Friday, May 22, 2020


Book Roundup

Aside from last week's Trump Books, this is my first Book Roundup since October 31, 2019, so lots of ground to cover. As usual, 40 books in the main section (well, 45), some with lists of extras tacked on. Then a bunch of "briefly noted" -- most just noted. Not inconceivable I could return and write more about some of them later. I've even been known to read the occasional book that first appeared there. But at least this includes them in the big file for future reference.

This time I have a third section, which includes leftovers from the Trump Books roundup. I didn't sort them out as I did before. Again, this section includes some forthcoming books -- some surprisingly close to the election, like they're deliberately planning on being irrelevant. [PS: On further reflection, I think I should move these new books back into the old post, but will hold off on doing that until later, so those reading in real time won't have to go back.]

My usual methodology here is to start with Amazon's tracking of my tastes and interests, and see where their recommendations lead me -- especially given that their book pages contain blurbs and user reviews, often even a partial "look inside," usually sufficient information to base my notes on. However, Amazon has become much more frustrating and much less useful lately. Their "my recommendations" page is now about 80% non-book clutter, and their book subject lists have generally been slashed from 50 to 15 books (I've seen them with as few as 4), so not much to explore from there. Their book pages used to have long lists of related books (usually books that others have bought or looked at), but the only thing they offer regularly now is "books you may like" -- pretty much the same list on every page. Their subject browsing has never been useful (it's even hard to find it). Even searches are pot shots. For the Trump books, I scoured through 50-60 screens of titles before posting last week. Most of the books below showed up in the next 20-30 screens.

I wound up going to Barnes and Noble for Trump books. Their subject browsing has been slightly better in the past, although it, too, seems worse than before. (Filters now seem to cancel each other out rather than further refine, and order by date is flat out broken.) Plus they don't have nearly as much aggregate information, so when I do find a book there, I wind up having to search it out on Amazon. I also looked at Indie Bound, but found no help at all. Looks like you can order there, but can't really shop. [PS: Finally, looked at Good Reads, which turns out to be more useful.]

In the future, it looks like I'm going to have to return to doing things like thumbing through the New York Review of Books looking for advertisements. (In the past, I went to libraries and bookstores to jot down lists of titles. From age 16 on I prowled around bookstores several times a week, regarding it as essential to my mental health, but that practice declined and ended when Borders went bankrupt.) I even tried doing a Google search for "new political books," which referred me to BookAuthority's 63 Best New Politics Books to Read in 2020. Some real crap, but at least 25% of the books there didn't show up in my Amazon searches. (Thanks to that list, I added Lawrence Lessig's book to the list, and after looking up Lessig I wrote the two Ganesh Sitaraman entries, increasing the main list to 42 books.)

Two of the longer sublists deserve special mention. I often list previous works by authors, but that went a little long with Joseph J Ellis. I look at the aforementioned "big file" often to see what other books someone has written, so it's always tempting to broaden that list -- currently, it's just everything mentioned in previous Book Roundups, but I can imagine stuffing it into a database. On the other hand, I didn't do that for the next author down, Eric Foner. That's partly because I've followed Foner more closely in the past, and indeed have read several of his books that predate the file (actually starting with Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War (1970; paperback, 1995, Oxford University Press).

Also did a long list under Nathan J Robinson, but the other list I wanted to mention was the one under Laurie Garrett. You hear people arguing that no one could have anticipated the pandemic, but as the list shows, there's actually a pretty substantial literature on the subject, with Garrett's big 1994 book as a cornerstone. Admittedly, I padded the list with historical books on the 1918 influenza. That is the most similar historical event to the present one, so seems of special interest today. I wasn't finding much on older plagues, but given how much else I had I decided not to look harder. But I did think of a Robert Desowitz book I had read 20+ years ago, and thought it worth mentioning. Also stumbled across a new article by Garrett, which would have been good in a Weekend Roundup.

Hard to predict when the next Book Roundup will appear, given what a mess my scratch file is currently in, plus the recent search troubles. I currently have 49 books left over, but most of them are mere stubs (some of those I might as well add as such below). On the other hand, at least a dozen are ready to go, and even as I write this I'm finding more books I want to comment on.

Books (from the main section) I've read so far: Erwin Chemerinsky: We the People; Ani DiFranco: No Walls and the Recurring Dream; Matt Farwell/Michael Ames: American Cipher; Eric Foner: The Second Founding; Ezra Klein: Why We're Polarized; John McPhee: Draft No. 4; Suketu Mehta: This Land Is Our Land; Cailin O'Connor/James Owen Weatherall: The Misinformation Age; Charles Postel: Equality; Emmanuel Saez/Gabriel Zucman: The Triumph of Injustice; Joan C Williams: White Working Class. Most of these I picked up rather haphazardly from the library. I've also read all (or nearly) of Robert Christgau: Book Reports and Paul Krugman: Arguing With Zombies as pre-book essays. Wrote two of those up at the end, only after seeing them in my book feed.

Posting this without yet doing the indexing. The "big file," see above for link, currently has 4,505 books (paragraphs, approximately the same thing), so it is already pretty unwieldy (although I can still load its 1.8 MB into an emacs buffer and search it almost instantly, so it still works for me).


David A Ansell: The Death Gap: How Inequality Kills (paperback, 2019, University of Chicago Press): Doctor, has spent 40 years working in some of the poorest hospitals in Chicago, wrote a book about his experiences: County: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago's Public Hospital (2011, Academy Chicago Publishers). Problem here is not just that America's health care system fails poor Americans, inequality has stacked the deck against them even before illness or injury strikes. Related:

  • Heather Boushey: Unbound: How Inequality Constricts Our Economy and What We Can Do About It (2019, Harvard University Press).
  • Michael Marmot: The Status Syndrome: How Social Standing Affects Our health and Longevity (paperback, 2005, Owl Books).
  • Michael Marmot: The Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World (2015; paperback, 2016, Bloomsbury).
  • Jonathan Rothwell: A Republic of Equals: A Manifesto for a Just Society (2019, Princeton University Press).
  • Nelson D Schwartz: The Velvet Rope Economy: How Inequality Became Big Business (2020, Doubleday).
  • Veronica Squires/Breanna Lathrop: How Neighborhoods Make Us Sick: Restoring Health and Wellness to Our Communities (2019, paperback, IVP Books).

