Books of the Year

We’re in the home straight, so it’s time for the annual round-ups. Four books stand out in my 2007: Patrick Cockburn’s The Occupation – published in the Autumn of 2006, but I didn’t get round to it until January, so I’m counting it as a 2007 book – which joins Rory Stewart’s Occupational Hazards as one of the indispensable memoirs of this terrible war. I thought John Rawls’s posthumous Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy were very interesting when they came out, and I’m delighted that enough colleagues and graduate students here in Oxford thought the same that we could hold a very stimulating seminar to discuss them in the term just ended. Raj Patel’s Stuffed and Starved is terrific, as expected (though I’m hardly an impartial critic). And the best history-of-political-thought volume I read this year was Michael Sonenscher’s Before the Deluge: Public Debt, Inequality and the Intellectual Origins of the French Revolution, which goes to show how the eighteenth-century political economy scholarship of the last generation or so can be put to work to address the really big historiographical questions.

What else was good this year?

One thought on “Books of the Year”

  1. I thought Dworkin’s “Is Democracy Possible Here?” was quite good.

    Not because of any intellectual content. It’s not supposed to be a book for intellectuals. But because here was an intellectual coming out of his Liberal-Egalitarian Ivory Tower and saying “look, there is something really fucked up in modern American politics, and all the work I have spent my life on has had absolutely zero impact. So now i am going to write a book which tries to speak to real people and make a difference to their lives”. Which i thought was quite noble, not least because I find myself disagreeing with pretty much all of his high-powered stuff but could really get behind this project.

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