Politics & Social Sciences

Must read books on politics and social science.

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story

In late August 1619, a ship arrived in the British colony of Virginia bearing a cargo of twenty to thirty enslaved people from Africa. Their arrival led to the barbaric and unprecedented system of American chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years. This is sometimes referred to as the country’s original sin, but it is more than that: It is the source of so much that still defines the United States.

The New York Times Magazine’s award-winning “1619 Project” issue reframed our understanding of American history by placing slavery and its continuing legacy at the center of our national narrative. This new book substantially expands on that work, weaving together eighteen essays that explore the legacy of slavery in present-day America with thirty-six poems and works of fiction that illuminate key moments of oppression, struggle, and resistance. The essays show how the inheritance of 1619 reaches into every part of contemporary American society, from politics, music, diet, traffic, and citizenship to capitalism, religion, and our democracy itself.

This is a book that speaks directly to our current moment, contextualizing the systems of race and caste within which we operate today. It reveals long-glossed-over truths around our nation’s founding and construction—and the way that the legacy of slavery did not end with emancipation, but continues to shape contemporary American life.

OMG WTF Does the Constitution Actually Say?: A Non-Boring Guide to How Our Democracy is Supposed to Work

Written by political savant and entertainment veteran, Ben Sheehan, and vetted for accuracy by experts in the field of constitutional law, OMG WTF Does the Constitution Actually Say? is an entertaining and accessible guide that explains what the Constitution actually lays out.

With clear notes and graphics on everything from presidential powers to Supreme Court nominations to hidden loopholes, Sheehan walks us through the entire Constitution from its preamble to its final amendment (with a bonus section on the Declaration of Independence). Besides putting the Constitution in modern-day English so that it can be understood, OMG WTF Does the Constitution Actually Say? gives readers all of the info they need to be effective voters and citizens in the November elections and beyond.

Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show

Nobody is in a better position to tell the story of the shocking final chapter of the Trump show than Jonathan Karl. As the reporter who has known Donald Trump longer than any other White House correspondent, Karl told the story of Trump’s rise in the New York Times bestseller Front Row at the Trump Show. Now he tells the story of Trump’s downfall, complete with riveting behind-the-scenes accounts of some of the darkest days in the history of the American presidency and packed with original reporting and on-the-record interviews with central figures in this drama who are telling their stories for the first time.

This is a definitive account of what was really going on during the final weeks and months of the Trump presidency and what it means for the future of the Republican Party, by a reporter who was there for it all. He has been taunted, praised, and vilified by Donald Trump, and now Jonathan Karl finds himself in a singular position to deliver the truth.

For Such a Time as This: My Faith Journey Through the White House and Beyond

If you would have told me that in the year 2020 I would stand at the White House podium and communicate with the American people as COVID-19 ravaged the globe and violent protests beset the nation, I would have told you that you were crazy. But Jesus Christ had this very plan for my life.

From White House intern to White House press secretary, from production assistant to national television host, from Catholic all-girls high school to Harvard Law School, God has guided my path through uncharted territory. In For Such a Time as This, I will chronicle my journey to the White House and offer never-before-told anecdotes about what really happened within the Trump administration. You will experience some of the most high stakes moments in the West Wing right alongside me as I reveal how faith got me through.

Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could

In the years leading up to the election of Donald Trump, Congressman Adam Schiff had already been sounding the alarm over the resurgence of autocracy around the world, and the threat this posed to the United States. But as he led the probe into Donald Trump’s Russia and Ukraine-related abuses of presidential power, Schiff came to the terrible conclusion that the principal threat to American democracy now came from within.

In Midnight in Washington, Schiff argues that the Trump presidency has so weakened our institutions and compromised the Republican Party that the peril will last for years, requiring unprecedented vigilance against the growing and dangerous appeal of authoritarianism. The congressman chronicles step by step just how our democracy was put at such risk, and traces his own path to meeting the crisis—from serious prosecutor, to congressman with an expertise in national security and a reputation for bipartisanship, to liberal lightning rod, scourge of the right, and archenemy of a president. Schiff takes us inside his team of impeachment managers and their desperate defense of the constitution amid the rise of a distinctly American brand of autocracy.

Deepening our understanding of prominent public moments, Schiff reveals the private struggles, the internal conflicts, and the triumphs of courage that came with defending the republic against a lawless president—but also the slow surrender of people that he had worked with and admired to the dangerous immoralit

There Is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century

Fiona Hill grew up in a world of terminal decay. The last of the local mines had closed, businesses were shuttering, and despair was etched in the faces around her. Her father urged her to get out of their blighted corner of northern England: “There is nothing for you here, pet,” he said.

