Man Against Himself

Karl Menninger

Menninger was an important American psychiatrist and founder of the Menninger Clinic in Kansas. In this classic work, Menninger regards self-destructive behavior—from accident proneness to self-castration—as a way that the ego protects the body against a self-administered death penalty. To Menninger, acts of self-destruction are “bribes” to “buy off” the guilty conscience for the aggressive acts or even wishes of the past for which a tyrannical conscience demands a self-punishment which vastly outweighs the “crime” committed by the self. Thus self-mutilative acts represent a victory, although costly, of the life instinct over the death instinct. SS

Publisher: Harvest
Paperback: 429 pages

I Was a White Slave in Harlem

Margo Howard-Howard with Abbe Michaels

The premier drag queen of Manhattan from the ‘40s until the ‘80s bares all, from Superfly pimp-lovers who were secretly into “rough trade,” to the inside line on the Ecclesiastical hierarchy… “Most of the archbishops of New York—the last four, who were cardinals—now we don’t talk about the dead, but Cardinal Spellman was an old closet queen. Personally, I never saw him sucking a cock or whatever he was given to doing. But I heard rumors in the homophile world that he was called ‘Fanny’ Spellman. That he liked ‘seafood.’ Sailors. For soldiers, one would say ‘K-rations.’ Well, old Fanny, prince of the church, was gossiped about all over town.” SS

Publisher: Four Walls Eight Windows
Paperback: 179 pages

Gone to Croatan: Origins of North American Drop Out Culture

Ron Sakolsky and James Koehline

Gone to Croatan follows the nearly submerged traces of those who took the term “Land of the Free” at face value. This compilation of essays (plus collages, etc.) from Autonomedia such as “Anarchy in the American Revolution,” “Caliban’s Masque: Spiritual Anarchy and the Wild Man in Colonial America,” and “The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, and the Atlantic Working Class in the Eighteenth Century” spasmodically reveals the outline of another America—not the one methodically constructed by steely-eyed homesteaders and take-no-prisoners robber barons—but a tripped-out, freer American history that they would never want you to know about in high school. The collection takes its title from the lost colony of Roanoke, Va. which disappeared entirely, leaving only the cryptic message “Gone to Croatan” carved on a tree, referring to a nearby Indian tribe in the Great Dismal Swamp. As Peter Lamborn Wilson describes the episode, “European vagabonds transmuted themselves into Noble Savages, said goodbye to Occult Imperialism and the miseries of civilization, and took to the forest.”
An important segment of Gone to Croatan deals with the obscure and ill-fated Ben Ishmael, a multiracial nomadic Muslim tribe who ventured out of the Kentucky hills and set up the first permanent settlement in what is now Indianapolis. The determined extermination and forced sterilization campaign against this steadfastly communal and anarchistic group by the “Progressives” of their day led to the world’s first eugenics laws in the state of Indiana, directly inspiring the Nazi legal codes of the ‘30s and ‘40s. The Ben Ishmael are also linked to the murky origins of the Nation of Islam in the northern Midwestern cities of Detroit and Chicago.
While at times bogged down into the kind of academic term-paper navel-gazing which generates phrases like “to (re)write ‘Louis Riel’ into a liminal textual space” and stock lefty anti-Columbus posing, Gone to Croatan is generally filled with startlingly vibrant historical detail. From the bacchanalian “Revels of New Canaan” of Mayday 1627 that freaked out the totalitarian Puritan sectarians, to the 18th century “Whiteboy Outrages” in Ireland led by such rad rebel captains as “Slasher” and “Madcap Setfire,” Gone to Croatan is the suppressed history of individualist anarchists in early colonial times, utopian communal experiments, escaped slave and Indian alliances, marauding “land pirates” and politicized trans-Atlantic waterfront “mobs.” SS

Publisher: AK
Paperback: 384 pages

The Illuminoids: Secret Societies and Political Paranoia

Neal Wilgus

Incredibly dense condensation of the gamut of conspiracy theories circa 1978 (that means no UFO/Area 51/secret bases). Inspired by Robert Anton Wilson’s Illuminatus! trilogy, The Illuminoids takes the Illuminati out of the fictional context and back into the realm of speculative history, this time without the stridency of the “true believer.” Part One is an entertaining and fact-filled recounting of the origins of the Bavarian Illuminati covering Adam Weishaupt, the Freemasons, Cagliostro, the French Enlightenment, the Founding Fathers, and on up to those busy bankers the Rothschilds, Rockefellers and Warburgs. Part Two is an equally dense chronology which runs from the birth of Voltaire and the founding of the Bank of England all the way up to the Gemstone File, the Bilderberg Conference, the SLA, and the attempted assassination of Larry Flynt. Part Three covers source materials, many possibly out-of-date. SS

Publisher: Sun
Paperback: 262 pages


Francis Parker Yockey

A post-Spenglerian revamping of history… Yockey resigned in disgust from the Nuremberg war-crimes tribunal to write Imperium in 1948. He was arrested by the State Department on his return to the U.S. and found dead in his cell 11 days later. SS

