Book Pairings: Read What the Other Side Has to Say
It has long been my hobby to read sources from a variety of viewpoints on any issue of social importance. This leads to me being frustrated with people who have only read books from one side and who think that they understand an issue. To make it easier for people to get exposure to opposing arguments, I decided to put together a list of some of the top books from either side of the political divide on a variety of issues. The list is built from my own reading and from recommendations of others.
Books on the left side are from a more left-wing/progressive viewpoint. Books on the right side are from right-wing/conservative/traditionalist perspective. Books in the middle are either in the middle or make points that both sides will either like or dislike.
In general, I include a book either because 1) I think it contains substantial truths that are essential for understanding an issue (even if I ultimately disagree with the author's interpretation) 2) it was historically influential or 3) it is the most compelling articulation of a widely held viewpoint. There are books here that might strike the reader as sophistic or even vile. There are books that strike me that way. But I include them because many good people either now in the past were swayed by the arguments, and only by understanding the arguments can you understand why people believed them, and how you can avoid good people joining the wrong side in the future. But also — once you read books on both sides you may change your mind about who exactly was the vile sophist. We often have a vision of bad people being cartoon evil like Voldemort or Darth Vader. But that is not the case. And I think having an inaccurate 'cartoon villain' version of past bad people lessons our ability to see and void potential evil in the future.
The Rise and Fall of CivilizationsWhy Nation's Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Povertyby Daron Acemoglu and James RobinsonNations with extractive, exclusive institutions fail, while those with inclusive institutions succeed.Hive Mind: How Your Nation’s IQ Matters So Much More Than Your OwnGarett JonesNations succeed because of the average intelligence of the population.Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human SocietiesJared DiamondThe European and Asian civilizations beat out African and American civilizations because of the geography of the continents. Eurasia favored extensive trade and the evolution of a diverse set of domesticable animals and crops.Understanding Human History:
An analysis including the effects of geography and differential evolutionMichael HartEuropean and Northern Asian peoples have dominated because the geographic and climatic conditions selected for populations that had higher IQ and were better at organized, technological violence.Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or SucceedJared DiamondCivilizations collapse when they exploit land and natural resources beyond the point of sustainability.Sex and CultureJ.D. UnwinCivilizations during their expansion phase have strict sexual morality and patriarchy. As morals loosen, the civilization falls.War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of EmpiresPeter TurchinDuring the rising phase, the elite have high 'Asabiyyah', a sense of unity and group consciousness. After enemies have been defeated, the elite fractures, turns on itself, until ultimately a new power with more 'Asabiyyah' arrives and conquers.The Fates of Nations: A Biological Theory of HistoryPaul A. ColinvauxCivilizations expand when, like lemmings, there are coincidental periods of massive over reproduction. They fall because the aristocratic classes, who must spend more on each child's upbringing, decide to have fun instead of raising children.Morality and Group ConflictDiscourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality Among MenJean-Jacques RousseauPrimitive man lived in a state of vigor and equality. The successive developments of farming, differing career paths, property, and finally government, all generated inequality and servility.Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human ViolenceDale Peterson and Richard WranghamMan has a violent nature because violence works from an evolutionary perspective. Men have been committing organized violence to steal the land and females of other men since the time that we were apes. Only morality and government can curb violence.UtilitarianismJohn Stuart MillBy what general principle do we determine which actions are right and which are wrong? The principle of the greatest happiness for the greatest number is the only defensible principle.After VirtueAlasdair MacIntyreThe Enlightenment efforts to base morality on rational terms were a dismal failure. Such efforts resolved no disputes, ended in arbitrary judgements, and turned our thinking about morality into a incoherent mélange of different ideas. We could improve things by rebooting our thinking based on the virtue ethics of Aristotle.Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino BoysVictor M. RiosYoung men are caught in a spiral of punishment and incarceration as they are harassed, profiled, watched, and disciplined at young ages, even before they had committed any crimes, eventually leading many of them to fulfill the destiny expected of them.Crime and Human Nature: The Definitive Study of the Causes of CrimeJames Q. Wilson and Richard J. HerrnsteinCrime occurs at the intersection of a person's nature and the perceived opportunity to gain. Traits such as being young, male, impulsive, of lower intelligence, cause a person to be more likely to commit crime. Families and societies that punish crime, that condition children to obey rules, will have less crime.The Selfish GeneRichard DawkinsA classic and essential read in the field of evolutionary psychology. This book is not about the evolution of selfishness. Rather, it is about how the logic of natural selection for single genes can influence the behavior of all types of animals -- including humans. The instinct to cooperate or defect, fight or flee, cry or be silent, can all be understood better by examining selective pressures.Philosophy of GovernmentFederalist PapersAlexander Hamilton, James Madison, John JayThe political design of the Constitution will ensure checks and balances, and that no one faction can be dominant.Popular GovernmentHenry Sumner MaineAttempts to make popular government work via Constitutions and representative government have utterly failed due to the rise of the political party.The Origins of TotalitarianismHannah ArendtTotalitarian movements are fundamentally different from autocratic regimes insofar as autocratic regimes seek only to gain absolute political power and to outlaw opposition, while totalitarian regimes seek to dominate every aspect of everyone's life as a prelude to world domination. Arendt discusses the use of front organizations, fake governmental agencies, and esoteric doctrines as a means of concealing the radical nature of totalitarian aims from the non-totalitarian world. A final section added to the second edition of the book in 1958 suggests that individual isolation and loneliness are preconditions for totalitarian domination.Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and MarcuseErik von Kuehnelt-LeddihnThere is a fundamental conflict between democracy and liberty. Democracy and leftism, the ideologies of equality, must ultimately lead to eradication of distinctions, the leveling of the population, and the atrocities of totalitarian rule. The rise of communism and Nazism can both be traced to the elimination of the old monarchies and the rise of mass suffrage, anti-individualist politics.The Conscience of a LiberalPaul KrugmanAmerica's great middle class society was created by the policies of the Roosevelt administration, and have been eroded by conservative policies to What it Means to be a LibertarianCharles MurrayMost improvements in safety and quality of life came before government interventions. Federal government regulation actually stalls advancement, creates perverse incentives, and turns sectors of our economy into stagnant bureaucracies. The traditional American system of helping each other out through community organization has disappeared as we instead depend on Washington bureaucracies for everything.Freedom’s Law: The Moral Reading of the American ConstitutionRonald DworkinThe Constitution gives rights in vague, abstract terms. To make those rights apply to the complex social issues of today, judges must interpret the Constitution through the moral principles embodied in the Constitution, principles of liberty, equality, and dignity.Government by JudiciaryRaoul BergerIf interpretation of the Constitution is not fixed when the text is ratified, then we really have a continuing Constitutional convention in which judges can alter the constitution arbitrarily. And indeed, that is what happened. The Supreme Court has read into the Constitution completely novel interpretations of the 14th Amendment, meaning we are no longer ruled by Congress or by law but based on the ideology of our judges.Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic ConstitutionStephen BreyerJustices should interpret the Constitution by looking broadly at a law's purpose and consequences rather than relying on a rigid overarching theory of judicial interpretation. The goal is to promote "active liberty", that is promoting participation by citizens in the processes of government.A Matter of InterpretationAntonin ScaliaLaws mean what they actually say, not what legislators intended them to say but did not write into the law's text. Government by unexpressed intent is simply tyranny. The notion of a "living constitution" has restricted the freedoms of Americans, not expanded them.The Dream of Enlightenment: The Rise of Modern PhilosophyAnthony GottliebWith chapters focusing on Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Pierre Bayle, Leibniz, Hume, Rousseau, and Voltaire—and many walk-on parts—The Dream of Enlightenment creates a sweeping account of what the Enlightenment amounted to, and why we are still in its debt.Holy Madness: Romantics, Patriots and Revolutionaries, 1776-1871Adam Zamoyski Post-Enlightenment men and women turned to the ecstasies of patriotism and revolution to fill the void left by belief in God, hoping to construct a paradise on Earth rather than wait for one in heaven. The result was a century of insane and bloody revolutions.Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass MediaEdward S. Herman and Noam ChomskyContrary to the popular conception of members of the press as hard-bitten realists doggedly pursuing unpopular truths, Herman and Chomsky prove conclusively that the free-market economics model of media leads inevitably to normative and narrow reporting.Chronicles of Wasted TimeMalcolm MuggeridgeThe memoirs of a journalist who spent the years 1920 to 1945 covering the biggest tumults of the time: Stalin's Russia, the rise of Nazi Germany, and World War II. While in Soviet Russia, he saw his fellow journalists spread lies out of the blindness of ideology.Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress -- and a Plan to Stop ItLawrence LessigCongressmen now see fundraising as their primary job, legislating a distant second. The result is a government run by monied interests, and a populace that no longer trusts in our system.Government's End: Why Washington Stopped WorkingJon RauchAmerican democracy suffers from a tragedy of the commons. It is rational for consumer groups, industries, policy groups, and all manner of organized interests, from teachers unions to multinationals to the AARP, to lobby the government to funnel benefits their way. When everyone does this, we end up with net losses as more is lost through inefficient programs than is gained in benefits to the particular interests. But since the losses are collectivized, while the benefits concentrated, no one group has the incentive to fix the problem.On LibertyJohn Stuart MillLiberty can be rooted in a simple ethical principle: coercion can only be used to defend oneself and or defend others from harm.Liberty, Equality, FraternityJames Fitzjames StephenOnly the constraints of morality and law make liberty possible and attempts to impose unlimited freedom, material equality, and an indiscriminate love of humanity will lead inevitably to coercion and tyranny.Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and StatesAlbert O. HirschmanCustomers can respond to poor products by either "voice" (agitating change from within) or "exit" (using another firm's services). Loyalty is used to retard exit while allowing voice to work. The interplay of the three concepts turns out to illuminate a wide range of economic, social, and political phenomena.Micromotives and MacrobehaviorThomas C. SchellingStories of how small and seemingly meaningless decisions and actions by individuals often lead to significant unintended consequences for a large group.Anatomy of a RevolutionCrane BrintonRevolutions arise not out of oppression, but when a rising more powerful class has acquired latent power greater than its formal power.Revolution & DemocracyWretched of the EarthFrantz Fanon The Wretched of the Earth is a brilliant analysis of the psychology of the colonized and their path to liberation. Bearing singular insight into the rage and frustration of colonized peoples, and the role of violence in effecting historical change, the book incisively attacks the twin perils of postindependence colonial politics: the disenfranchisement of the masses by the elites on the one hand, and intertribal and interfaith animosities on the other. Robbery Under LawEvelyn WaughA journalists account of two months in Mexico, documenting how the revolutionary socialist regime had lead only to mass robbery, violence, and destruction of the traditional way of life.Cry, the Beloved CountryAlan PatonThe deeply moving story of the South African Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son, Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injusticeHow Long Will South Africa Survive?: The Looming CrisisR.W. Johnson"Well-written and well argued, his book is at its best describing the eye-watering corruption, nepotism and gang-violence that seem to link powerful officials in Zuma's home province of KwaZulu-Natal to the wider ANC. ... That South Africa's black leaders appear to have fulfilled the worst predictions of their white supremacist predecessors makes uncomfortable reading. What surprises Johnson is how quickly they managed to do it." -- The TimesWorld on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global InstabilityAmy ChuaIn countries around the globe, free markets have concentrated starkly disproportionate wealth in the hands of a resented ethnic minority. These “market-dominant minorities” – Chinese in Southeast Asia, Croatians in the former Yugoslavia, whites in Latin America and South Africa, Indians in East Africa, Lebanese in West Africa, Jews in post-communist Russia – become objects of violent hatred. At the same time, democracy empowers the impoverished majority, unleashing ethnic demagoguery, confiscation, and sometimes genocidal revenge.OrientalismEdward SaidIn this wide-ranging, intellectually vigorous study, Said traces the origins of "orientalism" to the centuries-long period during which Europe dominated the Middle and Near East and, from its position of power, defined "the orient" simply as "other than" the occident. This entrenched view continues to dominate western ideas and, because it does not allow the East to represent itself, prevents true understanding.Chatham House Version And Other Middle Eastern StudiesElie KedourieA history of Britain's foibles in the Middle East, in twelve separate essays. Khedourie skewers Toynbee's simplistic orientalist view that western imperialism was solely responsible for the world's ills. Toynbee regarded the Arabs as a linguistic nation held back by western interference. In contrast Khedourie, born in Iraq, demonstrate that the differences were highly local which precluded large scale unification. The Arab elites of the day were no mere colonial subjects but active participants who were as adept at playing the political game against the British as they were against adversaries from their own communities.Gandhi: A LifeYogesh ChadhaThe definitive account of one of history's greatest men.Freedom at MidnightLarry Collins and Dominique LapierreA balanced look at the events surrounding India's independence, without the hagiography, and without white-washing the violence and misgovernment that occurred when independence came.Doing Business With The Dictators: A Political History of United Fruit In GuatemalaPaul J. DosalHow the United Fruit Company built up a profitable corporation in a country whose political system was known to be corrupt. United Fruit acquired, defended, and exploited its Guatemalan properties by collaborating with successive authoritarian regimes.GuatemalaErna FergussonA traveler's account of Guatemala during the time when United Fruit ran the country, showing an orderly society rich in local culture.Chief of Station Congo: Fighting the Cold War in a Hot ZoneLawrence DevlinAn entertaining and fascinating memoir of CIA station chief in the Congo trying to make the best of an insane political situation in post-Colonial Congo. Devlin had to balance countering Soviet influence, maintaining relationships with reckless leaders, and trying to stabilize a farcical political system, all with a small staff and tiny budget.King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial AfricaAdam HochschildIn the 1880s, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium seized for himself the vast and mostly unexplored territory surrounding the Congo River. Carrying out a genocidal plundering of the Congo, he looted its rubber, brutalized its people, and ultimately slashed its population by ten million--all the while shrewdly cultivating his reputation as a great humanitarian.The Congo Independent State: A Report on a Voyage of InquiryWilliam Geoffrey Bouchard de MontmorencyA British aristocrat visits the Congo in 1905 to determine if the missionary reports of atrocities committed by the Belgians are true. He reports that the reports are either false or exaggerated, with a few of the worst abuses have been curbed once they were discovered, and that the Belgians are mostly working to bring order and civilization to the Congo.The Old Regime and the French RevolutionAlexis de TocquevilleThe book The Old Regime and the Revolution analyzes French society before the French Revolution and investigates the reasons to cause the Revolution. Tocqueville in the book continued developing his theory of continuity. He argued that although the French tried to build a government to be different from the old regime, they eventually circulated back to a powerful central government.
Society & Culture
Men, Women and FamilyLean In: Women, Work, and the Will to LeadSheryl SandbergCombining personal anecdotes with hard data, the Facebook COO describes how women's own actions limit their ability to succeed in the workplace. She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment, and demonstrates how men can benefit by supporting women both in the workplace and at home.A Theory of Male DominanceSteven GoldbergMales rule in all societies known to history or anthropology, for reasons arising from innate physiology, a brute fact that can never be conjured away by tinkering with social institutions.Feminism is for Everyone: Passionate PoliticsBell HooksIn this short, accessible primer, Bell Hooks explores the nature of feminism and its positive promise to eliminate sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.The Rational MaleRollo TomassiThe Rational Male is a rational and pragmatic approach to intergender dynamics and the social and psychological underpinnings of intergender relations.How to Make Anyone Fall in Love with YouLeil LowndesLowndes offers 85 techniques for "Hunters and Huntresses" to capture their "Quarry." Much of what the book offers is common sense--the power of eye contact and compliments--but it's presented in a new way and with such detail that it seems that it can't help but work.Models: Attract Women Through HonestyMark MansonModels is the first book ever written on seduction as an emotional process rather than a logical one, a process of connecting with women rather than impressing them. It's the most mature and honest guide on how a man can attract women without faking behavior, without lying and without emulating others. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that LastsGary ChapmanUnhappiness in marriage often has a simple root cause: we speak different love languages, believes Dr. Gary Chapman. While working as a marriage counselor for more than 30 years, he identified five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.The Married Man Sex Life Primer 2011Athol KayThe opening covers the underlying ancient “hard-wired” biological and modern social reasons women find men attractive. Athol pulls no punches here and the sexual motivations of women are laid bare. The second part of the book contains The Male Action Plan, which charges the husband with the task of becoming a better, sexier man and thereby leveraging his increased attractiveness for a better sex life with his wife.Feminine MystiqueBetty FriedanWriting in a time when the average woman first married in her teens and 60 percent of women students dropped out of college to marry, Betty Friedan captured the frustrations and thwarted ambitions of a generation and showed women how they could reclaim their lives.Sexual Utopia in Power: The Feminist Revolt Against CivilizationF. Roger DevlinIn Sexual Utopia in Power, F. Roger Devlin explores today’s sexual dystopia, with its loose morals and confused sexual roles; its soaring rates of divorce, celibacy, and childlessness; and the increasingly arbitrary and punitive attempts to regulate and police it. Devlin shows that the breakdown of monogamy results in promiscuity for the few, loneliness for the majority, and unhappiness for all.On Women's Right to VoteSusan B. AnthonyOn Women's Right to VoteSusan Fenimore CooperReligionFollowing Muhammad: Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary WorldCarl W. ErnstFraming his argument in terms of religious studies, Ernst describes how Protestant definitions of religion and anti-Muslim prejudice have affected views of Islam in Europe and America. He also covers the contemporary importance of Islam in both its traditional settings and its new locations and provides a context for understanding extremist movements like fundamentalism.The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-MuslimsAndrew G. Bostom and Ibn WarraqThis book reveals how, for well over a millennium and across three continents - Asia, Africa, and Europe - non-Muslims who were vanquished by jihad wars became forced tributaries (called dhimmi in Arabic) in lieu of being slain. Under the dhimmi religious caste system, non-Muslims were subjected to legal and financial oppression, as well as social isolation. Finally, the book examines how jihad war, as a permanent and uniquely Islamic institution, ultimately regulates the relations of Muslims with non-Muslims to this day.God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons EverythingChristopher HitchensWith a close and studied reading of the major religious texts, Christopher Hitchens documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos. With eloquent clarity, Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and reason, in which hell is replaced by the Hubble Telescope's awesome view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry of the double helix.God's Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern ScienceJames Hannamwithout the work of medieval scholars there could have been no Galileo, no Newton and no Scientific Revolution. In "God's Philosophers", James Hannam debunks many of the myths about the Middle Ages, showing that medieval people did not think the earth is flat, nor did Columbus 'prove' that it is a sphere; the Inquisition burnt nobody for their science nor was Copernicus afraid of persecution; no Pope tried to ban human dissection or the number zero. "God's Philosophers" is a celebration of the forgotten scientific achievements of the Middle Ages - advances which were often made thanks to, rather than in spite of, the influence of Christianity and Islam.God and the Founders: Madison, Washington, and JeffersonVincent Phillip MuñozDid the Founding Fathers intend to build a 'wall of separation' between church and state? Are public Ten Commandments displays or the phrase 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance consistent with the Founders' understandings of religious freedom? In God and the Founders, Dr Vincent Phillip Muñoz answers these questions by providing comprehensive interpretations of James Madison, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson.Before Religion: A History of a Modern ConceptBrent Nongbri Brent Nongbri shows that the idea of religion as a sphere of life distinct from politics, economics, or science is a recent development in European history—a development that has been projected outward in space and backward in time with the result that religion now appears to be a natural and necessary part of our world. Examining a wide array of ancient writings, Nongbri demonstrates that in antiquity, there was no conceptual arena that could be designated as “religious” as opposed to “secular.”
Economics & Political EconomyWere You Born on the Wrong Continent?: How the European Model Can Help You Get a LifeThomas GeogheganA labor lawyer takes a break from work to visit five European countries and learn about European "socialism" firsthand. Social democracy may let us live nicer lives; it also may be the only way to be globally competitive. This wry, timely book helps us understand why the European model, contrary to popular neoliberal wisdom, may thrive well into the twenty-first century without compromising its citizens' ease of living—and be the best example for the United States to follow.Capitalism and FreedomMilton FriedmanThe free man will ask neither what his country can do for him nor what he can do for his country. He will ask rather “What can I and my compatriots do through government” to help us discharge our individual responsibilities, to achieve our several goals and purposes, and above all, to protect our freedom? And he will accompany this question with another: How can we keep the government we create from becoming a Frankenstein that will destroy the very freedom we establish it to protect? Freedom is a rare and delicate plant. Our minds tell us, and history confirms, that the great threat to freedom is the concentration of power.The Communist ManifestoKarl MarxThere is still a compulsive quality to its prose as it provides insight after insight into the society in which we live, where it comes from and where its going to. It is still able to explain, as mainstream economists and sociologists cannot, today's world of recurrent wars and repeated economic crisis, of hunger for hundreds of millions on the one hand and 'overproduction' on the other.Individualism and Economic OrderFriedrich A. HayekVon Mises demonstrated in 1920 that a socialist economy actually cannot work. For economic calculations to be possible, one has to have prices. But with a command economy, there are no prices. This is called the "socialist calculation debate". Hayek formulated this a bit differently, but the argument is the same. Without a market economy, no one can know much at all what to do. You find the three main papers by Hayek in "Individualism and Economic Order."No One Makes You Shop at Wal-Mart: The Surprising Deceptions of Individual ChoiceTom SleeTom Slee unpacks the implications of our fervent belief in the power of choice. Pointing out that individual choice has become the lynchpin of a neoconservative corporate ideology he calls MarketThink, he urges us to re-examine our assumptions. Slee makes use of game theory to argue that individual choice is not inherently bad. Nor is it the societal fix-all that our corporations and governments claim it is.Economics in One LessonHenry HazlittThis book is an analysis of economic fallacies that are at last so prevalent that they have almost become a new orthodoxy. There is not a major government in the world at this moment, however, whose economic policies are not influenced if they are not almost wholly determined by acceptance of some of these fallacies. Perhaps the shortest and surest way to an understanding of economics is through a dissection of such errors, and particularly of the central error from which they stem. That is the assumption of this volume and of its somewhat ambitious and belligerent title.Debunking Economics: The Naked Emperor Dethroned?Steve KeenDebunking Economics exposes what many non-economists may have suspected and a minority of economists have long known: that economic theory is not only unpalatable, but also plain wrong.Basic EconomicsThomas SowellDrawing on lively examples from around the world and from centuries of history, Sowell explains basic economic principles for the general public in plain English.Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and HappinessRichard Thaler and Cass Sunstein Drawing on decades of research in the fields of behavioral science and economics, authors Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein offer a new perspective on preventing the countless mistakes we make—ill-advised personal investments, consumption of unhealthy foods, neglect of our natural resources—and show us how sensible “choice architecture” can successfully nudge people toward the best decisions.Bootleggers and Baptists: How Economic Forces and Moral Persuasion Interact to Shape Regulatory PoliticsAdam Smith and Bruce YandleMoney and morality are often combined in politics to produce arbitrary regulations benefiting cronies, while constraining productive economic activities by the general public. Yandle’s theory asserts that regulatory “bootleggers” are parties taking political action in pursuit of economic gain. Regulatory “Baptists” are parties participating in group action driven by an avowed higher moral purpose or desire to serve the public interest.The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are (Still) Going BrokeElizabeth WarrenAstonishingly, sending mothers to work has made families more vulnerable than ever before. Today's two-income family earns 75% more money than its single-income counterpart of a generation ago, but actually has less discretionary income once their fixed monthly bills are paid. A ferocious bidding war for housing and education that has quietly engulfed America's suburbs.Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have FailedJames C. ScottCompulsory ujamaa villages in Tanzania, collectivization in Russia, Le Corbusier’s urban planning theory realized in Brasilia, the Great Leap Forward in China, agricultural "modernization" in the Tropics—the twentieth century has been racked by grand utopian schemes that have inadvertently brought death and disruption to millions. Why do well-intentioned plans for improving the human condition go tragically awry?National System of Political EconomyFriedrich ListPublished in the 1840's, it comprehensively compares national systems which promote industrial and agricultural development through tariffs and government support, notably the German and American systems, with the British colonial system of unrestricted Free Trade. It is a powerful indictment of the underlying motives and effects of the colonial system.The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea
John MicklethwaitThe Company fills a hole we didn’t know existed, revealing that we cannot make sense of the past four hundred years until we place that seemingly humble Victorian innovation, the joint-stock company, in the center of the frame. With their trademark authority and wit, Economist editors John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge reveal the company to be one of history’s great catalysts, for good and for ill, a mighty engine for sucking in, recombining, and pumping out money, goods, people, and culture to every corner of the globe.Race, Inequality, and the GhettoThe Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to ManhoodTa-Nehisi CoatesThe memoir of growing up in black Baltimore. Coate's father was an enigmatic god to his sons: a Vietnam vet who rolled with the Black Panthers, an old-school disciplinarian and new-age believer in free love, an autodidact who launched a publishing company in his basement dedicated to telling the true history of African civilization. But he was able to carry his sons across the shoals of inner-city adolescence—and through the collapsing civilization of Baltimore in the Age of Crack—and into the safe arms of Howard University, where he worked so his children could attend for free.Philly War Zone: Growing Up in a Racial BattlegroundKevin PurcellThe memoir of a white youth growing up in a West Philadelphia neighborhood that was changing from Irish-Catholic to African-American. He chronicles how the neighborhood went from a safe, idyllic place to a battle zone with gang fights, turf wars, and murders.Between the World and MeTa-Nehisi CoatesTa-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion.Devil's Night: And Other True Tales of DetroitZe'ev ChafetsOn Devil’s Night, the night before Halloween, some citizens of Detroit try to burn down their neighborhoods for an international audience of fire buffs. This gripping and often heartbreaking tour of the “Murder Capital of America” often seems lit by those same fires. But as a native Detroiter, Ze’ev Chafets also shows us the city beneath the crime statistics—its ecstatic storefront churches; its fearful and embittered white suburbs; its cops and criminals; and the new breed of black officials who are determined to keep Detroit running in the midst of appalling dangers and indifference.The New Jim CrowMichelle AlexanderWe have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control—relegating millions to a permanent second-class status—even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness.The Rise and Fall of Violent Crime in AmericaBarry LatzerAfter 1965, crime rose to such levels that it frightened virtually all Americans and prompted significant alterations in everyday behaviors and even lifestyles. The risk of being mugged was a concern when Americans chose places to live and schools for their children, selected commuter routes to work, and planned their leisure activities. In some locales, people were afraid to leave their dwellings at any time, day or night, even to go to the market. In the worst of the post-1960s crime wave, Americans spent part of each day literally looking back over their shoulders.Black Like MeJohn Howard GriffinIn November 1959 white Dallas native John Howard Griffin visited a New Orleans dermatologist and began the process of becoming a black man. His book about his experiences traveling the deep South in disguise, Black Like Me, sent shock waves through the country when it was first published a little more than 50 years ago.Why Race MattersMichael LevinAfter the furor that arose following the publication of the Bell Curve, Charles Murray pointed out to his critics that he and Richard Herrnstein could have made a much stronger case regarding the black-white IQ gap than they did, but they restricted their analysis to only the most mainstream science on the topic. "Why Race Matters" by Michael Levin is that much stronger case. Like Herrnstein and Murray, Levin also relies on mainstream literature regarding the black-white IQ gap, but expands on it, and he covers race differences other than IQ, e.g. time preference and impulse control. Ultimately, racial disparities in incarceration and income are not due to white racism, but due to these average differences in characteristics.The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit Once America's "arsenal of democracy," Detroit is now the symbol of the American urban crisis. In this reappraisal of America’s racial and economic inequalities, Thomas Sugrue asks why Detroit and other industrial cities have become the sites of persistent racialized poverty. He challenges the conventional wisdom that urban decline is the product of the social programs and racial fissures of the 1960s. Weaving together the history of workplaces, unions, civil rights groups, political organizations, and real estate agencies, Sugrue finds the roots of today’s urban poverty in a hidden history of racial violence, discrimination, and deindustrialization that reshaped the American urban landscape after World War II.What caused the dramatic rise of crime and blight in American cities from 1950 to 2000?White flight did not cause the rise in crime, rather crime caused white flight. Discrimination and segregation did not cause urban decay, rather, a higher crime population moving into middle class neighborhoods, combined with a reduction in law enforcement and an atmosphere of racial grievance caused middle class people to flee for the suburbs, leaving decaying neighborhoods behind.Making of the GhettoArnold R. HirschIn the post-depression years Chicago was a "pioneer in developing concepts and devices" for housing segregation. Hirsch shows that the legal framework for the national urban renewal effort was forged in the heat generated by the racial struggles waged on Chicago's South Side. His chronicle of the strategies used by ethnic, political, and business interests in reaction to the great migration of southern blacks in the 1940s describes how the violent reaction of an emergent "white" population combined with public policy to segregate the city.Slaughter of the CitiesMichael JonesThe redlining, condemning, bulldozing, race riots, white flight, and aggrandizement of federal authority at the expense of cities and states that accompanied urban renewal were, Jones says, the consequences of WASP elites fighting to keep hold of the reins of power. Those elites saw the potentially powerful Catholic ethnic neighborhoods, with the church's influence animating them, as their primary political enemies. Armed with social engineering techniques, abetted by the subversive skills of Quaker do-gooders and military intelligence, and further empowered by fellow WASP jurists, they devastated Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, and Boston generally and the welfare of blacks in particular. But they maintained power, having gutted the Catholic ethnics, who fell into the trap of overt racism, and driven them into socially atomizing suburbia.Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American CityMatthew DesmondToday, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today.America's Trillion-Dollar Housing Mistake: The Failure of American Housing PolicyHoward HusockAs with so many anti-poverty efforts, low-income housing programs have harmed those they were meant to help while causing grave collateral damage to cities and their citizens. Public housing projects, Mr. Husock writes, are only the best-known housing policy mistakes. His book explains how a long list of lesser-known efforts―including housing vouchers, community development corporations, the low-income housing tax credit, and the Community Reinvestment Act―are just as pernicious, working in concert to undermine sound neighborhoods and perpetuate a dependent underclass.Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police ForcesRadley BalkoOver the last several decades, America's cops have increasingly come to resemble ground troops. The consequences have been dire: the home is no longer a place of sanctuary, the Fourth Amendment has been gutted, and police today have been conditioned to see the citizens they serve as an other—an enemy.
Collapse of Criminal JusticeWilliam J. StuntzStuntz explains how the decisions of the Warren Court (Mapp, Miranda, etc.) ended up actually widening the gap between rich and poor, by making jury trials difficult and expensive and acquittals rare, putting judicial power into the hands of prosecutors rather than judges and juries. And even more fascinating is how the "war on drugs" actually has a benefit: since intimidation of witnesses ("Don't snitch") has made it almost impossible to convict gang members of actual crimes like murder and robbery, drug crimes are used as substitute prosecutions, since they don't require witness testimony.Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in AmericaBarbara EhrenreichMillions of Americans work full time, year round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job -- any job -- can be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered.American Millstone: An Examination of the Nation's Permanent UnderclassChicago TribuneThis collection of 29 Tribune articles from the 1980s present the state of the underclass (poverty-trapped, primarily black ghetto dwellers) through background, statistics, and interviews, mostly in regard to Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood. Relentlessly bleak, the book portrays crime, family breakdown, unemployment, welfare, and the failure of education but ends with a challenging editorial for reform.Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American FamiliesJ. Anthony Lukas Examines school integration in Boston from the vantage points of three families, one black and two white. In-depth look not just at busing in Boston, but at the history of class, race, education, politics and journalism in Boston.Desegregation and Busing in BostonDevin HeltonA comparison to how the Civil Rights narrative about desegregation in Boston, as presented by PBS documentaries, is very different from what actually happened.Education and AchievementSuccess and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of MeritocracyRobert H. FrankIn recent years, social scientists have discovered that chance plays a much larger role in important life outcomes than most people imagine. In Success and Luck, bestselling author and New York Times economics columnist Robert Frank explores the surprising implications of those findings to show why the rich underestimate the importance of luck in success—and why that hurts everyone, even the wealthy.The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American LifeCharles MurrayIntelligence is a critical factor in determining success and the evidence shows that it is mostly hereditary. Population mobility means that America is increasingly being stratified by intelligence. For the cognitively gifted, life gets better in many ways. The people in this group are welcomed at the best colleges, then at the best graduate and professional schools, regardless of their parents’ wealth. In the other group, life gets worse, and its members collect at the bottom of society. Poverty is severe, drugs and crime are rampant, and the traditional family all but disappears. Economic growth passes them by. Technology is not a partner in their lives but an electronic opiate. Pressures from these contrasting movements at the opposite ends of society put terrific stress on the entire structure.Savage Inequalities: Children in America's SchoolsJonathan KozolFor two years, beginning in 1988, Jonathan Kozol visited schools in neighborhoods across the country, from Illinois to Washington D.C., and from New York to San Antonio. He spoke with teachers, principals, superintendents, and, most important, children. What he found was devastating. Not only were schools for rich and poor blatantly unequal, the gulf between the two extremes was widening—and it has widened since. The urban schools he visited were overcrowded and understaffed, and lacked the basic elements of learning—including books and, all too often, classrooms for the students.The Long Crusade: Profiles in Education Reform, 1967-2014Raymond WoltersRaymond Wolters traces the history of the past half-century of school reform by telling the stories of its most influential writers, activists, and intellectual movements. America's educational crusades have been varied, but virtually all have shared a common fate: racial achievement gaps have never been closed. Wolters argues that these failures are not merely a result of bad policies. Underlying virtually all of these approaches has been the assumption that no innate cognitive differences exist between races. Wolters stresses that it is time to rethink what has been assumed-and to look with new eyes on the failures and achievements of the American educational system.Brown v. Board of Education: A Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled LegacyJames T. PattersonThis book provides a credible introduction to a nuanced study not only of Brown but its limitations, particularly its inability to crack deeper structures of racial inequality in the United States. Patterson argues that these structures, rather than the product of irrational racial prejudice in the South, were in fact integral components of America's larger social and economic formation.The Burden of Brown: Thirty Years of School DesegregationRaymond WoltersRaymond Walters covers the history of integration beginning with a few years prior to the Brown desegregation ruling. This book is not exactly a polemic against integration; I consider it objective, but so many downsides to forced integration are presented that the reader will not come away with a positive outlook on all of the changes of the last half century regarding integration.Mismeasure of ManStephen Jay GouldA masterful demolition of the IQ industry. The 20th-century obsession with numbers led to the institutionalization of IQ testing and subsequent assignment to work (and rewards) commensurate with the score, shown by Gould to be not simply misguided--for surely intelligence is multifactorial--but also regressive, creating a feedback loop rewarding the rich and powerful.Race, Evolution and Behavior: A Life History PerspectiveJ. Philippe RushtonUsing evidence from psychology, anthropology, sociology and other scientific disciplines, this book shows that there are at least three biological races. There are recognizable profiles for the three major racial groups on brain size, intelligence, personality and temperament, sexual behavior, and rates of fertility, maturation and longevity.Outliers: The Story of SuccessMalcolm GladwellWe pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing.The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They DoJudith Rich HarrisThe "nurture assumption" -- the belief that what makes children turn out the way they do, aside from their genes, is the way their parents bring them up -- is nothing more than a cultural myth. This electrifying book explodes some of our unquestioned beliefs about children and parents and gives us a radically new view of childhood. Harris looks with a fresh eye at the real lives of real children to show that it is what they experience outside the home, in the company of their peers, that matters most, Parents don't socialize children; children socialize children. With eloquence and humor, Judith Harris explains why parents have little power to determine the sort of people their children will become.Climate ChangeThe Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front LinesMichael E. MannIn its 2001 report on global climate, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations prominently featured the “Hockey Stick,” a chart showing global temperature data over the past one thousand years. The Hockey Stick demonstrated that temperature had risen with the increase in industrialization and use of fossil fuels. The Hockey Stick became a central icon in the “climate wars,” and well-funded science deniers immediately attacked the chart and the scientists responsible for it. Michael E. Mann, lead author of the original paper in which the Hockey Stick first appeared, shares the real story of the science and politics behind this controversy. He introduces key figures in the oil and energy industries, and the media front groups who do their bidding in sometimes slick, bare-knuckled ways to cast doubt on the science.A Disgrace to the ProfessionMark SteynThe "hockey stick" graph of global temperatures is the single most influential icon in the global-warming debate, promoted by the UN's transnational climate bureaucracy, featured in Al Gore's Oscar-winning movie, used by governments around the world to sell the Kyoto Accord to their citizens, and shown to impressionable schoolchildren from kindergarten to graduation. And yet what it purports to "prove" is disputed and denied by many of the world's most eminent scientists. In this riveting book, Mark Steyn has compiled the thoughts of the world's scientists, in their own words, on hockey-stick creator Michael E Mann, his stick and their damage to science. Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to KnowJoseph Romm Climate change will have a bigger impact on humanity than the Internet has had. The last decade's spate of superstorms, wildfires, heat waves, and droughts has accelerated the public discourse on this topic and lent credence to climatologist Lonnie Thomson's 2010 statement that climate change "represents a clear and present danger to civilization." This book offers the most up-to-date examination of climate change's foundational science, its implications for our future, and the core clean energy solutions. Climate Change: The FactsDr John AbbotFeatures 22 essays on the science, politics and economics of the climate change debate. The world's leading experts expose the bad science, bad reporting, and exaggerated claims of the climate alarmists.ImmigrationExceptional People: How Migration Shaped Our World and Will Define Our FutureIan Goldin, Geoffrey Cameron, and Meera Balarajan Throughout history, migrants have fueled the engine of human progress. Their movement has sparked innovation, spread ideas, relieved poverty, and laid the foundations for a global economy. In a world more interconnected than ever before, the number of people with the means and motivation to migrate will only increase. Exceptional People provides a long-term and global perspective on the implications and policy options for societies the world over.The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural SocietyArthur M. SchlesingerThe classic image of the American nation — a melting pot in which differences of race, wealth, religion, and nationality are submerged in democracy — is being replaced by an orthodoxy that celebrates difference and abandons assimilation. While this upsurge in ethnic awareness has had many healthy consequences in a nation shamed by a history of prejudice, the cult of ethnicity, if pressed too far, threatens to fragment American society to a dangerous degree. Using a broader canvas in this updated and expanded edition, he examines the international dimension and the lessons of one polyglot country after another tearing itself apart or on the brink of doing so: among them the former Yugoslavia, Nigeria, even Canada. Closer to home, he finds troubling new evidence that multiculturalism gone awry here in the United States threatens to do the same.Brown Is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American MajoritySteve PhillipsDespite the abundant evidence from Obama's victories proving that the U.S. population has fundamentally changed, many progressives and Democrats continue to waste millions of dollars chasing white swing voters. Explosive population growth of people of color in America over the past fifty years has laid the foundation for a New American Majority consisting of progressive people of color (23 percent of all eligible voters) and progressive whites (28 percent of all eligible voters). These two groups make up51 percent of all eligible voters in America right now, and that majority is growing larger every day. Failing to properly appreciate this reality, progressives are at risk of missing this moment in history--and losing.Path to National SuicideLarry AusterOur current policy of open and ever-widening immigration, in conjunction with the gathering forces of cultural radicalism, is leading our country into an unprecedented danger. At a time when increasing racial and ethnic diversity makes the re-affirmation of our common culture more vitally important than ever, we are, under the mounting pressure of that diversity, abandoning the very idea of a common American culture. We are thus imperiling not only our social cohesiveness but, as I will try to show, the very basis of our national existenceLet Their People Come: Breaking the Gridlock on Global Labor MobilityLant PritchettIn Let Their People Come, Lant Pritchett discusses five "irresistible forces" of global labor migration, and the "immovable ideas" that form a political backlash against it. In clear, accessible prose, this volume explores ways to regulate migration flows so that they are a benefit to both the global North and global South.
MexiforniaVictor Davis HansonMassive illegal immigration from Mexico into California, Victor Davis Hanson writes, "coupled with a loss of confidence in the old melting pot model of transforming newcomers into Americans, is changing the very nature of state. Yet we Californians have been inadequate in meeting this challenge, both failing to control our borders with Mexico and to integrate the new alien population into our mainstream."Muslims in Western EuropeJonas OtterbeckExplains how Muslim communities have developed in individual countries, their origins, present-day ethnic composition, distribution and organisational patterns, and the political, legal and cultural contexts in which they exist are explored. There is also a comparative consideration of issues common to Muslims in all Western European countries including the role of the family, and the questions of worship, education and religious thought.Reflections on the Revolutions in EuropeChristopher CaldwellMuslims dominate or nearly dominate many important European cities, including Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Strasbourg and Marseille, the Paris suburbs and East London, and in those cities Islam has challenged the European way of life at every turn, becoming, in effect, an “adversary culture.” In Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, Caldwell examines the anger of natives and newcomers alike.