Andrew Bacevich: The Age of Illusions (2020, Metropolitan Books): Ex-soldier, professed conservative, Bacevich has written a long series of books about the revival of militarism in America after Vietnam and how that renascent military was wasted and ruined in a series of wars in the Middle East. He looks to be retracing his steps here, focusing especially on the decision to maintain "sole superpower" status after the Cold War's sudden end, a decision that encouraged new enemies to replace the old. While that has been profitable for an arms industry and a bureaucracy always in need of enemies, the forever wars have only left America poorer and shabbier than before.

Christopher Caldwell: The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties (2020, Simon & Schuster): This is regarded as a rare conservative attempt at serious cultural history, but as always the word "entitlement" gives the mythmaking impulse away. Caldwell takes "readers on a roller-coaster ride through Playboy magazine, affirmative action, CB radio, leveraged buyouts, iPhones, Oxyconti, Black Lives Matter, and internet cookies" to illustrate his case that "the reforms of the 1960s, reforms intended to make the nation more just and humane, instead let many Americans feeling alienated, despised, misled."

Erwin Chemerinsky: We the People: A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the Twenty-First Century (paperback, 2018, Picador): Dean of UC Berkeley School of Law, previously wrote The Conservative Assault on the Constitution (2011), and The Case Against the Supreme Court (2014). His "progressive reading" emphasizes the preamble, which among other things permits the government to "promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity" -- about as progressive a directive as one can imagine. Also see:

  • Erwin Chemerinsky: The Case Against the Supreme Court (2014; paperback, 2015, Penguin Books).
  • Danielle S Allen: Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (paperback, 2015, Liveright).
  • Stephen M Feldman: The New Roberts Court, Donald Trump, and Our Failing Constitution (2017, Palgrave MacMilan).
  • Eric J Segall: Originalism as Faith (paperback, 2018, Cambridge University Press).
  • Ilan Wurman: A Debt Against the Living: An Introduction to Originalism (paperback, 2017, Cambridge University Press).

Robert Christgau: Book Reports: A Music Critic on His First Love, Which Was Reading (paperback, 2019, Duke University Press): Second collection of essays, following up Is It Still Good to Ya? Fifty Years of Rock Criticism 1967-2017 (paperback, 2018, Duke University Press) with a selection of book reviews -- some on music history and criticism, some on fiction, some loosely grouped as "Bohemia Meets Hegemony" and "Culture Meets Capital."

Adam Cohen: Supreme Inequality: The Supreme Court's Fifty-Year Battle for a More Unjust America (2020, Penguin Press): From 1936 to 1969 we were fortunate to have a Supreme Court that leaned left, for the only real period in American history when the Court worked to broaden and deepen the rights of all citizens, often in opposition to repressive and reactionary state and even federal laws. In 1969, Nixon started a campaign to pack the court with right-wingers (although his first two nominees were rejected by the Senate, his choice of William Rehnquist started to change the tide). Also see (plus the Robin Pogrebin/Kate Kelly book below, and the Erwin Chemerinsky book/list above):

  • Mollie Hemingway/Carrie Severino: Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court (2019, Regnery).
  • Carl Hulse: Confirmation Bias: Inside Washington's War Over the Supreme Court, From Scalia's Death to Justice Kavanaugh (2019, Harper).
  • David A Kaplan: The Most Dangerous Branch: Inside the Supreme Court in the Age of Trump (paperback, 2019, Broadway Books).
  • Ruth Marcus: Supreme Ambition: Brett Kavanaugh and the Conservative Takeover (2019, Simon & Schuster).
  • James D Zirin: Supremely Partisan: How Raw Politics Tips the Scales in the United States Supreme Court (2016, Rowman & Littlefield).

John Corbett: Pick Up the Pieces: Excursions in Seventies Music (2019, University of Chicago Press): Music writer and impressario (owns his own reissue label), reminiscences about 4-11 records from each year of the 1970s -- a pretty hip selection, many (even obscurities) I would have picked, probably more jazz than I knew at the time. Starts with the Kinks' "Lola," ends 1979 with the Raincoats' cover of same (plus one 1980 album, Grace Jones' Warm Leatherette).

William Dalrymple: The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire (2019, Bloomsbury): Major historian of British India, focuses here on the early period when English power was entrusted to private enterprise, the notorious East India Company -- a case example of what's likely to happen when the powers of state are directed exclusively for the profit of foreign shareholders. The progression is spelled out in chapter titles: "1599," "Sweeping With the Broom of Plunder," "Bloodshed and Confusion," "Racked by Famine," and "The Corpse of India." After the revolt of 1859, the British government had to step in and take over. They, too, did a lousy job.

Ani DiFranco: No Walls and the Recurring Dream: A Memoir (2019, Viking; paperback, 2020, Penguin Press): DIY folksinger from Buffalo, released her own records and made a business out of that, which she still regards as a pretty weird thing to do. I have a cousin who moved to Buffalo and knows her -- my cousin's family shows up here and there in the book, and I figure I probably caught a glance of Ani as a girl, long before I started hearing about how amazing she was, which was long before you did, so I've always felt a bit of a personal connection. Also I figure it's good for me to read the occasional memoir, especially of people growing up political, as I may write one myself some day. I found the early family/city parts fascinating, the music/industry less so. I suspect she does too.

EJ Dionne Jr: Code Red: How Progressives and Moderates Can Unite to Save Our Country (2020, St Martin's Press): The Washington Post columnist's second Trump book, perhaps a little more desperate than the first (One Nation Under Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet-Deported), but doubling down on his centrist pitch, that progressives have to give in and accept nothing for their votes, so the centrists can cut their own deals furthering oligopoly.

Barbara Ehrenreich: Had I Known: Collected Essays (2020, Twelve): Starts with the Harper's piece that grew into her bestseller, Nickel-and-Dimed, with more on inequality, health, men, women, science, joy, God, and "bourgeois blunders" -- a rather vast category. A good selection, but after two dozen books, not remotely close to collected.

Joseph J Ellis: American Dialogue: The Founders and Us (2018, Knopf): Historian, has written a number of books on the founding of the United States (partial list below). Notes the persistence of "what would the Founding Fathers think?" questions on current topics, tries to juxtapose several contemporary questions with thinking from those founders: Thomas Jefferson (racism), John Adams (inequality), George Washington (imperialism), and James Madison (the doctrine of original intent). I wouldn't put much stock in the answers (at least from the first two), but shows us again how the study of history is always (for better or worse) an interaction with the present. More Ellis books, and other recent period titles:

  • Joseph J Ellis: After the Revolution: Profiles of Early American Culture (1979; paperback, 2002, WW Norton).
  • Joseph J Ellis: Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams (1993; paperback, 2001, WW Norton).
  • Joseph J Ellis: American Sphinx: the Character of Thomas Jefferson (1996; paperback, 1998, Vintage Books).
  • Joseph J Ellis: Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation (2000; paperback, 2002, Vintage Books).
  • Joseph J Ellis: His Excellency: George Washington (2004; paperback, 2005, Vintage Books).
  • Joseph J Ellis: American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies in the Founding of the Republic (2007; paperback, 2008, Vintage Books).
  • Joseph J Ellis: First Family: Abigail and John Adams (2010; paperback, 2011, Vintage Books).
  • Joseph J Ellis: Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence (2013; paperback, 2014, Vintage Books).
  • Joseph J Ellis: The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution 1783-1789 (2015; paperback, 2016, Vintage): Singles out George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison.

Matt Farwell/Michael Ames: American Cipher: Bowe Bergdahl and the US Tragedy in Afghanistan (2019, Penguin Press): Bergdahl was a troubled teenager in Idaho, signed up and got thrown out of the US Coast Guard, joined the US Army as a private and got sent to Afghanistan. There, he wandered off his base, was captured by the Taliban and held for five years before being repatriated in a prisoner exchange. He was then reviled by the right-wing press, and as a result was court-martialed for desertion, convicted, and dishonorably discharged, without further incarceration. His story parallels America's futile and foolish war effort.

Eric Foner: The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution (2019, WW Norton): America's foremost historian of the period, his main book Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (1988; updated edition, paperback, 2014, Harper). This focuses most specifically on the three constitutional amendments of the period, including the one about "birthright citizenship" that Trump has most explicitly attacked. This details how and why they were passed, and how they've been reinterpreted by the courts ever since (e.g., how the 14th Amendment has been taken as carte blanche for corporate power).

Laurie Garrett: The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance (1994; paperback, 1995, Farrar Straus & Giroux): This is an old book, massive (768 pp), nothing remotely specific on this year's pandemic, but a solid rejoinder to anyone's insinuation that "no one could have anticipated this." Garrett, by the way, is still around, most recently writing Trump Has Sabotaged America's Coronavirus Response. Here are some more books on pandemics and plagues, broadening the net both going back and forward.

  • Laurie Garrett: Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health (paperback, 2001, Hachette Books).
  • Laurie Garrett: I Heard the Sirens Scream: How Americans Responded to the 9/11 and Anthrax Attacks (paperback, 2012, CreateSpace).
  • Warren A Andiman: Animal Viruses and Humans: A Narrow Divide: How Lethal Zoonotic Viruses Spill Over and Threaten Us (paperback, 2018, Paul Dry Books).
  • Katherine Arnold: Pandemic 1918: Eyewitness Accounts From the Greatest Medical Holocaust in Modern History (paperback, 2020, St Martin's Griffin).
  • John M Barry: The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History (2004; paperback, 2005, Penguin Books).
  • Thomas J Bollyky: Plagues and the Paradox of Progress: Why the World Is Getting Healthier in Worrisome Ways (paperback, 2019, MIT Press).
  • Nancy K Bristow: American Pandemic: The Lost Worlds of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic (2012; paperback, 2017, Oxford University Press).
  • Jeremy Brown: Influenza: The Hundred-Year Hunt to Cure the Deadliest Disease in History (paperback, 2019, Atria Books).
  • Alfred W Crosby: America's Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918 (2nd edition, paperback, 2003, Cambridge University Press).
  • Molly Caldwell Crosby: The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic That Shaped Our History (2006; paperback, 2007, Berkley).
  • Mike Davis: The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu (2005, New Press; paperback, 2006, Holt).
  • Robert S Desowitz: Who Gave Pinta to the Santa Maria? Tracking the Devastating Spread of Lethal Tropical Diseases Into America (1997; paperback, 1998, Harcourt Brace).
  • Michael Greger: Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching (2006, Lantern Books).
  • Oscar Harway: Spanish Flu 1918: Data and Reflections on the Consequences of the Deadliest Plague, What History Teaches, How Not to Repeat the Same Mistakes (paperback, 2020, independent).
  • Mark Honigsbaum: The Pandemic Century: One Hundred Years of Panic, Hysteria, and Hubris (2019, WW Norton).
  • Ali S Khan: The Next Pandemic: On the Front Lines Against Humankind's Gravest Dangers (2016, PublicAffairs).
  • Christian W McMillen: Pandemics: A Very Short Introduction (paperback, 2016, Oxford University Press).
  • Michael BA Oldstone: Viruses, Plagues, and History: Past, Present and Future (paperback, 2009, Oxford University Press).
  • Michael T Osterholm/Mark Olshaker: Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs (paperback, 2020, Little Brown).
  • David Quammen: Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic (2012; paperback, 2013, WW Norton).
  • David Quammen: Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus (paperback, 2014, WW Norton).
  • David Quammen: The Chimp and the River: How AIDS Emerged From an African Forest (paperback, 2015, WW Norton).
  • Pardis Sabeti/Lara Salahi: Outbreak Culture: The Ebola Crisis and the Next Pandemic (2018, Harvard University Press).
  • Soia Shah: Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, From Cholera to Ebola and Beyond (2016, Sarah Crichton Books; paperback, 2017, Picador).
  • Alan Sipress: The Fatal Strain: On the Trail of Avian Flu and the Coming Pandemic (paperback, 2010, Penguin Books).
  • Laura Spinney: Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World (2017, PublicAffairs).
  • David Waltner-Toews: On Pandemics: Deadly Diseases From Bubonic Plague to Coronavirus (paperback, 2020, Greystone Books). [May 28]
  • Nathan Wolfe: The Viral Storm: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age (2011, Times Books; paperback, 2012, Griffin).
  • Slavoj Zizek: Pandemic! Covid-19 Shakes the World (paperback, 2020, Polity).

