Joseph Matthews

Joseph Matthews

Born in Boston and raised there and in California, Joseph Matthews was for a number of years a criminal defense lawyer in San Francisco, engaging in the criminal/political cases of anti–Vietnam War activists and Mission District barrio residents, defending prisoners during the California prison rebellions of the 1970s, serving as a public defender, and teaching at the law school of the University of California, Berkeley. He spent considerable time in Greece in the 1970s and 1980s, where his novel Shades of Resistance (1996) is set during the period of the military junta there. His other previous books are the short story collection The Lawyer Who Blew Up His Desk (1998) and the political analysis Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War (2005, with Iain Boal, T.J. Clark, and Michael Watts).

The Blast

SKU: 9781629639109
Author: Joseph Matthews
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 9781629639109 / 9781629639116
Published: 2/8/2022
Format: Paperback / Hardcover
Size: 6×9
Page count: 416
Subjects: Fiction / Historical / World War I / Political Thriller


“A novel full of heart and verve. Strikers, spies, propagandists, anarchists, immigrants, suffragettes, and provocateurs—schemers and dreamers all—converge in this portrait of turbulent pre-World War I San Francisco. Part political drama, part family mystery, The Blast is vividly imagined, a quintessentially American story of power and corruption, solidarity and sabotage.”
—Cara Hoffman, author of Running

The Blast is quite simply a tour de force. Matthews brings to life a lost world of radicalism, in a riveting story that ripples out across multiple continents, with the entanglements of the personal and the political squarely in his sights. He has a keen ear for the passions, large and small, that impel women and men to take matters into their own hands. This is a novel for our troubled times.”
—Sasha Lilly, author of Catastrophism

“In this immersive novel, Joseph Matthews transports us to San Francisco at the dawn of its modern age: a restive town of immigrants and arrivistes, robber barons, and political radicals, where suffragettes and anarchists and Wobblies all fought to shape the city’s future. In a taut narrative that’s also a delight, this is essential reading about how and why what happens in that city has so often shaped America.”
—Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, author of Names of New York

“Joseph Matthews’ gripping novel pulls back San Francisco’s curtain of fog to explore what was America’s most radical city. The novel’s characters are entwined with the labor-left-anarchist-immigrant cultural stew that made the city so dynamic, all against the backdrop of revolutions in Mexico and Ireland, labor and women’s rights struggles on both sides of the Atlantic, and the 1916 Preparedness Day bombing, a response to big capital’s exhortations for the US to enter World War I, seeking to grow their fortunes and quash labor unions while wrapping themselves in that most cursed of refuges, ‘patriotism.’”
—Peter Cole, author of Wobblies on the Waterfront

“A compelling and affecting novel, vividly bringing to life a complex and tumultuous chapter in the history of American class conflict.”
—Kenyon Zimmer, author of Immigrants against the State

“Joseph Matthews has done it again. With masterful storytelling, The Blast takes a deep dive into the ferment of San Francisco before World War I, revealing the complex racial, ethnic, gender, and class dynamics of a militant and multifaceted opposition movement pitted against the Bay Area’s burgeoning plutocracy and its apparatus of repression. A compelling glimpse of what might have been and, perhaps more importantly, why it isn’t.”
—Ward Churchill, author of Wielding Words Like Weapons

Shades of Resistance: A Novel

SKU: 9781629633428
Author: Joseph Matthews
Series: PM Press
ISBN: 9781629633428 / 9781629633046
Published: 06/13/2023
Format: Paperback / Hardcover
Size: 6 x 9
Pages: 304
Subjects: Fiction: Historical & Political Thriller


Shades of Resistance is neither wholly about Greece nor entirely about despotism. But it draws very finely on the intense, localized and felt reality of both. In its treatment of those unexceptional humans who make the exceptional decision to risk and resist, it succeeds splendidly in illuminating the discovery that resistance is not so much a choice as a necessity.”
—Christopher Hitchens, author of Cyprus

Shades of Resistance is beautiful and richly evocative, but underneath the surface is an inventive and skilled use of metaphor and careful control of meaning. Jonas Korda is a complex character in self-exile among a varied line-up of strange and colorful characters. In an almost Kafkaesque labyrinth of politics, power and alienation, the reassembling of his perceptions is a rich and complicated metaphor for all human struggle to connect, and to know the truth about the self.”
—Ian MacMillan, author of Village of a Million Spirits

Shades of Resistance is a deeply moving story about exile, danger, love, fear, and, though unsought, commitment. Set in the 1970s in vividly rendered Greek islands under a dictatorship, the novel also inevitably becomes a parable speaking to the reader’s own place and time.”
—Thomas Farber, author of Acting My Age

Shades of Resistance deftly offers a stark contrast between the natural beauty of Aegean island life, where all the senses come alive, and political terror under the Greek Colonels’ dark regime. Disillusioned and wandering, Jonas Korda would like to believe that his life has meaning … but he hasn’t found yet what that might be. He has found himself in Greece, though, where he’s exposed to extremes of the regime’s cruelty and caprice as visited upon his newly minted Greek friends. He also finds himself accompanied in his travels and travails by a trio of strong women, who wander with him in different ways as lovers, guides, and friends. Shades of Resistance is at once a wonderful tour of place, a grim reminder of a recent chapter of history, and a study of human fortitude and survival.”
—Summer Brenner, author of The Missing Lover

Everyone Has Their Reasons

Everyone Has Their Reasons

SKU: 9781629630946
Author: Joseph Matthews
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 9781629630946
Published: 10/2015
Format: Hardcover, ePub, PDF, mobi
Size: 9 x 6
Page count: 528
Subjects: Fiction/History-WW2


“A tragic, gripping Orwellian tale of an orphan turned assassin in pre-World War II Paris. Based on the true story of the Jewish teen Hitler blamed for Kristallnacht, it’s a wild ride through the underside of Europe as the storm clouds of the Holocaust gather.  Not to be missed!”
—Terry Bisson, Hugo and Nebula award-winning author of Fire on the Mountain

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