Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ten top books about revolutionaries

Neel Mukherjee’s second novel, The Lives of Others, was published in the UK in May 2014, in India in June 2014, and in the USA in October 2014. The Lives of Others was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014. It has also been shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award.

At the Guardian Mukherjee tagged his top ten books about revolutionaries, including:
The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad (1907)

The unsurpassed novel on terrorism. The anarchist movement at the heart of the book is a revolutionary movement; Bakunin and Kropotkin were both influences in the writing of the novel. Inspired by the death of a French anarchist, possibly en route to bombing the Greenwich Observatory, in 1894, the novel centres on the secret agent and anarchist, Adolf Verloc, employed by a shadowy embassy to initiate an act of terrorism to provide Britain with an excuse to crack down on revolutionary groups. Sounds familiar? The novel asks deep questions about the morality of terrorism, and how revolutionary ideals and idealism are always already compromised.
Read about another entry on the list.

Also see Selma Dabbagh's ten favorite reluctant revolutionaries.

The Secret Agent is among Jason Burke's five books on Islamic militancy, Iain Sinclair's five novels on the spirit and history of London, Dan Vyleta's top ten books in second languages, Jessica Stern's five best books on who terrorists are, Adam Thorpe's top ten satires, and on John Mullan's list of ten of the best professors in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue