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4 out of 4 stars
Review by James Craft
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The book starts in Britain accounting the earlier years of the author as a Jewish, middle-class communist and then details out his travels and life in Czechoslovakia, Prague, Birmingham, Florence, Mumbai, Nairobi, and countless other destinations that show this man to be a well-traveled activist. He has been involved in some enormous events in history, and his take on such events was both interesting and thought-provoking to read.
The narrative itself is written in a clear and easy to understand style and is littered throughout with historical references of what is happening around the author and the world during the times he is discussing. There were also pictures scattered throughout the text that helped drive home that this is an autobiography and not fiction and that all of this really happened. The discussion of Nigeria and he author’s personal development in the far reaches of the world was particularly compelling.
It wasn’t without its flaws, however, and some sections grew a little bit tedious in their description of what was happening. This doesn’t happen very often, but it does make the book laborious at times. However, this is a forgivable offense because usually the author is attempting to add more historical information under the assumption that the reader doesn’t know anything about the events he is talking about. For many readers, this could be invaluable, and in fact sections that I knew nothing about before reading this volume felt rather well explained.
I will also mention that the cover of the book isn’t as compelling as it could be. It uses a picture taken by the author, so I understand the desire to include it, but I feel that it would have been better served inside the volume with a professional cover that is easier to read. It isn’t something that seriously harms the book itself, but considering how excellent the text is it would be worthwhile to have a better cover.
I enjoyed this book quite a bit and found the narrative easy to follow and incredibly well put together. I will rate it 4 out of 4 stars because of the quality of the writing and the events being depicted in this man’s life. For anyone interested in history—and, in particular, recent history—will find From Coldwar Communism to the Global Emancipatory Movement by Peter Waterman to be a brilliant account of the life of an activist and world traveler over the span of many decades.
From Coldwar Communism to the Global Emancipatory Movement
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― Ernest Hemingway
pwaterman wrote:Oh dear! In no possible way did the author carry out a 'lot of activist actions around the world on behalf of the British government'. Rather despite the British government and world capitalism. And in so far as he could be considered to have acted on behalf of one or more Communist governments, such ended with the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, 1968.
An apt representation, though like the US one of the things about Western culture in particular is the double way in which it handles things, using both the carrot and the stick in all dealings so that it can be the hero and the bully at the same time.
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