organizer. The account skillfully weaves together personal experiences with broader analysis and statistics.
Braving It by James Campbell (
Crown). In this nonfiction book that reads like a good novel, a middle-aged writer from Wisconsin provides an intimate account of several challenging trips he took with his 15-year-old daughter to remote Alaskan wilderness areas. The story is as much about their relationship and their respective stages of life as it is about the wild beauty they are experiencing.
Idaho by Emily Ruskovich (
Random House). A violent and seemingly inexplicable tragedy is the starting point for this intense novel, leaving each character to pick up the pieces in their own way.
Crow Lake by Mary Lawson (
Dial Press). Written in an unusual conversational style that feels like someone is sitting in your kitchen telling you an engrossing story, this dramatic novel set in an isolated community in northern Ontario explores family relationships from childhood tragedy to surprising revelations in the adult years.
Kids These Days by Malcolm Harris (
Little, Brown). Readers of any generation will benefit from this thorough and well-researched analysis of the ways that millenials have inherited a world in which schools, jobs, and public policies leave them worse off than their predecessors.
On New Terrain by Kim Moody (
Haymarket). Changes in the economy create new challenges and opportunities for worker organizing. Provocative sections look at whether the Democratic Party can be the vehicle for progressive change and whether it was white workers who elected Trump.
What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte (
Belt Publishing). Since the 2016 elections, national media have rediscovered the existence of Appalachia as “Trump Country,” while a Wall Street right-winger named J.D. Vance has made the talk show rounds promoting his book, Hillbilly Elegy, that portrays Appalachians as violent addicts with dysfunctional families. A historian born and educated in the region challenges the stereotypes and recalls a legacy of grassroots organizing against exploitation by coal companies and other outside corporate interests.
Ramp Hollow by Steven Stoll (
Farrar, Straus and Giroux). A more intellectual look at Appalachian history starts with the arrival of agrarian whites and shows how their largely self-sufficient way of life was destroyed by timber and coal companies.
No is Not Enough by Naomi Klein (
Haymarket). Looking back at how Democrats failed to make major changes when they could have during the Great Recession, Klein argues that change comes from big vision and inspiring goals, not tiny increments, and from an intersectional movement, not a collection of separate causes.
Truevine by Beth Macy (
Little, Brown). A white writer researched the history of two albino African American brothers who were put on display for much of their lives as freaks in circus acts. Her book ranges wide, from the story of one brave family to the history of racism in a southern community to the exploitation that was typical of circuses that were a prime form of entertainment in America before movies, television, and the Internet.
Plundertown USA by Al Sandine (Hancock House). A native of the small town of Coos Bay on the Oregon coast recounts how for more than 150 years decisions about how local resources will be used have been made by timber companies and other wealthy interests in distant cities with no stake in the area’s long-term quality of life or economic or social viability. While focused on one community, this history provides valuable perspective on the ways extractive industries operating in rural areas have benefited from public subsidies without having to act in the public interest.
Animal Wise by Virginia Morell (Crown). Fascinating research on the minds and social lives of ants, fish, birds, rats, elephants, dolphins, apes, dogs, and wolves serves as a reminder of how much humans have in common with the rest of the animal world.
Robots by John Jordan (
MIT). A small-format book provides a basic introduction to robots and robotics, with examples such as driverless cars and the impact of robots on jobs. It also identifies economic and social issues that arise as robots are more widely used.

This Netflix original by director Dee Rees is easily the best feature film of 2017, with a compelling story, insightfully drawn characters, and outstanding acting. It focuses on two families – one black, one white – in rural Mississippi around the time of World War II, and in the process it poignantly brings in themes related to race, gender, class, and war.