Kim Ghattas: Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unravaled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East (2020, Henry Holt). There's a natural dynamic to revolution to try to expand -- one thinks of the French wars against European monarchies, and Russia's appeal to proletarian revolution elsewhere. When Iran threw off the Shah, one of the first things the new Islamic Republic did was to mount a challenge for leadership of the Muslim World -- something Saudi Arabia had assumed since occupying the "holy cities" of Mecca and Medina. Hence the "forty-year rivalry" documented here. While revolutionary fervor in Iran has ebbed, isolation orchestrated by the Saudis, Israel, and the United States (as always, the sorest of sore losers) has kept a desperate edge on the conflict.

Dan Kaufman: The Fall of Wisconsin: The Conservative Conquest of a Progressive Bastion and the Future of American Politics (2018, WW Norton): The Kochs put a lot of money and organization into flipping Wisconsin, and had their most remarkable success these, with Scott Walker winning two terms as governor, Ron Johnson twice defeating Russell Feingold for the Senate, and a state legislature so gerrymandered Republicans still have a massive edge despite losing the popular vote -- Democrats did manage to rebound some in 2018. Moreover, Republicans won not by sugar-coating their ideology, but by taking advantage of their wins to implement some of the most radically right-wing policies in the nation.

Marc Hetherington/Jonathan Weiler: Prius or Pickup? How the Answers to Four Simple Questions Explain America's Great Divide (2018, Houghton Mifflin): Sure, badly. On the other hand, if you tell someone what your politics are, then ask them to answer the questions for you, the answers will probably correlate, at least in that people with different politics will probably put you into the authors pigeonholes. All that proves is that you can lie with statistics, as opposed to the usual process of just spouting nonsense. Authors also wrote:

  • Marc J Heherington/Jonathan D Weiler: Authoritarian and Polarization in American Politics (paperback, 2009, Cambridge University Press).

AG Hopkins: American Empire: A Global History (2018, Princeton University Press). I thought I'd slip this in under Daniel Underwahr's How to Hide an Empire, but at 960 pp this is by far the more sweeping book, basically a recasting of the whole history of America as viewed through its imperialistic proclivities. Author is British, which no doubt helped set up the global imperial framework.

Ezra Klein: Why We're Polarized (2020, Simon & Schuster): Polarization per se doesn't bother me. Indeed, given that Republicans have moved significantly to the right, it's good that Democrats have moved somewhat left, and would I'd be happier if they moved even further. Sure, this does cause problems, like when one party (almost always the Republican) tries to obstruct the other from doing it would do itself if under different circumstances (like pass stimulus bills). Klein cites a lot of political science research on how people identify themselves in groups, but he refuses to credit any kind of "identity politics" strawman (unlike, say, Mark Lilla, in The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics). He sees identity as inevitable but also flexible and multi-layered, which strikes me as right.

Paul Krugman: Arguing With Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Future (2020, WW Norton): New York Times columnist and sometime economist recycles his columns, organized into thematic sections, like how Obamacare was supposed to work, why the Euro didn't, why tax cuts aren't always good, why deficits aren't always bad, and how politics affects (and infects) everything.

Michael Lind: The New Class War: Saving Democracy From the Managerial Elite (2020, Portfolio): Started out as a thinker with conservative impulses, gradually turned on the right without abandoning those instincts. Seems to be intent on defending working class Trump voters here from the charge of bigotry, arguing that they're caught in the grip of a class war against them, and for a "class compromise that provides the working class with real power."

Andrew Marantz: Anti-Social: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation (2019, Viking). You know, there's a lot of incoherent shit on the internet. If you look for it, you'll find it, and if you take it seriously, you'll start to worry about, oh say, the future of civilization. As near as I can tell, that's what Marantz is doing here, plus a little legwork to meet up with some of the people who play assholes in virtual space. I'm not sure any of it matters, but he does spend enough time chatting up the alt-right to draw out their general maleficence, so that's something. Just not sure it's worth the trouble.

Branko Marcetic: Yesterday's Man: The Case Against Joe Biden (paperback, 2020, Verso): Intended as "a deep dive into Joe Biden's history and the origins of his political values," argues that "far from being a liberal stalwart, Biden often outdid even Reagan, Gingrich, and Bush, assisting the right-wing war against the working class, and ultimately paving the way for Trump." Even though Biden's been the Democratic frontrunner, we haven't seen many books reviewing his life and record. But I'm reminded here that the publisher has a history of dredging up dirt on Democratic candidates -- back in 2000, I read one of their more brutal hatchet jobs, Al Gore: A User's Manual (by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St Clair). Biden is a much easier target -- Gore at least seemed to have the gravitas and smarts to make his frequent maneuvers to the right seem merely opportunistic, whereas Biden simply does whatever seems easiest. On the other hand, Biden's running less on his own record than on someone else's, and few have seen fit to call him on that. More on Biden:

  • Mike McCormick: Joe Biden Unauthorized: And the 2020 Crackup of the Democratic Party (paperback, 2020, 15 Years a Deplorable).

