The Protocols of the Elders of Sodom

Published by Verso, 2009

Provocative and witty essays on the giants of world literature

Written over the last four decades, these provocative essays and diary entries explore the links between literature, history and politics. Training a critical, imaginative and occasionally a satirical eye on the works of varied writers—including Cervantes, Tolstoy, Proust, Joyce, Musil, Roth, Powell, Platonov, Solzhenitsyn, Grossman, Munif, Goytisolo and Rushdie—Ali discusses common themes as well as polarities, first impressions and re-readings, always seeking to contextualize the text in the political and historical milieu of its creation. Inviting the reader to share in the frustrations and pleasures of world literature and showcasing Ali’s range and polemical verve, this collection will be sure to attract critical attention and a wide readership.

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Read an extract here

Reviews: The Independent, Scotland on Sunday, The Socialist Review

From the archive

  • ‘The Life and Death of Trotsky’

    October 31, 2009

    ‘The Life and Death of Trotsky’ by Tariq Ali for The Guardian, October 31, 2009

    Tariq Ali on Trotsky by Robert Service and Stalin’s Nemesis by Bertrand M Patenaude

    For over half a century, Isaac Deutscher’s three-volume biography of Trotsky, a literary-historical masterpiece in its own right, was regarded as the last word on the subject. Many who were deeply hostile to the Russian revolution and all its leading actors nonetheless acclaimed these books: in 1997, asked to nominate his favourite book for National Book Day, the newly elected prime minister, Tony Blair, nominated the trilogy. Twelve years later the culture in this country has become so overwhelmingly conformist that any alternative to capitalism is considered outlandish.

    The Service industry has now produced a stodgy volume on Trotsky to add to a collection that includes Lenin and  …

  • ‘Australia should leave Afghan war’ – Tariq Ali on Radio Australia

    October 5, 2010

    Tariq Ali speaks to Linda LoPresti on Radio Australia about The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad, October 4, 2010

    ALI: The Dutch have already done it, the Spanish have been considering it, most of the European countries are extremely nervous and even in Britain there is now a huge debate on how long they can keep their troops in there. So, it can be done quite easily if politicians have the will to do so, but most politicians in the western world allied to the United States find it difficult to disagree with them. In fact, there is a big debate going on within the American military and political establishment as well. General Eikenberry, the US ambassador in Kabul, was opposed to sending more troops and escalating the war, but he lost the fight and Obama  …

  • The Oil Wars and World Politics

    February 23, 2011

    This Spring, Union College’s Minvera Series will address the theme “Oil: A World in Short Supply.” Alongside speakers such as Mia Birk (“Pedaling toward a Healthier Planet”), Robin Blackburn (“Sweet Power: Global Powers and the Premium Commodity from Sugar to Oil”), Michael Klare (“The Perils of Extreme Oil: Extractive Strategies in the Twilight Era of Petroleum”) and Rick Ott (“Exxon Valdez to Gulf Disaster: Changing the Endgame”), Tariq Ali will present a lecture entitled, “The Oil Wars and World Politics.”

    May 16, 2011 7.00pm – 9.00pm Union College Nott Memorial 807 Union Street Schenectady, NY 12308 United States