50 Must-Read Books about American Politics

I wasn’t always a politics junkie, but over the last fifteen years, I’ve definitely become totally addicted to following politics and current affairs. During that time, and especially during the last ten years, sweeping changes have affected America. In an era where the news cycle is measured in hours, not days or weeks, it can be challenging to keep up to date on the underlying issues that have shaped American political history past and present. This epic list of 50 must-read books about American politics explores topics from a broad range of voices and perspectives, from feminism to fascism, parties to polling, and tribalism to globalism. These 50 best books should help you get up to speed with American politics.

The ALL NEW Don’t Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate by George Lakoff

“The ALL NEW Don’t Think of an Elephant! picks up where the original book left off—delving deeper into how framing works, how framing has evolved in the past decade, how to speak to people who harbor elements of both progressive and conservative worldviews, how to counter propaganda and slogans, and more.” (Amazon)

American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard

“An endlessly fascinating look at American regionalism and the eleven nations that continue to shape North America. According to award-winning journalist and historian Colin Woodard, North America is made up of eleven distinct nations each with its own unique historical roots. In American Nations, he takes readers on a journey through the history of our fractured continent offering a revolutionary and revelatory take on American identity and how the conflicts between them have shaped our past and continue to mold our future.” (Amazon)

Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay

“In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.” (Amazon)

Because of Sex: One Law, Ten Cases, and Fifty Years That Changed American Women’s Lives at Work by Gillian Thomas

“Gillian Thomas’s Because of Sex tells the story of how one law, our highest court, and a few tenacious women changed the American workplace forever. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act revolutionized the lives of America’s working women, making it illegal to discriminate ‘because of sex.’ But that simple phrase didn’t mean much until ordinary women began using the law to get justice on the job—and some took their fights all the way to the Supreme Court. These unsung heroines’ victories, and those of the other women profiled in Because of Sex, dismantled a Mad Men world where women could only hope to play supporting roles, where sexual harassment was ‘just the way things are,’ and where pregnancy meant getting a pink slip.” (Amazon)

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

“Claudia Rankine’s bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media…The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person’s ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named ‘post-race’ society.” (Amazon)

A Colony in a Nation by Chris Hayes

“In A Colony in a NationNew York Times best-selling author and Emmy Award–winning news anchor Chris Hayes upends the national conversation on policing and democracy. Drawing on wide-ranging historical, social, and political analysis, as well as deeply personal experiences with law enforcement, Hayes contends that our country has fractured in two: the Colony and the Nation. In the Nation, the law is venerated. In the Colony, fear and order undermine civil rights. With great empathy, Hayes seeks to understand this systemic divide, examining its ties to racial inequality, the omnipresent threat of guns, and the dangerous and unfortunate results of choices made by fear.” (Amazon)

The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam

The Best and the Brightest is David Halberstam’s masterpiece, the defining history of the making of the Vietnam tragedy. Using portraits of America’s flawed policy makers and accounts of the forces that drove them, The Best and the Brightest reckons magnificently with the most important abiding question of our country’s recent history: Why did America become mired in Vietnam and why did it lose? As the definitive single-volume answer to that question, this enthralling book has never been superseded. It’s an American classic.” (Goodreads)

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

“In a riveting and indelible feat of reporting, Jane Mayer illuminates the history of an elite cadre of plutocrats—headed by the Kochs, the Scaifes, the Olins, and the Bradleys—who have bankrolled a systematic plan to fundamentally alter the American political system. Mayer traces a byzantine trail of billions of dollars spent by the network, revealing a staggering conglomeration of think tanks, academic institutions, media groups, courthouses, and government allies that have fallen under their sphere of influence. Drawing from hundreds of exclusive interviews, as well as extensive scrutiny of public records, private papers, and court proceedings, Mayer provides vivid portraits of the secretive figures behind the new American oligarchy and a searing look at the carefully concealed agendas steering the nation.” (Amazon)

Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World by Jennifer Palmieri

“Framed as an empowering letter from former Hillary Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri to the first woman president, and by extension, to all women working to succeed in any field, Dear Madam President is filled with forward-thinking, practical advice for all women who are determined to seize control of their lives-from boardroom to living room.” (Amazon)

Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America by Nancy MacLean

“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.” (Amazon)

Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom by Condoleezza Rice

“From the former secretary of state and bestselling author—a sweeping look at the global struggle for democracy and why America must continue to support the cause of human freedom.” (Amazon)

Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics by Cathy J. Cohen

“In Democracy Remixed, award-winning scholar Cathy J. Cohen offers an authoritative and empirically powerful analysis of the state of black youth in America today. Utilizing the results from the Black Youth Project, a groundbreaking nationwide survey, Cohen focuses on what young Black Americans actually experience and think—and underscores the political repercussions…Through their words, these young people provide a complex and balanced picture of the intersection of opportunity and discrimination in their lives. Democracy Remixed provides the insight we need to transform the future of young Black Americans and American democracy.” (Amazon)

Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama

“In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. It begins in New York, where Barack Obama learns that his father—a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man—has been killed in a car accident. This sudden death inspires an emotional odyssey—first to a small town in Kansas, from which he retraces the migration of his mother’s family to Hawaii, and then to Kenya, where he meets the African side of his family, confronts the bitter truth of his father’s life, and at last reconciles his divided inheritance.”

Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow

“Written with bracing wit and intelligence, Rachel Maddow’s Drift argues that we’ve drifted away from America’s original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war. To understand how we’ve arrived at such a dangerous place, Maddow takes us from the Vietnam War to today’s war in Afghanistan, along the way exploring Reagan’s radical presidency, the disturbing rise of executive authority, the gradual outsourcing of our war-making capabilities to private companies, the plummeting percentage of American families whose children fight our constant wars for us, and even the changing fortunes of G.I. Joe. ” (Amazon)

Fascism: A Warning by Madeleine Albright

“The twentieth century was defined by the clash between democracy and Fascism, a struggle that created uncertainty about the survival of human freedom and left millions dead. Given the horrors of that experience, one might expect the world to reject the spiritual successors to Hitler and Mussolini should they arise in our era. In Fascism: A Warning, Madeleine Albright draws on her experiences as a child in war-torn Europe and her distinguished career as a diplomat to question that assumption.” (Amazon)

From the Corner of the Oval: A Memoir by Beck Dorey-Stein

“In 2012, Beck Dorey-Stein is working five part-time jobs and just scraping by when a posting on Craigslist lands her, improbably, in the Oval Office as one of Barack Obama’s stenographers. The ultimate D.C. outsider, she joins the elite team who accompany the president wherever he goes, recorder and mic in hand. On whirlwind trips across time zones, Beck forges friendships with a dynamic group of fellow travelers—young men and women who, like her, leave their real lives behind to hop aboard Air Force One in service of the president.”

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics by Donna Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, Minyon Moore, and Veronica Chambers

“The four most powerful African American women in politics share the story of their friendship and how it has changed politics in America. The lives of black women in American politics are remarkably absent from the shelves of bookstores and libraries. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics is a sweeping view of American history from the vantage points of four women who have lived and worked behind the scenes in politics for over thirty years—Donna Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, and Minyon Moore—a group of women who call themselves The Colored Girls.” (Amazon)

A Girl’s Guide to Joining the Resistance: A Feminist Handbook on Fighting for Good by Emma Gray

“So—the presidential election of 2016 happened. You cried, you ranted, you marched. But how do you stay engaged for the long term? How do you keep fighting while also continuing your real life? How do you get involved when you feel far from the action? How do you stay vigilant without being furious all. the. time? Needing to take action after the election, Emma Gray, Executive Women’s Editor at HuffPost, put on her journalist hat and set out to get answers to these questions from some of the most prominent thought leaders and activists of our time. She spoke with march organizers, and senators, long-time activists, and newcomers across political movements to find out the best ways to listen to those who have been doing this for a while, join in, and create sustainable action. In all of her conversations, one theme came up again and again: young women are essential to the resistance.” (Amazon)

The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency by Chris Whipple

“Through extensive, intimate interviews with eighteen living chiefs (including Reince Priebus) and two former presidents, award-winning journalist and producer Chris Whipple pulls back the curtain on this unique fraternity. In doing so, he revises our understanding of presidential history, showing us how James Baker’s expert managing of the White House, the press, and Capitol Hill paved the way for the Reagan Revolution—and, conversely, how Watergate, the Iraq War, and even the bungled Obamacare rollout might have been prevented by a more effective chief. Filled with shrewd analysis and never-before-reported details, The Gatekeepers offers an essential portrait of the toughest job in Washington.” (Amazon)

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s America by Rebecca Traister

