Let us not forget “Farenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury, about the destruction of literature. Apply this to today’s destruction of information available to the public through all forms of media and it seems especially relevant.
Democracy In Chains; The Deep History or the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America
by Nancy MacLean; Random House, 2017 offers historical perspective on the wealthy land and business owners who favor property rights above all else. It is deeply and meticulously researched, and well written and highly readable.
Eight years in Power by T. Coates A emotional, historical book about Obama’s legacy including the decades preceding it and how we got to where we are.
Peter Moskowitz, How To Kill A City – best book on gentrification I’ve read, and by the g-word, I mean how investors kill neighborhoods and cities through “growth,” re-zoning and targeting high-end (white) hipsters only. Case studies: Detroit, New Orleans (where I live), NY, SF.
New here but been reading newsletter for awhile. Great job. I recommend The Plot Against America by Phillip Roth. When fascism comes to America in the form of an authoritarian leader.
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I recommend “Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right” written by Arlie Russell Hochschild, a women from San Francisco who traveled to the Deep South to understand why people voted for Trump. She then went back to check her theory with the same people who agreed she’d understood. Enlightening.
I have been trying to understand who “The Base” is, how they think and why they vote against their own interests. Stranger in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right is the best book I’ve read on this subject so far. I don’t feel any more empathy for them, but at least I know now how they think and why they have such misguided hatred for us.
Stephen King’s “Under the Dome.” It shows how a lying, greedy, malignant narcissist can quickly destroy a society. Big Jim Rennie=Tinyhands Donnie Trump.
The Girl with Seven Names - One women’s journey of living and escaping North Korea.
White Working Class, Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America, by Joan C. Williams.
Think Trump voters are just stupid? They aren’t. They see the world from a very different viewpoint, where Trump kinda, sorta makes sense. If you have an interest in understanding this, and thinking about how to fix it, this is an outstanding place to start.
The Dandelion Insurrection by Rivera Sun.
An inspirational novel and a romance, a story of nonviolent revolution in the United States after all protest has been silenced. “This book offers through its story many tools and strategies developed by countless leaders throughout history, including Gandhi, Dr. King, Cesar Chavez, and Professor Gene Sharp. From marches to cazerolazo pot-and-pan protests to strikes to Victory Gardens for the People; the Dandelion Insurrection shares ideas that have changed the world… ‘Be like the dandelions, spring up in intolerable soils, dare to stand up against violence, and blossom into love!’”
I just read this relevant quote from Neil Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death” in Brook Gladstones “The Trouble with Reality” essay:
"What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much information that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism.
Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared that the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared that we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared that we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.
In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain.
In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us."
With the apathy and low voter turnout we are still seeing (not to mention issues of media literacy and civic education) I think it can be argued that both Brave New World and 1984 are relevant, speaking to different but equally important concerns.
Then I think this: Brave New World Revisited: https://www.huxley.net/bnw-revisited/ is a good replacement. Based in post-WWII, a recounting of how propaganda/thought control was used, and how emerging tech will be used to amplify those gains. While the sleep-learning bit is anachronistic/vintage wrong futurism, there’s a lot that he absolutely nailed.
Andrew Harvey’s latest book “Savage Grace: Living Resiliently in the Dark Night of the Globe” has been deeply helpful for me.
If you really want to know where we are, read Cicero. And the best summary out there for non Classical folks is the trilogy of Cicero’s political life by Robert Harris. These are Imperium, Dictator and Conspirata. The series is all about Rome two centuries ago, but the themes, personalities and chaos mirror our world today.
The Plot to Hack America, by Malcolm Nance
Is it lame to recommend my own new book? I think it might explain a bit of what led up to what is happening now to some degree. Hachette just released 12/26.
If anyone is interested. (amazon link)
I just started “How the Right Lost its Mind” by Charles Sykes.
The author has a reputation of being a traditional conservative, so I figured it would be good to get a republican viewpoint on this crazy situation.
Revolution’s End: The Patty Hearst Kidnapping, Mind Control and the Secret History of Donald DeFreeze and the SLA.
Talks about the beginning of police militarization in the US, as well as the height of experimentation on black prisoners.