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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > July 2017 > Books in brief

Books in brief

No is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics

by Naomi Klein (Allen Lane, £12.99)

Naomi Klein made her name nearly 20 years ago with No Logo, a punchy analysis of the way global brands manipulate us into buying stuff that either we don’t need or is bad for us. She followed it up with a coruscating critique of the Iraq war in The Shock Doctrine, which linked the “shock and awe” military tactics of the US army with the economic “shock therapy” inflicted by unfettered free-market capitalism.

Her new book, No is Not Enough, a quickfire response to the rise of Donald Trump, draws together these two strands of analysis. For what is Trump, she says, but the “ultimate brand?” His ruthlessness in business and perverse charisma were sold to the American people on the reality show The Apprentice before those qualities took him to the White House.

Klein believes Trump is a “Frankenstein’s monster,” stitched together from different strands of hard-right thinking: from his chauvinism and xenophobia to his denial of the seriousness of climate change. In this sense, he is not an aberration but the culmination of long-term trends in mainstream North American politics.

Her logical leaps are a bit too smooth and the language can be overheated. But her value as a writer is as a skilful synthesiser of different radical causes. You could say her talents are those of the advertising copywriter matched with the political polemicist. Given the febrile political atmosphere in both the US and the UK, you can see how this book could become a rallying point for the disaffected and angry.

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In Prospect’s July issue: Steve Richards, Rachel Sylvester and Shiv Malik—as well as Chris Hanretty and Julian Glover—cover the fallout from the recent general election. Richards looks at how the assumptions of centrist politics were upended and how Labour managed to stun the nation—a point that Chris Hanretty explores in more detail, explaining how Corbyn turned the tide for social democracy. Sylvester questions how Theresa May managed to squander her majority—Julian Glover says it wasn’t just May’s failure, the ideas were flawed, too. Shiv Malik explores the remarkable surge in the youth vote and says parties can no longer ignore their concerns. Also in this issue: Dexter Dias argues that to understand terrorism we need to better understand human nature, Paul Wallace looks at the state of the state and asks whether the government is capable of fulfilling large scale changes to the way the state works and Sam Tanenhaus profiles Mike Pence—should we be worried about him becoming the next president?
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