Fifty Years of Verso Books

Radical publisher Verso Books celebrates its fifty-year anniversary this year, and it could scarcely be more timely. Whatever your political views, in the face of a global pandemic and its impact on our health, employment, and poverty rates, after unprecedented uprisings against police violence that continues unabated, and in the run-up to a presidential election that promises to be the most polarized and dysfunctional on record, it's difficult to argue that we couldn't benefit from some new ideas.

 

If the state of the world has been causing you some frustration, here’s a list of some great recent titles to help you redirect your righteous fury in constructive directions.

Celebrated science-fiction author China Miévelle recounts the events that led from the collapse of Russia’s absolute monarchy to its takeover by the Bolsheviks in 1917 as a gripping story of conflicting personalities, ideas, and interests. Certainly the most entertaining book in this list.


Difficult as it is to believe today, the Communist Party of the United States was once a powerful force in American politics. In this reissued classic of oral history, Vivian Gornick speaks to former party-members, resulting in a uniquely humane and touching view of a movement that’s been all but forgotten by history.


The period in which small, gradual policy changes can help to reverse climate change has almost certainly passed, and the years to come the scale of this crisis will grow exponentially. This book lays out the kind of solutions we need to prevent catastrophe.


When his book was released last January, Richard Lachmann surely had no idea how prescient it would appear only a few months later. Analyzing the decline of the United States as a world power, he makes a persuasive argument that the strength and selfishness of American elites mean that little can be done to reverse it. Not recommended if you’re looking for uplift.


Although it was ultimately unsuccessful, Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign inspired millions of people to believe that politics could change their lives for the better. In this book, Meagan Day and Micah Uetricht of Jacobin Magazine offer a path forward for that movement to revitalize the organized Left.


Across the country, teachers are facing pressure to return to work in conditions whose safety cannot be guaranteed. Eric Blanc’s engaging account of the teacher strike waves of 2018 offers an insider’s view of the kind of responses we may see in the Fall.


The second wave of Black Lives Matter protests has shed new light on the issue of police violence in black communities. In this book, Alex Vitale makes a powerful argument that the fault lies not with flawed individuals but with a hopelessly compromised institution.


Despite consistent popular support, the right of women to have an abortion hasn’t been more at risk in decades. Jenny Brown argues that it’s time for the feminist movement to fight back and reclaim the deate from the conservative right.


With the far right on the rise all over the world, Enzo Traverso places these new movements in historical context and compares them to the fascist movements of the past.


The nationwide lockdowns in response to the Coronavirus pandemic forced people to rely on Amazon to deliver goods to their homes like never before, and turned Jeff Bezos into a trillionaire in the process. This fascinating book suggests that giant corporations like Amazon demonstrate how centrally planned organizations could be designed for the public good.