From Africa Is A Country:
The one book that stood out for me this year was Sven Beckert’s Empire of Cotton: A Global History. The book makes the very compelling argument that the rise of capitalism in the West was aided in no small way by the cotton industry — plantations in the American South and processing plants in Britain. Prof. Beckert shows how cotton, the 19th Century’s equivalent of oil, was grown largely for free by about a million African slaves at its height and then shipped right across the world to the cotton processing plants of Manchester. After reading the book, you are left to wonder why popular accounts of the rise of the West leave out this rather important fact.
I only read classics this year! And my fave was Fahrenheit 451. Not only because it’s a very defensive formation with a stacked midfield, but because Bradbury made me restless to start writing again with his simple and ordered yet explosively creative off-the-cuff style. So, like 451, with one player in a free role. Also, there’s an empty decadence to our modern lives that he prophesied in the book. Maybe we’re already living in someone else’s dystopia?