Keep Talking. Against the odds, women in an Alaskan native community organize to save their language and culture, and in the process to help their young people find strength and hope. This touching documentary shows how their efforts are making a difference in individual people’s lives.
In the Land of Pomegranates. Young Palestinians and Israelis are invited to a retreat in Germany, where they hold blunt conversations about the past and the future. This thought-provoking documentary also is interspersed with stories and interviews that show the human cost of perpetual war. The film could provide a starting point for discussion about ending and repairing the damage done to other groups in other contexts, including African Americans, immigrants, or indigenous peoples, although its length – more than two hours – may often limit that kind of use.
Daughters of Destiny. A four-part series filmed over a seven-year period follows five girls of varying ages who are given the opportunity to attend an alternative school for poor children in India. The school was founded by an Indian-American who made a lot of money during the dot-com boom and believed that a good education could transform families’ lives.
Food for Change. An 82-minute film promotes food co-op stores as an alternative to control of the food industry by Walmart and other giant chains. The co-ops that are featured began as idealistic, mostly white hippie projects and now are multi-million-dollar businesses. The film does not deal with issues such as whether the co-op movement is serving neighborhoods of color or low-income communities, the history of corporate-style tactics by some of the stores to keep workers from organizing in order to negotiate over working conditions, or whether some of the processed food marketed as “health food” is actually any more healthy than what is sold in big chain stores.
The Deep. A documentary-style feature film tells the incredible true story of an Icelandic fisherman who was plunged into the North Atlantic when his fishing boat capsized, three miles from shore.


Awakening Beyond. Tina Turner is one of six women from the U.S., Israel, Syria, Nepal, Switzerland, and India who sing soothing, prayerful music backed by the Philharmonia Orchestra that incorporates traditional instruments from their respective regions.

World Wide Work: Books, Films, Music You May Have Missed

November 17, 2017

Back to BackBack to BackGoblin Valley, Utah Here’s the latest on films, books, and music you may have missed.

Glass House by Brian Alexander (St. Martin’s). This outstanding piece of reporting should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand what has happened to America’s working class, especially in small industrial towns. The author, a native of Lancaster, Ohio, returned to his hometown to report in detail on how the factories there were looted by Wall Street speculators, leaving families and communities in ruins, contributing to the rapid spread of opioid abuse, and driving voters to support anyone they think might challenge the corporate and political establishment.
Is Everyone Really Equal? by Ozlem Sensoy and Robin DiAngelo (
Teachers College Press). A useful guide explains concepts such as prejudice, discrimination, oppression, privilege, and white supremacy and answers objections that are often raised when these ideas are discussed.
The Castle Cross The Magnet Carter by Kia Corthron (Seven Stories). A playwright and writer for the TV series “The Wire” has written her first novel, bringing together the lives of two white brothers from a small town in Alabama and two black brothers from small-town Maryland, with a backdrop of American history from World War II through the civil rights movement to the present decade.
The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein (Liveright). Housing segregation by race in America came about not just from actions of banks, real estate companies, and other private interests but also from deliberate policies of the federal, state, and local governments, which now have a responsibility to repair the damage.
Land on Fire by Gary Ferguson (
Timber Press). Major changes in public policy will be needed to deal with the more frequent and more intense wildfires that are now a fact of life in the West due to climate change, decades of fire suppression, and other factors.
Complete Stories by Kurt Vonnegut (
Seven Stories). A complete collection of his 97 short stories includes some that have never been published before.
Our Unions, Our Selves by Anne Zacharias-Walsh (ILR/Cornell). Women workers in Japan and the U.S. met over a period of years to exchange experiences with creating their own organizations to confront work-related issues.
The Package King by Joe Allen. This year marked the 20th anniversary of the historic national strike by 185,000 UPS workers that directly confronted the destruction of good jobs in America by corporate greed. This history by an author who worked at UPS for nearly a decade sheds useful light on the economy as a whole as he traces worker organizing against the giant company’s strategies to squeeze more from its labor forces.
Faster, Smarter, Greener by Venkat Sumantran, Charles Fine, and David Gonsalvez (
MIT). Auto industry insiders give their view of major changes that are coming in how cars and transportation systems operate, driven by corporate profit seeking without public input or policy planning.
A Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism by Eric Holt-Gimenez (
Monthly Review Press). Many food activists focus mainly on genetic engineering, pesticide use, and the need for organic farming, but the director of Food First goes further, also looking at issues regarding land control and use; impacts related to race, class, and gender; the role of Wall Street; and much more.
Re-Imagining Change by Patrick Reinsborough and Doyle Canning (PM Press). Successful campaigns for social and economic justice require reframing and countering the stories that corporate forces have told us. This new edition includes updated case studies. As the authors acknowledge, the book contains a lot of jargon, but many of the underlying concepts will prove useful to a variety of activists.


