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    2009 Atlas of Militarism in Spain

    JM Delàs Centre of Peace Studies. 2009 Atlas of Militarism in Spain. Barcelona: Icaria, 2009

    It is gratifying to find a publication that is useful for professionals, activists and informed citizens, or one which aims to be. Until now, none had been published that provided an overall analysis of militarism in Spain. The Delàs Centre, with over 10 years experience in studying this area, has rectified this situation. It is not analysed at universities, but with a plural civil society that is eager for studies, the stricter side of antimilitarism, takes the form of the publication of the Atlas, which does not shy from condemnation where necessary.

    The eight chapters of the book cover expenditure on arms, the industry, the trade, financing, defence policy, military operations, and an overview of military life and disarmament campaigns. While produced by different researchers from the centre, they all follow the same pattern: an introduction, relevant comments and conclusions, thereby facilitating understanding. Worthy of special mention is the extensive use made of tables, graphs and maps which as well as summarising the information, make it extremely clear.

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    Security and the War on Terror

    Alex J. Bellamy; Roland Bleiker; Sara E. Davies; Richard Devetak (eds.). Security and the War on Terror. New York: Routledge; Taylor and Francis Group, 2008.

    This interdisciplinary compilation of essays explores contemporary security politics with regards to the current 'war on terror.' Its contributors come from a predominately Australian Schools background, providing a critical understanding of anti-terrorist politics while wishing to offer concrete and practical responses. The book presents how the attacks of 9/11 challenged dominant security and strategic thinking of threats within the Western world due to its asymmetric nature and unpredictability. Yet the authors demonstrate how the response to these acts, through the American led 'war on terror,' followed the traditionalist school of dualism and militarism, which dominated American foreign policy during the Cold War. The individual contributions then appeal to arguments and elements located within international law, international ethics, feminism and post-modernism to discuss the inter-level consequences of such realist embedded policies against international terrorism.

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    Zamenhof: the author of Esperanto

    Boulton, Marjorie. Zamenhof: the author of Esperanto. Barcelona: El Llamp, 1987.

    Now is a good time to look at the historic figure of Ludwik ?azarz Zamenhof, the creator of the universal auxiliary language. The 150th anniversary of his birth falls on 15th December. And last September was the 100th anniversary of the Barcelona international congress, opened by the then acting mayor Francesc Layret, at which king Alfonso XIII awarded Zamenhof the Order of Isabella the Catholic. Indeed, at that time, he received many prizes and met politicians from the highest levels wherever he went. A Floral Games poetry contest in Esperanto was held at the congress, and the winner was one Carles Riba.

    More than anything else, Zamenhof was a man of peace, who suffered from anti-Semitism as a child and who unlike others who became firmly committed to Zionism, he rejected nationalism and created an easy and neutral means of communication. He devised Esperanto as a Utopian ideal, which he in fact first conceived of as an adolescent.

    Marjorie Boulton's biography is not the first, or the last, or even the most accurate. But as Jordi Carbonell i Pinyol, the translator of the Catalan version says, it could perhaps be the one with the most inspired balance between erudite documentation and the emotive nature of the subject, and it is undoubtedly one of the most well received among the Esperanto community. The author tells us how Zamenhof had to rebuild his entire language project from memory, as his father (who earned his living as a censor) destroyed the first draft while he was studying medicine, to prevent him from having problems in the future. We are also surprised to learn the extent to which he was a charitable and humanitarian doctor, who did not charge the poorest peasants for his services. In short, it is a book that gives an insight into the life story of someone who inspired (and continues to inspire) pacifist action around the world.

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    Women and war

    Cynthia Cockburn. Women and war. Barcelona: Icaria, 2009.

    Cynthia Cockburn is a well-known researcher who in recent years has focused on studying gender issues in armed conflicts and peace processes. She is also a committed activist in the international anti-militarism network Women in Black. This has given her access to other female anti-war activists and in her own words, has led to a research from within that has a specific objective: to reinforce and provide information for the women's organisations that she studies.

    For two years, she compiled the experiences and thoughts of women in places as far-flung as Sierra Leone, Colombia and India, and from women on the two sides of a conflict (Israel-Palestine and ex-Yugoslavia). The differences that emerge and the debates on pacifism are linked with what she calls localisation: the various positions created by different perspectives on war.

    Despite this, the author provides an initial outline of transnational anti-militarist feminism and its theoretical contributions. She says that it is impossible to understand war without considering women's perspectives, because gender relations operate within the arena of militarism and war. Militarism therefore reinforces patriarchy and militarism needs patriarchy: men make war, but war also makes men. A reading of this book shows that working effectively towards demilitarisation and peace involves revising and changing masculinities and the relations created by patriarchy.