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Best of 2018: Books

by MARJORIE MAYO

 

DANNY DORLING’S Peak Inequality (Policy Press) has been described as providing an all-you-need-to-know guide to inequality in Britain today and it once again demonstrates the importance of his writings in providing a critical understanding of injustice in its multiple manifestations.

 

There are sections on housing, education and health inequalities, along with a number of thought-provoking reflections on alternative futures. Predicting the future is impossible, he explains, but “imaging the future you would like is essential.”

 

It's highly recommended reading, as is Melissa Benn’s: Life Lessons: The Case for a National Education Service (Verso). Benn is another author who provides readers with consistently well-informed analyses, supported with convincing evidence to sustain her arguments.

 

This latest book sets the context for contemporary discussions, outlining the effects of the market-driven approaches that have been predominant in recent years and it provides the background for the discussion of alternative approaches.

 

Her proposals for a lifelong learning service overlap with current Labour proposals for a National Education Service. But they go further, with practical suggestions as to what more needs to be done to help create and sustain a modern and genuinely equitable education service fit for the 21st century.

 

This book will be essential reading for all those concerned to campaign for educational reform, as part of wider strategies for economic and social justice.

 

While books on issues and alternative policy approaches provide crucial reading, so do books that reflect on stories of struggle. Trico: A Victory to Remember (Lawrence and Wishart) tells of the hard-won fight for equal pay at the Trico factory and it's an account filled with passion and humour, with an inside take from the women themselves and from those who supported them in their struggles.

 

It is a truly inspiring book, charting the women’s campaign through to their final victory, concluding with reflections on the lessons for trade unionists and for feminism today.

 

Another key text for anyone on the left.

 

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