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📚 Recommended reading for the resistance (books)

I’ve been keeping a list of books that have been recommended to me since I started WTF Just Happened Today that relate to this unique moment in history. While I haven’t read most of these, I did want to share the recommendations. I should also note that the books listed below are not an endorsement and most are linked with an Amazon affiliate code, from which WTFJHT makes a few pennies when you purchase via these links. Thanks for checking out the recommended book list!

What’s on your list? I’d like to keep this list as collaborative as possible, so please post your recommendations below and I’ll them to the list!


This is so nit-picky, but I’m not sure Brave New World is good for that list.

It is! But it’s not dystopian in the same way. The society in Brave New Word took many, many generations of mental and physical conditioning, in combination with extreme bioengineering to make happen, and those who were left out were those who never submitted.

1984, which I feel is much more appropriate to that list, is about the imposition of a government who has a stranglehold on the very thoughts of its populace through beating, torturing, camps, and death. People who live there are forced to believe things that make no sense because it’s an entire society built upon layer after layer of gaslighting, which is more along the lines of what is what is being felt now, in a time where no one really trusts anyone. You’re with a news source or against it, but if you’re with it it’s gospel and if you aren’t it’s easily dismissed. It was as subtle as a train wreck.

Brave New World, for the most part, has none of that, IMO, and I have to admit my bias here because I have a pretty strong biology background. The idea behind their society was "okay, war and shit sucks, how can we stop this from happening and keep the people fed and happy and alive without that human nature thing fucking it all up for everybody. They knew trying to change things all at once would mean terrible things and also defeat the purpose, so it was rolled out in careful increments.

There was no beating, no torture, no horrific violence to enforce the society they had. There was definitely a lot of thought conditioning, and if you couldn’t get along you were removed to another location and your disappearance left behind just enough questions that no one really wanted the answers.

I’ve always liked Brave New World better, but I also think that it’s a very unlikely outcome in this situation and therefore not entirely relevant. It’s certainly a dystopian vision of the future, but I don’t think it’s the dystopian vision we fear in our current situation (or at least, most of us don’t). Where Brave New World infantilizes its citizens, 1984 criminalizes them, forcing them to spend their every waking moment proving that they aren’t enemies of the state.

The resistance in 1984 also bears more resemblance to the supposed outcomes of today’s issues. 2+2=5 sums up the book pretty well; how much longer will the majority of people today be able to hold out against a barrage of “official” sources bombarding us with 2+2=5?


I think that Here We Are: Feminism For The Real World is a good book to read at the current moment.


I can’t recommend Devil’s Bargain more! I never read books twice and I started in for round 2 of it early this week.

I would also recommend Red Notice by Bill Browder.


I can’t recommend Ta Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me enough. I use it for teaching a lot. It’s a quick read but really packs a punch.


Two BooKs by Naomi Klein:

Shock Doctrine

No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need


Those are two good ones. Thanks!

+1 for Shock Doctrine (I haven’t read her latest yet – though it’s next on my pile).

Trump’s entire presidency feels like huge shock to the system, during which he and his cronies will try to push a bunch of major changes when we’re all too reeling to coordinate opposition. (Or, that seems to be the plan… I think/hope we’re up to the challenge1)


One of my personal faves is Little Brother from Doctorow. It’s great.

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Rape of the Mind by Joost Meerloo

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Thanks for the recs, and welcome to the forum @darkness @SMEW @astrodemigod🥂

Great list–thanks! I’m surprised not to see Jane Mayer’s book Dark Money on the list. It’s very enlightening and very depressing.

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I just started Dark Money – great read, very important & well written, but yes, depressing.


Why Civil Resistance Works by Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan

Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

The Despot’s Accomplice by Brian Klaas

and of course, the yet-to-be-published What Happened by Hillary Clinton.


Very useful is George Lakoff’s “Don’t Think Of An Elephant” along with several other good books:


They Thought They Were Free - Milton Mayer

Haven’t read it since high school, but I think it might fit here?


Dark Money. A must read for insight into Byzantine finances we see these days.


This may seem odd, but I recommend Al Gore’s The Assault on Reason (2017). It’s an update on his 2007 book, which is largely focused on the causes/effects of Bush administration, but at the meta level, not the top line level that is the common narrative.

I’m about 1/2 way through it and I can’t tell you how many times I mistakenly assumed he was describing the Trump administration when it was actually Bush’s.


Hannah Arrendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism.