Reading / Books

Essential Reads to understand America today. Updated 06/2017 after election - bold first if you read.

"Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right" Jane Mayer

'The Destruction of Hillary Clinton' by Susan Bordo

"Strangers in Their Own Land - Anger and Mourning on the American Right" Arlie Russell Hochschild

'The Trouble with Reality: A Rumination on Moral Panic in Our Time' by Brooke Gladstone

'White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America' by Nancy Isenberg

'The Rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy' Albert O. Hirschman


'The Making of Donald Trump' by David Cay Johnston

'Invisible Hands: The Businessmen's Crusade Against the New Deal' Kim Phillips-Fein

'The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election' by Malcolm Nance

'The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government' by Mike Lofgren

'The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted' by Mike Lofgren

'The Gilded Rage: A Wild Ride Through Donald Trump's America' by Alexander Zaitchik


A recent read, 'Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West' John Ralston Saul

'Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance' Robert Proctor, Londa Schiebinger
'Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming' Naomi Oreskes, Erik M. M. Conway
'The Betrayal of the American Dream' Donald L. Barlett, James B. Steele
'Invisible Hands: The Businessmen's Crusade Against the New Deal' Kim Phillips-Fein

More good stuff.

Note for election year: Check out 'Invisible Hands' for an excellent analysis of the growth of the conservative movement, and the power business has over politics and the minds of many Americans today.

Modern politics: Ideas / History / Political Philosophy

I originally posted here August, 2011 post#81 which is linked below, but rather than provide links, here are some authors and books that are worth your time and challenge your mind.

The Culture of Contentment' John Kenneth Galbraith - anything he wrote is worth a read.
'The Glory and the Dream: A Narrative History of America, 1932-1972' William Manchester - best narrative history I have read
'Political Liberalism' John Rawls
'The Rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy' Albert O. Hirschman - understand the roots of conservatism
'The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin' Corey Robin - recent and very good
"The Modern Mind: An Intellectual History of the 20Th Century' Peter Watson - ideas see his other work
'Ill Fares the Land' Tony Judt - excellent excellent
'The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener' Martin Gardner - essays worth a thought
'Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan' Kim Phillips-Fein - reading
'What Orwell Didn't Know: Propaganda and the New Face of American Politics' Andras Szanto, Editor
'The Sense of Reality: Studies in Ideas and Their History' Isaiah Berlin (check his other work too)
'Liberal Rights: Collected Papers 1981-1991' Jeremy Waldron - good stuff
'The Harm in Hate Speech' Jeremy Waldron -- check out his other work too
'The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States' Gordon S. Wood
'The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan' Michael Hastings
'Race Matters' Cornell West
'The Culture of Make Believe' Derrick Jensen

And while Howard Zinn's history is anathema to conservatives as it tells a bit of history's truth, check it out too. The names near the top are all thinkers worth your time.


1984 By George Orwell
An American Tragedy By Theodore Dreiser
Angle Of Repose By Wallace Stegner
Animal Farm By George Orwell
Brave New World By Aldous Huxley
Darkness At Noon By Arthur Koestler
Go Tell It On The Mountain By James Baldwin
Henderson The Rain King By Saul Bellow
In a Free State: A Novel, V.S. Naipaul
Invisible Man By Ralph Ellison
Lord Of The Flies By William Golding
Man's Fate, André Malraux
Myth, Literature and the African World, Wole Soyinka (NF)
Of Human Bondage By W. Somerset Maugham
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest By Ken Kesey
One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Slaughterhouse-Five By Kurt Vonnegut
Sons And Lovers By D.H. Lawrence
Sophie's Choice By William Styron
The Fall, The Plague, Albert Camus
The Grapes Of Wrath By John Steinbeck
The Green House, Mario Vargas Llosa
The Heart Of The Matter By Graham Greene
The Moviegoer By Walker Percy
The Satanic Verses By Salman Rushdie
The Sound And The Fury By William Faulkner
To The Lighthouse By Virginia Woolf
Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance By Robert Pirsig (NF)

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