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

  • Interview: ‘On Balkanisation’

    October 19, 2007

    ‘Neoliberalism and Protectorate States in the post-Yugoslav Balkans’, an interview with Tariq Ali by Global Balkans Network (posted on  ZNet), October 5, 2007

    Global Balkans: It is rather fortuitous that today is the 5th of October 2007, 7 years since the so-called October 5th revolution in Serbia when Slobodan Milosevic was overthrown. The post-intervention period since October 5th is known as the “tranzicija” or “transition” in Serbia. What we are witnessing now is an accelerated privatization program, mass unemployment, massive impoverishment following upon ten years of war, the highest number of refugees and internally displaced people in Europe, and a lot of promises of a better future through privatization and so on. I wanted to ask you what your perspective on transition in such post-intervention contexts is. How do you see this?

    Tariq Ali: Well, I mean the  …

  • Tariq Ali’s speech at the National Demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

    August 13, 2014

    Here is a video of Tariq Ali’s speech at the largest UK demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

  • ‘Musharraf was rambling and impervious to tormented cries from his people’

    August 18, 2008

    ‘Musharraf…’ by Tariq Ali for The Independent, August 19, 2008

    General Pervez Musharraf acted swiftly and ruthlessly when he seized power to become Pakistan’s fourth military dictator in October 1999. He proclaimed himself Chief Executive of Pakistan. When he lost the confidence of two key board members—the United States and the Pakistan Army—majority shareholders of Pakistan plc, he realised his time had come. After a rambling, incoherent address to the nation, replete with the most puerile self-justifications, he resigned. He should have done so when his term expired, but afflicted with the power disease, his mind remained impenetrable to the tormented cries from below.

    We can only speculate whether he would have lasted nine years had it not been for 9/11 and the “war on terror”. A previous dictator, General Zia-ul-Haq (1977-88), had similarly become a vital cog  …

  • Tariq Ali’s speech at the National Demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

    August 13, 2014

    Here is a video of Tariq Ali’s speech at the largest UK demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

  • ‘The Flight into the Abyss’ – The Independent reviews The Duel

    November 5, 2008

    The Duel reviewed by Salil Tripathi in The Independent, November 5, 2008.

    Too many reasons to be cheerless about Pakistan’s near future.

    Once again, Pakistan is in crisis, with Waziristan the newest “most dangerous place” in the world. Islamabad can’t control the escalating conflict, and the government is again run by an unpopular, incompetent and nepotistic civilian administration.

    And again, Pakistan is going hat in hand to the IMF, Saudi Arabia and China to face off oil prices, food inflation, dwindling foreign exchange and declining terms of trade.

    Tariq Ali has been warning of Pakistan’s collapse for four decades. For those sins, his books have often been banned there, and “generals, corrupt politicians and bearded lunatics” dislike him in equal measure. In The Duel, Ali provides a gossip-filled, witty and polemical history, revealing, with perspicacity and  …