Michael J Mazarr: Leap of Faith: Hubris, Negligence, and America's Greatest Foreign Policy Tragedy (2019, PublicAffairs): A RAND Corporation senior analyst, the sort of person who would have rubber-stamped the Bush administration's plot to invade Iraq, claims to have figured out how it all went so horribly wrong. He blames the decision on "a strain of missionary zeal that lives on" -- clearly, John Bolton is a particularly odious example. But while it's pretty easy these days to find politicians who admit that Iraq was a mistake, it's much harder to find ones who question the assumptions that went into that miscalculation. As such, even with books like this on the shelf, we have little reason to expect future war planners to have learned from past disasters.

John McPhee: Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process (2017; paperback, 2018, Farrar Straus and Giroux): My favorite nonfiction writer constructs a memoir of his writing, stories of who and when and why, mixed with occasional grammar tips. I was hooked at the latter, although his thoughts on structure will challenge me more. Still, I'm reluctantly coming to suspect that at 89 his major works are behind him: The Founding Fish was 2002, Uncommon Carriers 2006, and since then just collections, most recently The Patch (2018), which I passed up at the library: essays on fishing, football, golf, lacrosse, bears, and something called "An Album Quilt."

Suketu Mehta: This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant's Manifesto (2019, Farrar Straus and Giroux): Born in India, grew up in New York, wrote journalism all around the world, giving him the feel and perspective to write his major book, Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found (2004). "Mehta juxtaposes the phony narratives of populist ideologues with the ordinary heroism of laborers, nannies, and others . . . also stresses the destructive legacies of colonialism and global inequality on large swaths of the world: When today's immigrants are asked, 'Why are you here?' they can justly respond, "We are here because you were there.'"

Cailin O'Connor/James Owen Weatherall: The Misinformation Age: How False Beliefs Spread (2018; paperback, 2020, Yale University Press): Useful anecdotal history of many cases where blatant falsehoods were propagated far and wide, both recent and fairly deep into the past (e.g., the "health benefits" of bleeding). Also a series of approximate mathematical models of how such ideas are transmitted, ranging from gossip to propaganda.

Kevin C O'Leary: Madison's Sorrow: Today's War on the Founders and America's Liberal Ideal (2020, Pegasus Books): A research fellow at the Center of the Study of Democracy at UC Irvine, previously wrote Saving Democracy: A Plan for Real Representation in America (paperback, 2006, Stanford University Press). Argues that Madisonian democracy was essentially liberal, and that the Republican Party has "unleashed an illiberal crusade against the ideals of the Founding Fathers." Both liberals and conservatives have tried to claim the Founders and their Constitution as their own. I've long thought that Scalia's "originalism" is a crock. On the other hand, the liberal case has mostly been aspirational, as they recall best sentiments and overlook how often those ideals have been failed. Still, I recall that my own politics started with a naive embrace of our noble past, leading me to turn against modern politicians of both parties for their many failures to live up to those ideals. But since then, one party has stood out in its desire to wreck the very foundations of democracy and equality: the Republicans, as O'Leary makes clear here.

Thomas Philippon: The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up on Free Markets (2019, Belknap Press): By which he means: stopped worrying about monopoly power and shied away from antitrust enforcement. Economist, teaches finance at Stern School of Business. That's a reasonable position: capitalists wax eloquent about the efficiencies of the free market, but the first thing they learn to do in business school is to undermine and thwart competition. But I've seen this book picked apart by none other than James K Galbraith -- to some extent in defending his father (who was tolerant of well-regulated monopoly), but also for lionizing Wright Patman (D-TX), who had a reputation as a populist in the 1930s but didn't impress me much when he was chairing the House Banking Committee in the 1960s.

Thomas Piketty: Capital and Ideology (2020, Belknap Press): Massive successor to the French economist's Capital in the Twenty-First Century, runs 1104 pages. Krugman panned this for wandering too far afield, but one suspects that a good part of the complaint has to do with Piketty's more radical political leanings. Goes deep in time, and all around the world, seeking to understand the roots of inequality and its extension today.

Robin Pogrebin/Kate Kelly: The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation (2019, Portfolio): The authors dug up some of the background exposés that crowded out discussion of judicial philosophy -- reason enough to keep him far away from the Supreme Court. Book includes several revelations that resurfaced questions as to whether Kavanaugh lied to Congress during his confirmation hearings, and whether he should be impeached for it. Clearly, as a Supreme Court Justice, he's well positioned to do immense damage to our rights under the Constitution.

Charles Postel: Equality: An American Dilemma 1866-1896 (2019, Farrar Straus and Giroux): A history of several political movements following the Civil War that took the notion of equality, given renewed emphasis following the end of slavery and the constitutional promise of equal rights, and tried to expand it to various groups -- farmers, women, labor. It's worth noting that several of those movements made alliances with the restoration of white power in the South, and as such compromised the equality they sought on the fractured ground of racism. Postel wrote a previous book, The Populist Vision.

Jedediah Purdy: This Land Is Our Land: The Struggle for a New Commonwealth (2019, Princeton University Press): Philosopher, I guess, although he makes his living teaching law. Hailing from West Virginia, he's haunted by the relationship between environmental destruction and poverty. A blurb touts this as a "Thoreauvian call to wake up," but surely he realizes that lifting a title from Woody Guthrie suggests a more straightforward revolution.

Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen: The Ideas That Made America: A Brief History (2019, Oxford University Press): Intellectual history, "from the Puritans to Postmodernism, and everything in between." That's a tall, probably impossible order, especially given how much actual thinking in American history simply cancels one another out. To come up with something more usually requires an agenda. This one isn't clear, not least because what we might have recognized as a liberal/progressive consensus a generation or two ago has been widely trashed of late, mostly (but not only) by the right. Author previously wrote American Nietzsche: A History of an Icon and His Ideas (2011; paperback, 2012, University of Chicago Press).

