Best Books on Anarchism

Home » Blog » Books » Best Books on Anarchism

Best Books on Anarchism

When we use the term Anarchism, we mean that it is the radical and revolutionary movement focusing on political Philosophy and Political Economy. The movement of Anarchism is a hundred years old to the modern world, but its spark is still alive within many Political Activists today.

A movement that could question the Government, the hierarchical powers, and its activists could speak out freely, Anarchism was a strong movement led by activists like Michael Bakunin, Peter Kropotkin, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, William Godwin, and some strong feminists like Emma Goldman, who helped shape the movement.

If you are one of those enthusiasts who want to dive deeper into the movement of Anarchism and get enlightened about it from renowned activists of that movement, then here are the best books on Anarchism that you must pay attention to.

1. On Anarchism by Noam Chomsky

A book On Anarchism by the radical Philosopher and Linguist, Noam Chomsky’s On Anarchism is a remarkable work that has been reviewed by the New York Times as “the most widely read voice on foreign policy on the planet”. Chomsky’s novel presents readers with his thoughts and foundations on legitimacy, power, and anarchism, that provoke and inspire the readers.

A book that throws much light on Chomsky’s own views on anarchism, his important interviews that project his arguments, provoking thoughts and ideas, and his important essays that reflect his political knowledge and intellectuality. A treasure for Political Activists, this book will help readers draw traditional fault lines between anarchism and socialism.

2. Anarchism and Other Essays by Emma Goldman

Anarchism and Other Essays presents the readers with a collection of essays by Russian-American Anarchist and Philosopher Emma Goldman. These collections of essays play a major importance in the genre of Political novels and especially those focused on Anarchism, because her essays are powerful, and provides a fascinating look into revolutionary issues that aroused at the turn of the century.

Known as the “notorious Anarchist” Feminist, Revolutionist, and Agitator, Emma Goldman is one of the very few powerful authors who has left an impression on the world with her views on Anarchism. From introducing readers to Anarchism to covering themes like Political Violence, Patriotism, torments of Prisons, and many other significant topics, this collection of essays is a must-read for all enthusiasts.

3. The Conquest of Bread by Peter Kropotkin

Born a Russian Prince, who grew up to realize the unethical discrimination in the society, and the misuse of power by the hierarchy, Peter Kropotkin is among the most important activists of Anarchism. His revolutionary book The Conquest of Bread is one of the most important works that examine Anarchism closely and features Kropotkin’s thoughts on it. 

His revolutionary ideas to transform capitalism, his ideas to establish a sustainable, egalitarian society of equality, Kropotkin’s book has so much more to unveil.

4. God and the State by Michael Aleksandrovich Bakunin and Benjamin Ricketson Tucker

The Russian Anarchist and Philosopher who is one of the most popular names in the movement of Anarchism, Michael Bakunin’s classic God and The State has been read and praised across the world and has been regarded as a powerful book on Anarchism.

Although published posthumously and remains unfinished, the novel features Bakunin’s great, revolutionary ideas on Anarchism, and remains as his only major work. A Russian noble who denounced his hierarchical position to protest against Czarist oppression and fled to Western Europe to become an activist. The book is a radical document that explores many important themes including religion, philosophy, and history, and remains an asset that takes readers into the world of Anarchism, the manifesto of Atheism, and many other mind-opening experiences.

5. The ABC of Anarchism by Alexander Berkman

Published in the year 1929, The ABC of Anarchism by Alexander Berkman is a classic that depicts Berkman’s efforts to change the Soviet System, his life of imprisonment in the United States, and working as an anarchist.

Today, ABC of Anarchismstands as the classic that features the goals and methods of the movement and teaches the readers the rudimentary principles of Anarchism. If you want to gain deeper insights into the movement, and know about it from the roots, then what can be better than a book written by one of the most important activists of Anarchism?

6. Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell includes his own observations while fighting for the Spanish Republic. His novel revolves around the Spanish War (1936 to 1939), and how the elected Government run by Nationalists launched a conflict that resulted in a war. Although Orwell did not serve during the whole span of the war, he was serving at the infantry near Catalonia, and observing the chaos, so he named the book Homage to Catalonia.

Catalonia was among those areas that the Republicans claimed as theirs, but when the Spanish War ended, the Republicans had to lose. The novel begins with Orwell’s arrival in Barcelona in 1936. He is there as a journalist, but, fascinated by the spirit of the revolution, joins the militia. After several months of fights, Orwell manages to flee with his wife to France and then returns to England to write Homage to Catalonia. This book is undoubtedly one of the greatest examples of Anarchism, features the war against the nationalists by the revolutionaries, and draws a difference between war and revolution.

7. No Gods No Masters by Daniel Guerin

Daniel Guerin, a French Anarchist, and a Gay Activist present a world with a book that becomes the monumental anthology of Anarchism. In No Gods No Masters, Guerin features a vast array of unpublished documents, letters, debates, manifestos, reports, history, organization, and practice of the movement, its methods and theories, and so much more.

This vast collection presented by Guerin is of so much importance because it also includes writings of some of the major activists of Anarchism such as Emma Goldman, Peter Kropotkin, Michael Bakunin, Alexander Berkman, Proudhon, and Malatesta. An Anarchism enthusiast would treasure this Guerin’s collection. 

8. Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology by David Graeber

An American Anthropologist, David Graeber in his remarkable work Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology explores the movement of Anarchism and outlines his areas of research that give the book its form, it becomes a cohesive body of anarchist social theory.

Published in the year 2004 by Prickly Paradigm Press, the book is full of interesting and provocative ideas. His anthropology is vivid and will help readers gain insights on Anarchism from Graeber’s point of view. This book is far more interesting than you can think hence, readers will thoroughly enjoy this modern, fragmented anthropology of Anarchism.

9. The Slavery of Our Times by Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy, one of the best Russian authors of all time, is known across the world for his exceptional works like War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and now on our list is a popular work on Anarchism by him.

Tolstoy’s The Slavery of Our Times is a notable work that greatly focuses on Anarchism. From the Socioeconomic conditions of Russia to violence and imprisonment, Tolstoy presents his views to the world throughout this book. Tolstoy brings many important flaws of the Government than in the limelight such as the division of labor, progress, greed, economic theories, wage slavery and so much more. From Capitalism to Socialism, Anarchism to Freedom, Tolstoy presents the world with a book that is extremely important to trace the socio-economic history. You will also find Tolstoy focusing majorly on important areas like Slaver, Factory Systems, the Government, Bankruptcy of the Socialist Ideal, and other significant factors that were shaping the society then. A must-read for those fascinated with Socialism, Anarchism, and Capitalism, Tolstoy has indeed produced a masterpiece.

10. Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, (1870-1940) by Lucien Van Der Walt & Steven Hirsch

The last one on our list is a book that will focus on many movements and provide readers with their different dimensions. A book that is ideal for researchers, includes narratives of Anarchist and Syndicalist history during the era of the first Globalization and Imperialism between the year 1870 to1930.

Movements like Anarchism and Syndicalism began to spread across Western Europe and began to take the shape of big libertarian movements in the continents of Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. By focusing on the neglected cases of the Colonial and Postcolonial World, this book focuses on the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles of the colonies across the globe. Diving deeper into the movements of Anarchism and Syndicalism, this book will largely influence and inspire modern readers today. Written by Lucien van der Walt and Steven Hirsch, this book will also serve as the best choice for those studying Global Social History.

These 10 books on our list are the best books on Anarchism of all time. From Activists who originated and played a major role in this movement to the modern influential, this article has covered some of the best books that must be read by all Political Activists who want to expand their knowledge of Anarchism, Socialism, and Capitalism.

About the author

Indu has been educator since last 10 years. She can find all kind of scholarship opportunities in the USA and beyond. She also teach college courses online to help students become better. She is one of the very rare scholarship administrator and her work is amazing.