Democracy in One Book or Less: How It Works, Why It Doesn't, and Why Fixing It Is Easier Than You Think
Bill Bryson meets Thomas Frank in this deeply insightful, unexpectedly hilarious story of how politicians hijacked American democracy and how we can take it back
The democracy you live in today is different--completely different--from the democracy you were born into. You probably don't realize just how radically your republic has been altered during your lifetime. Yet more than any policy issue, political trend, or even Donald Trump himself, our redesigned system of government is responsible for the peril America faces today.
What explains the gap between what We, the People want and what our elected leaders do? How can we fix our politics before it's too late? And how can we truly understand the state of our democracy without wanting to crawl under a rock? That's what former Obama speechwriter David Litt set out to answer.
Poking into forgotten corners of history, translating political science into plain English, and traveling the country to meet experts and activists, Litt explains how the world's greatest experiment in democracy went awry.
(He also tries to crash a party at Mitch McConnell's former frat house. It goes poorly.)
The result of Litt's journey is something you might not have thought possible: a page-turner about the political process. You'll meet the Supreme Court justice charged with murder, learn how James Madison's college roommate broke the Senate, encounter a citrus thief who embodies what's wrong with our elections, and join Belle the bill as she tries to become a law (a quest far more harrowing than the one in Schoolhouse Rock!).
Yet despite his clear-eyed assessment of the dangers we face, Litt remains audaciously optimistic. He offers a to-do list of bold yet achievable changes--a blueprint for restoring the balance of power in America before it's too late.
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About the Author
David Litt entered the White House in 2011 and left in 2016 as a special assistant to the president and senior presidential speechwriter
"Democracy in One Book or Less is by turns funny and illuminating. Litt combines his trademark humor and witty writing with an urgent call to fix American democracy. It's a tragicomedy that makes you a better citizen while you laugh and shake your head in disbelief at our broken system."--Brian Klaas, assistant professor of global politics at University College London and columnist for the Washington Post
"You think you know about politics and the motivations and machinations of Washington--and then you read this book. A wildly entertaining and informative journey that peels back the curtain on how the Beltway functions, David Litt's latest is a must-read for anyone who can't look away from the 'what' of the news and wants to understand the 'why.'"--Amie Parnes, co-author of Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign
"If you want to understand how our government really works without having a panic attack or a migraine, read this book. The way David tells stories about politics is funny, informative, and, most important, hopeful. David Litt dares to remain inspired, and that is what the conversation around politics needs most."--Ilana Glazer, co-creator and co-star of Broad City
"I'm so relieved to have this book at this moment in our political climate, a guide to our democracy when we so desperately need one."--Abbi Jacobson, co-creator and co-star of Broad City and author of I Might Regret This
"David Litt's book is equal parts how-to, historical, and hilarious as he takes us through the trials and travails of how the electorate and democracy in general works--and sometimes doesn't--yet still lovingly shows us that it's worth it all the same. A warm, pithy, and inspiring read."--Keegan-Michael Key
"I always look forward to David Litt's fiercely intelligent and funny take on the current state of things. If ever there was a time we needed a hilarious and thought-provoking look at how our democracy got to this point--and how we can save it--it's now!"--Billy Eichner
"Hilarious and incisive. If you want to understand what happened to America and how to change it, Democracy in One Book or Less will make you laugh and think, all at the same time."--David Axelrod, former senior advisor to Barack Obama and author of Believer: My Forty Years in Politics
"A pleasure to read, even in its darkest moments, and refreshingly optimistic about the future of the republic."--Kirkus Reviews
"[A] snappy and well-informed dissection of the current state of American democracy. . . Both optimistic and clear-eyed, this quip-filled call to action will resonate strongly with young progressives."--Publishers Weekly