Nathan J Robinson: Why You Should Be a Socialist (2019, All Points Press): Editor of Current Affairs, has a pile of books since 2013, including ones focused on Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, but more intent on explaining how much better life could be with democratic socialism. Other books by Robinson and other books on democratic socialism:

  • Nathan J Robinson/Oren Nimni: Blueprints for a Sparkling Tomorrow: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (paperback, 2015, Demilune Press).
  • Nathan J Robinson: Superpredator: Bill Clinton's Use and Abuse of Black America (paperback, 2016, Demilune Press).
  • Nathan J Robinson: The Current Affairs Mindset: Essays on People, Politics, and Culture (paperback, 2017, Demilune Press).
  • Nathan J Robinson: Trump: Anatomy of a Monster (paperback, 2017, Demilune Press).
  • Nathan J Robinson: Interesting Times: Arguments & Observations (paperback, 2018, Demilune Press).
  • Nathan J Robinson: The Current Affairs Rules for Life (paperback, 2018, Demilune Press).
  • Paul S Adler: The 99 Percent Economy: How Democratic Socialism Can Overcome the Crises of Capitalism (2019, Oxford University Press).
  • Kate Aronoff/Peter Dreier/Michael Kazin, eds: We Own the Future: Democratic Socialism -- American Style (paperback, 2020, New Press):
  • Micah Uetricht: Bigger Than Bernie: How We Can Go From the Sanders Campaign to Democratic Socialism (2020, Verso).
  • Richard D Wolff: Understanding Socialism (paperback, 2019, Democracy at Work).

David Rohde: In Deep: The FBI, the CIA, and the Truth About America's "Deep State" (2020, WW Norton). All bureaucracies have their own special interests, and those that act in secrecy are especially likely to hide their own agendas. The FBI, especially but not exclusively under J Edgar Hoover, often put its own agenda first, which led to numerous abuses, especially directed at what they dubbed "subversive" groups, like civil rights activists and labor unions. The CIA has been even more secretive, and their remit to run clandestine operations has been even more widespread. Moreover, they've enjoyed direct private access to the president -- at least since 9/11 on a daily basis, so their ability to shape US foreign policy, whatever their motives may be, is nonpareil but also obscure. Indeed, it's not uncommon for presidents-elect to reverse course following their first briefing, which only adds to the aura of mysterious power. So much as been obvious to everyone on the left since Harry Truman, but the last few years it's been Trump et al. who've been up in arms over the "deep state" -- an epithet they tend to apply indiscriminately to the whole civil service. This book provides some background, but mostly to help sort out the charges that the FBI and CIA, with their Obama-era leadership, were out to get Trump. I don't doubt there's something to those charges, but Trump's demands are such an overreach not just of decent policy but of law that it's hard to side with him, even against adversaries this bad.

Heather Cox Richardson: How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America (2020, Oxford University Press): Historian, argues not just that the defeated Confederacy was able to restore its old system of white supremacy for a century after the Civil War, but that a the American West provided a key vector for Southern political influence, notably through the "movement conservatives" like Barry Goldwater. Thus we see that their efforts to maintain supremacy did not end with the civil rights movement, but continue to influence the Republican Party today. Richardson previously wrote:

  • Heather Cox Richardson: West From Appomattox: The Reconstruction of America After the Civil War (2007, Yale University Press).
  • Heather Cox Richardson: To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party (2014, Basic Books).

Emmanuel Saez/Gabriel Zucman: The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay (2019, WW Norton): Saez is the world's foremost statistician of inequality, so expect a fair amount of number crunching here. Zucman, who I associate with French economist Thomas Piketty, has a previous book more specific to this concern: The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens (2015; paperback, 2016, University of Chicago Press). Makes a strong case for cracking down on tax havens, showing that the failure of the US and other countries to do so is a deliberate choice in favor of oligarchy. Also makes a case for a wealth tax.

Gabriel Sherman: The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News -- and Divided a Country (2014; paperback, 2017, Random House). This is the basis for Showtime's TV series, with Russell Crowe playing Ailes. I had missed the book, which sounds like it's meant to blow smoke up Ailes' ass, and couldn't stand watching the show -- mostly because I didn't find Ailes' bloviating speeches credible (not so much that I couldn't believe he gave them but I couldn't stomach the notion that anyone bought them). Still, probably the single most important political story of the last quarter-century, so someone had to tell it.

Ganesh Sitaraman/Anne L Alstott: The Public Option: How to Expand Freedom, Increase Opportunity, and Promote Equality (2019, Harvard University Press): The most often hear "public option" these days as Joe Biden's preferred way of patching up Obamacare's failure to assure competitive private health insurance. As such, it's seen as an alternative to Medicare for All, but the latter is a much better example of what the authors mean by "public option": a case where the government provides a public service, not bound by the private sector's need to maximize profit. The section on history offers examples like public libraries and Social Security, and admits "mixed results in education and housing." Part Three plots out where this could go, and probably shortchanges "And More" with just 12 pages.

Ganesh Sitaraman: The Great Democracy: How to Fix Our Politics, Unrig the Economy, and Unite America (2019, Basic Books): Author of The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic (2017, Knopf), which offered a pretty convincing account of the founding of the nation as an egalitarian ideal struggling to become real. Here he focuses on more recent history: the rise of the right from Reagan on (which he roots in and doesn't distinguish from neoliberalism, a term he uses a lot but I'd prefer to limit). Prescriptions follow. [PS: In his "Acknowledgments" I was surprised to find generous mention of Pete Buttigieg.]

Gene Sperling: Economic Dignity (2020, Penguin Press): Cover adds: "Chief White House Economic Adviser to President Obama and President Clinton." Sperling advertised himself as The Pro-Growth Progressive in 2005, with his "economic strategy for shared prosperity." At that time, he was cooling his heels, working at the Brookings Institution, waiting to become Hillary Clinton's chief economic adviser for her ill-fated 2008 campaign (2008 was, however, very good to Sperling, as he received $2.2 million "from a variety of consulting jobs, board seats, speaking fees and fellowships" (that's prosperity, but not what I'd call shared). He easily made the transition from Clinton to Obama, and was a prominent player in Ron Suskind's 2011 book Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President. The new book leads off with a blurb from Hillary Clinton, who says "it should be our North Star for the recovery and beyond." There are people with worse resumes in Washington (e.g., those currently working for Trump), but few "progressives" have aimed so low and still failed to deliver. Even now, he's trying to buy us off with "dignity" (which, by the way, he defines as "you know it when you see it"). Good luck with that.