Awake. On-the-scene footage brings alive the native-led resistance to the North Dakota Pipeline at Standing Rock in a way that news coverage never did, contrasting the commitment of the “water protectors” with the government violence against them on behalf of the company. The film is affordable to buy or rent, with all proceeds going to Indigenous Media Fund and the Pipeline Fighters Fund.
Tribal Justice. The Yurok Tribe in northern California has created a successful system of criminal justice focused on healing and on reconnecting both adult and juvenile offenders to community and family support, rather than on punishment and isolation. This documentary focuses on their efforts and on the desire of the Quechan Tribe in southern California to follow their example. In each case, a woman from the tribe has become the chief judge and is working to help undo the legacy of social damage left by the appropriation of tribal lands and the deliberate destruction of traditional culture.
Sacred Cod. As a result of overfishing and climate change, the supply of cod off New England has dropped to less than 4 percent of levels needed for sustainability. Following the apparently successful example of the government of Newfoundland, which banned cod fishing to let the species rebuild, the U.S. government has drastically limited cod quotas. As this hour-long documentary shows, many fishermen facing loss of income and cultural identity have responded by rejecting the scientific data and taking out their anger on “federal regulations,” not on the fossil fuel companies and corporate special interests that have blocked climate action.
The Stopover. An intense feature film, focused on three French women who are completing a tour of duty as soldiers in Afghanistan, shows what war actually involves in a way that few “war movies” ever do.
White Sun. Civil war has done enduring damage to social bonds in the tiny village in Nepal that is the setting for this poignant and expertly crafted feature film. Will the adults be able to learn from their children to transcend the conflict?
Inch’Allah. A Canadian doctor commuting from Jerusalem to serve her Palestinian clinic patients in the West Bank begins to see the world from her patients’ increasingly desperate perspective in this feature film.

Dark Matter
by Randy Newman (Nonesuch). The songwriter who once produced refreshingly quirky albums like Sail Away, Good Old Boys, and Little Criminals is back with songs about Putin, a debate between science and religion, a conversation between Jack and Bobby Kennedy, and more.

If you find this helpful, please share this edition of World Wide Work with others.


World Wide Work -- Books, Films, Music You May Have Missed

September 09, 2017

Tidepool GalaxyTidepool GalaxyOna Beach, Oregon New and worth noting…

The Talker
by Mary Sojourner (Torrey House). Touching, down-to-earth short stories feature relationships among working people trying to survive and find human connection in western desert communities.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Knopf). An absorbing historical novel traces many generations from the time in Ghana when people were being sold to Europeans who shipped them as slaves to America to the present day in the U.S.
The Politics of Immigration by Jane Guskin and David L. Wilson (
Monthly Review Press). This useful guide provides readable answers to the most common questions about immigration policy and potential reforms.
White Trash by Nancy Isenberg (Viking). Economic exploitation and cultural discrimination against rural and small-town working class white people have been an important part of American life since the nation’s beginning, according to this revealing and readable history.
Direct Action by L.A. Kauffman (Verso). Disruption to create a crisis that those in power must respond to has been used in a wide variety of movements during the past 40 years, with varying degrees of impact.
The Takeover by Monica R. Gisolfi (University of Georgia). A short book powerfully describes how cotton plantation magnates and others developed today’s southern poultry industry with enormous environmental cost, converting landowners essentially to sharecroppers who assume much of the financial risk, all with massive government subsidies.
The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale (Verso). Policing has drastically expanded in America over the past 40 years, but has that improved communities and made them safer? A thorough analysis examines the War on Drugs, criminalization of homelessness, school-to-prison pipeline, gang suppression, anti-immigrant policies, repression against movements for economic and social change, and other issues, and proposes alternatives.
Good Guy Jake by Mark Torres (
Hard Ball Press). A bilingual book for young people tells a story to explain how a union grievance procedure can protect workers from unfair treatment.
Edge of Morning and Red Rock Stories (
Torrey House). Native voices and 35 writers (some of them native as well) talk about the significance of Utah’s redrock wildlands that President Obama designated as Bears Ears National Monument – a modest level of protection that the Trump administration is trying to slash, pending legal challenges.
Requiem for the American Dream by Noam Chomsky (Seven Stories). This resource is focused on how the wealthy have maintained power throughout American history, with useful quotes and excerpts from speeches, documents, and other materials.
A Redder Shade of Green by Ian Angus (Monthly Review Press). Those seeking ecological and climate action and those seeking economic justice must work together as we can’t achieve one without the other.
The Wedding Portrait by Innosanto Nagara (
Seven Stories/Triangle Square). A simple book for secondary school students uses examples to explain basic movement terms such as boycott, direct action, civil disobedience, and more.
Knocking on Labor’s Door by Lane Windham (University of North Carolina). Five million workers tried to form unions during the 1970s, but there was a sharp increase in the percentage of organizing drives that were defeated by corporate threats and pressure. This readable history looks at both the big picture and some particular organizing efforts, often led by women and people of color.


