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Socialism . . . Seriously: A Brief Guide to…
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Socialism . . . Seriously: A Brief Guide to Human Liberation

by Danny Katch

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Not so seriously. With recent events I wanted to learn more about socialism and why it appeals to so many. It's been years since I had to read 'The Communist Manifesto' and other similar works for school so I knew I was going to need something that was going to be a foundational, basic primer (or close to it). This sounded like a good fit: relatively short, supposedly funny and an approachable read for background.
 
The author takes the reader though what socialism is, what are the failure of capitalism, why capitalism has reached its limits and why we need a revolution for socialism, etc. Or something like that.
 
Honestly, I think this is a book that is for someone who is already very sympathetic or has socialist leanings. I really wanted to know the WHY and HOW. In retrospect, the how is much more difficult and probably not appropriate for this type of book. But the author seemed to spend a little too much time being against capitalism and not enough on being for socialism. There's nothing wrong in pointing out the problems and failures of capitalism for the sake of contrast but I just kept wanting to skip over those parts because I really wanted to know more about the positives of socialism. 
 
I also didn't find the book very funny. As previously mentioned, I really didn't want to read a tedious textbook and knew that something basic was going to be better suited for my current needs. But the snark just didn't work for me.
 
And as an off-shoot regarding tone, the author admits that he may sound like he's romanticizing socialism. He was right. In a chapter called "Revolution!" (which really is titled quite aptly), he talks about events like the Arab Spring and the Russian Revolution but it's not clear if he understands the genuine costs: to human life, to mental health, to emotional well-being, to finances, etc. Revolutions aren't at all pretty and I couldn't help but sigh in exasperation at his sentence of on how "Socialists are hopeless romantics--or at least they should be." (pg 106)
 
Overall, the book didn't seem like all that much more informative than social media posts. Again, I suppose there was only so much in depth he could go for an introductory work but it just ended up frustrating me. I'm not saying there isn't room for hopeless romantics, but I needed something that had more in substance and the practicalities of the processes and hows than not.
 
For the right person, though, this is probably a work that will really speak to them. Just don't think it should be the only work to read, though. ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
I'm not sure about the serious part, the author seems to delight in wit buried in footnotes. Some are even funny. This is a quick primer on for the socialist-curious and works very well in that role. There is no heavy lifting of theory, but a lighthearted stroll with a good-natured friend. ( )
  kcshankd | Jul 16, 2017 |
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