Matt Stoller: Goliath: The 100-Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy (2019, Simon & Schuster): Big book on the dangers of concentration of economic power as companies connive to prevent or limit competition: something antitrust law was meant to prevent, but has been hobbled by loose definitions and lax enforcement, not unrelated to the ever-greater role that lobbying and campaign "contributions" play in American politics.

Joan C Williams: White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America (paperback, 2019, Harvard Business Review Press): Sympathetic enough to her subjects, emphasizing how the desire for stability and belief in self-sufficiency offer the white working class a conservative ethos, a point which could be extended to the non-white working class if they only had a party option that wasn't as offensive as the Republicans. Contrasts this to the urban professionals who may be more liberal socially but also lack the grounding in community and its identities, and may wind up more alienated as a result. In passing, she mentions "class migrants," who typically come from the working class but are able to function in the professional world, appreciating bits of both.


Other recent books noted with little or no comment:

Alberto Alesina/Carlo O Favero/Francesco Glavazzi: Austerity: When It Works and When It Doesn't (2019, Princeton University Press).

Charlotte Alter: The Ones We've Been Waiting For: How a New Generation of Leaders Will Transform America (2020, Viking). Profiles of young politicians, the eldest Pete Buttigieg (b. 1982), the only other one I recognize Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (b. 1989).

Andrew J Bacevich, ed: American Conservatism: Reclaiming an Intellectual Tradition: A Century of Writings From Henry Adams to the Present (2020, Library of America).

Molly Ball: Pelosi (2020, Henry Holt).

Frida Berrigan: It Runs in the Family: On Being Raised by Radicals and Growing Into Rebellious Motherhood (paperback, 2015, OR Books).

Rutget Bregman: Humankind: A Hopeful History (2020, Little Brown): "A more politically radical Malcolm Gladwell."

Vincent Brown: Tacky's Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War (2020, Belknap Press).

Oren Cass: The Once and Future Worker: A Vision for the Renewal of Work in America (2018, Encounter Books): Former "domestic policy director for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign."

Panashe Chigumadzi: These Bones Will Rise Again (2020, The Indigo Press): On Zimbabwe and overthrowing Robert Mugabe.

Michael D'Antonio: The Hunting of Hillary: The Forty-Year Campaign to Destroy Hillary Clinton (2020, Thomas Dunne Books).

Alan Dershowitz: Guilt by Accusation: The Challenge of Proving Innocence in the Age of #MeToo (2019, Hot Books).

Joan Marans Dim/Antonio Masi: Lady Liberty: An Illustrated History of America's Most Storied Woman (2019, Fordham University Press).

Mike Duncan: The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic (2017; paperback, 2018, PublicAffairs).

Anna Fifield: The Great Successor: The Divinely Perfect Destiny of Brilliant Comrade Kim Jung Un (2019, PublicAffairs).

Marc Fleurbaey, et al: A Manifesto for Social Progress: Ideas for a Better Society (paperback, 2018, Cambridge University Press).

Kristen Ghodsee: The Left Side of History: World War II and the Unfulfilled Promise of Communism in Eastern Europe (paperback, 2015, Duke University Press).

Ted Gioia: Music: A Subversive History (2019, Basic Books).

Malcolm Gladwell: Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know (2019, Little Brown).

Thom Hartmann: The Hidden History of Guns and the Second Amendment (paperback, 2019, Berrett-Koehler).

Thom Hartmann: The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America (paperback, 2019, Berrett-Koehler).

Thom Hartmann: The Hidden History of the War on Voting: Who Stole Your Vote -- and How to Get It Back (paperback, 2020, Berrett-Koehler).

Nolan Higdon/Mickey Huff: United States of Distraction: Media Manipulation in Post-Truth America (And What We Can Do About it) (paperback, 2019, City Lights).

Jonathan Horn: Washington's End: The Final Years and Forgotten Struggle (2020, Scribner).

Susan Jacoby: The Age of American Unreason in a Culture of Lies (paperback, 2018, Vintage Books): Revised edition of her 2008 The Age of American Unreason, itself a return to Richard Hofstadter's famous Anti-Intellectualism in American Life.

Sean Kay: Rockin' the Free World! How the Rock & Roll Revolution Changed America and the World (2016, Rowman & Littlefield; paperback, 2018, RL).

Stephen Kinzer: Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control (2019, Henry Holt).

Michael T Klare: All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon's Perspective on Climate Change (2019, Metropolitan Books).

Michael J Klarman: The Framers' Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution (2016, Oxford University Press).

Mikael Klintman: Knowledge Resistance: How We Avoid Insight From Others (2019, Manchester University Press).

Nicholas D Kristof/Sheryl WuDunn: Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope (2020, Knopf).

Peter La Chapelle: I'd Fight the World: A Political History of Old-Time, Hillbilly, and Country Music (paperback, 2019, University of Chicago Press).

Rob Larson: Capitalism vs. Freedom: The Toll Road to Serfdom (paperback, 2018, Zero Books).

Erika Lee: America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States (2019, Basic Books).

Lawrence Lessig: They Don't Represent Us: Reclaiming Our Democracy (2019, Dey Street Books).

Steven Levingston: Barack and Joe: The Making of an Extraordinary Partnership (2019, Hachette Books).

Matthew Lockwood: To Begin the World Over Again: How the American Revolution Devastated the Globe (2019, Harvard University Press).

Agusto Lopez-Claros/Bahiyyih Nakhjavani: Equality for Women = Prosperity for All: The Disastrous Global Crisis of Gender Inequality (2019, St Martin's Press).

Allen Lowe: God Didn't Like It: Electric Hillbillies, Singing Preachers, and the Beginning of Rock and Roll, 1950-1970 (paperback, 2013, Constant Sorrow Press).

