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Book Review: 'Prophets Unarmed - Chinese Trotskyists in Revolution, War, Jail and the Return from Limbo'

Unarmed and Unforgiven

'Prophets Unarmed: Chinese Trotskyists in Revolution, War, Jail and the Return from Limbo'. Edited by Gregor Benton (Haymarket $55)

A 1,200-page volume on a political movement that existed for just twenty-five years and had at most a few thousand supporters (and generally far fewer than that), this is an exhaustive study of Trotskyism in China, from 1927 to 1952. It is based primarily on memoirs written years after the events or interviews with elderly former participants, as there are very few original documents surviving.

Exhibition Review: Portraying a Nation - Germany 1919–1933

The Weimar Republic, from Germany’s defeat in the First World War to Hitler’s capture of power: a time of economic crisis, hyperinflation, massive unemployment, cultural innovation, increasing nationalism and repression. An exhibition at Tate Liverpool, on until the middle of October, attempts to capture some of these dramatic developments by exhibiting the work of photographer August Sander and painter Otto Dix.

Book Reviews: 'Unspeak', & 'Marx's Labor Theory of Value - A Defense'

Say What You Mean

'Unspeak', by Steven Poole. (Little, Brown £9.99)

Which word would best describe those who use violence to oppose the US-UK occupation of Iraq? 'Terrorists' is condemnatory, while 'resistance' (with its echoes of those who opposed Nazi occupation in Europe) may register approval. Perhaps the most neutral term is 'insurgents'. This is one of the examples that Steven Poole uses to show that choice of words is important, that the labels attached to people or ideas can affect attitudes towards them.

Exhibition Review: The Life & Work of Marx & Engels

Friedrich Engels spent most of his working life in Manchester and Salford, and was frequently visited there by Karl Marx. Now the Working Class Movement Library in Salford is hosting an exhibition on their lives and work, on till the end of September. Sadly, though, there is apparently little hard evidence for the oft-told story that the two of them drank together in the pub now called The Crescent, a couple of hundred yards from the Library.

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