General American HistoryThe Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675Bernard BailynTo a reader like myself who's fairly familiar with aspects of British and Irish history but hardly at all with American history, especially early stuff, this is fascinating. I didn't know that the earliest efforts to colonize Virginia were such a disaster -- people were dying like flies over there, even as entrepreneurs sought recruits to sail to new lives in what was presented as a terrestrial paradise. The lure of land, the development of the tobacco trade, and later the fur trade, the relations with the indigenous peoples, the blending of religious and commercial motives, the context for the behavior of the natives -- Bailyn lays it all out very deftly, blending a chronological organization with a geographical one. The cases of Maryland and New England are very different from Virginia's (and each other) despite the overlap in time. The idea of colliding cultures (English and native American) that one finds in the blurb oversimplifies things. There is no single English or European culture, and the native tribes have likewise their own pressures and agendas.Albion's Seeds: Four British Folkways in AmericaDavid Hackett FischerThis cultural history explains the European settlement of the United States as voluntary migrations from four English cultural centers. Families of zealous, literate Puritan yeomen and artisans from urbanized East Anglia established a religious community in Massachusetts (1629-40); royalist cavaliers headed by Sir William Berkeley and young, male indentured servants from the south and west of England built a highly stratified agrarian way of life in Virginia (1640-70); egalitarian Quakers of modest social standing from the North Midlands resettled in the Delaware Valley and promoted a social pluralism (1675-1715); and, in by far the largest migration (1717-75), poor borderland families of English, Scots, and Irish fled a violent environment to seek a better life in a similarly uncertain American backcountry. These four cultures, reflected in regional patterns of language, architecture, literacy, dress, sport, social structure, religious beliefs, and familial ways, persisted in the American settlements.The Life of MarshallAlbert J. BeverridgeTells the story of the revolution and early American Republic through the biography of John Marshall. Contains amazing detail of the war, the experiences that shaped the worldview of the Founding Fathers, the debates over passing the Constitution, and the tumultuous politics of the first few presidencies. Essential reading for seeing American history in full color.A People's History of the United StatesHoward ZinnSince its original landmark publication in 1980, A People's History of the United States has been chronicling American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official version of history taught in schools—with its emphasis on great men in high places—to focus on the street, the home, and the, workplace. 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.Zinn's book is a dishonest polemic beneath the standards of any fair attempt at history. Rather than counter with our own right-wing equivalent, we'll just leave you with some links explaining why Zinn's book is bad: Zinn decides his view ahead of time and fishes for the few corroborating anectdotes while omitting evidence pointing the other way. He routinely makes claims that are factually wrong. Zinn was a lifelong activist who did not even aspire to good scholarship, but rather spoke to a generation where "to ascribe noble or even mixed motives to the powerful was to fall into a retrograde naïveté; but to share Zinn’s blanket contempt for society’s elites conferred a hip, superior cynicism." The partisan, simplistic accounts of Zinn and his like, give readers "the intellectual self-assurance that accompanies expertise without the slog of unglamorous study required to attain it."Nation of Nations: A Narrative History Of The American RepublicJames West DavidsonA premier general purpose history of the United States, one of the top books for teaching AP History. Known for its friendly narrative style and careful blending of political and social history, Nation of Nations offers a balanced approach to teaching the American history survey course. The story presented by the authors reflects their belief that the American past can only be fully understood when linked to events worldwide.Oxford History of the American People, 1965 editionSamuel Eliot MorisonThe finest general purpose of history of the United States written before the leftwing historians took over the field and turned history into a story of oppressors and victims. However, this book is not some sort of idealized narrative, but contains many fascinating details and portrays the full complexity of important political events.The Rise of the American Progressive StateThe Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New YorkRobert A. Caro and Robertson DeanTells the hidden story behind the shaping (and mis-shaping) of twentieth-century New York (city and state) and makes public what few have known: that Robert Moses was, for almost half a century, the single most powerful man of our time in New York, the shaper not only of the city's politics but of its physical structure and the problems of urban decline that plague us today.Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson IIIRobert A. CaroCaro shows how Johnson’s brilliance, charm, and ruthlessness enabled him to become the youngest and most powerful Majority Leader in history and how he used his incomparable legislative genius--seducing both Northern liberals and Southern conservatives--to pass the first Civil Rights legislation since Reconstruction.Public OpinionWalter LippmannThis is Lippmann's classic critique on media and public opinion written in the 1920s. His prose is easy to read and filled with a slew of anecdotes and casual asides. The book focuses on newspapers because they were the dominant news medium in his day, but many of his criticisms are still applicable to television and the internet today.World War I as Fulfillment: Power and the IntellectualsMurray N. RothbardIn contrast to older historians who regarded World War I as the destruction of progressive reform, Rothbard was convinced that the war came to the United States as the "fulfilment," the culmination, the veritable apotheosis of progressivism in American life.The Triumph of Conservatism: A Reinterpretation of American History, 1900-1916Gabriel KolkoA radically new interpretation of the Progressive Era which argues that business leaders, and not the reformers, inspired the era’s legislation regarding business.Titan: The Life of John D. RockefellerRon ChernowDrawing on unprecedented access to Rockefeller’s private papers, Chernow reconstructs his subjects’ troubled origins (his father was a swindler and a bigamist) and his single-minded pursuit of wealth. But he also uncovers the profound religiosity that drove him “to give all I could”; his devotion to his father; and the wry sense of humor that made him the country’s most colorful codger. Titan is a magnificent biography—balanced, revelatory, elegantly written.The Dark Side of the Left: Illiberal Egalitarianism in AmericaRichard J. EllisIn this provocative book, Richard J. Ellis examines the illiberal tendencies that have characterized egalitarian movements throughout American history, from the radical abolitionists of the 1830s to the New Left activists of the 1960s. He also takes on contemporary radical feminists like Catherine MacKinnon and radical environmental groups like Earth First! to show that, even today, many of the American left's sacred cows have cloven hooves.World War IIFlags of Our Fathers James Bradley and Ron PowersIn this unforgettable chronicle of perhaps the most famous moment in American military history, James Bradley has captured the glory, the triumph, the heartbreak, and the legacy of the six men who raised the flag at Iwo Jima. Here is the true story behind the immortal photograph that has come to symbolize the courage and indomitable will of America.The Good War: An Oral History of World War IIStuds TerkelThis sort of writing on war explains why veterans so often avoid speaking about their war experience. These would bring back visual memories of bodies torn to shreds, of the unbelievable smell of decomposition and effluence and of their own failure to act with heroism or at least to hide fear. Combat was exactly the opposite of what the John Wayne portrayed.Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of CivilizationHuman Smoke delivers a closely textured, deeply moving indictment of the treasured myths that have romanticized much of the 1930s and '40s. Incorporating meticulous research and well-documented sources -- including newspaper and magazine articles, radio speeches, memoirs, and diaries -- the book juxtaposes hundreds of interrelated moments of decision, brutality, suffering, and mercy. Vivid glimpses of political leaders and their dissenters illuminate and examine the gradual, horrifying advance toward overt global war and Holocaust.World War II CollectionWinston ChurchillWinston Churchill’s monumental The Second World War, is a six volume account of the struggle between the Allied Powers in Europe against Germany and the Axis. Told by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, this book is also the story of one nation’s heroic role in the fight against tyranny.Wedemeyer ReportsGeneral Albert C. WedemeyerAs the chief planner for General Marshall, and co-author of the Victory Plan, General Wedemeyer had a truly significant hand in shaping and directing the Allied War effort against the Fascist powers. In these brilliant, excellently written memoirs he reveals the planning and execution of Grand Strategy on a global scale that toppled Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo. There were many obstacles in the way of developing a meaningful strategy, of assuring that our abundant means, material and spiritual, would be used to achieve worthy human ends. First, there was the pervasive influence of the Communists, who had their own plans for utilizing the war as a springboard to world domination. Second, there was the obstinacy of that grand old man, Winston Churchill, who, as we soldiers felt, could never reconcile his own concepts of Grand Strategy with sound military decisions.The Third Reich: A New HistoryMichael BurleighSetting Nazi Germany in a European context, this text shows how the Third Reich's abandonment of liberal democracy, decency and tolerance was widespread in Europe at the time. It shows how a radical, pseudo-religious movement seemed to offer salvation to a Germany exhausted by war, depression and inflation.The Story of World War IIHenry Steele CommagerDrawing on previously unpublished eyewitness accounts, prizewinning historian Donald L. Miller has written what critics are calling one of the most powerful accounts of warfare ever published. Here are the horror and heroism of World War II in the words of the men who fought it, the journalists who covered it, and the civilians who were caught in its fury.Blood, Tears and Folly: An Objective Look at World War IILen DeightonDrawing on the author’s deep understanding of military life and the strengths and frailties of politicians and generals, this is a myth-puncturing analysis of the advent of the Second World War. ‘Blood, Tears and Folly’ offers a sweeping and compelling historical analysis of six theatres of war: the Battle of the Atlantic, Hitler’s