Benjamin Eskola

Socialist reading suggestions

politicssocialism, reading

A few times I’ve been asked about recommended reading for learning more about socialism. I’m not entirely sure what it was that made it ‘click’, but I thought I’d try to put together a list nevertheless.

In a lot of cases they’re not specifically socialist/communist books. A lot of what has shaped my politics has been studying history and looking at it in light of socialist ideas and having the new information reinforce those ideas; so while for example Empire of Cotton (below) isn’t really socialist (the author’s a liberal academic), I think it’s great for learning more about the interrelations between capitalism and imperialism and slavery.

Not on the list: Capital (because it’s definitely not an introductory read, even though I think it’s worth reading eventually); Communist Manifesto (because even though it’s an easier read, I don’t necessarily think it’s more applicable to the current situation).

I’ve included links to publishers where I know them. (e.g., Verso etc).

Some books that had an impact at some point (roughly in chronological order of when I read them, so I stand by the later recommendations more than the earlier ones):

Some that had less of an impact on me, but still worth a read (they were sort of preaching to the converted by the time I read them):

Maybe more niche: