How We Got Here: Wendy's Guide to Recent U.S. History

By Scout & Morgan Books

By Scout & Morgan Books

Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right

Jane Mayer

$17.95 $16.51

I used to wonder why global warming became a partisan issue. (Believe it or not, it didn't used to be.) This well-written book by one of our premier journalists helped me understand how hidden money has warped our politics and policies.

Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America

Nancy MacLean

$18.00 $16.56

This book is very good at tracing the racist roots of the radical right and is particularly helpful in understanding their long-range effect on the judiciary (as seen in the efforts of the Federalist Society).

The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism

Katherine Stewart

$28.00 $25.76

I used to wonder why abortion became a partisan issue. (Believe it or not, it didn't used to be one.) Now I have a better idea about the hidden connections between big money and big religion.

Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right

Anne Nelson

$28.00 $25.76

This is a scary look at--you guessed it--the hidden money connections between right wing media and right wing religion.

What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America

Thomas Frank

$19.00 $17.48

A classic. Anything Thomas Frank writes is good. Although he has an academic background (a University of Chicago PhD in history), his writing is clear and very funny. How in the world can so many people vote against their own best interests? This, he says, is "the preeminent question of our times. People getting their fundamental interests wrong is what American political life is all about."

Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?

Thomas Frank

$19.00 $17.48

Another gem from Thomas Frank. Ever wonder why working class voters seem to have migrated to the Republican party? This is an interesting exploration of how the Democrats turned away from their traditional support of unions and labor and became much more enamored of "the meritocracy" and white collar workers. It also traces how the Democrats went along with the Republican deregulation of the free-market economy, allowing for the growing inequality in our society. (This is also explored in Pity the Billionaire: The Unexpected Resurgence of the American Right.) It's a real gift that Frank can be so funny in describing these very unfunny developments in our political and economic landscape.

Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History

Kurt Andersen

$30.00 $27.60

This is perhaps the broadest and most comprehensive examination of the move to the right in the last 40 years in the United States. It touches on many of the themes in these other books and is a great overview.

The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy

Michael Lewis

$16.95 $15.59

One of the best contemporary analyses of the Trump administration. This book details the botched transition and amazing ineptitude and ignorance of the new administration, and also its determination to destroy the federal government by getting rid of its scientists and experts. (This book deals specifically with the Departments of Energy, Commerce, and Agriculture). The fifth risk is not anticipating what might happen, not managing well the huge portfolio of risks the government faces. (The result of this lack of foresight and the attack on science is particularly scary for us at the moment, with the pandemic we are facing.)

Surviving Autocracy

Masha Gessen

$26.00 $23.92

Masha Gessen is a very good analyst of the troubling trends in the U.S., as she has experienced firsthand the growing autocracy and corruption in Russia.

Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation

Kristin Kobes Du Mez

$28.95 $26.63

I used to wonder why so many Christians support Donald Trump. This is helping me understand that perhaps they are not just excusing him or giving him "a mulligan" for various unchristian behaviors, but that his whole persona is in line with a cetain brand of Christianity.

The Road to Unfreedom

Timothy Snyder

$18.00 $16.56

Timothy Snyder is a very good historian. He helps us to see the malign influence of Russia in recent years and also the move to more nationalistic and xenophobic politics in Europe and the United States.

Moneyland: The Inside Story of the Crooks and Kleptocrats Who Rule the World

Oliver Bullough

$17.98 $16.54

Although this book is written by a British journalist, it deals with a world-wide problem and has many examples of the current kleptocracy in the United States.

Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974

Kevin M. Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer

$18.95 $17.43

This book traces the increasing polarization in the US in the last 45 years with a wealth of details. It has less overarching analysis than some of the previous books, but it is a good complement to them.

Why We're Polarized

Ezra Klein

$17.00 $15.64

Ezra Klein's book also looks at the political and historical reasons for our polarization, and adds a fascinating analysis of the psychological reasons that thinking as part of a group can pull us apart.

Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America's Heartland

Jonathan M Metzl

$17.99 $16.55

While most of our books on racism in the U.S. are in our Racism and You list, this book is a fascinating update on What's the Matter with Kansas? It looks at attitudes about gun control in Missouri, health care in Tennessee, and government spending, especially for public schools, in Kansas. In all these examples, people will vote for and believe in policies against their own best interests--and the root reasons, Metzl argues powerfully, come down to racial resentment.

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right

Arlie Russell Hochschild

$17.99 $16.55

A sympathetic and compassionate sociological perspective of conservative white working class people in Louisiana, and "the Great Paradox" of--again--why people vote against their own best interests.