“With eloquence and fervor, Rebecca tracks the history of female anger as political fuel—from suffragettes marching on the White House to office workers vacating their buildings after Clarence Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court. Here Traister explores women’s anger at both men and other women; anger between ideological allies and foes; the varied ways anger is perceived based on its owner; as well as the history of caricaturing and delegitimizing female anger; and the way women’s collective fury has become transformative political fuel—as is most certainly occurring today. She deconstructs society’s (and the media’s) condemnation of female emotion (notably, rage) and the impact of their resulting repercussions.” (Amazon)

How to Be an American: A Field Guide to Citizenship by Silvia Hidalgo

“The current political climate has left many of us wondering how our government actually operates. Sure, we learned about it in school, but if put to the test, how many of us can correctly explain the branches of government? The history of politics? The differences and connections between local government and federal government? Enter How to Be an American. While author and illustrator Silvia Hidalgo was studying for her citizenship test, she quickly found that the materials provided by the government were lacking. In order to more easily absorb the information, Hidalgo started her own illustrated reference to civics facts and American history essentials. She’s collected her findings in How to Be an American, a freshly designed and illustrated two-color guide to all things America.” (Amazon)

Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment by Francis Fukuyama

“The New York Times bestselling author of The Origins of Political Order offers a provocative examination of modern identity politics: its origins, its effects, and what it means for domestic and international affairs of state.” (Amazon)

Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump’s America, edited by Samhita Mukhopadhyay and Kate Harding

“When 53 percent of white women voted for Donald Trump and 94 percent of black women voted for Hillary Clinton, how can women unite in Trump’s America? Nasty Women includes inspiring essays from a diverse group of talented women writers who seek to provide a broad look at how we got here and what we need to do to move forward.” (Amazon)

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

“Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a book. Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as ‘brave and bold,’ this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that ‘we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.'” (Amazon)

The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin

“Acclaimed journalist Jeffrey Toobin takes us into the chambers of the most important—and secret—legal body in our country, the Supreme Court, revealing the complex dynamic among the nine people who decide the law of the land. An institution at a moment of transition, the Court now stands at a crucial point, with major changes in store on such issues as abortion, civil rights, and church-state relations. Based on exclusive interviews with the justices and with a keen sense of the Court’s history and the trajectory of its future, Jeffrey Toobin creates in The Nine a riveting story of one of the most important forces in American life today.” (Amazon)

Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America by Rick Perlstein

“Told with vivid urgency and sharp political insight, Nixonland recaptures America’s turbulent 1960s and early 1970s and reveals how Richard Nixon rose from the political grave to seize and hold the presidency of the United States. Perlstein’s epic account begins in the blood and fire of the 1965 Watts riots, nine months after Lyndon Johnson’s historic landslide victory over Barry Goldwater appeared to herald a permanent liberal consensus in the United States. Yet the next year, scores of liberals were tossed out of Congress, America was more divided than ever, and a disgraced politician was on his way to a shocking comeback: Richard Nixon. Between 1965 and 1972 America experienced no less than a second civil war. Out of its ashes, the political world we know now was born.” (Amazon)

On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope by DeRay McKesson

“In August 2014, twenty-nine-year-old activist DeRay Mckesson stood with hundreds of others on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, to push a message of justice and accountability. These protests, and others like them in cities across the country, resulted in the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement. Now, in his first book, Mckesson lays down the intellectual, pragmatic, and political framework for a new liberation movement. Continuing a conversation about activism, resistance, and justice that embraces our nation’s complex history, he dissects how deliberate oppression persists, how racial injustice strips our lives of promise, and how technology has added a new dimension to mass action and social change. He argues that our best efforts to combat injustice have been stunted by the belief that racism’s wounds are history, and suggests that intellectual purity has curtailed optimistic realism. The book offers a new framework and language for understanding the nature of oppression. With it, we can begin charting a course to dismantle the obvious and subtle structures that limit freedom.” (Amazon)

One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson

“In her New York Times bestseller White Rage, Carol Anderson laid bare an insidious history of policies that have systematically impeded black progress in America, from 1865 to our combustible present. With One Person, No Vote, she chronicles a related history: the rollbacks to African American participation in the vote since the 2013 Supreme Court decision that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Known as the Shelby ruling, this decision effectively allowed districts with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination to change voting requirements without approval from the Department of Justice.” (Amazon)

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder

“Timothy Snyder is one of the most celebrated historians of the Holocaust. In his books Bloodlands and Black Earth, he has carefully dissected the events and values that enabled the rise of Hitler and Stalin and the execution of their catastrophic policies. With Twenty Lessons, Snyder draws from the darkest hours of the twentieth century to provide hope for the twenty-first. As he writes, ‘Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism and communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience.’ Twenty Lessons is a call to arms and a guide to resistance, with invaluable ideas for how we can preserve our freedoms in the uncertain years to come.” (Goodreads)

A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

“Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People’s History of the United States is the only volume to tell America’s story from the point of view of—and in the words of—America’s women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, the working poor, and immigrant laborers. As historian Howard Zinn shows, many of our country’s greatest battles—the fights for a fair wage, an eight-hour workday, child-labor laws, health and safety standards, universal suffrage, women’s rights, racial equality—were carried out at the grassroots level, against bloody resistance.

