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“An epiphany”

Mohan Rao reviews The Price of Experience for Economic and Political Weekly (India), August 16, 2014

Let me begin with disclosures: I know Mike Marqusee, and am a profound fan of his work. I loathe cricket, but read his book Anyone But England: An Outsider Looks at English Cricket (1994), a veritable political economy of cricket, with great joy and discovery. I deeply admired If I Am Not for Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew (2010), a brave and difficult book to write. I have also read his columns in The Hindu, especially those on the kacheris he attended at the Madras Music Academy.

What an extraordinary American, with a passion for cricket and for Carnatic music! He has been a British citizen for a long time, travelling frequently to India and is a prodigious writer on a remarkably wide range of issues. What is more, he writes beautifully, with coruscating flourishes of history and of poetry, that I admire and envy. Read more

“Let others talk of glory, let others celebrate the heroes who are to deluge the world with blood…They know not what a cottage is. They know not how the poor live…”

Mike Marqusee’s latest column for Red Pepper celebrates William Frend, a radical who deserves to be better remembered.

Contending for the living
Red Pepper, August 2014

The 35-year-old Cambridge lecturer William Frend was putting the finishing touches on ‘Peace and Union’, his pamphlet on political reform, in early 1793 when the hostility between Britain and the revolutionary regime in France broke into outright war. At the last minute, he added two fiercely urgent appendices. Read more

Post-op report

Dear friends,

I’m back home after a week-long spell in the Royal London Hospital recovering from seven hours of surgery on my lower spine. The experience proved arduous, as grueling as it sounds, but the good news is that I’ve survived and should draw tangible benefit from it.

What happened was that the revlimid therapy which I had been taking for more than a year – and whose exorbitant expense I had written about – became ineffective, and as a result the myeloma lesion on my spine became active and angry. The pain running up and down the left side was doing me in and I was losing the use of my legs. Although there were risks and difficulties involved with the surgery, it did at least offer the possibility of getting to another period of relative stability and mobility and was therefore worth the effort. Read more

A different kind of cancer story

Bill Roberts reviews a memoir by a British socialist about another kind of struggle
Socialist Worker (US), July 15, 2014

THERE IS life after a cancer diagnosis. It’s not all pleasant, but as Mike Marqusee shows us in The Price of Experience: Writings on Living with Cancer, it is not necessary, or even healthy, to accept the enforced isolation of most treatment regimens.

Marqusee, who has already exceeded the prognosis for his multiple myeloma by several years, widens our understanding of what such a diagnosis means for the patient caught up in the complex world of the cancer industry. This is not a confessional cancer story, but a provocative examination of what having cancer in the 21st century can tell us about social relationships, and what an encounter with mortality might achieve. Read more

HEALTH: A warning from ‘one grateful NHS patient’

This is a very powerful book. Rather than simply relating his misery about the disease, Mr Marqusee celebrates the wonderful and free treatment he is receiving at Barts Hospital.

PETER GRUNER reviews The Price of Experience for The Camden New Journal, 4 July 2014.

IN a remarkable book, political activist and writer Mike Marqusee, who is suffering from cancer, makes an unusual appeal from “one grateful patient” to the hard-working NHS staff who are providing his excellent care.

“The government takes advantage of your sense of commitment to your patients,” he writes in The Price of Experience. “But by letting them do so you are doing no favours for those patients.” Read more

Macmillan Cancer Support gets it wrong, big-time

Red Pepper, July 5th, 2014

The charity tries not to be ‘political’ – but it is embracing a highly ideological privatisation initiative, writes Mike Marqusee

In a letter in today’s Guardian, the Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support defends the organisation’s leading role in the proposed privatisation of NHS cancer services in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

As a cancer patient, I know Macmillan makes all kinds of wonderful contributions, but this initiative raises the most serious questions about its approach. Read more