I’m going back a bit and reading Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Player Piano’.
PS, could be useful to publish the list on Goodreads or similar?
I think another insightful book for these times is ALICE IN WONDERLAND.
Here are a couple more for when some of the amazing books listed here get you to feeling like there’s very little hope:
Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation by John Freeman - essays, journalism, poetry, and short stories from 36 contemporary writers sharing a multitude of perspectives on life in America today. https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Two-Americas-Stories-Inequality/dp/0143131036
What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism by Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner - a powerful reminder that patriotism and nationalism are not the same thing, and that you are not alone in wanting the best for and from your country. https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Two-Americas-Stories-Inequality/dp/0143131036____
I may have missed it somewhere in this long thread, but I recommend reading James Baldwin, especially his essays, like “Notes From A Native Son” and “The Fire Next Time”, beautiful writing and deep thoughts about this country.
“A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn is a must read. It covers practically every social and political protest movement in the history of the U.S. and it’s very useful to see what has been tried before, what worked and what didn’t work.
“Nickel and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich, and “The Way To The Spring:Life and Death in Palestine” by Ben Ehrenreich, who happens to be her son, both worth reading.
Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff, is a surreal, post-modern account of Trump’s contentious first 100 days in the White House. Credibility and inaccuracies aside this is an incredibly enjoyable read. Fire and Fury with it’s almost Fitzgeraldian themes and frightening conclusion will serve history as a cautionary tale of dangers of demagoguery in democracy.
A Must-Read - “Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh and America’s Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941” by Lynne Olson. The battle between the isolationists and the interventionists. Had Lindbergh and his ilk succeeded, the US might never have gotten involved in WWII. Politics at its worst and much like the factions (America, First) of today. But at least POTUS of the day wasn’t bordering on crazy - and there was no Twitter.
Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild
What’s the Matter with Kansas? by Thomas Frank
Both of these books are must-reads for anyone who is trying understand why otherwise likeable, salt-of-the-earth people continue to vote for politicians who actively undermine their interests. Frank’s book explains how the Republican Party made a devil’s bargain with anti-choice advocates to shore up its flagging numbers, leading to the birth of the Tea Party and much of the pain we’ve suffered since.
Fire and Fury got a (preliminary, maybe?) work-up from Politifact, which might be worth perusing.
harsh, Matt! lol
Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic by David Frum
- David Frum is a former speechwriter for George W Bush, but he is also the author of the article, The Conservative Case for Voting for Clinton published before the election (11/2/16).
- David writes in the beginning of the book (addressing non-Conservatives presumably) about why everyone should care about the erosion of the GOP:
"Maybe you do not much care about the future of the Republican Party. You should. Conservatives will always be with us. If conservatives become convinced that they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy. The stability of American society depends on conservatives’ ability to find a way forward from the Trump dead end, toward a conservatism that can not only win elections but also govern responsibly, a conservatism that is culturally modern, economically inclusive, and environmentally responsible, that upholds markets at home and US leadership internationally.”
- I had flagged this article in my notes from when I was reading Trumpocracy, I can’t totally remember why - I’m assuming because it’s a profile of Masha Gessen for her new book (I haven’t read the book yet tho). Masha Gessen is Russian-American and a longtime activist and critic of Putin.
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
- This is only a paper, not a book - but I’ve read this many, many times for school, but I still always re-read it at least once a year because it has invaluable reminders (even though it was written in 1989). I recently meet quite a few people who have never heard of this paper, so I thought I’d share. (Here is also a link to the full length version too.)
How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
The book argues that “democracies erode slowly, in barely visible steps.” They rot from the inside, poisoned by leaders who “subvert the very process that brought them to power.”
Don’t have time to read? listen to this interview with Ezra Klein from VOX.
Just started Russian Roulette by David Corn and Michael Isikoff. Fuuuuuck. A must read so far…
Don’t have time to read the whole book, Terry Gross has you covered.
There was a book just published yesterday called “Russian Roulette” about Trump and Russia
Ari Berman who used to write for The Nation, but now is a writer for Mother Jones - but he knows a lot about voting rights, ballot issues.
Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America Paperback – August 2, 2016
by Ari Berman
Listened to this twice already! There’s so much in it - there were so many things I missed the first time around! It’s amazing tho! Great companion to Luke Harding’s book too!
Yes, yes, yes, I’ve been dying to talk to someone about this book! The Harry Ried letter, the Mother Jones article and the article by Slate, make more sense in the context of that book.
It is probably the training book for the Heritage Foundation …
Has anyone mentioned The World As It Is by Been Rhodes? I found it particularly interesting to look into some of the decisions I disagreed with Obama on (and it’s nice to take a dip into the past where presidential norms were a thing and careful thought was put into matters of national security). It might have been a little bit self serving but it also was a more unfiltered look into Obama’s White House than I’ve seen.
Supposed to be really good, and the unvarnished truth.
It was mentioned by Obama on his FB reading list…he writes
The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes
It’s true, Ben does not have African blood running through his veins. But few others so closely see the world through my eyes like he can. Ben’s one of the few who’ve been with me since that first presidential campaign. His memoir is one of the smartest reflections I’ve seen as to how we approached foreign policy, and one of the most compelling stories I’ve seen about what it’s actually like to serve the American people for eight years in the White House.