Company Town. A mostly admirable feature-length documentary gives voice to courageous residents of Crossett, Arkansas, who work in and live next to a Georgia-Pacific paper and plywood mill owned by the Koch Brothers. Local people, including children, are suffering high rates of cancer after being exposed to toxic chemicals in the workplace and in their air and water. With company officials refusing to be filmed, the visible villains of the story become the hapless EPA and state officials who clearly are not going to do anything about it. Missing from the film is the question of why this level of pollution was tolerated during the supposedly environmentally friendly Obama administration, the Clinton presidency, and the Clinton governorship of Arkansas, as well as under Republican rule.
Whose Streets? This film about the events in Ferguson, Missouri, that followed the police killing of Michael Brown is not a typical documentary with narration to provide facts and context or with talking-head professors telling what they think it all means. Instead, it is a call to action that presents the voices of young black activists who emerged to lead the protest movement, combined with on-the-scene footage of clashes between police and local residents.
Denial. Taking advantage of access to his father, who is the head of a Vermont utility company, a young filmmaker started work on this documentary about the transition we need to make to cleaner energy. While making the film, his father announced a personal transition from man to woman. The two stories run parallel.

The Nashville Sound by
Jason Isbell (Southeastern Records). One of the best songwriters working today continues to present real songs about personal lives and the larger world.
Where the River Meets the Road by
Tim O’Brien. “Guardian Angel” about an older sister who died in childhood is just one of these effective bluegrass songs.
Binary by Ani DiFranco (
Righteous Babe). Words with a beat:
For what it's worth,
Next time I watch a man give birth,
I'll try to picture the creator as a dude with a beard,
'Cause right now I gotta say it's seeming kinda weird.”

Ranky Tanky. Traditional songs from the Gullah culture among African Americans in southeastern U.S., rendered with present-day energy.
Pure Comedy by Father John Misty (
Subpop). Unconventional lyrics and wry humor, with classic titles like “Things It Would Have Been Helpful to Know Before the Revolution.”
The Eternal Getdown by Quetzal (
Folkways). Using indigenous instruments mixed with modern Chicano musical traditions, this politically oriented group tries to look forward as well as protest.
Roll Columbia (
Smithsonian Folkways). 26 songs by Woody Guthrie, some never before recorded, performed by Pacific Northwest artists.  Many have to do with construction of dams along the Columbia River to provide electricity, which at the time was considered progress for working families.
Joy Comes Back by Ruthie Foster (
Blue Corn Music). A mixture of angry political messages and blues, with titles like “Working Woman,” “What Are You Listening To?” and “War Pigs.”
Letters from Iraq by Rahim Alhaj (
Folkways). Eight emotional instrumental pieces by an Iraqi-American composer and oud player with a string quintet blending Iraqi and Western classical styles. Inspired by letters from Iraqis about their war-ravaged country.