“Covering Christopher Columbus’s arrival through President Clinton’s first term, A People’s History of the United States features insightful analysis of the most important events in our history.” (Amazon)

The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore: A Story of American Rage by Jared Yates Sexton

“The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore is a firsthand account of the events that shaped the 2016 Presidential Election and the cultural forces that powered Donald Trump into the White House. Featuring in-the-field reports as well as deep analysis, Sexton’s book is not just the story of the most unexpected and divisive election in modern political history. It is also a sobering chronicle of our democracy’s political polarization—a result of our self-constructed, technologically-assisted echo chambers.” (Goodreads)

The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism by Steve Kornacki

“In The Red and the Blue, cable news star and acclaimed journalist Steve Kornacki follows the twin paths of Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, two larger-than-life politicians who exploited the weakened structure of their respective parties to attain the highest offices. For Clinton, that meant contorting himself around the various factions of the Democratic party to win the presidency. Gingrich employed a scorched-earth strategy to upend the permanent Republican minority in the House, making him Speaker… With novelistic prose and a clear sense of history, Steve Kornacki masterfully weaves together the various elements of this rambunctious and hugely impactful era in American history, whose effects set the stage for our current political landscape.” (Amazon)

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt

“Drawing on his twenty five years of groundbreaking research on moral psychology, Haidt shows how moral judgments arise not from reason but from gut feelings. He shows why liberals, conservatives, and libertarians have such different intuitions about right and wrong, and he shows why each side is actually right about many of its central concerns. In this subtle yet accessible book, Haidt gives you the key to understanding the miracle of human cooperation, as well as the curse of our eternal divisions and conflicts.” (Amazon)

Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes

“Through deep access to insiders from the top to the bottom of the campaign, political writers Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes have reconstructed the key decisions and unseized opportunities, the well-intentioned misfires and the hidden thorns that turned a winnable contest into a devastating loss. Drawing on the authors’ deep knowledge of Hillary from their previous book, the acclaimed biography HRCShattered offers an object lesson in how Hillary herself made victory an uphill battle, how her difficulty articulating a vision irreparably hobbled her impact with voters, and how the campaign failed to internalize the lessons of populist fury from the hard-fought primary against Bernie Sanders.” (Amazon)

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo book coverSo You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo

“In So You Want to Talk About Race, Editor at Large of The Establishment Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the ‘N’ word. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions readers don’t dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.” (Amazon)

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild

“In Strangers in Their Own Land, the renowned sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild embarks on a thought-provoking journey from her liberal hometown of Berkeley, California, deep into Louisiana bayou country—a stronghold of the conservative right. As she gets to know people who strongly oppose many of the ideas she famously champions, Russell Hochschild nevertheless finds common ground and quickly warms to the people she meets—among them a Tea Party activist whose town has been swallowed by a sinkhole caused by a drilling accident—people whose concerns are actually ones that all Americans share: the desire for community, the embrace of family, and hopes for their children.” (Goodreads)

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

“Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Abraham Lincoln’s political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president.” (Goodreads)

Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House by April Ryan

“Veteran White House reporter April Ryan thought she had seen everything in her two decades as a White House correspondent. And then came the Trump administration. In Under Fire, Ryan takes us inside the confusion and chaos of the Trump White House to understand how she and other reporters adjusted to the new normal. She takes us inside the policy debates, the revolving door of personnel appointments, and what it is like when she, as a reporter asking difficult questions, finds herself in the spotlight, becoming part of the story.” (Amazon)

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer

“American democracy is beset by a sense of crisis. Seismic shifts during a single generation have created a country of winners and losers, allowing unprecedented freedom while rending the social contract, driving the political system to the verge of breakdown, and setting citizens adrift to find new paths forward. In The Unwinding, George Packer tells the story of the past three decades by journeying through the lives of several Americans, including a son of tobacco farmers who becomes an evangelist for a new economy in the rural South, a factory worker in the Rust Belt trying to survive the collapse of her city, a Washington insider oscillating between political idealism and the lure of organized money, and a Silicon Valley billionaire who arrives at a radical vision of the future.” (Amazon)

