Books for changing the world

Keywords for Capitalism: A Field Guide for Decoding the Language of Power, Society, and Politics

From "liberal" to "the economy" the terms used by "pundits" and politicians to explain our civic structures tend to obscure as much as they reveal about the reality they ostensibly describe. Yet the enduring vocabulary of radical movement-building can be equally opaque when filtered through both the distortions of the status quo and the partisan interests of the activist left. How do we make sense of terms like "socialism" and "intersectional" that are so routinely used and abused by such a wide array of commentators from across the political spectrum?

In his new book, Keywords for Capitalism, John Patrick Leary offers a probing and insightful guide designed to equip readers with the tools to do just that. Leary takes a wit-sharpened scalpel to the evasions, neologisms, and half-truths that crowd ‘the discourse’ and reveals the ideology of the mainstream political media that lies just below the surface.

Leary will be joined for this launch event by Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian Greg Grandin. Together they will masterfully dress down and dissect the froth of corporate media jargon that we may not even know we’re forced to swim through on a daily basis.


John Patrick Leary is the author of Keywords: The New Language of Capitalism and A Cultural History of Underdevelopment: Latin America in the US Imagination. He teaches social studies in the Philadelphia public schools.

Greg Grandin is the author of The Pulitzer Prize winning The End of the Myth, Empire’s Workshop, The Empire of Necessity, and is currently the C Vann Woodward Professor of History at Yale University.

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