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This week’s editors

“Francesc”

Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

“A wonderful thing about a book, in contrast to a computer screen, is that you can take it to bed with you” – Anonymous, 1998

A weekly book recommendation from the readers, writers and staff of openDemocracy. What are you reading now? Email us

"Bound Together: How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers, and Warriors Shaped Globalization", Nayan Chanda

Without looking into the past, how does one explain that almost everything carries within itself the imprints of a long journey? Nayan Chanda maps the hidden history of globalisation.

"The Dictionary of Alternatives"

Is the world already organised and are there any choices left open to ordinary people? A new dictionary lists alternative ways of living and organising life.

Hollow Land

Israel's occupation of the West Bank is exercised through a panoptic system of three-dimensional control that makes the entire environment of the occupied Palestinian territories the embodiment of the architecture of colonialism. Eyal Weizman, openDemocracy author of "The politics of verticality" and "Ariel Sharon and the geometry of occupation", dissects and reconstructs the thinking and strategy behind this totalising project.

“Imaginary Futures”, Richard Barbrook

The ideas of the 1950s and 1960s gave birth to the world's most powerful political tool, the internet. Richard Barbrook's new book challenges us to resist the status quo and use the information society to imagine – and create – a better future.

“What Democracy is for”, Stein Ringen

Why are the world's democracies are failing to live up to their ideals? Stein Ringen's new book outlines how we can halt the decline of democracy's hard-won freedom.

“Sorry”, Gail Jones

A poetic exploration of colonial-Aboriginal relations and the politics of apology in wartime Australia. Hear author Gail Jones talk about her latest novel.

"Alter Ego: Avatars and their Creators", Robbie Cooper

Portraits of online gamers and their virtual-world alter egos.

'The Atlas of Religion,' Joanne O'Brien & Martin Palmer

Mapping the religions of the world.

'Beyond Terror,' Chris Abbott, Paul Rogers & John Sloboda

Is international terrorism really the single greatest threat to world security? Chris Abbott, Paul Rogers and John Sloboda present an alternate global vision and map new paths into the future.

'The Space Between Us,' Thrity Umrigar

A rich and complex portrait revealing the forces that divide us and the ties that bind.

The Syrian conundrum

Robert G Rabil's book reveals a Syria-United States relationship more changeable and nuanced than post-9/11 rhetoric indicates, says Carsten Wieland.

'From Outside In: Refugees and British Society,' Nushin Arbabzadah

Being British from the perspective of the newly arrived.

'Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet,' Mark Lynas

Climate change is big, complex and scary. While Mark Lynas's new book helps readers get to grips with the issue, Caspar Henderson offers six caveats.

'Enslaved: True Stories of Modern Day Slavery,' Jesse Sage and Liora Kasten

The story of Sveta: a young Belarusian woman coerced into prostitution at the age of fifteen. Her frank description of the dehumanizing experience in part explains how she eventually came to invert the roles of sex slave and pimp.

'Live Working or Die Fighting,' Paul Mason

Paul Mason charts the history of the global labour movement and the parallels among workers in the global south today.

'Coral - A Pessimist in Paradise,' Steve Jones

Mankind is rapidly destroying ancient coral reefs. Why care? Caspar Henderson reviews Steve Jones’s new book on the wondrous ecosystems and finds it wanting.

'Nada,' Carmen Laforet

From a pioneer of modernist literature: a portrait of a sordid, dreary and war-ravaged Barcelona in the early days of Franco's brutal regime.

'The Soul of the White Ant', Eugène Marais

A pioneering study by the great South African naturalist Eugène Marais shaped the way Michael Holman sees the world.

'Dreams of Peace and Freedom,' Jay Winter

Mapping the century's minor utopias and the individuals trying to imagine a radically better world.

'The Slave,' Isaac Bashevis Singer

Singer's 17th century ghost story resonantes in a 21st century world, says Rafael Broch.

'What's Left?: How Liberals Lost Their Way,' Nick Cohen

Nick Cohen reconsiders what it means to be liberal – an extract from his controversial new book.

'Wizard of the Crow,' Ngugi wa'Thiong'o

A sweeping satire of African despotism, power and poverty.

'Globalization Challenged,' George Rupp

In this excerpt from "Globalization Challenged", George Rupp addresses the standoff between traditional conviction and western secular individualism.

'Blood Done Sign My Name,' Timothy Tyson

Novelist and poet Eva Salzman finds wit and compassion in Timothy Tyson’s alternative history of the black civil rights movement.

'Three Generations,' Yom Sang-seop

An excerpt from Yom San-seop's classic novel exploring colonialism, tradition and modernity in 1930s Seoul.

'The Looming Tower,' Lawrence Wright

Sidney Blumenthal recommends Lawrence Wright's compelling history of the al-Qaida movement.

'Homo Britannicus,' Chris Stringer

Climate change: a new problem or one stretching back 700,000 years? Richard Young recommends some environmental lessons from human pre-history.

'Cuba: A New History,' Richard Gott

A fresh eye on the history of the Caribbean island from its pre-Columbian origins to the present day.

'You are here: personal geographies and other maps of the imagination,' Katharine Harmon

I map, therefore I am: Iain Orr finds delight in Katharine Harmon's charting of the imagination.

'Embracing the Infidel,' Behzad Yaghmaian

Behzad Yaghmaian records an intricate oral history of Muslim refugees as they journey west along dark and perilous paths.

"The Body Hunters", Sonia Shah

Investigative journalist Sonia Shah explores the pharmaceutical industry's abuse of the most impoverished and vulnerable people in Asia and Africa, where even AIDS becomes a matter of commercial self-interest.

'Twelve Days,' Victor Sebestyen

On the fiftieth anniversary of Hungary's famous uprising, Victor Sebestyen traces in vivid detail his country's big fight against the Soviet empire.

"My Name is Red", Orhan Pamuk

Orhan Pamuk's novel is less a parable for global modernity than a journey into Turkish history, whatever the author's iconic position in the political landscape might suggest, says Kanishk Tharoor

'Wide Sargasso Sea,' Jean Rhys

Alexis Hood may have swooned over the brooding Mr. Rochester, but she finds that the mad woman in the attic has a darker and more compelling story.

'Making Globalization Work,' Joseph Stiglitz

Joseph Stiglitz's new model for globalisation.

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