by Peter Marshall

“DEMANDING THE IMPOSSIBLE is the book I always recommend when asked … as I often am … for something on the history and ideas of anarchism.”- Noam Chromsky

“Attractively written and fully referenced … bound to be the standard history.”- Colin Ward, TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT

“Large, llbyrinthine, tentative: for me these are all adjectives of praise when applied to works of history, and DEMANDING THE IMPOSSIBLE meets all of them.”- George Woodcock, INDEPENDENT

“Readers will be repeatedly rewarded by Marshall’s judiciousness and close readings of both the great names in anarchist history- Proudhon, Kropotkin, and Tolstoy- and less expected contributors- Rousseau, Swift, and Burke.  Blowing away cobwebs of misunderstanding and misrepresentation, this is a stimulating portrait of a highly varied but distinctive political ideal, tradition, and practice arising from the enduring human impulse to be free.”- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Navigating the broad “river of anarchy,” from Taoism to Situationism, from Ranters to punk rockers, from individualists to communists, from anarcho-syndicalists to anarcha-feminists, DEMANDING THE IMPOSSIBLE is an authoritative and lively study of a widely misunderstood subject.  It explores the key anarchist concepts of society and the state, freedom and equality, authority and power, and investigates the successes and failures of the anarchist movements throughout the world.  While remaining sympathetic to anarchism, it presents a balanced and critical account.  It covers not only the classic anarchist thinkers, such as Godwin P:roudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Reclus, and Emma Goldman, but also other libertarian figures, such as Nietzsche, Camus, Gandhi, Foucault, and Chomsky.  No other book on anarchism covers so much so incisively.

In this updated edition, a new epilogue examines the most recent developments, including “post-anarchism” and “anarcho-primitivism” as well as the anarchist contribution to the peace, green, and global justice movements.

DEMANDING THE IMPOSSIBLE is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand what anarchists stand for and what they have achieved.  It will also appeal to those who want to discover how anarchism offers an inspiring and original body of ideas and practices that is more relevant than ever in the 21 century.


Peter Marshall is a philosopher, historian, biographer,travel writer, and poet.  He has written 15 highly-acclaimed books, which are being translated into 14 different languages.  His circumnavigation of Africa was made into a six-part TV series and his voyage around Ireland into a BBC Radio series.  He has written articles and reviews for many national newspapers and journals.

978-1-60486-064-1   $28.95   5×8   Paperback   840 Pages

PM Press

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