All proceeds from photo sales at go to the Rogue Action Center, an independent nonprofit hub for Rogue Valley community organizing for social, economic, racial, and climate justice.

If you find this helpful, please
share this edition of World Wide Work with others.

World Wide Work -- Books, Films, and Music You May Have Missed

May 26, 2017

Red-Tailed Hawk Near Mt. McLoughlinRed-Tailed Hawk Near Mt. McLoughlinAgate Lake, Oregon New and worth noting…

Land Almost Lost: A Call to Save Our National Monuments. This gorgeous e-book is available for free viewing and download. It contains photographs of the 27 national monuments that the Trump administration is considering abolishing or slashing, including Bears Ears in Utah, Cascade-Siskiyou in Oregon, Giant Sequoia in California, Grand Canyon-Parashant, and Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine. It also tells how to submit a comment to the U.S. Interior Department to help show massive public support for our monuments. New photographs of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, another of the endangered 27, may be found here.
In the Fields of the North by David Bacon (University of California). With more than 300 impactful photographs, informative text and captions, and farm workers’ own moving stories, all in both English and Spanish, a journalist shows the work life, living conditions, and culture of immigrants who produce America’s food supply.
Janesville by Amy Goldstein (
Simon and Schuster). After the 2016 presidential election, many commentators made broad generalizations – often based on little actual knowledge – about why many voters in the heartland either stayed home or switched to Trump. Goldstein, a Washington Post reporter, had been regularly spending time in Paul Ryan’s hometown since 2008, following the lives of working people and the business elite. She provides a readable account of how, more than ever, there are two Janesvilles – one thriving while the dreams of many working people become harder and harder to reach.
The Firebrand and the First Lady by Patricia Bell-Scott (Vintage). Pauli Murray was one of America’s most important civil rights and feminist activists, yet most people have never heard of her. This fascinating account follows her from the 1930s to the 1960s as she challenged North Carolina’s ban on African Americans in its universities, Harvard Law School’s ban on women, sexism in the civil rights movement and the Episcopal Church, and racism in the feminist movement. A particular focus is her long friendship and many frank exchanges with Eleanor Roosevelt.
An Unrestored Woman by Shobha Rao (
FlatIron). Twelve stories share the backdrop of the partition of India and Pakistan as two countries in 1947, triggering traumatic disruption in the lives of millions of people based on their religious and ethnic identity.
We Were Feminists Once by Andi Zeisler (
Public Affairs). Corporate advertisers and pop stars are using feminist images and slogans to polish their brands and sell products. This “marketplace feminism” encourages us to focus not on power relations, race, or class but on individual girls who can succeed if they just improve their self-esteem.
Big Hunger by Andrew Fisher (MIT). As workers’ buying power has declined, many communities have started food banks, often with corporate partners. But telling the public that donating a can of food will address the problem is misleading. Anti-hunger groups should be actively supporting movements to raise wages, make housing affordable, promote sustainable development in rural areas, and win other gains from corporate special interests and the top 1%.
We Are Data by John Cheney-Lippold (
NYU). A professor of digital studies delves into the ways big corporations and government agencies use algorithms to monitor and affect individuals’ behavior.
Culture Jamming edited by Marily DeLaure and Mortiz Fink (
NYU). A collection of 24 articles examines efforts to disrupt corporate consumer culture through hoaxes, parodies, flash mobs, street art, and other tactics.
Rules for Revolutionaries by Becky Bond and Zack Exley (
Chelsea Green). Two political consultants for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign say what they learned from the experience about how to combine technology with person-to-person organizing.
The Battle for Veterans’ Healthcare by Suzanne Gordon (
Cornell). Corporate interests are lobbying Trump and Congress to give them control of the Veterans Health Administration. That wouldn’t fix health care problems faced by 8 million veterans – problems faced in many other parts of our health care system as well. Instead, it would destroy a service that in certain ways could be a model for national health care reform.
A Great Vision by Richard March (
Hard Ball Press). For those who like to read history through someone’s personal story, this account follows three generations of the author’s family as they immigrated to the U.S. from Croatia, helped build the union movement, and got involved in the anti-war and anti-racism movements of the 1960s.

