||Working on a list [heavily weighted to history and politics and economics] which will eventually be moved to a separate page.
- OFF RADAR: 'Three Things I Know Are True' - centralmaine - Dana Wilde - 04/16/2020 "Betty Culley's book is marketed as a young-adult novel. But trust me, this book is for adults."
- Blink by Malcolm Gladwell - The Guardian - Be a blinking marvel - Stephen Bayley - 02/05/2005
"Warren Harding was nota particularly intelligent man. He liked to play poker and golf and to drink and, most of all, to chase women; in fact, his sexual appetites were the stuff of legend. As he rose from one political office to another, he never once distinguished himself. He was vague and ambivalent on matters of policy. His speeches were once described as "an army of pompous phrases moving over the landscape in search of an idea."
- Joseph Stiglitz on People, Power and Profits - Joseph Stieglitz at The John Adams Institute (Lecture) - 11/27/2019 [41:55]
In this book, Stiglitz explains how the benefits of globalization have accrued to a small minority and how politics prioritize the interests of business and the wealthy over the people. This had led to a vicious cycle where increasing economic inequality leads to political inequality, which leads to looser regulation and further economic inequality, and so on.
- Drift by Rachel Maddow - New York Times Book Review - Executive Overreach - Scott Shane - 04/13/2012
"If the book lures readers briefly from their political silos, it will be because Maddow's thesis crosses ideological lines. Like the Tea Partiers, she believes that the United States must return to the lost principles of the nation's founders - in this case a suspicion of standing armies and a deep reluctance to go to war. "America's structural disinclination toward war is not a sign that something's gone wrong," she declares. "It's the way the founders set us up."
- Death of Truth - Michiko Kakutani
"The president is a liar. He lies about matters of the utmost consequence (nuclear diplomacy) and about the most trivial (his golf game). He lies about things you can see with your own eyes. He lies about things he said just moments ago. He lies the way a woodpecker attacks a tree: compulsively, insistently, instinctively. He lies until your temples throb. He lies until you want to submerge your head in a bucket of ice and pray for release."
- Strangers in Their Own Land - Arlie Russell Hochschild
"With the clear-headed empathy Arlie Russell Hochschild is famous for, she explored the central paradox of the political activists in the heart of 'cancer alley': they understand that the chemical and oil companies have destroyed their environment and sometimes their lives, but they remain ardent defenders of free market capitalism. There could not be a more important topic in current American politics, nor a better person to dissect it. Every page — every story and individual — is fascinating, and the emerging analysis is revelatory." - Barbara Ehrenreich
- Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves - Henry Wiencek
So far historians have offered only easy irony or paradox to explain this extraordinary Founding Father who was an emancipationist in his youth and then recoiled from his own inspiring rhetoric and equivocated about slavery, who enjoyed his renown as a revolutionary leader yet kept some of his own children as slaves. But Wiencek's Jefferson is a man of business and public affairs who makes a success of his debt-ridden plantation thanks to what he calls the "silent profits" gained from his slaves - and thanks to a skewed moral universe that he and thousands of others readily inhabited.
- The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War - Stephen Kinzer
A joint biography of John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles, who led the United States into an unseen war that decisively shaped today's world. During the 1950s, when the Cold War was at its peak, two immensely powerful brothers led the United States into a series of foreign adventures whose effects are still shaking the world.
- American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America - Colin Woodard (Portland Press Herald journalist)
An illuminating history of North America's 11 rival cultural regions that explodes the red state/blue state myth. North America was settled by people with distinct religious, political, and ethnographic characteristics, creating regional cultures that have been at odds with one another ever since. Subsequent immigrants didn't confront or assimilate into an "American" or "Canadian" culture, but rather into one of the 11 distinct regional ones that spread over the continent, each staking out mutually exclusive territory.
In American Nations, Colin Woodard leads us on a journey through the history of our fractured continent and the rivalries and alliances between its component nations, which conform to neither state nor international boundaries. He illustrates and explains why "American" values vary sharply from one region to another.
Woodard reveals how intranational differences have played a pivotal role at every point in the continent's history, from the American Revolution and the Civil War to the tumultuous sixties and the "blue county/red county" maps of recent presidential elections. American Nations is a revolutionary and revelatory take on America's myriad identities and how the conflicts between them have shaped our past and are molding our future.