The coal-miner’s daughter managed to go further than he ever could have dreamed. She studied in Moscow and at Harvard, became an American citizen, and served three U.S. Presidents. But in the heartlands of both Russia and the United States, she saw troubling reflections of her hometown and similar populist impulses. By the time she offered her brave testimony in the first impeachment inquiry of President Trump, Hill knew that the desperation of forgotten people was driving American politics over the brink—and that we were running out of time to save ourselves from Russia’s fate. In this powerful, deeply personal account, she shares what she has learned, and shows why expanding opportunity is the only long-term hope for our democracy.

The Dying Citizen: How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America

Human history is full of the stories of peasants, subjects, and tribes. Yet the concept of the “citizen” is historically rare — and was among America’s most valued ideals for over two centuries. But without shock treatment, warns historian Victor Davis Hanson, American citizenship as we have known it may soon vanish.

In The Dying Citizen, Hanson outlines the historical forces that led to this crisis. The evisceration of the middle class over the last 50 years has made many Americans dependent on the federal government. Open borders have undermined the idea of allegiance to a particular place. Identity politics have eradicated our collective civic sense of self. And a top-heavy administrative state has endangered personal liberty, along with formal efforts to weaken the Constitution.

As in the revolutionary years of 1848, 1917, and 1968, 2020 ripped away our complacency about the future. But in the aftermath, we as Americans can rebuild and recover what we have lost. The choice is ours.

Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America

Americans of good will on both the left and the right are secretly asking themselves the same question: How has the conversation on race in America gone so crazy? We’re told to read books and listen to music by people of color but that wearing certain clothes is “appropriation”. We hear that being White automatically gives you privilege and that being Black makes you a victim. We want to speak up but fear we’ll be seen as unwoke, or worse, labeled a racist. According to John McWhorter, the problem is that a well-meaning but pernicious form of antiracism has become, not a progressive ideology, but a religion – and one that’s illogical, unreachable, and unintentionally neoracist.

In Woke Racism, McWhorter reveals the workings of this new religion, from the original sin of “White privilege” and the weaponization of cancel culture to ban heretics, to the evangelical fervor of the “woke mob”. He shows how this religion that claims to “dismantle racist structures” is actually harming his fellow Black Americans by infantilizing Black people, setting Black students up for failure, and passing policies that disproportionately damage Black communities. The new religion might be called “antiracism”, but it features a racial essentialism that’s barely distinguishable from racist arguments of the past.

Fortunately for Black America, and for all of us, it’s not too late to push back against woke racism. McWhorter shares scripts and encouragement with those trying to deprogram friends and family. And most importantly, he offers a road map to justice that actually will help, not hurt, Black America.

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive

At 28, Stephanie Land’s dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer quickly dissolved when a summer fling turned into an unplanned pregnancy. Before long, she found herself a single mother, scraping by as a housekeeper to make ends meet.

Maid is an emotionally raw, masterful account of Stephanie’s years spent in service to upper middle class America as a “nameless ghost” who quietly shared in her clients’ triumphs, tragedies, and deepest secrets. Driven to carve out a better life for her family, she cleaned by day and took online classes by night, writing relentlessly as she worked toward earning a college degree. She wrote of the true stories that weren’t being told: of living on food stamps and WIC coupons, of government programs that barely provided housing, of aloof government employees who shamed her for receiving what little assistance she did. Above all else, she wrote about pursuing the myth of the American Dream from the poverty line, all the while slashing through deep-rooted stigmas of the working poor.

Maid is Stephanie’s story, but it’s not hers alone. It is an inspiring testament to the courage, determination, and ultimate strength of the human spirit.

On Tyranny Graphic Edition: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

Timothy Snyder’s New York Times bestseller On Tyranny uses the darkest moments in twentieth-century history, from Nazism to Communism, to teach twenty lessons on resisting modern-day authoritarianism. Among the twenty include a warning to be aware of how symbols used today could affect tomorrow (“4: Take responsibility for the face of the world”), an urgent reminder to research everything for yourself and to the fullest extent (“11: Investigate”), a point to use personalized and individualized speech rather than clichéd phrases for the sake of mass appeal (“9: Be kind to our language”), and more.