conquest of western Europe, the war in the Mediterranean, the battle for the skies, Operation Barbarossa and the German assault on Russia, and the entry of Japan into a truly global war.The House that Hitler BuiltStephen RobertsThis book is written primarily for the man-in-the-street who wishes to have some idea of the German experiment. My main aim was to sum up the New Germany without any prejudice (except that my general approach was that of a democratic individualist), and to contrast the state of affairs to-day with that which I knew in Germany at the end of the inflationary period, then at the height of the Weimar Republic's temporary success, and lastly immediately prior to Hitler's accession to power.European JungleYeats BrownAs a well-traveled journalist and author, Yeats-Brown visited nearly all the "hot-spots" of interwar European politics and crises: The Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Spain in the middle of its vicious civil war, Austria, Czechoslovakia and others. This book records his observations and reflections on them all, giving an account both vivid and scrupulously well-researched of some of the most important events and processes of 20th-century history. Not of least value is the fact that, as the book was published in 1939 -- Before Yeats-Brown or anyone else ever knew he was indeed chronicling the "Interwar" period -- it is wholly free of hindsight and impressions biased by wartime or post-war developments. What we have in it is a remarkable window in time: Europe half a year before World War II, as it then appeared to an astute English observer. Radicalism and Anti-CommunismSenator Joe McCarthyRichard H. RovereThe story of Senator Joseph McCarthy's rise to unprecedented power and the decline of his influence is a dramatic one. Richard Rovere documents the process by which a clever, power hungry individual came to mislead and manipulate members of Congress and the American public and to damage countless lives. Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's EnemiesM. Stanton EvansDrawing on primary sources—including never-before-published government records and FBI files, as well as recent research gleaned from Soviet archives and intercepted transmissions between Moscow spymasters and their agents in the United States—Evans presents irrefutable evidence of a relentless Communist drive to penetrate our government, influence its policies, and steal its secrets. Most shocking of all, he shows that U.S. officials supposedly guarding against this danger not only let it happen but actively covered up the penetration. All of this was precisely as Joe McCarthy contended.The Great Fear: The Anti-Communist Purge Under Truman and EisenhowerExtensive, data-driven study of American society during one of the most frightening - and repressive - eras in American history. While blacklisted Hollywood has received the most attention in examinations of the Purge, Caute takes an in-depth look at other professions: public school teachers, college professors, journalists, lawyers, doctors, scientists, laborers. Out Of BondageElizabeth BentleyMs Bentley was an Communist Party USA (CPUSA) member who was an active Soviet spy for most of a decade. Her work included funneling documents from high officials in the United States government. Her story is perhaps a micro-version of the entire relationship between American Communism and the Soviet variety.Flying Close to the Sun: My Life and Times as a WeathermanCathy WilkersonFlying Close to the Sun is the stunning memoir of a white middle-class girl from Connecticut who became a member of the Weather Underground, one of the most notorious groups of the 1960s.Radical Son: A Generational OddyseyDavid HorowitzOriginally a radical socialist, the current driving force behind the rise of the Hollywood right recounts how he moved from one set of political convictions to another over the course of thirty years, and challenges readers to consider how they came by their own convictions.Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of AmericaRick PerlsteinTold with 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.Days of RageBryan BurroughThe FBI’s response to the leftist revolutionary counterculture has not been treated kindly by history, and in hindsight many of its efforts seem almost comically ineffectual, if not criminal in themselves. But part of the extraordinary accomplishment of Bryan Burrough’s Days of Rage is to temper those easy judgments with an understanding of just how deranged these times were, how charged with menace. Burrough re-creates an atmosphere that seems almost unbelievable just forty years later, conjuring a time of native-born radicals, most of them “nice middle-class kids,” smuggling bombs into skyscrapers and detonating them inside the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol, at a Boston courthouse and a Wall Street restaurant packed with lunchtime diners—radicals robbing dozens of banks and assassinating policemen in New York, San Francisco, Atlanta. The FBI, encouraged to do everything possible to undermine the radical underground, itself broke many laws in its attempts to bring the revolutionaries to justice—often with disastrous consequences.The Great Depression, Roosevelt, and the New DealFDRJean Edward SmithOne of today’s premier biographers has written a modern, comprehensive, indeed ultimate book on the epic life of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In this superlative volume, Jean Edward Smith combines contemporary scholarship and a broad range of primary source material to provide an engrossing narrative of one of America’s greatest presidents.The Roosevelt MythJohn T. FlynnThis book is in no sense a biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is rather a critical account of that episode in American politics known as the New Deal. As to the President, it is an account of an image projected upon the popular mind which came to be known as Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is the author's conviction that this image did not at all correspond to the man himself and that it is now time to correct the lineaments of this synthetic figure created by highly intelligent propaganda, aided by mass illusion and finally enlarged and elaborated out of all reason by the fierce moral and mental disturbances of the war.The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008Paul KrugmanIn this major bestseller, Paul Krugman warns that, like diseases that have become resistant to antibiotics, the economic maladies that caused the Great Depression have made a comeback. He lays bare the 2008 financial crisis—the greatest since the 1930s—tracing it to the failure of regulation to keep pace with an out-of-control financial system. He also tells us how to contain the crisis and turn around a world economy sliding into a deep recession.America's Great DepressionsMurray N. RothbardAmerica's Great Depression is the classic treatise on the 1930s Great Depression and its root causes. Author Rothbard blames government interventionist policies for magnifying the duration, breadth, and intensity of the Great Depression. He explains how government manipulation of the money supply sets the stage for the familiar "boom-bust" phases of the modern market which we know all too well.The Great Contraction, 1929-1933Milton Friedman and Anna Jacobson SchwartzFriedman and Schwartz's A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960, published in 1963, stands as one of the most influential economics books of the twentieth century. A landmark achievement, the book marshaled massive historical data and sharp analytics to support the claim that monetary policy--steady control of the money supply--matters profoundly in the management of the nation's economy, especially in navigating serious economic fluctuations. The chapter entitled "The Great Contraction, 1929-33" addressed the central economic event of the century, the Great Depression. Published as a stand-alone paperback in 1965, The Great Contraction, 1929-1933 argued that the Federal Reserve could have stemmed the severity of the Depression, but failed to exercise its role of managing the monetary system and ameliorating banking panics.World War IThe Great WarPBSDrawing on unpublished diaries, memoirs and letters, The Great War tells the rich and complex story of World War I through the voices of nurses, journalists, aviators and the American troops who came to be known as “doughboys.”Road To War: America 1914-1917Walter MillisParticipation of the U.S. in the First World War was a mistake; that we were dragged into the war through the foolish, wishy-washy policies of the Wilson administration, which spoke neutrality but which favored the British, and whose hypocrisies involved us in the war as a semi-belligerent in the days before April 1917, and led us into direct confrontation, then actual war with the German Empire.The Guns of August: The Outbreak of World War IBarbara W. TuchmanIn this Pulitzer Prize-winning history, Tuchman writes about the turning point of the year 1914--the month leading up to the war and the first month of the war. This was the last gasp of the Gilded Age, of Kings and Kaisers and Czars, of pointed or plumed hats, colored uniforms, and all the pomp and romance that went along with war. How quickly it all changed, and how horrible it became. Tuchman is masterful at portraying this abrupt change from 19th to 20th Century. And how she manages to make the story utterly suspenseful, when we already know the outcome, is the mark of a great writer, and a classic volume of history.How the Diplomats Make WarFrancis NeilsonFrancis Neilson was a Member of the British Parliament when World War I erupted in 1914. He was one of the first to articulate an honest view of the origins of this war when he wrote HOW DIPLOMATS MAKE WAR. While Nielson comments on sources and events in Great Britian, this is an important study because of the role the British played in this war. One of myths that Nielson explodes is the one that supposedly the Germans engaged the British in a naval race. As Nielson clearly proves from documents, not newspapers and lying nonsense, the British authorities and press barons started this myth to provoke British hostility against the Germans. In other words, the Germans had no plan to compete with the size of the British Navy until the British made an issue of non-events.All Quiet on the Western FrontErich Maria RemarqueConsidered by many the greatest war novel of all time, All Quiet on the Western Front is Erich Maria Remarque’s masterpiece of the German experience during World War I. Storm of SteelErnst JungerA memoir of astonishing power, savagery, and ashen lyricism, Storm of Steel illuminates not only the horrors but also the fascination of total war, seen through the eyes of an ordinary German soldier. Young, tough, patriotic, but also disturbingly self-aware, Jünger exulted in the Great War, which he saw not just as a great national conflict but—more importantly—as a unique personal struggle.American RevolutionDeclaration of IndependenceThe document that severed ties with Britain and committed America to fighting for a new nation.Strictures upon the Declaration of IndependenceThomas HutchinsonGovernor Thomas Hutchins's rebuttal of the accusations made in the Declaration of Independence.The American Revolution: A HistoryGordon S. WoodAn elegant synthesis done by the leading scholar in the field, which nicely integrates the work on the American Revolution over the last three decades but never loses contact with the older, classic questions