abcdefg's Reviews > Demanding The Impossible: A History Of Anarchism

Demanding The Impossible by Peter   Marshall
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Nov 20, 2015

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bookshelves: 600-plus-pages, 800-900, spl, nonfiction, philosophy, books-10k-done, english, history
Read from July 05 to October 11, 2010

This is a behemoth book of mammoth proportions. Peter Marshall has written the definitive critical history of anarchism, developing a survey of the forerunners of anarchism leading up to current anarchist movements and present day anarchist thinkers.

With chapters covering Proudhon, Kropotkin, Bakunin, Godwin, Stirner, and numerous others, this book is a must-have for anyone interested in the subject of anarchism, or anyone who takes radical social change seriously.

I would say this is more of a referential work if anything. There's no way I could memorize everything that was written in this work. The writing style is somewhat tedious and academic, and even repetitious at times, but I will say that it did force me to look at governments, economics, politics, law, class systems, and the dynamics of society and community in a new way.

Covering multiple strains of anarchism from anarcho-syndicalism to social ecology, this highly educational text is a good counterpoint for those looking to take government or law as a career path. In fact, it could very well change your mind altogether.

I do think that anarchism, however, is a bit utopian and idealistic. Yet, what good is it to pessimistically refuse the possibility of a utopian society? The fact that such an idealism even exists in the realm of human thinking points to an essential need within human beings to connect in an egalitarian, free-thinking, and free-associating way.

Prior to reading this, my ideas and thoughts around anarchism were probably what most people think of when they hear the word "anarchy": disorder, chaos, violence, and destruction.

But quite contrary to those notions, anarchism seeks to bring people together as unique individuals on a communal and local level, while still maintaining peace and solidarity within a laterally organized network of cooperatives, without the suppression, exploitation, domination, hierarchy, propaganda, violence, and coercion of the State.

I found this to be a challenging read and a necessary one, not only in clearing up misconceptions of anarchism, but in furthering and widening my own scope of vision and thinking on the topic of government and the functioning of society.

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message 1: by Jaree (new)

Jaree Francis This looks interesting

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