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The Village Against the World Paperback – June 3, 2014


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The Village Against the World + Spain in Our Hearts/Espana en el corazon (New Directions Bibelots) + For Whom the Bell Tolls
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (June 3, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781682984
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781682982
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #634,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"As the borderline between dream and reality shimmers in the heat of Andalucia, we begin to wonder if living as if change were indeed possible is the very key to making actual change happen."—Suzanne Moore, Guardian

"Hancox's book could not be more timely—with Spain on the brink of social crisis and the shadows of the past emerging."Paul Mason, author of Why It's Still Kicking Off Everywhere

About the Author

Dan Hancox is a journalist who has written for the Guardian, the New Statesman, Independent, Frieze, New Inquiry, National, Dazed & Confused, Q magazine, Mute and The Wire. He is the author of two ebooks: Kettled Youth and Utopia and the Valley of Dreams.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michigan Rifleman on January 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mostly well-told tale of Marinaleda, an Andalusian village of less than 3,000 that courageously re-made itself into a place with work, housing, and dignity for its citizens. If the true story of a tiny modern village struggling and winning against both big government and big business might cheer your heart, then this a a book to read. I am rarely inspired by a book, but this one made me proud of the human race.

This book documents the struggles of the citizens of Marinaleda and focuses on the leadership of their ever-popular mayor. But most importantly, this a story of peublo that worked out its own salvation. If we believe that all people deserve the basic dignity of decent housing, honest work, and lively community then polarizing political categories like Left and Right are impediments to progress.

American readers may be put off by some of the author's Britishisms, but this is a story that too few Americans know.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Aimee Brandt on February 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The story of struggles for food, land, water, dignity, hope, in droughty Andalusía is well described by Dan Hancox. He enlarges our view of this village and its powerful charismatic mayor by integrating necessary briefs on the political and economic history of the region and Spain.
Right-wing opposition sarcastically represents the social collectivism of the village as "living off capitalism" because the economic structure of work and housing, organized and led by village Mayor Sanchez Gordillo, are subsidized by the Andalusían government situated in Seville. However, such subsidies are given to all agricultural operations across the country. In this case, there is a special excruciating irony in that the major landholdings (latifundias) near this village are part of the billionaire land hoards of two ancient feudal aristocratic families. These owners also get subsidies for their "farms" (in the millions, of course), even from the EU! (Hancox sagely notes that Queen Elizabeth gets EU subsidies for her agri-holdings.) One of the main points of Hancox's story is that the lack of access to land for farming is the major reason why the villages of day-laborers, like Marinaleda, are crucially poverty stricken and often half-starved. For about a decade Marinaleda prospered from the solidarity and action struggles of its laboring people, with the Mayor providing the strategies. Hancox does yeoman work analyzing these strategies and how they succeeded, or not. His presentation of Gordillo's ideas is clear and unbiased. Gordillo does not claim to be nor does he come across as a party-line Communist.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter Durward Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on October 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
The villagers of Marinaleda in southern Spain, led by their charismatic mayor,
Gordillo ,staged a series of protests that led to them being given their own land to farm. Using that land, the villagers make good use of it and create their own economy, using any profits to build leisure facilities and make other improvements to the village. If you overlook the occasional references to subsidies from the regional government of Andalusia (not always described as such), you could be lulled into thinking that this is an example of a self-sustaining success story. The author wants us to believe that projects of this kind are the way forward.

Despite downplaying the subsidy, this book certainly shows what is possible if people are given the opportunity to do something. Maybe there are lessons that the rest of the world can learn from this, but the cost of giving every community the opportunities that the villagers of Marinaleda have had cannot be ignored.

Whatever your political beliefs, this book should keep you entertained.
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