- The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey - Candace Millard
At once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait, The River of Doubt is the true story of Theodore Roosevelt's harrowing exploration of one of the most dangerous rivers on earth.
The River of Doubt; it is a black, uncharted tributary of the Amazon that snakes through one of the most treacherous jungles in the world. Indians armed with poison-tipped arrows haunt its shadows; piranhas glide through its waters; boulder-strewn rapids turn the river into a roiling cauldron.
After his humiliating election defeat in 1912, Roosevelt set his sights on the most punishing physical challenge he could find, the first descent of an unmapped, rapids-choked tributary of the Amazon. Together with his son Kermit and Brazil's most famous explorer, Candido Mariano da Silva Rondon, Roosevelt accomplished a feat so great that many at the time refused to believe it. In the process, he changed the map of the western hemisphere forever.
Along the way, Roosevelt and his men faced an unbelievable series of hardships, losing their canoes and supplies to punishing whitewater rapids, and enduring starvation, Indian attack, disease, drowning, and a murder within their own ranks. Three men died, and Roosevelt was brought to the brink of suicide. The River of Doubt brings alive these extraordinary events in a powerful nonfiction narrative thriller that happens to feature one of the most famous Americans who ever lived.
- Becoming Teddy Roosevelt: How a Maine Guide Inspired America's 26th President - Andrew Vietze (ranger at Baxter State Park)
This inspirational tale of friendship and determination also sheds new light on the role of the mentor's mentor. Discover why this friendship was so crucial to Roosevelt's development as a man and a president-and why it still matters today.
- The Triumph & Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson: The White House Years - Joseph A. Califano
From Lyndon Johnson's closest domestic adviser during the White House years comes a book in which "Johnson leaps out of the pages in all his raw and earthy glory" (The New York Times Book Review) that's been called "a joy to read" (Stephen Ambrose, The Washington Post Book World).
Califano takes us into the Oval Office as the decisions that irrevocably changed the United States were being crafted to create Johnson's ambitious Great Society. He shows us LBJ's commitment to economic and social revolution, and his willingness to do whatever it took to achieve his goals. Califano uncorks LBJ's legislative genius and reveals the political guile it took to pass the laws in civil rights, poverty, immigration reform, health, education, environmental protection, consumer protection, the arts, and communications.
President Lyndon Johnson was bigger than life - and no one who worked for him or was subjected to the "Johnson treatment" ever forgot it. As Johnson's "Deputy President of Domestic Affairs" (The New York Times), Joseph A. Califano's unique relationship with the president greatly enriches our understanding of our thirty-sixth president, whose historical significance continues to be felt throughout every corner of America to this day.
A no-holds-barred account of Johnson's presidency, The Triumph and Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson is an intimate portrait of a President whose towering ambition for his country and himself reshaped America — and ultimately led to his decision to withdraw from the political arena in which he fought so hard.
- The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society - Julian Zelizer
A majestic big-picture account of the Great Society and the forces that shaped it, from Lyndon Johnson and members of Congress to the civil rights movement and the media.
- American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic - Joseph Ellis
From the first shots fired at Lexington to the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the negotiations for the Louisiana Purchase, Joseph J. Ellis guides us through the decisive issues of the nation's founding and illuminates the emerging philosophies, shifting alliances, and personal and political foibles of our now iconic leaders: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, and Adams. He casts an incisive eye on the founders' achievements, arguing that the American Revolution was, paradoxically, an evolution, and that part of what made it so extraordinary was the gradual pace at which it occurred. He explains how the idea of a strong federal government was eventually embraced by the American people and details the emergence of the two-party system, which stands as the founders' most enduring legacy.
Ellis is equally incisive about their failures, and he makes clear how their inability to abolish slavery and to reach a just settlement with the Native Americans has played an equally important role in shaping our national character. With eloquence and insight, Ellis strips the mythic veneer of the revolutionary generation to reveal men both human and inspired, possessed of both brilliance and blindness.
- Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America - Gilbert King
Arguably the most important American lawyer of the 20th century, Thurgood Marshall was on the verge of bringing the landmark suit Brown v. Board of Education before the U.S. Supreme Court when he became embroiled in an explosive and deadly case that threatened to change the course of the civil rights movement and cost him his life.
In 1949, Florida's orange industry was booming, and citrus barons got rich on the backs of cheap Jim Crow labor. To maintain order and profits, they turned to Willis V. McCall, a violent sheriff who ruled Lake County with murderous resolve. When a white 17-year-old Groveland girl cried rape, McCall was fast on the trail of four young blacks who dared to envision a future for themselves beyond the citrus groves. By day's end, the Ku Klux Klan had rolled into town, burning the homes of blacks to the ground and chasing hundreds into the swamps, hell-bent on lynching the young men who came to be known as the "Groveland Boys".
And so began the chain of events that would bring Thurgood Marshall, the man known as "Mr. Civil Rights", into the deadly fray. Associates thought it was suicidal for him to wade into the "Florida Terror" at a time when he was irreplaceable to the burgeoning civil rights movement, but the lawyer would not shrink from the fight - not after the Klan had murdered one of Marshall's NAACP associates involved with the case and Marshall had endured continual threats that he would be next.
Drawing on a wealth of never-before-published material, including the FBI's unredacted Groveland case files, as well as unprecedented access to the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund files, King shines new light on this remarkable civil rights crusader, setting his rich and driving narrative against the heroic backdrop of a case that U.S. Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson decried as "one of the best examples of one of the worst menaces to American justice."
- How Democracies Die - Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
A bracing look at the demise of liberal democracies around the world - and a road map for rescuing our own.
Donald Trump's presidency has raised a question that many of us never thought we'd be asking: Is our democracy in danger? Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have spent two decades studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America, and they believe the answer is yes. Democracy no longer ends with a bang - in a revolution or military coup - but with a whimper: the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms. The good news is that there are many exit ramps on the road to authoritarianism. The bad news is that, by electing Trump, we may have already passed the first one.
Drawing on decades of research and a wide range of historical and global examples, from 1930s Europe to contemporary Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela, Levitsky and Ziblatt show how democracies die - and how ours can be saved.
- A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America - Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig
"I alone can fix it." So went Donald J. Trump's march to the presidency on July 21, 2016, when he accepted the Republican presidential nomination in Cleveland, promising to restore what he described as a fallen nation. Yet over the subsequent years, as he has undertaken the actual work of the commander in chief, it has been hard to see beyond the daily chaos of scandal, investigation, and constant bluster. It would be all too easy to mistake Trump's first term for one of pure and uninhibited chaos, but there were patterns to his behavior and that of his associates. The universal value of the Trump administration is loyalty - not to the country, but to the president himself - and Trump's North Star has been the perpetuation of his own power, even when it meant imperiling our shaky and mistrustful democracy.
Leonnig and Rucker, with deep and unmatched sources throughout Washington, DC, tell of rages and frenzies but also moments of courage and perseverance. Relying on scores of exclusive new interviews with some of the most senior members of the Trump administration and other firsthand witnesses, the authors reveal the 45th president up close, taking listeners inside Robert Mueller's Russia investigation as well as the president's own haphazard but ultimately successful legal defense. Here, for the first time, certain officials who have felt honor-bound not to publicly criticize a sitting president or to divulge what they witnessed in a position of trust tell the truth for the benefit of history.
This peerless and gripping narrative reveals President Trump at his most unvarnished and exposes how decision making in his administration has been driven by a reflexive logic of self-preservation and self-aggrandizement - but a logic nonetheless. This is the story of how an unparalleled president has scrambled to survive and tested the strength of America's democracy and its common heart as a nation.
- Black Like Me - John Howard Griffin
In the Deep South of the 1950s, a color line was etched in blood across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. Journalist John Howard Griffin decided to cross that line. Using medication that darkened his skin to deep brown, he exchanged his privileged life as a Southern white man for the disenfranchised world of an unemployed black man.
What happened to John Howard Griffin — from the outside and within himself — as he made his way through the segregated Deep South is recorded in this searing work of nonfiction. His audacious, still chillingly relevant eyewitness history is a work about race and humanity every American must read.
- Feel free to suggest books you think folks might enjoy while we are housebound.