Cover of War on Peace by Ronan FarrowWar on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence by Ronan Farrow

“Drawing on newly unearthed documents, and richly informed by rare interviews with warlords, whistle-blowers, and policymakers—including every living former secretary of state from Henry Kissinger to Hillary Clinton to Rex Tillerson—War on Peace makes a powerful case for an endangered profession. Diplomacy, Farrow argues, has declined after decades of political cowardice, shortsightedness, and outright malice—but it may just offer America a way out of a world at war.” (Amazon)

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“In this personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from the much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.” (Amazon)

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates

“‘We were eight years in power’ was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. In this sweeping collection of new and selected essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America’s ‘first white president.'”(Amazon)

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

“In this ‘candid and blackly funny’ (The New York Times) memoir, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. She takes us inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference, and an opponent who broke all the rules.” (Amazon)

What It Takes: The Way to the White House by Richard Ben Cramer

An American Iliad in the guise of contemporary political reportage, What It Takes penetrates the mystery at the heart of all presidential campaigns: How do presumably ordinary people acquire that mixture of ambition, stamina, and pure shamelessness that makes a true candidate? As he recounts the frenzied course of the 1988 presidential race—and scours the psyches of contenders from George Bush and Robert Dole to Michael Dukakis and Gary Hart—Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Richard Ben Cramer comes up with the answers, in a book that is vast, exhaustively researched, exhilarating, and sometimes appalling in its revelations.” (Amazon)

What You Should Know about Politics… But Don’t: A Nonpartisan Guide to the Issues That Matter by Jessamyn Conrad

“In a world of sound bites, deliberate misinformation, and a political scene colored by the blue versus red partisan divide, how does the average educated American find a reliable source that’s free of political spin? What You Should Know About Politics…But Don’t breaks it all down, issue by issue, explaining who stands for what, and why—whether it’s the economy, income inequality, Obamacare, foreign policy, education, immigration, or climate change. If you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or somewhere in between, it’s the perfect book to brush up on a single topic or read through to get a deeper understanding of the often mucky world of American politics.” (Amazon)

What’s the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America by Thomas Frank

What’s the Matter with Kansas? unravels the great political mystery of our day: Why do so many Americans vote against their economic and social interests? With his acclaimed wit and acuity, Thomas Frank answers the riddle by examining his home state, Kansas—a place once famous for its radicalism that now ranks among the nation’s most eager participants in the culture wars.” (Amazon)

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House by Alyssa Mastromonaco

“Alyssa Mastromonaco worked for Barack Obama for almost a decade, and long before his run for president. From the then-senator’s early days in Congress to his years in the Oval Office, she made Hope and Change happen through blood, sweat, tears, and lots of briefing binders…Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? is an intimate portrait of a president, a book about how to get stuff done, and the story of how one woman challenged, again and again, what a ‘White House official’ is supposed to look like.” (Amazon)

The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss

“Nashville, August 1920. Thirty-five states have ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, twelve have rejected or refused to vote, and one last state is needed. It all comes down to Tennessee, the moment of truth for the suffragists, after a seven-decade crusade…Following a handful of remarkable women who led their respective forces into battle, along with appearances by Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Frederick Douglass, and Eleanor Roosevelt, The Woman’s Hour is an inspiring story of activists winning their own freedom in one of the last campaigns forged in the shadow of the Civil War, and the beginning of the great twentieth-century battles for civil rights.” (Amazon)

A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order by Richard Haass

“An examination of a world increasingly defined by disorder and a United States unable to shape the world in its image, from the president of the Council on Foreign Relations…A World in Disarray is a wise examination, one rich in history, of the current world, along with how we got here and what needs doing. Haass shows that the world cannot have stability or prosperity without the United States, but that the United States cannot be a force for global stability and prosperity without its politicians and citizens reaching a new understanding.” (Amazon)

Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitter, and Trump by Dan Pfeiffer

“From Obama’s former communications director and current co-host of Pod Save America comes a colorful account of how politics, the media, and the Internet changed during the Obama presidency and how Democrats can fight back in the Trump era.” (Amazon)

 

 

Looking for more books about American politics and current events? Check out our Reading List for the 2018 Midterm Elections, guide to 4 Books to Get You Started on Contemporary International Politics, list of 5 Reasons to Read Outside Your Political Ideology, and 23 Resistance Poems to Express Your Rage.

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