Category Archives: Book Reviews

Makhan Singh: A Revolutionary Kenyan Trade Unionist

Makhan Singh: A Revolutionary Kenyan Trade Unionist.
Edited by Shiraz Durrani
ISBN: 978-1-869886-22-6
Date of publication:May 2015

makhan singh

This book examines the life and work of a remarkable trade unionist and revolutionary. Makhan Singh laid the foundation for radical trade unionism and influenced the liberation struggle in Kenya. He actively participated in the struggles of the working classes in India. For this, the colonial authorities in India and Kenya detained him for over 15 years. This collection, marking 101 years of Makhan Singh’s birth, explores different aspects of his life as a father, a trade unionist, a political activist, a poet and a communist committed to social, political and economic liberation from colonialism and imperialism. His vision, his actions and his courage are as relevant today as they were in his time.

Please also see the Book flyer

Book publication – LGBT People and the UK Cultural Sector

Book publication – LGBT People and the UK Cultural Sector – The Response of Libraries, Museums, Archives and Heritage since 1950

LGBT People and the UK Cultural SectorJohn Vincent, The Network, UK

This book examines the complex and conflicting relationships between LGBT people and our cultural and heritage organisations including libraries, museums and archives. In this unique book established author John Vincent draws together current good practice, and also highlights issues which urgently still need to be addressed.
To set the work of libraries, museums and archives in context, Vincent traces the development of LGBT rights in the UK. He goes on to examine some of the reasons for hostility and hatred against this minority group and critically explores provision that has been made by cultural and heritage organisations. He offers examples of good practice – not only from the UK, but from across the world – and draws up an essential ‘charter’ for future development.
This compelling, practical book should be read by managers and staff in libraries, museums and archives around the world looking for guidance on this important issue.

Available from Ashgate Publishing:



Undercover – By Paul Lewis & Rob Evans

‘Undercover lays bare the deceit, betrayal and cold-blooded violation practised again and again by undercover police officers – troubling, timely and brilliantly executed.’ Henry Porter

The gripping stories of a group of police spies – written by the award-winning investigative journalists who exposed the Mark Kennedy scandal – and the uncovering of forty years of state espionage.

Overexcitable publishers like to bandy around words such as “explosive” and “shocking” when trying to flog their books, even though generally you could substitute them for ones such as “mildly interesting”. Not with Undercover, though. Subtitled “The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police”, and doggedly written and researched by Guardian journalists Rob Evans and Paul Lewis, the revelations in its pages are genuinely explosive. And even though a lot of the material was in last week’s news and formed the basis of a Channel 4′s Dispatches, reading it line by line, deception by deception, is genuinely shocking.

See full Guardian/ Observer reviews.

Shiraz Durrani: Never be silent; publishing and imperialism in Kenya, 1884-1963 2006 review by John Pateman

This important book is well researched and scholarly, but at the same time written in a popular style and very accessible. It tells the inspiring story of the successful Mau Mau resistance movement against imperialism and colonialism in Kenya. It also tells the story of how central publishing and information were to this struggle for freedom. While it deals with a particular country and period in history, it is timeless and relevant in the sense that these struggles continue today.
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Caribbean Libraries in the 21st Century: Changes, Challenges and Choices, edited by Cheryl Peltier-Davis and Shamin Renwick (Information Today, 2007) – reviewed by John Pateman

A book on Caribbean libraries is rare and so this is a most welcome addition to the field of international and comparative librarianship. The editors set out ‘to document the state of Caribbean libraries in the 21 st century by examining the responses of these institutions to the changes, challenges and choices in an increasingly electronic and virtual information environment.’
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Barbarians at the Gates of the Public Library by Ed D’Angelo, Library Juice Press, 2006 – reviewed by John Pateman

In this well argued, well written and well presented book, Ed D’Angelo seeks to demonstrate ‘how post modern consumer capitalism threatens democracy, civil education and the public good’. One key public good and vehicle for civil education is the Public Library, and D’Angelo argues that there are a number of ‘Barbarians at the Gates of the Public Library.’ These include market forces, consumerism, privatisation, materialism and commodification. I would add liberal democracy to this list, and this is where I diverge from much of D’Angelo’s thinking. Some of this divergence may be due to the following three factors: I have a UK perspective; I have a Marxist analysis; and my starting point is that public goods are a product of Capitalism.
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The Fact of Blackness: Frantz Fanon and Visual Representation Edited by Alan Read Reviewed by Julian J. Samuel – ‘Ignoring the role of violence in Fanon: playing with the bones of an exhumed hero’

Please see the following PDF: The Fact of Blackness Frantz Fanon and Visual Representation Edited by Alan Read Reviewed by Julian J. Samuel – ‘Ignoring the role of violence in Fanon playing with the bones of an exhumed hero’

Knowledge Management: Social, Cultural and Theoretical Perspectives Edited by Ruth Rikowski

This book includes contributions from a variety of academics and professionals, looking at KM from different perspectives. The book is divided into 4 parts: Social, Economic, Political and Philosophical Perspectives; Practical Perspectives; Cultural Perspectives and Theoretical Perspectives. Both Ruth Rikowski and Paul Catherall have contributed chapters to this new book (also edited by Ruth), Ruth’s chapters include: Leadership in the knowledge revolution: an Open Marxist theoretical perspective and analysis. Knowledge management: internal, external and social cultures. An Open Marxist theoretical analysis of knowledge management within and across cultures. Knowledge management: an Open Marxist theoretical perspective and analysis. Continue reading