The Light of the Moon.
An honest and nuanced feature film starring Stephanie Beatriz reveals the complex impacts of a street rape on a young Latina architect and her psychological well-being, career, and relationship with her long-term boyfriend.
My First Kiss and the People Involved. A unique and powerful feature film focuses on Sam, a girl in a residential group home who does not speak and only rarely engages with other people. She starts to connect with a new female caregiver, but then picks up clues suggesting that the caregiver has met a violent end. The visuals and sound attempt to replicate what Sam sees and hears, creating an intense introduction to her world.
Hearing is Believing. Rachel Flowers lost her eyesight soon after birth, but by two years old she could play Bach fugues by ear. Now a young adult with a ready smile, she is a highly skilled and creative jazz and rock musician who masters virtually any instrument she picks up.

Spettacolo. For 50 years, a small village in Tuscany has put on a new play each summer with townspeople as the actors – usually developing each play through conversation about their own experiences. But, as this documentary shows, the tradition is in jeopardy as young people leave the area or pursue other interests and as gentrification driven by city dwellers wanting summer homes divides the town.
Black Canaries. A stark 19-minute feature evokes the grip coal mining had on the filmmaker’s ancestors as a man continues each day to enter the mine where his father was crippled and his son rendered blind.
Death by Design. Big corporations are producing staggering quantities of electronic devices with little regard for what happens to the waste, how workers are treated, how the environment is damaged, or other concerns. From China to Silicon Valley, this film shows that a technological boom guided only by short-term profits is not socially sustainable.

Small Pieces
by Rakkatak. A Canadian trio shows a variety of musical influences as they combine tabla, sitar, and bass.
Migration Blues by Eric Bibb. A themed album links songs about today’s immigrants and refugees, the black Great Migration from the South, and the Dust Bowl exodus in the 1930s.

Sam Gleaves and Tyler Hughes. Clean, simple bluegrass duets range from children’s music to traditional mountain home themes to several socially conscious tunes, including fine renditions of “Bread and Roses” and “I Washed My Face in the Morning Dew.”

All proceeds from photo sales at go to the Rogue Action Center, an independent nonprofit hub for Rogue Valley community organizing for social, economic, racial, and climate justice.


World Wide Work -- Films, Books, and Music You May Have Missed

April 08, 2017

New and worth noting…

In the Radiant City.
How long must people suffer for past mistakes, and how does a family find a pathway to forgiveness? These are some questions at the heart of this thoroughly engaging and flawlessly made drama. Twenty years before the action begins, a 17-year-old boy killed a child by setting fire to a house. He was sent to prison based on the testimony of his younger brother. Now, the older man is up for parole.
Luna and Diego are parking lot security guards, but this delightfully unique, Oscar-nominated, 15-minute feature from Spain shows us that there is much more to these two than their drab uniforms might suggest.
Sing. Faced with an imperious teacher, members of a children’s choir invent a creative way to stand up for each other in this charming 25-minute short feature from Hungary.

4.1 Miles (22 minutes) and Watani: My Homeland (39 minutes) are two powerful short documentaries about what Syrian refugees face.
Ixcanul. In this Guatemalan feature film that gains authenticity from a mostly non-professional cast, a
17-year-old girl in a remote village faces one cultural and economic obstacle after another as she tries to follow her dreams.
The Other Son. Two boys have been raised for their first 18 years on opposite sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide. Then, their families learn that their sons were born in the same hospital and mistakenly switched.
Graduation. A Romanian doctor has long dreamed that his daughter will go to a university abroad and escape their country’s bleakness and corruption. But in trying to realize that dream, will he become part of the system he wants her to escape?

Acts and Intermissions. An hour-long collage of words and images centered on anarchist Emma Goldman draws on archival footage, reenactment, and current events.
Fatima. A Muslim immigrant to France and her two daughters each follow different paths as they try to build a life in their new home.
The Watermelon Woman. Remastered for its 20th anniversary, this pioneering film follows a young black lesbian filmmaker trying to make a documentary about an elusive African American actress from the 1930s.

