This year political news has been non-stop and included the good, the bad and the very ugly. With a very real and consequential presidential election fast approaching, staying informed is key. Below we have curated a list of top ranking political books currently available in the market.
“The American political system–which includes everyone from voters to journalists to the president–is full of rational actors making rational decisions given the incentives they face,” writes political analyst Ezra Klein. “We are a collection of functional parts whose efforts combine into a dysfunctional whole.” In Why We’re Polarized, Klein reveals the structural and psychological forces behind America’s descent into division and dysfunction. Neither a polemic nor a lament, this book offers a clear framework for understanding everything from Trump’s rise to the Democratic Party’s leftward shift to the politicization of everyday culture. America is polarized, first and foremost, by identity. Everyone engaged in American politics is engaged, at some level, in identity politics.
Over the past fifty years in America, our partisan identities have merged with our racial, religious, geographic, ideological, and cultural identities. These merged identities have attained a weight that is breaking much in our politics and tearing at the bonds that hold this country together.
Klein shows how and why American politics polarized around identity in the twentieth century, and what that polarization did to the way we see the world and one another. And he traces the feedback loops between polarized political identities and polarized political institutions that are driving our system toward crisis. This is a revelatory book that will change how you look at politics, and perhaps at yourself.
As 2016 proved, Trump can’t win, but the Democrats can sure as hell lose. Only one thing can save Trump, and that’s a Democratic candidate who runs the race Trumpwants them to run instead of the campaign they must run to win in 2020. Wilson combines decades of national political experience and insight in his take-no-prisoners analysis, hammering Trump’s destructive and dangerous first term in a case-by-case takedown of the worst president in history and describing the terrifying prospect of four more years of Trump. Like no one else can, Wilson blows the lid off Trump’s 2020 Republican war machine, showing the exact strategies and tactics they’ll use against the Democratic nominee . . . and how the Democrats can avoid the catastrophe waiting for them if they fall into Trump’s trap.
Running Against the Devil is sharply funny, brutally honest, and infused with Wilson’s biting commentary. It’s a vital indictment of Trump, a no-nonsense, no-holds-barred road map to saving America, and the guide to making Donald Trump a one-term president. The stakes are too high to do anything less.
Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-Up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House
The year was 1973, and Spiro T. Agnew, the former governor of Maryland, was Richard Nixon’s second-in-command. Long on firebrand rhetoric and short on political experience, Agnew had carried out a bribery and extortion ring in office for years, when–at the height of Watergate–three young federal prosecutors discovered his crimes and launched a mission to take him down before it was too late, before Nixon’s impending downfall elevated Agnew to the presidency. The self-described “counterpuncher” vice president did everything he could to bury their investigation: dismissing it as a “witch hunt,” riling up his partisan base, making the press the enemy, and, with a crumbling circle of loyalists, scheming to obstruct justice in order to survive.
In this blockbuster account, Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz detail the investigation that exposed Agnew’s crimes, the attempts at a cover-up–which involved future president George H. W. Bush–and the backroom bargain that forced Agnew’s resignation but also spared him years in federal prison. Based on the award-winning hit podcast, Bag Manexpands and deepens the story of Spiro Agnew’s scandal and its lasting influence on our politics, our media, and our understanding of what it takes to confront a criminal in the White House.
On September 5, 2018, the New York Times published a bombshell essay and took the rare step of granting its writer anonymity. Described only as “a senior official in the Trump administration,” the author provided eyewitness insight into White House chaos, administration instability, and the people working to keep Donald Trump’s reckless impulses in check. With the 2020 election on the horizon, Anonymous is speaking out once again. In this book, the original author pulls back the curtain even further, offering a first-of-its-kind look at the president and his record — a must-read before Election Day.
It will surprise and challenge both Democrats and Republicans, motivate them to consider how we judge our nation’s leaders, and illuminate the consequences of re-electing a commander in chief unfit for the role.
This book is a sobering assessment of the man in the Oval Office and a warning about something even more important — who we are as a people.
The Nancy Pelosi Way: Advice on Success, Leadership, and Politics from America’s Most Powerful Woman
In 2007, Nancy Pelosi became the highest-ranking elected female government official in US history when she started her tenure as Speaker of the House of Representatives. In January 2019, she began her third term as Speaker during a tumultuous time in American political history. Having represented San Francisco for thirty-two years, Pelosi has become well-known for her work to expand health care, lift up workers, protect the environment, promote human rights, and make progress for the American people regardless of the president in the White House or the party controlling Congress.
In The Nancy Pelosi Way, author and daughter of the Speaker Christine Pelosi takes a close look at how her mother went from homemaker to House Speaker to become the most powerful female politician in America and at the many important lessons from her actions and dialogue along the way. This book weaves substantive issues and Nancy Pelosi’s advice on politics, family, and friendship gleaned from her life from her childhood in Baltimore to her hands-on motherhood in San Francisco to her national leadership, to demonstrate how this mother of five and grandmother of nine achieved her success. This book serves as the perfect guide for anyone looking to enter public service or prosper as a leader in their own field.
Trump and His Generals is New York Times-bestselling author Peter Bergen’s jaw-dropping intimate account of life inside that storm, foregrounding the experiences of the four generals whose relationships with Trump have done so much to define his presidency–McMaster, Kelly, Mattis and Flynn. From Iraq and Afghanistan to Syria and Iran, from Russia and China to North Korea and Islamist terrorism, Trump and His Generals is a brilliant reckoning with an American ship of state navigating a roiling sea of acute threats without a well-functioning rudder. Bergen is both an intrepid and exquisitely well-sourced journalist and a very wise head himself on national security issues, and the combination of intense human drama and trenchant big-picture analysis results in a gripping read that offers tremendous clarity on the complex landscape of America’s geopolitical place in the world. Clarity, unfortunately, is not the same thing as reassurance.
