Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein trav­els across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, the United States, Britain, Greece, and Australia to witness the reality of disaster capitalism. He discovers how companies such as G4S, Serco, and Halliburton cash in on or­ganized misery in a hidden world of privatized detention centers, militarized private security, aid profiteering, and destructive mining.

Disaster has become big business. Talking to immigrants stuck in limbo in Britain or visiting immigration centers in America, Loewenstein maps the secret networks formed to help cor­porations bleed what profits they can from economic crisis. He debates with Western contractors in Afghanistan, meets the locals in post-earthquake Haiti, and in Greece finds a country at the mercy of vulture profiteers. In Papua New Guinea, he sees a local commu­nity forced to rebel against predatory resource companies and NGOs.

What emerges through Loewenstein’s re­porting is a dark history of multinational corpo­rations that, with the aid of media and political elites, have grown more powerful than national governments. In the twenty-first century, the vulnerable have become the world’s most valu­able commodity. Disaster Capitalism is published by Verso in 2015 and in paperback in January 2017.

Profits_of_doom_cover_350Vulture capitalism has seen the corporation become more powerful than the state, and yet its work is often done by stealth, supported by political and media elites. The result is privatised wars and outsourced detention centres, mining companies pillaging precious land in developing countries and struggling nations invaded by NGOs and the corporate dollar. Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein travels to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and across Australia to witness the reality of this largely hidden world of privatised detention centres, outsourced aid, destructive resource wars and militarized private security. Who is involved and why? Can it be stopped? What are the alternatives in a globalised world? Profits of Doom, published in 2013 and released in an updated edition in 2014, challenges the fundamentals of our unsustainable way of life and the money-making imperatives driving it. It is released in an updated edition in 2014.
forgodssakecover Four Australian thinkers come together to ask and answer the big questions, such as: What is the nature of the universe? Doesn't religion cause most of the conflict in the world? And Where do we find hope?   We are introduced to different belief systems – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – and to the argument that atheism, like organised religion, has its own compelling logic. And we gain insight into the life events that led each author to their current position.   Jane Caro flirted briefly with spiritual belief, inspired by 19th century literary heroines such as Elizabeth Gaskell and the Bronte sisters. Antony Loewenstein is proudly culturally, yet unconventionally, Jewish. Simon Smart is firmly and resolutely a Christian, but one who has had some of his most profound spiritual moments while surfing. Rachel Woodlock grew up in the alternative embrace of Baha'i belief but became entranced by its older parent religion, Islam.   Provocative, informative and passionately argued, For God's Sakepublished in 2013, encourages us to accept religious differences, but to also challenge more vigorously the beliefs that create discord.  
After Zionism, published in 2012 and 2013 with co-editor Ahmed Moor, brings together some of the world s leading thinkers on the Middle East question to dissect the century-long conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians, and to explore possible forms of a one-state solution. Time has run out for the two-state solution because of the unending and permanent Jewish colonization of Palestinian land. Although deep mistrust exists on both sides of the conflict, growing numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs are working together to forge a different, unified future. Progressive and realist ideas are at last gaining a foothold in the discourse, while those influenced by the colonial era have been discredited or abandoned. Whatever the political solution may be, Palestinian and Israeli lives are intertwined, enmeshed, irrevocably. This daring and timely collection includes essays by Omar Barghouti, Jonathan Cook, Joseph Dana, Jeremiah Haber, Jeff Halper, Ghada Karmi, Antony Loewenstein, Saree Makdisi, John Mearsheimer, Ahmed Moor, Ilan Pappe, Sara Roy and Phil Weiss.
The 2008 financial crisis opened the door for a bold, progressive social movement. But despite widespread revulsion at economic inequity and political opportunism, after the crash very little has changed. Has the Left failed? What agenda should progressives pursue? And what alternatives do they dare to imagine? Left Turn, published by Melbourne University Press in 2012 and co-edited with Jeff Sparrow, is aimed at the many Australians disillusioned with the political process. It includes passionate and challenging contributions by a diverse range of writers, thinkers and politicians, from Larissa Berendht and Christos Tsiolkas to Guy Rundle and Lee Rhiannon. These essays offer perspectives largely excluded from the mainstream. They offer possibilities for resistance and for a renewed struggle for change.
The Blogging Revolution, released by Melbourne University Press in 2008, is a colourful and revelatory account of bloggers around the globe why live and write under repressive regimes - many of them risking their lives in doing so. Antony Loewenstein's travels take him to private parties in Iran and Egypt, internet cafes in Saudi Arabia and Damascus, to the homes of Cuban dissidents and into newspaper offices in Beijing, where he discovers the ways in which the internet is threatening the ruld of governments. Through first-hand investigations, he reveals the complicity of Western multinationals in assisting the restriction of information in these countries and how bloggers are leading the charge for change. The blogging revolution is a superb examination about the nature of repression in the twenty-first century and the power of brave individuals to overcome it. It was released in an updated edition in 2011, post the Arab revolutions, and an updated Indian print version in 2011.
The best-selling book on the Israel/Palestine conflict, My Israel Question - on Jewish identity, the Zionist lobby, reporting from Palestine and future Middle East directions - was released by Melbourne University Press in 2006. A new, updated edition was released in 2007 (and reprinted again in 2008). The book was short-listed for the 2007 NSW Premier's Literary Award. Another fully updated, third edition was published in 2009. It was released in all e-book formats in 2011. An updated and translated edition was published in Arabic in 2012.

