Anarchism: a documentary history of libertarian ideas, volume one, From anarchy to anarchism (300-1939) edited by Robert Graham [Review]

What would you want from a new anarchist anthology? Thankfully this one avoids both 'pickled onions' (paragraphs grown stale through repetition) and the misrepresentation which comes from choosing novelty for its own sake. There are some classic essays - and some that should be. The pieces from Latin America and Asia are especially valuable because so little is easily available elsewhere. The size of the book (over 500 pages) allows Graham to cover the 'big names', and important thinkers like Galleani, de Cleyre and Fabbri who are usually ignored in the 'big names' approach and also to introduce interesting unknowns.

Credit should go to the helpers, too: Paul Sharkey seems to have translated half of it, and the effort put into getting translations of Chinese, Japanese and Korean texts should be applauded. There is an index which is always a good idea, but unfortunately this one seems to have been computer-generated rather than done by a human (separate entries for 'jails' and 'prisons'?) Printing an extract is the not same as printing the entirety of a work so there are still leads to be explored.

'Anarchaeologists' should already have got copies, but happily I can also recommend it for comrades who are interested in anarchism as a living idea. It complements rather than replaces Guerin's No Gods, No Masters, but they both finish in 1939, so we have to wait for volume two to see what happens next.

Black Rose, 2005. ISBN 1551642506, £19.99.