Behold the Dreamers
by Imbolo Mbue (
Random House). The lives of two couples intersect in this timely novel – a Lehman Brothers executive and his wife on the eve of the 2008 Wall Street crash, and two hard-working immigrants from Cameroon who end up working for them.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (Ballentine). A very readable and suspenseful novel (despite an implausible ending) doubles as a thought-provoking introduction for white readers to issues of racism and implicit bias.
City of Grit and Gold by Maud Macrory Powell (
Allium). This short novel can work for everyone from middle-school students to adults as it recounts from the point of view of a 12-year-old girl how her family becomes divided by a strike for the 8-hour day by mostly immigrant workers in 1886 in Chicago.
From #Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (
Haymarket). Throughout U.S. history, black activists and their allies have found that confronting issues of race requires also confronting issues of class, gender, and economic justice.
Where the Line is Drawn by Raja Shehadeh (
The New Press). A leading Palestinian writer tells how occupation of his country has affected him personally over the past 40 years and describes the ups and downs of his long friendship with a Jew living in Israel.
The Vanishing Middle Class by Peter Temin
(MIT). Some of the economic, political, and historical roots of the increasing divide between America’s top 1% in wealth and those at the bottom and in the shrinking middle are explored.
All the Real Indians Died Off by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker (
Beacon). Two scholars refute 21 myths about Native Americans commonly taught in U.S. schools, media, and pop culture.
Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? by Kathleen Collins (HarperCollins). Sixteen short stories by the African American director of the 1982 film, Losing Ground, evoke relationships and experiences during the civil rights era and beyond.
Look by Solmaz Sharif (
Graywolf). A poet of Iranian descent writes powerfully about the impacts of war, both in the Middle East and here in the U.S. Some poems are built around phrases in the U.S. military’s Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. Others are in the form of censored letters from military prison, with key words missing.
The Fortunes by Peter Ho Davies (
Houghton Mifflin). Chinese-American experiences are explored in this novel through four lives in four time periods – a worker in the California gold rush and building of the railroads; a Hollywood actress in the 1920s; Vincent Chin, killed by Detroit auto workers who thought he was Japanese; and a half- Chinese man who goes with his wife to adopt a baby in China.
In Wild Trust by Jeff Fair, photographs by Larry Aumiller (University of Alaska). Text and photos share the insider experiences of the long-time director of an Alaskan state sanctuary for brown bears.
Red: The History of a Color by Michel Pastoureau (
Princeton). One in a series of beautifully reproduced art books about individual colors, this one traces the use of red throughout the history of European societies as culture and art trends evolved.
The Revolution Will Not Be Funded by Unite (
Duke University). Back in print with a new foreword, this classic collection of essays describes how foundation and government funding discourages some nonprofits from fighting for fundamental change.
Unmentionables by Laurie Loewenstein (
Akashic). The main character in this romantic tale is a woman who is a traveling speaker for women’s rights before and during World War I and the fight for women’s suffrage.
Hitler’s American Model by James Q. Whitman (
Princeton). In the 1930s, the German Nazis drew on American laws and practices on race as they laid the groundwork for the Holocaust.
Among Wolves by Gordon Haber and Marybeth Holleman (University of Alaska). The writings of a scientist who studied wolves for 43 years shed light on many misconceptions about their social life and hunting habits, and about what humans must do to keep from making them extinct.

Sweet Lorain
The U-Liners. Spirited songs, most with some political angle, performed by a talented band.
The Beautiful Not Yet by
Carrie Newcomer. A CD and accompanying book of lyrics and poems that have spiritual overtones, including “You Can Do This Hard Thing,” “Help in Hard Times,” and “Slender Thread” about staying connected.
Graveyard Whistling by Old 97s (
ATO). Some fresh songwriting, including “She Hates Everybody (But Me).”
Do What Your Heart Say To by
Scott Ramminger. Songs like “Give a Pencil to a Fish” are backed by a lively ensemble that sometimes sounds like The Band or Eric Clapton.