The subtitle to this book is ‘Politics, Equality and Nature’ and it really is that wide-ranging. If you are familiar with George’s Guardian column you will currently be missing it as he is having a break and writing, he says, a novel (of all things!). If you are feeling Monbiot withdrawal symptoms then you can clutch this book to your chest and breathe more easily.
Monbiot’s Twitter account (@georgemonbiot) has the Byronic line ‘I love not man the less, but Nature more’ which is clearly played out in this book: walks around dawn and rants about millionaires; sheepwrecked hills and care for drug addicts; rewilding childhood and leaving carbon in the ground. Oh yes, and the impact of lead on violent crime.
Monbiot provides a rationale for what many of us feel instinctively, or at least unclearly: ah yes! we say on reading him, that’s what I think and he’s just explained to me why I think it! So if you are of the Left of politics, you will love most of this book, and if you are of the Right then you will find it very stimulating too. And he writes so well.
I have just one gripe about the book, and that is that it is a collection of his already-published articles. Now that doesn’t bother me at all, but it wasn’t clear from the publisher’s website (although it does say ‘based on his powerful journalism’), from the mighty Amazon, or from the dust jacket (or even the Introduction) of the book, that this is what it is. I’d have bought it anyway, but it isn’t exactly what I thought I might be getting.
Having said that, it’s great and it’s a book I wouldn’t be without.
How did we get into this mess? by George Monbiot is published by Verso.