All Spinebill Press Books

In Case of Fire

Poems from the Blue Mountains
An Anthology

Edited by Michelle Rickerby
Illustrations by Michel Streich
96 pages, hardback
Dimensions: 15.6 x 23.4 cm
ISBN 9780648531555
Published September 2022

Fire symbolises many things – hell, destruction, purification; but also passion, desire and rebirth. It is the perfect metaphor for what can happen when we face our fears and step beyond them.

The Blue Mountains, situated just outside of Sydney, Australia, is a place with increasing seasonal bushfire risk, yet many call it home and can imagine nowhere more beautiful to live, no community as tight.

In Case of Fire rose from the ashes of the Black Summer fires, the floods, the pandemic. It features a selection of works from 17 poets based in the Blue Mountains, accompanied by drawings from illustrator Michel Streich.

The poems embrace humour and sorrow with equal vigour, remaining open and present to all life’s interactions. In Case Of Fire is not a manual for what to do in times of strife, it is something to reach for to soothe the soul.

Poems by the following writers are included in this anthology: Craig Billingham, Emma Brazil, David Brooks, Kate Fagan, Philip Hammial, Vanessa Kirkpatrick, Sheridan Linnell, Justin Lowe, Carol Major, Peter Minter, Mark O’Flynn, Kasia Olszewski, Meredith Pitt, Michelle Rickerby, James Roy, John Watson and Faye Wilson.

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Why We Fight Wars

By G. L. Dickinson

252 pages, paperback
Dimensions: 10.8 x 17.8 cm
ISBN ‎ 9780645594805
Published October 2022

Why We Fight Wars combines two classics about war and pacifism in one volume – G. L. Dickinson’s Causes of International War and War: its Nature, Cause and Cure. Dickinson was deeply affected by the “Great War” and, shortly after its outbreak, started to develop solutions and alternatives to the world’s never-ending warfare and international carnage.

Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson (1862-1932) was a philosopher, historian and political scientist, who spent most of his career in Cambridge, England. He was instrumental in building an international peace organisation which would later become the League of Nations.

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Falsehood in Wartime

Propaganda Lies of the First World War

By Arthur Ponsonby
252 pages, paperback
Dimensions: 10.8 x 17.8 cm
ISBN 9780648531586
Published April 2022

Falsehood in Wartime is a compelling exploration into the early days of war propaganda. Fake news and government lies, manufactured truths and distorted reporting are not modern inventions, but have been weapons in the arsenals of war for a long time.

The “Great War” was the first war that required broad public support. Using contemporary news articles, official statements and parliamentary records, Arthur Ponsonby meticulously dissects the techniques used to generate the desired public passion for war. These propaganda methods are still applied in our time – by governments, media pundits and military public relations departments – and Falsehood in Wartime provides a fascinating perspective for understanding both World War I and the wars and conflicts of the 21st century.

Arthur Ponsonby, 1st Baron Ponsonby of Shulbrede (1871-1946) was a British politician, diplomat, writer and peace activist. He was an outspoken opponent of British participation in both world wars, and was an important voice in peace organisations such as the Union of Democratic Control and the Peace Pledge Union.

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Three Essays on Geopolitics

By Halford Mackinder
108 pages, paperback
Dimensions: 10.8 x 17.8 cm
ISBN 9780648531579
Published March 2022

Heartland is a fascinating introduction to a pioneer of geopolitics. Halford Mackinder’s trailblazing ideas have influenced international politics to this day. His concept that world domination depends on the control of the global “pivot area” or “heartland” – the centre of the large land mass of Europe and Asia – has informed the political tactics and wars in the Middle East and Eastern Europe through the decades. His theories have influenced politicians and political scientists for generations, most notably Zbigniew Brzezinski, adviser to a long line of U.S. presidents. In our times, the importance of Mackinder’s heartland theory for the United States’ fight to enforce global hegemony, Russia’s struggle to stay independent and relevant on a world stage, and China’s plans to establish a trade route between East and West, make Heartland essential reading for understanding our world.

Sir Halford J. Mackinder (1861-1947) was a geographer and academic, and an early proponent of the ideas of geostrategy and geopolitics. He was the director of the London School of Economics and a member of the British parliament.

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Fighting Tyranny

From Dictatorship to Democracy and The Anti-Coup

By Gene Sharp and Bruce Jenkins
240 pages, paperback
Dimensions: 10.8 x 17.8 cm
ISBN 9780648531517
Published December 2021

Fighting Tyranny combines two of Gene Sharp’s books in a single pocket-sized volume: From Dictatorship to Democracy and The Anti-Coup. At a time when governments are becoming increasingly authoritarian and aggressive towards their citizens, and democracy is under threat worldwide, this book offers ideas and nonviolent methods of action to defend or establish democratic systems.

From Dictatorship to Democracy – A conceptual Framework for Liberation is a practical guide to the techniques of non-violent struggle against totalitarian regimes. This book has been used successfully by activists from all sides of the political spectrum, from grassroots activists to state-backed colour revolutionaries, to overthrow governments and effect political change.

The Anti-Coup – co-authored with Bruce Jenkins – explores the possibilities of nonviolent defence against coups d’état. It describes methods to block coups and putsch attempts which can be applied by citizens and governments.

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Illustrated by Michel Streich

72 pages, paperback
Dimensions: 10.8 x 17.8 cm
ISBN 9780648531500
Published September 2019

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, from the time of its adoption by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948, has been a source of inspiration for nations and for individuals alike to recognise, protect and promote basic human rights and freedoms.

In the decades since its inception dramatic changes have swept the globe, but the values underpinning the Declaration – ­a fundamental commitment to human dignity, equality, fairness and universality – endure and are as relevant today as when it was first proclaimed.

In this charming, whimsical interpretation, Michel Streich’s illustrations give a fresh voice to the enduring sentiments that resonate from every page, evoking the timelessness, passion and power of this remarkable document.

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Small Gardens

And How to Make the Most of Them

By Violet Biddle
158 pages, paperback
Dimensions: 10.8 x 17.8 cm
ISBN 9780648531524
Published May 2020

Small Gardens And How to Make the Most of Them is a timeless gardening classic that contains a bouquet of hints and tips for both gardening beginners and experienced horticulturists.

First published in 1901, the book has lost none of its freshness and is brimming with forgotten gardening ideas – and vintage methods you thought were modern inventions!

Garden lovers everywhere will enjoy Violet Biddle’s whimsical wisdom about caring for plants and soil, plant propagation, proper watering, weeding without backaches, lawns and paths, small greenhouses, the duty of making experiments, trees for small gardens, flowers, vegetables and fruit, and much, much more.

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The Book of Tea

By Kakuzō Okakura
94 pages, paperback
Dimensions: 10.8 x 17.8 cm
ISBN 9780648531593
Published October 2020

Scholar and historian Kakuzō Okakura celebrates the history of tea and the Japanese tea ceremony in this classic text, and explores the connection of the Way of Tea to art, architecture, flowers, philosophy and religion. The Book of Tea is a delightful, meandering stroll through the world of tea in the company of an entertaining, highly educated raconteur.

Kakuzō Okakura (1863–1913) communicated the culture of Japan to the West at a time when the country was opening up to Western influence and was in danger of losing its traditions. A national figure in the art world, he travelled to America, Europe, India and China, and in his later years became the head of the Asian art division at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

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Is Life Worth Living?

Finding Your Life’s Purpose in Difficult Times

By William James
60 pages, paperback
Dimensions: 10.8 x 17.8 cm
ISBN 9780648531562
Published December 2021

Is Life Worth Living? is a tiny book about some of life’s big questions. How do you find meaning in your life? Why do people fall into despair and depression? And how can these feelings be overcome? Almost fifty years before Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, William James discovers that feelings of pessimism and melancholy can be defeated through the power of action and struggle, and that life’s meaning is created through your own actions.

William James (1842 – 1910) was a leading philosopher, educator, historian and psychologist. He is widely considered to be the “father of American psychology”.

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The Scarlet Plague

By Jack London

84 pages, hardback
Dimensions: 12.7 x 20.3 cm
ISBN 9780648531531
Published September 2020

The year is 2073. An uncontrollable disease has wiped out most of the world’s people six decades earlier. The cities are destroyed. An old man, James Howard Smith, wanders the depopulated land with his three grandsons. They are hunter-gatherers now, but Smith still remembers the arrival of the plague – the fear, the sudden deaths, the fires, the fighting and looting – and he remembers the world before the pandemic, the days of culture and plentiful food. He tries to tell his story to his grandsons, but the three boys can scarcely comprehend his tale of the destruction of a world long gone…

Originally published in 1912, Jack London’s dystopian novella The Scarlet Plague is an eerily prescient book, and a timely warning about the fragility of civilisation.

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