Comments and feedback on my writing and publications - good and bad!



If you’ve bothered to read anything I’ve written, either on this site or anywhere else, I am honoured. If you gave me feedback of any sort, thank you for taking part in the great gift economy of ideas. Perhaps my writing met you at a bad time and you hated it; maybe it was just what you needed for all kinds of unknown reasons; possibly you were desperate for a good laugh: regardless of the circumstances, thank you.

The good ...

Eric J. Iannelli in the Times Literary Supplement 11/2/2022 "Driving with Strangers is in part a redemptive effort to rescue hitchhiking from the reputation it has acquired as a sport for sinister drifters ...(which) is to ignore the role that hitchhiking as both a practice and mindset might play in shaping a more harmonious future for our fractured societies and the planet we are actively destroying".

John L. Murphy reviewing The Bloomsbury Companion to Anarchism in 2015

The anthology’s most creative chapter is enriched by channeling older forms of resistance to newer versions of existence. Jonathan Purkis’ “The Hitchhiker as Theorist: Re-thinking Sociology and Anthropology from an Anarchist Perspective” explores the “mutual aid, cooperation and trust” of underground economies that operate largely free of monetary transactions. Urban or rural, on the road or off the grid, this far-flung network is sustained by trust between hitchhikers and their supporters. Open space for communal and individual organization can thrive out of reach of the law and conventional power relations.

Thomas S. Martin in Social Anarchism Issue 26, 1998

In "The Responsible Anarchist," Jon Purkis asks one of the best questions this reviewer has ever seen: instead of worrying about the most socially responsible way to get from here to there, shouldn't we be asking: why make the journey at all? Well, okay, it's not exactly a new question. But Purkis, with an engaging style and tongue in cheek, gives us some wide-ranging answers.

Ruth Kinna in Oxford Bibliographies (2017) on

Twenty-first Century Anarchism

'This groundbreaking collection argues that anarchist practices had altered radically in the late 20th century and that this change demanded a revision in anarchist thinking ... in order to challenge what the authors saw as the class bias of anarchist theory. The trend in anarchist theory that Purkis and Bowen encouraged is now well established in a body of work referred to as postanarchism, and it is difficult to make sense of modern anarchism without engaging with postanarchist ideas about history, philosophy, and method.'







Benjamin Franks in Anarchist Studies, 2007, V15 (1)


'There have been some fine academic collections of anarchist papers in the last two decades: Dimitrios I. Roussopoulos's The Anarchist Papers (Black Rose, 1986); David Goodway's For Anarchism (Routledge, 1989); Howard J. Ehrilch's Reinventing Anarchy, Again (AK Press; 1996); and Jonathan Purkis and James Bowen's earlier edited volume of essays, Twenty-First Century Anarchism (Cassell, 1997). Now, added to this list, is this beautifully designed volume by Purkis and Bowen (2004).

the bad ...

 Mark Neocleous in  Radical Philosophy 130 (2005)


'Anarchism, it seems, is the new black. ... In February 2002, Brian Paddick, then the Brixton police chief, commented that the idea of anarchism had always appealed to him, based as it is on the innate good-ness of the individual which has been corrupted by the system. His comments are repeated by Bowen and Purkis and are treated with sufficient weight for Paddick to be given an entry in the glossary to their book, roughly midway between ʻBakuninʼ and ʻZapatistasʼ. So maybe some things have changed. But if it involves quoting coppers approvingly, the change might not be for the better.'

Goodreads comment on Twentyfirst century anarchism (3/5 rating)

The first couple of chapters are a good overview to contemporary anarchism and classic social anarchist thought... but then it just goes down hill from there *except* the excellent essay on the symbolism of Mr Blobby - which is simply hilarious!

Sadly I encrued a £4 library fine for this book

and the ugly

Nicholas Walter on Twenty-first century anarchism in the Times Literary Supplement July 25, 1997


'Modishly deviant ... creating a millenarian fad ... with its silly subtitle and the irritating frivolity of the contributor's notes'