In this graphic edition, Nora Krug draws from her highly inventive art style in Belonging—at once a graphic memoir, collage-style scrapbook, historical narrative, and trove of memories—to breathe new life, color, and power into Snyder’s riveting historical references, turning a quick-read pocket guide of lessons into a visually striking rumination. In a time of great uncertainty and instability, this edition of On Tyranny emphasizes the importance of being active, conscious, and deliberate participants in resistance.

The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War

Unlike the wars in Vietnam and Iraq, the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 had near-unanimous public support. At first, the goals were straightforward and clear: to defeat al-Qaeda and prevent a repeat of 9/11. Yet soon after the United States and its allies removed the Taliban from power, the mission veered off course and US officials lost sight of their original objectives.

Distracted by the war in Iraq, the US military became mired in an unwinnable guerrilla conflict in a country it did not understand. But no president wanted to admit failure, especially in a war that began as a just cause. Instead, the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations sent more and more troops to Afghanistan and repeatedly said they were making progress, even though they knew there was no realistic prospect for an outright victory.

Just as the Pentagon Papers changed the public’s understanding of Vietnam, The Afghanistan Papers contains startling revelation after revelation from people who played a direct role in the war, from leaders in the White House and the Pentagon to soldiers and aid workers on the front lines. In unvarnished language, they admit that the US government’s strategies were a mess, that the nation-building project was a colossal failure, and that drugs and corruption gained a stranglehold over their allies in the Afghan government. All told, the account is based on interviews with more than 1,000 people who knew that the US government was presenting a distorted, and sometimes e

The Reckoning: America s Trauma and Finding a Way to Heal

The Reckoning will examine America’s national trauma, rooted in our history but dramatically exacerbated by the impact of current events and the Trump administration’s corrupt and immoral policies. Our failure to acknowledge this trauma, let alone root it out, has allowed it to metastasize. Whether it manifests itself in rising levels of rage and hatred, or hopelessness and apathy, the stress of living in a country we no longer recognize has affected all of us. America is suffering from PTSD―a new leader alone cannot fix us.

An enormous amount of healing must be done to rebuild our faith in leadership, and our hope for this nation. It starts with The Reckoning.

Peril

The transition from President Donald J. Trump to President Joseph R. Biden Jr. stands as one of the most dangerous periods in American history.

But as # 1 internationally bestselling author Bob Woodward and acclaimed reporter Robert Costa reveal for the first time, it was far more than just a domestic political crisis.

Woodward and Costa interviewed more than 200 people at the center of the turmoil, resulting in more than 6,000 pages of transcripts—and a spellbinding and definitive portrait of a nation on the brink.

This classic study of Washington takes readers deep inside the Trump White House, the Biden White House, the 2020 campaign, and the Pentagon and Congress, with vivid, eyewitness accounts of what really happened.

Peril is supplemented throughout with never-before-seen material from secret orders, transcripts of confidential calls, diaries, emails, meeting notes and other personal and government records, making for an unparalleled history.

It is also the first inside look at Biden’s presidency as he faces the challenges of a lifetime: the continuing deadly pandemic and millions of Americans facing soul-crushing economic pain, all the while navigating a bitter and disabling partisan divide, a world rife with threats, and the hovering, dark shadow of the former president.

“We have much to do in this winter of peril,” Biden declared at his inauguration, an event marked by a nerve-wracking security alert and the threat of domestic terrorism.

Peril is the extraord

The Authoritarian Moment: How the Left Weaponized America’s Institutions Against Dissent

According to the establishment media, the intelligentsia, and our political chattering class, the greatest threat to American freedom lies in right-wing authoritarianism. We’ve heard that some 75 million Americans who voted for Donald Trump represent the rise of American fascism; that conservatives have allowed authoritarianism to bloom in their midst, creating a grave danger for the republic.

But what if the true authoritarian threat to America doesn’t come from the political right, but from the supposedly anti-fascist left?

There are certainly totalitarians on the political right. But statistically, they represent a fringe movement with little institutional clout. The authoritarian left, meanwhile, is ascendant in nearly every area of American life. A small number of leftists—college-educated, coastal, and uncompromising—have not just taken over the Democratic Party but our corporations, our universities, our scientific establishment, our cultural institutions. And they have used their newfound power to silence their opposition.

The authoritarian Left is aggressively insistent that everyone must conform to its values, demanding submission and conformity. The dogmatic Left is obsessed with putting people in categories and changing human nature. Everyone who opposes it must be destroyed.

