Books We Recommend – Politics/Economic/Social

Prequel by Rachel Maddow covers the period of the post WWI through the WWII a period examining the existence and expansion of fascism in the US whose goal was the destruction of democratic institutions and values.

Democracy Awakening by historian Heather Cox Richardson. Her book looks at our current political chaos. She examines how our democracy is threatened by authoritarianism and what can be done about it.

Tyranny of Merit by Michael Sandel. Sandel is a political philosopher who has taught at Harvard for many years and has published several books related to the state of the American experiment. The Tyranny of Merit deals with the myth that the neoliberal economic project has promoted that your position in our society is determined by merit alone and if you find yourself on the losing end of the economic ladder it’s your fault. He has, in this terrific work, helped to explain the rise of populist anger both here and around the world.

American Carnage by Thomas Gabor & Fred Gutenberg. The authors develop into the dozens of myths put out into the public by the gun marketers and the NRA to prevent the gun reform laws that the vast maid the public wants to see. They take in the myths one by one and expose them to the actual facts based on the research that has been don on gun violence in America.

Homecoming by Rona Foroohar- A terrific well researched look at the changing geopolitical environment that covers all aspects of the move away from Wall Street based short term profit motivation to long term resilience and redundancy needed to focus on jobs, the environment, and national security. Her book, “Makers and Takers” is also a great read on the trials and tribulations of the neoliberal economic theory that has become dominant in the US since the late 1970’s.

Going Big by Robert Kuttner – An Analysis of Neoliberal Economics and a recommendation for needed changes to deal with the rising economic and political inequality in the US.

Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace Wells – Using 2 years to survey the research Wells does a remarkable job laying out the various Climate Crisis effects on the world.

American Midnight by Adam Hochschild – Discusses the history of the WWI and post war when democracy was threatened by war, pandemic, and violence fueled by incitements over immigration, race, and labor.

The Scheme by Sheldon Whitehouse – A historical analysis of how Dark money has influenced the federal and state courts at the behest of powerful monied interests.

The Last White Man – Mohsin Hamid. A beautifully written novel with a multitude of themes connecting us all.

A Brief History of Equality by Economist Thomas Piketty. An analysis of his voluminous books written to examine the inequalities of every society examining why they exist an the efforts now and in the past to reduce them.

Anti Racist Baby

by Ibram X Kendi – for the kids.

Gangsters of Capitalism by Jonathan Katz

He outlines the history of imperialism begun in the US in the late 19th century by following the military life of Marine Smedley Butler who spent his entire adult life in the corps and who participated in most of the colonialist/imperialist ventures abroad to protect and expand the interest of American Corporations.

How The South Won The Civil War

by Heather Cox Richardson

Examines the use of racial identity for an oligarchy to maintain power first used in pre-civil war America and continuing through today as the current crop of right wing republicans attempt to establish minority control and power over the political, economic, and social institutions in America.

The Nordic Theory of Everything

by Anu Partanen

A comparison between the Scandinavian and American approach to creating the social & economic conditions that lead to self sufficiency, opportunity, and happiness.

After the Fall byBen Rhodes

This is a look at where America sits in the world after a half century of hubris and forever war. Rhodes offers a personal touch as well as views of others from around the world who are seeing America through their eyes

The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee

A look at the history of structural racism in the US. It is well researched and an eye opening read at a time when some are trying to prevent historians from presenting a more accurate picture of our country’s history

Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism – Mariana Mazucatto

This is a book by a renowned political economist that looks at a renewed commitment to bring government and the business community together to achieve great things for the people. The Apollo Moonshot is an example of how that can happen.

Evil Geniuses- The Unmaking of America- Kurt Anderson – an in depth look at the American experiment and how it has changed throughout the country’s history, not always for the better

The Ministry ForThe Future – Kim Stanley Robinson – a science fiction novel taking the reader into a bleak climate future in all of it’s dimensions.

Unhinged: How To Fix Our Broken Democracy – Daniel Newman – in graphic novel format.

Democracy in Chains – Nancy MacLean – Theme: history of the radical right’s plan for destabilizing the American government

Dark Money – Jane Mayer – the Koch brother’s network to destroy democracy

Supreme Inequality – Adam Cohen – the Supreme Court’s 50 year battle for a more unjust America

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents- Isabel Wilkerson – the divisions in society on the basis of color

The Deficit Myth – Stephanie Kelton – a discussion of modern monetary theory and how the federal government should not be viewed the same way as a family’s budget

The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander – discussion of the use of mass incarceration to reinvent the system of segregation that the 1954 Brown vs Board started to destroy

Blowout – Rachel Maddow – the power and influence of fossil fuels and the consequences of that influence on all of us now and in the future

The Great Risk Shift – Jacob Hacker – an the new economic insecurity and the decline of the American dream and what we can do about it

People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism For An Age of Discontent – Joseph Stiglitz

American Amnesty – Jacob Hacker – how the war on government led us to forget what made America prosper

Why We’re Polizerized – Ezra Klein – identity politics in America and how the divisions affect the society

Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman – the basics of behavioral psycology that has had a tremendous influence on the economics field demonstrating the foolishness of seeing people as always making rational decisions

Educated – Tara Westover – a memoir demonstrating growing up in a disfunctional family that forces kids to adopt a set of values and beliefs in isolation of the rest of society

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism -Robin Diangelo
Caste – Isable Wilkerson – Race and class
Capital and Ideology – Thomas Piketty – a discussion of the rising inequality throughout the world and what may be done to reduce it.

Capital and Ideology – Thomas Piketty – Comparative analysis of the neoliberal hyper-capitalism and it’s effect on inequality around the world. Piketty also discusses one of the alternatives that could be pursued if people are mobilized.

Anne Nelson’s recent book Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right – She looks at the recent history of coordination of right wing special interests in a political movement to control states and the federal government .

What Unties Us – Reflections on Patriotism- by Dan Rather. He discusses our current divisions from a personal life story and the values that this country were built on and that need reinforcement