Impeachment is a double-edged sword. Though it was designed to check tyrants, Thomas Jefferson also called impeachment “the most formidable weapon for the purpose of a dominant faction that was ever contrived.” On the one hand, it nullifies the will of voters, the basic foundation of all representative democracies. On the other, its absence from the Constitution would leave the country vulnerable to despotic leadership. It is rarely used, and with good reason.
Only three times has a president’s conduct led to such political disarray as to warrant his potential removal from office, transforming a political crisis into a constitutional one. None has yet succeeded. Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868 for failing to kowtow to congressional leaders–and, in a large sense, for failing to be Abraham Lincoln–yet survived his Senate trial. Richard Nixon resigned in August 1974 after the House Judiciary Committee approved three articles of impeachment against him for lying, obstructing justice, and employing his executive power for personal and political gain. Bill Clinton had an affair with a White House intern, but in 1999 he faced trial in the Senate less for that prurient act than for lying under oath about it.
Behind today’s headlines of billionaires taking over our government is a secretive political establishment with long, deep, and troubling roots. The capitalist radical right has been working not simply to change who rules, but to fundamentally alter the rules of democratic governance. But billionaires did not launch this movement; a white intellectual in the embattled Jim Crow South did. Democracy in Chains names its true architect—the Nobel Prize-winning political economist James McGill Buchanan—and dissects the operation he and his colleagues designed over six decades to alter every branch of government to disempower the majority. “Democracy in Chains leaves me with hope: Perhaps as books like MacLean’s continue to shine a light on important truths, Americans will begin to realize they need to pay more attention and not succumb to the cynical view that known liars make the best leaders.” —New York Times Book Review
The long-awaited Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election. An introduction by The Washington Post titled “A President, a Prosecutor, and the Protection of American Democracy”. A timeline of the major events of the Special Counsel’s investigation from May 2017, when Robert Mueller was appointed, to the report’s delivery. A guide to individuals involved, including in the Special Counsel’s Office, the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Trump Campaign, the White House, the Trump legal defense team, and the Russians. Key documents in the Special Counsel’s investigation, including filings pertaining to General Michael T. Flynn, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Roger Stone, and the Russian internet operation in St. Petersburg. Each document is introduced and explained by Washington Post reporters.
One of the most urgent and important investigations ever conducted, the Mueller inquiry focuses on Donald Trump, his presidential campaign, and Russian interference in the 2016 election, and draws on the testimony of dozens of witnesses and the work of some of the country’s most seasoned prosecutors. The special counsel’s investigation looms as a turning point in American history. The Mueller Report is essential reading for all citizens concerned about the fate of the presidency and the future of our democracy.
A Fascist, observes Madeleine Albright, “is someone who claims to speak for a whole nation or group, is utterly unconcerned with the rights of others, and is willing to use violence and whatever other means are necessary to achieve the goals he or she might have.” A personal and urgent examination of Fascism in the twentieth century and how its legacy shapes today’s world, written by one of America’s most admired public servants, the first woman to serve as U.S. secretary of state. Fascism: A Warning is a book for our times that is relevant to all times. Written by someone who has not only studied history but helped to shape it, this call to arms teaches us the lessons we must understand and the questions we must answer if we are to save ourselves from repeating the tragic errors of the past.
Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth
In 2010, the words “earthquake swarm” entered the lexicon in Oklahoma. That same year, a trove of Michael Jackson memorabilia–including his iconic crystal-encrusted white glove–was sold at auction for over $1 million to a guy who was, officially, just the lowly forestry minister of the tiny nation of Equatorial Guinea. And in 2014, Ukrainian revolutionaries raided the palace of their ousted president and found a zoo of peacocks, gilded toilets, and a floating restaurant modeled after a Spanish galleon. Unlikely as it might seem, there is a thread connecting these events, and Rachel Maddow follows it to its crooked source: the unimaginably lucrative and equally corrupting oil and gas industry. With her trademark black humor, Maddow takes us on a switchback journey around the globe, revealing the greed and incompetence of Big Oil and Gas along the way, and drawing a surprising conclusion about why the Russian government hacked the 2016 U.S. election. She deftly shows how Russia’s rich reserves of crude have, paradoxically, stunted its growth, forcing Putin to maintain his power by spreading Russia’s rot into its rivals, its neighbors, the West’s most important alliances, and the United States. Chevron, BP, and a host of other industry players get their star turn, most notably ExxonMobil and the deceptively well-behaved Rex Tillerson. The oil and gas industry has weakened democracies in developed and developing countries, fouled oceans and rivers, and propped up authoritarian thieves and killers. But being outraged at it is, according to Maddow, “like being indignant when a lion takes down and eats a gazelle. You can’t really blame the lion. It’s in her nature.”
When Bernie Sanders began his race for the presidency, it was considered by the political establishment and the media to be a “fringe” campaign, something not to be taken seriously. After all, he was just an Independent senator from a small state with little name recognition. His campaign had no money, no political organization, and it was taking on the entire Democratic Party establishment.
In Our Revolution, Sanders shares his personal experiences from the campaign trail, recounting the details of his historic primary fight and the people who made it possible. And for the millions looking to continue the political revolution, he outlines a progressive economic, environmental, racial, and social justice agenda that will create jobs, raise wages, protect the environment, and provide health care for all–and ultimately transform our country and our world for the better. For him, the political revolution has just started. The campaign may be over, but the struggle goes on.
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