Ben Shapiro looks at everything from pop culture to the Frankfurt school, social media to the Founding Fathers, to explain the origins of our turn to tyranny, and why so many seem blind t

Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency

We all witnessed some of the most shocking and confounding political events of our lifetime:
the careening last stage of Donald J. Trump’s reelection campaign, the president’s audacious
election challenge, the harrowing mayhem of January 6, the buffoonery of the second impeachment trial. But what was really going on in the inner sanctum of the White House during these calamitous events? What did the president and his dwindling cadre of loyalists actually believe? And what were they planning?

Michael Wolff pulled back the curtain on the Trump presidency with his #1 bestselling blockbuster Fire and Fury. Now, in Landslide, he closes the door on the presidency with a final, astonishingly candid account.

Wolff embedded himself in the White House in 2017 and gave us a vivid picture of the chaos that had descended on Washington. Almost four years later, Wolff finds the Oval Office even more chaotic and bizarre, a kind of Star Wars bar scene. At all times of the day, Trump, behind the Resolute desk, is surrounded by schemers and unqualified sycophants who spoon-feed him the “alternative facts” he hungers to hear—about COVID-19, Black Lives Matter protests, and, most of all, his chance of winning reelection. Once again, Wolff has gotten top-level access and takes us front row as Trump’s circle of plotters whittles down to the most enabling and the president reaches beyond the bounds of democracy as he entertains the idea of martial law and balks at calling off the insurrectionist m

I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year

The true story of what took place in Donald Trump’s White House during a disastrous 2020 has never before been told in full. What was really going on around the president, as the government failed to contain the coronavirus and over half a million Americans perished? Who was influencing Trump after he refused to concede an election he had clearly lost and spread lies about election fraud? To answer these questions, Phil Rucker and Carol Leonnig reveal a dysfunctional and bumbling presidency’s inner workings in unprecedented, stunning detail.

Focused on Trump and the key players around him—the doctors, generals, senior advisers, and Trump family members— Rucker and Leonnig provide a forensic account of the most devastating year in a presidency like no other. Their sources were in the room as time and time again Trump put his personal gain ahead of the good of the country. These witnesses to history tell the story of him longing to deploy the military to the streets of American cities to crush the protest movement in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, all to bolster his image of strength ahead of the election. These sources saw firsthand his refusal to take the threat of the coronavirus seriously—even to the point of allowing himself and those around him to be infected. This is a story of a nation sabotaged—economically, medically, and politically—by its own leader, culminating with a groundbreaking, minute-by-minute account of exactly what went on in the Capitol build

How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question

From the creator of The Good Place and the cocreator of Parks and Recreation, a hilarious, thought-provoking guide to living an ethical life, drawing on 2,400 years of deep thinking from around the world.

Most people think of themselves as “good,” but it’s not always easy to determine what’s “good” or “bad”—especially in a world filled with complicated choices and pitfalls and booby traps and bad advice. Fortunately, many smart philosophers have been pondering this conundrum for millennia and they have guidance for us. With bright wit and deep insight, How to Be Perfect explains concepts like deontology, utilitarianism, existentialism, ubuntu, and more so we can sound cool at parties and become better people.

Schur starts off with easy ethical questions like “Should I punch my friend in the face for no reason?” (No.) and works his way up to the most complex moral issues we all face. Such as: Can I still enjoy great art if it was created by terrible people? How much money should I give to charity? Why bother being good at all when there are no consequences for being bad? And much more. By the time the book is done, we’ll know exactly how to act in every conceivable situation, so as to produce a verifiably maximal amount of moral good. We will be perfect, and all our friends will be jealous. OK, not quite. Instead, we’ll gain fresh, funny, inspiring wisdom on the toughest issues we face every day.

How I Saved the World

At one of the most chaotic periods in American history, in a time of national distrust and despair, one tanned TV host holds the key to the future.

In How I Saved the World, Jesse Watters takes readers on a tour of his life from basement-dwelling Fox minion to pampered champion of right-thinking Americans. He has divined great truths about the nature of our country while stumbling across beaches asking oblivious college students basic political questions and while stumbling out of Air Force One with the President.

Interspersed are his thoughtful suggestions for overcoming left-wing radicalism, maintaining American democracy, moving beyond aging hippies (like his long-suffering, loving parents), saving the world from social justice warriors and the deep state—all while smirking his way through life in only the nicest way.