Publisher: Noontide
Paperback: 626 pages

The Isis Papers

Dr. Frances Cress Welsing

This is the collected writings of Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, the controversial Washington, D.C. psychiatrist whose “Cress Theory of Color Confrontation and Racism” inspired the Public Enemy album Fear of a Black Planet. Her theory is that most of the cultural and political phenomena in Western (i.e., white) culture can be explained psychoanalytically by the envy of white people for the genetic color producing capacity of non-white populations. “The Color Confrontation Theory also explains why Black males’ testicles were the body parts that white males attacked most in lynchings: the testicles store powerful color-producing genetic material. Likewise, the repeated and consistent focus on the size of Black males’ penises by both white males and females is viewed by this theory as a displacement of the fundamental concern with the genetic color-producing capacity residing in the testicles.” Cress also analyzes the powerful symbology behind the Washington Monument (a large white phallus which towers over a largely black population), the Holocaust (the Jews were “chosen” to demonstrate that one should never disrespect “genetic heritage of Africa”), as well as “The Mother Fucker and the Original Mother Fucker,” “Ball Games as Symbols: The War of the Balls,” “The Symbolism of Boxing and Black Leather,” and more. SS

Publisher: Third World
Paperback: 301 pages

Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life

Claudio G. Segré

Italo Balbo’s life seems to embody many of the contradictions inherent in Fascism as it was originally conceived in Italy, its birthplace. Now obscure, Balbo was a beloved celebrity in the 1930s, greeted by ticker-tape parades in New York City and invited to lunch by FDR at the White House. Ruthless Blackshirt street fighter and union-buster, dashing commander of trans-Atlantic aviation squadrons, technology-embracing founder of Italy’s first airline, imperialist governor of the Italian colony of Libya, Germanophobe and crusader against anti-Semitism, Balbo was one of the fascinating, larger-than-life figures thrown up by the Mussolini era. SS

Publisher: University of California
Paperback: 482 pages

The Russian Idea

Nikolai Berdyaev

Written during World War II from exile in Paris by a disillusioned Marxist turned Christian anarchist philosopher, The Russian Idea is a revealing exploration of the continuity of utopianism in Russian history, literature and philosophy. Berdyaev’s discussion includes Moscow as the “Third Rome”; the rise of the Russian intelligentsia; the metaphysical theme in Russian literature; nationalism and Slav messianism; the anarchist element in Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Slavophilism; the philosophy of Vladimir Solovyov; socialism and nihilism; Russians and the Apocalypse; and Communism as a distortion of the Russian messianic idea. SS

Publisher: Lindisfarne
Paperback: 287 pages

Televisionaries: The Red Army Faction Story, 1963-1993

Tom Vague

Televisionaries, originally published as part of the British anarchist zine Vague, is one of the few English-language books on Germany’s legendary urban guerrillas best known as the Baader-Meinhof group. Presented as a terse chronology, it covers their origins in the Vietnam protests and German yippie/Situationist offshoots of the ‘60s, evolution into agents of daring acts of international terrorism ranging from kidnappings, hijackings, bombings and bank robberies to the distribution of free U-bahn tickets. Ulrike Meinhof’s transformation from sexy, radical-chic Euro-journalist into deadly urban commando and the creation of the original SPK—the Socialist Patients Collective, which began as a revolt inside a German mental hospital—are just two among the many facets of the RAF web which Televisionaries illuminates. From the dubious “triple suicide” in separate cells of Andreas Baader, Jan-Carl Raspe and Gudrun Ensslin in the massively high-security Stammheim prison in Stuttgart through the extradition of fugitive RAF members from the former East Germany and the latest episodes of anti-NATO Euro-terrorism, Televisionaries also covers the demise and sputtering attempts at resuscitation of violent left-wing radicalism in post-perestroika Western Europe. SS

Publisher: AK
Paperback: 112 pages

The Age of Intelligent Machines

Raymond Kurzweil

The author of this illuminating overview of the development of artificial intelligence approaches his subject matter not as a glib science journalist or obfuscating academic but as a hands-on pioneer in applied artificial-intelligence (AI) devices. Kurzweil is credited as the inventor of optical character recognition (OCR), the Kurzweil Reading Machine, and the polyphonic music synthesizer (at the suggestion of Stevie Wonder, who was an early reading machine client), among other advances in applying AI to technology. Kurzweil sees AI as a second Industrial Revolution, creating machines that will extend, multiply and leverage our mental abilities as opposed to physical abilities. Appropriately, he begins with an examination of the history of automation and a brief discussion of the Luddites (the only organized opposition to technology in history). The theoretical roots of AI and its basis in “logical positivist” philosophers such as Kant and Wittgenstein are also explained.
Surprisingly human tragedies emerge from amidst the logic gates and subroutines. One such account is a portrayal of Alan Turing, who built the first electromagnetic computer to crack the mechanical intelligence of the Nazi Enigma code machine, thus allowing the RAF to win the Battle of Britain. A closeted gay man, he committed suicide with a potentially brilliant career ahead of him. Then there is the Ken Russellesque drama of the obsessed Cambridge mathematician Charles Babbage, who in the 1860s created the prophetic Difference Engine and Analytical Engines (which, although mechanical, laid the theoretical basis for IBM’s Mark I). He had an ill-fated affair with the beautiful Ada Lovelace (daughter of Lord Byron and the first computer programmer).
Kurzweil hits other high points on the way to the creation of machine intelligence, such as the invention of keypunch machines for the 1890 census and the subsequent rise of IBM, the invention of the original, gigantic tube computers such as the ENIAC and the UNIVAC, Norbert Wiener and the science of cybernetics, the shift from analog to digital information, the stillborn original neural net known as the Perceptron, pixels, robotics and much more.
The compilation ends with a speculative AI chronology which demonstrates the sadly uncritical gee-whiz mentality of the generation still leading the AI assault: “Early 21st century—the entire productive sector of society is operated by a small number of technicians and professionals.” Does that mean the rest of us will be permanently on vacation? Somehow it never seems to work out that way. SS

Publisher: MIT
Hardback: 564 pages