Books alive

What’s the best novel in the last 25 years?

4 comments ↪
  • Suze

    Since you're asking – Toni Morrison's novels are so beautiful because they work on such a personal level. beloved is a novel that portrays the workings of grief as much as any other driving force. The bluest eye is a novel that depicts the particular horrors of abuse as much as any other horror. Taken as a whole, though, in her novels you see how some people, by reason of the circumstances of their birth are given unreasonable access to the particular crucibles of grief, abuse, poverty, and disencfranchisement, that mark the marginalised communities of the world. For my money she stands above all comers, for this reason.

  • Suze

    oh and since they were all or mostly authors on the guardian panel I will mention the truly brilliant and therefore completely overlooked Helen De Witt. Outshines the likes of McEwen, grenville etc by many orders of magnitude. The Joyce of our time.

  • Glenn Condell

    It's a patchy looking list without the Americans. The first two are about as far apart stylistically and thematically as it's possible to get. Both great books though.

    Funny how Martin Amis's career echoes his Dad's – both had a huge initial hit (Money, Lucky Jim) which they tried vainly to match

    thereafter, until in Kingsley's case he struck gold with the amusingly wicked Old Devils late in life. Martin's still waiting for his late bookend; his current release (can't even remember it's title) seems from the reviews as middling as the rest of his recent output.

    McEwan and Carey are more my speed nowadays, with Americans like Foster Wallace and Easton Ellis. I will have to look de Witt up Suze, never heard of her. I do find men's writing more congenial generally, as my wife finds women preferable in the main. She just finished Penelope Fitzgerald's Blue Flower and enjoyed it, so I will have a crack at that too.

    I started Beloved not long after it came out but switched to something else before long. Like Rushdie's writing for me, somehow claustrophobic.

    So many books, so little time.

  • Suze

    Helen DeWitt has only written one book called "The Last Samurai". It is a genre- buster and was largely savaged by critics and the panel of the Orange Prize who thought she was just showing off . I think if it had been written by a man it would have been hailed as a masterpiece. Obscure references by a woman is unforgiveable, but quite permissable for the D Foster Wallaces and Neil Stephensons. If you ever read it let me know what you think.

    I have a hilarious book of literary interviews conducted by journo Val Hennessy – I'm afraid the two Amis' come off very badly. She interviews the younger having been impressed by the Rachel Papers. Her friends warn her that MA is a terrible snob and that he will likely mention he's been to Oxford within the first few seconds. He greets her at the door with "I was at Oxford with your editor, actually," and then makes her go out for a bottle of wine despite a conspicuously full wine rack. (is there any worse sin!?). Things only get worse from there. I quite like McEwen, though as a whole, I'm getting tired of middle-aged, middle class navel gazing as a genre- John Banville's "The sea" is the most recent, and possibly worst,example.