that we have been arguing about for over two hundred years.The True History of the American RevolutionSydney George FisherThe purpose of this history of the Revolution is to use the original authorities rather more frankly than has been the practice with our historians. They appear to have thought it advisable to omit from their narratives a great deal which, to me, seems essential to a true picture. I cannot feel satisfied with any description of the Revolution which treats the desire for independence as a sudden thought, and not a long growth and development, or which assumes that every detail of the conduct of the British government was absurdly stupid, even from its own point of view, and that the loyalists were few in numbers and their arguments not worth considering.American Civil War and ReconstructionMany Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North AmericaIra BerlinMany Thousands Gone traces the evolution of black society from the first arrivals in the early seventeenth century through the Revolution. In telling their story, Ira Berlin, a leading historian of southern and African-American life, reintegrates slaves into the history of the American working class and into the tapestry of our nation.American Negro slavery : a survey of the supply, employment and control of Negro labor as determined by the plantation régimeUlrich Bonnell PhilipsPhilips was an early 19th century historian of Southern birth, slaverholder descent, and Northern adulthood. Phillips contended that masters treated slaves relatively well, but that economically it was fading out. His views were rejected most sharply by Kenneth M. Stampp in the 1950s. However, to a large degree Phillips' interpretive model of the dynamic between master and slave was revived by Eugene Genovese, who wrote that Phillips's "work, taken as a whole, remains the best and most subtle introduction to antebellum Southern history and especially to the problems posed by race and class." In 1963, C. Vann Woodward wrote: "Much of what Phillips wrote has not been superseded or seriously challenged and remains indispensable."American Slavery as It Is: testimony of a thousand witnessesTheodore Dwight WeldAn extensive collection of first-hand testimony and narratives by slaveholders describing the facts and highlighting the cruelty of the slave trade. First published in 1839 and edited by the evangelist and abolitionist Theodore Dwight Weld (1803-95), this work was one of the most influential books of the anti-slavery movement.A South-side View of SlaveryNehemiah AdamsNehemiah Adams was born February 19, 1806 in Salem, Massachusetts and educated at Harvard College and Andover Theological Seminary. As pastor of the Essex Street Congregational Church in Boston, Adams (1806–1878) had previously—and publicly—denounced slavery. After he visited the South for health reasons, he wrote this book to explain how some of his views of slavery had changed. Pervading the text is Adams's sense of duty to temper the shrill voices of abolition by which he believed the nation's northern citizens had been misled; accordingly, he devoted a number of early chapters to the "favorable appearances" of slavery and southern society.The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861David M. PotterWinner of the Pulitzer Price, this is the definitive history of antebellum America. Potter's sweeping epic masterfully charts the chaotic forces that climaxed with the outbreak of the Civil War: westward expansion, the divisive issue of slavery, the Dred Scott decision, John Brown's uprising, the ascension of Abraham Lincoln, and the drama of Southern secession.The origin of the late war: traced from the beginning of the Constitution to the revolt of the Southern StatesGeorge LuntThe Radical Republican narrative of the Civil War is the one that is dominant today: The Union cause was pure and selfless while the South was completely in the wrong; the only cause of the war was slavery; and the North's chief war aim was the emancipation of Southern slaves. In reaction, the South developed an equally fanciful version of the war, but for the most part the positions of the Northern Democrats and the Moderate Republicans have been forgotten. That's why George Lunt's "The Origin of the Late War" (1866) is so important. Born in Newburyport, Massachusetts in 1803, Lunt graduated from Harvard and then practiced law and edited the "Boston Courier" for decades. During this time he was active in state and local politics, first as a Whig and later as a Democrat. Thus, he was well positioned to observe the growing sectional conflict, the activities of the Radical Abolitionists, and the rise of the Republican Party. A strong Unionist, Lunt had no sympathy for either the Abolitionists--especially their "politicized preachers"--or the Republican Party. In his opinion, the former were "hare-brained fanatics" who were being stirred up from behind the scenes by British agents. In Lunt's opinion, the war had nothing whatsoever to do with high ideals or righteous war aims; rather, it was a cold-blooded struggle by the ambitious leaders of the Republican Party to obtain long-lasting political power at the federal level, no matter what the cost.The Bloody Shirt: Terror After the Civil WarStephen BudianskyBetween 1867, when the defeated South was forced to establish new state governments that fully represented both black and white citizens, and 1877, when the last of these governments was overthrown, more than three thousand African Americans and their white allies were killed by terrorist violence. Drawing on original letters and diaries as well as published racist diatribes of the time, acclaimed historian Stephen Budiansky concentrates his vivid, fast paced narrative on the efforts of five heroic men -- two Union officers, a Confederate general, a Northern entrepreneur, and a former slave -- who showed remarkable idealism and courage as they struggled to establish a New South in the face of overwhelming hatred and organized resistance.The Cotton States in the Spring and Summer of 1875Charles NordhoffThe account of a Northern, Republican journalist after he spent several months traveling and investigating the situation in the post-bellum South.Strange Career of Jim CrowC. Vann WoodwardThe Strange Career of Jim Crow is one of the great works of Southern history. Indeed, the book actually helped shape that history. Published in 1955, a year after the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education ordered schools desegregated, Strange Career was cited so often to counter arguments for segregation that Martin Luther King, Jr. called it "the historical Bible of the civil rights movement." The book offers a clear and illuminating analysis of the history of Jim Crow laws, presenting evidence that segregation in the South dated only to the 1890s.The Negro: The Southerner's ProblemThomas Nelson PageBorn of a wealthy Virginia planter family, that became impoverished during the Civil War, Thomas Nelson Page became a lawyer and then author. This is an account of reconstruction and race relations in the South from the contemporary Southern point of view, a view you will never find represented in modern histories.Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension Of American RacismJames W. Loewen“Don’t let the sun go down on you in this town.” We equate these words with the Jim Crow South but, in a sweeping analysis of American residential patterns, award-winning and bestselling author James W. Loewen demonstrates that strict racial exclusion was the norm in American towns and villages from sea to shining sea for much of the twentieth century.Following the Color Line: an account of Negro citizenship in the American democracyRay Stannard BakerRay Stannard Baker was a northern liberal journalist who wrote for McClure's magazine (the same magazine that employed Ida Tarbell and Lincoln Steffens. He traveled the South investigating the problems of lynching and the rise of Jim Crow. This book is the report of what he found.Souls of Black FolkW.E.B. Du BoisOne of the most widely read and influential works in African American literature, "The Souls of Black Folk" is W.E.B. Du Bois's classic collection of essays in which he details the state of racism and black culture at the beginning of the 20th century. Often autobiographical, "The Souls of Black Folk" takes the reader on a history lesson of race relations and the state of the African American from the emancipation proclamation to the early part of the 20th century.The Plantation Negro as a Freeman: observations on his character, condition, and prospects in VirginiaPhilip Alexander BruceBruce was born into a plantation family, educated at Harvard, and became a historian. This book is an account from a Southern conservative white perspective of the state of African-Americans in Virginia in the thirty years after the Civil War.English Civil WarThe English Civil War: A People's HistoryDiane PurkissThis popular history of the English Civil War tells the story of the bloody conflict between Oliver Cromwell and Charles I from the perspectives of those involved. The compelling narrative draws on new sources such as letters, memoirs, ballads and plays to bring to life the Roundheads and Cavaliers, the foot soldiers, war widows and witchfinders of one of the most significant turning points in British history, culminating in Oliver Cromwell’s triumph and the execution of Charles I.The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in EnglandEdward Hyde ClarendonThe first full-scale history of the English Civil War, written by an aristocrat who was a friend and supporter of King Charles.First Treatise of Civil Government: The False Principles, and Foundation of Sir Robert Filmer, and His Followers, Are Detected and Overthrown.John LockeThe First Treatise is focused on the refutation of Sir Robert Filmer, in particular his Patriarcha, which argued that civil society was founded on a divinely sanctioned patriarchalism. Locke proceeds through Filmer's arguments, contesting his proofs from Scripture and ridiculing them as senseless, until concluding that no government can be justified by an appeal to the divine right of kings.PatriarchaRobert FilmerPatriarcha provides a theory of absolute monarchy and the divine right of kings. Filmer attacks what he sees as the two enemies of royal power, the Jesuits and the Calvinists, and states two royalist principles: divine right and the duty of passive obedience. He tries to show that the king's power is derived from the natural authority of parents, and that Adam was the first king.Second Treatise of Civil Government: An Essay Concerning The True Original, Extent, and End of Civil GovernmentJohn LockeThe Second Treatise outlines a theory of civil society. Locke begins by describing the state of nature, a picture much more stable than Thomas Hobbes' state of "war of every man against every man," and argues that all men are created equal in the state of nature by God. From this, he goes on to explain the hypothetical rise of property and civilization, in the process explaining that the only legitimate governments are those that have the consent of the people. Therefore, any government that rules without the consent of the people can, in theory, be overthrown.A Treatise Concerning Civil Government in Three PartsJosiah TuckerWritten in 1781 as a refutation of the social contract theory of John Locke, which was upheld by most thinkers of the period. He believed Locke's theory of government advocated towards democracy and undermined the basis of the English constitution.