Watters outlines the stark choice ahead of us between all-American hamburgers and leftist Green New Deal breadlines (okay, maybe that one is a no-brainer) and shows the way for order and fairness to be restored. A manifesto and a call-to-arms from a man for all seasons, How I Saved the World is a hilarious, enlightening, entertaining book with a reasonable chance of winning a Nobel Prize in every category, even chemistry.

All About Love: New Visions

“The word ‘love’ is most often defined as a noun, yet we would all love better if we used it as a verb,” writes bell hooks as she comes out fighting and on fire in All About Love. Here, at her most provocative and intensely personal, renowned scholar, cultural critic and feminist bell hooks offers a proactive new ethic for a society bereft with lovelessness–not the lack of romance, but the lack of care, compassion, and unity. People are divided, she declares, by society’s failure to provide a model for learning to love.

As bell hooks uses her incisive mind to explore the question “What is love?” her answers strike at both the mind and heart. Razing the cultural paradigm that the ideal love is infused with sex and desire, she provides a new path to love that is sacred, redemptive, and healing for individuals and for a nation. The Utne Reader declared bell hooks one of the “100 Visionaries Who Can Change Your Life.” All About Love is a powerful, timely affirmation of just how profoundly her revelations can change hearts and minds for the better.

American Marxism

In 2009, Mark R. Levin galvanized conservatives with his unforgettable manifesto Liberty and Tyranny, by providing a philosophical, historical, and practical framework for halting the liberal assault on Constitution-based values. That book was about standing at the precipice of progressivism’s threat to our freedom and now, over a decade later, we’re fully over that precipice and paying the price.

In American Marxism, Levin explains how the core elements of Marxist ideology are now pervasive in American society and culture—from our schools, the press, and corporations, to Hollywood, the Democratic Party, and the Biden presidency—and how it is often cloaked in deceptive labels like “progressivism,” “democratic socialism,” “social activism,” and more. With his characteristic trenchant analysis, Levin digs into the psychology and tactics of these movements, the widespread brainwashing of students, the anti-American purposes of Critical Race Theory and the Green New Deal, and the escalation of repression and censorship to silence opposing voices and enforce conformity. Levin exposes many of the institutions, intellectuals, scholars, and activists who are leading this revolution, and provides us with some answers and ideas on how to confront them.

As Levin writes: “The counter-revolution to the American Revolution is in full force. And it can no longer be dismissed or ignored for it is devouring our society and culture, swirling around our everyday lives, and ubiquitous in our p

CHRISTIAN ORTHODOX POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY, A THEOLOGICAL APPROACH IN PROPOSALS OF POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

This book attempts to construct a political philosophy based on Christian Orthodox Theology. This philosophy cannot be based on ideology because in Orthodoxy truth is, and emanates from, the person-in-communion. Truth is not an idea but a Person, and this Person is Christ. A person derives existence, not from his own self, but from his relationship and communion with God and neighbor. As a disciple of Christ, the person gives and sacrifices himself, and in so doing, he does not lose himself but finds his true self. Hence a Christian Orthodox political philosophy must not be an “idea-ology” but a “Person-ology.” It should strive to provide guidance to the person in society and, at the same time, to be guided by the person in society, to be subject to, and be immersed in, the communion of persons and, in so doing, attain truth and authenticity.

Speechless: Controlling Words, Controlling Minds

A New Strategy: We Win, They Lose

The Culture War is over, and the culture lost.

The Left’s assault on liberty, virtue, decency, the Republic of the Founders, and Western civilization has succeeded.

You can no longer keep your social media account—or your job—and acknowledge truths such as: Washington, Jefferson, and Columbus were great men. Schools and libraries should not coach children in sexual deviance. Men don’t have uteruses.

How did we get to this point?

Michael Knowles of The Daily Wire exposes and diagnosis the losing strategy we have fallen for and shows how we can change course—and start winning.

In the groundbreaking Speechless: Controlling Words, Controlling Minds Knowles reveals:
How the “free speech absolutists” gave away the store
The First Amendment does not require a value-neutral public square
How the Communists figured out that their revolution could never succeed as long as the common man was attached to his own culture
Where political correctness came from
How, comply or resist, political correctness is a win-win game for the bad guys
Why taking our stand on “freedom of speech” helps put atheism, decadence, and nonsense on the same plane with faith, virtue, and reality
The real question: Will we shut down drag queen story hour, or cancel Abraham Lincoln?
For 170 years the First Amendment was compatible with prayer in public school
How the atheists got the Warren Court to rule their way
To this day, there’s a First Amendment exception for obscenity