Annie Lowrey: Give People Money: How a Universal Basic Income Would End Poverty, Revolutionize Work, and Remake the World (2018, Crown).

George Monbiot: Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis (2017; paperback, 2018, Verso).

Jenny Odell: How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy (2019, Melville House).

Michael O'Sullivan: The Levelling: What's Next After Globalization (2019, PublicAffairs).

Robert B Reich: The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It (2020, Knopf).

Ruth Reichl: Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir (2019; paperback, 2020, Random House).

Thomas E Sheridan/Randall H McGuire, eds: The Border and Its Bodies (2019, University of Arizona Press).

Frank Smyth: The NRA: The Unauthorized History (2020, Flatiron Books).

Rebecca Solnit: Recollections of My Nonexistence: A Memoir (2020, Viking).

Joseph E Stiglitz: Globalization and Its Discontents Revisited: Anti-Globalization in the Era of Trump (paperback, 2017, WW Norton).

Cal Thomas: America's Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires and Superpowers . . . and the Futrure of the United States (2020, Zondervan).

Jia Tolentino: Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion (2019, Random House).

Rick Van Noy: Sudden Spring: Stories of Adaptation in a Climate-Changed South (2019, University of Georgia Press).

Michael Walzer: A Foreign Policy for the Left (2018, Yale University Press).

Jesse Wegman: Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College (2020, St Martin's Press).

Tara Westover: Educated: A Memoir (2018, Random House).

Kevin D Williamson: The Smallest Minority: Independent Thinking in the Age of Mob Politics (2019, Gateway).


Even after trying hard to round up all but the flimsiest and most ridiculous books on Trump, his administration, and the 2020 election, I find I still missed a few:

Seth Abramson: Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019, St Martin's Press): Previously wrote Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018, Simon & Schuster), and has a third volume in the works, each over 400 pp range (this one 592).

Seth Abramson: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020, St Martin's Press): A third volume, after Proof of Collusion (2018) and Proof of Conspiracy (2019). This seems to me like far and away the fattest subject, even before the author tacked on something about the pandemic, probably making it one of the first books to broach the subject. Still, seems too early to tell much. [September 8]

Jeffrey F Addicott: Trump Judges: Protecting America's Establishment Pillars to "Make America Great Again" (paperback, 2020, Imprimatur Press).

Dan Alexander: White House, Inc: How Donald Trump Turned the Presidency Into a Business (2020, Portfolio). Senior Editor at Forbes, so it's unclear whether this is muckraking or just their usual run of business puff pieces. But possibly useful to the extent he shows how it's done. [August 11].

Martin Amis: The Rub of Time: Bellow, Nabakov, Hitchens, Travolta, Trump: Essays and Reportage, 1986-2016 (2017, Joathan Cape).

Sara Azari: Unprecedented: A Simple Guide to the Crimes of the Trump Campaign and Presidency (2020, Potomac Books): Author is "a practicing lawyer who specializes in white-collar crime," and at least starts with cases that led to prosecutions -- first chapter is on George Papadopoulos). Doesn't read "simple," but at 176 pp is short.

Kobby Barda: The Key to Understanding Donald J Trump (2019, Simple Story).

Edwin L Battistella: Dangerous Crooked Scoundrels: Insulting the President, From Washington to Trump (2020, Oxford University Press).

Joy Behar: The Great Gasbag: An A-Z Study Guide to Surviving Trump World (2017; paperback, 2018, Harper).

Pablo J Boczkowski/Zizi Paracharissi, eds: Trump and the Media (paperback, 2018, MIT Press).

Dan Bongino: Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald J Trump (2018, Post Hill Press).

Ben Bradlee Jr: The Forgotten: How the People of One Pennsylvania County Elected Donald Trump and Changed America (2018, Little Brown).

Donna Brazile: Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House (2017, Hachette Books).

Laura Briggs: How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics: From Welfare Reform to Foreclosure to Trump (2017, University of California Press).

Martha Brockenbrough: Unpresidented: A Biography of Donald Trump (2018, Feiwel Friends).

FH Buckley: The Republican Workers Party: How the Trump Victory Drove Everyone Crazy, and Why It Was Just What We Needed (2018, Encounter Books).

Leonard Cruz/Steven Buser, eds: A Clear and Present Danger: Narcissism in the Era of Donald Trump (paperback, 2016, Chiron Publications).

Brian Francis Culkin: The Meaning of Trump (paperback, 2018, Zero Books).

The Daily Show With Trevor Noah: The Donald J Trump Presidential Twitter Library (2018, Spiegel & Grau).

Kim Darroch: Collateral Damage: Britain, America, and Europe in the Age of Trump (2020, PublicAffairs): Former British Ambassador to the US, resigned under fire "after a series of cables containing unflattering descriptions of President Trump." [September 15]

Alan Dershowitz: Defending the Constitution: Alan Dershowitz's Senate Argument Against Impeachment (paperback, 2020, Hot Books).

Ian Doescher/Jacopo della Quercia: MacTrump: A Shakespearean Tragicomedy of the Trump Administration, Part I (paperback, 2019, Quirk Books): An adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth, or possibly Barbara Garson's Macbird (1967)?

Lou Dobbs: The Trump Century (2020, Broadside Books): The Thousand Year Reich in an age of diminished expectations. [September 1]

Jesse Duquette: The Daily Don: All the News That Fits Into Tiny, Tiny Hands (paperback, 2019, Arcade).

David A Farenthold: Uncovering Trump: The Truth Behind Donald Trump's Charitable Giving (paperback, 2017, Diversion Books).

John Bellamy Foster: Trump in the White House: Tragedy and Farce (paperback, 2017, Monthly Review Press): Marxist sociologist, editor of Monthly Review, has a number of books on ecological and financial crises. This is a short (144 pp), early take on Trump's election, by a guy who knows a "neo-fascist" when he sees (or smells) one.

John Gartner/Steven Buser, eds: Rocket Man: Nuclear Madness and the Mind of Donald Trump (paperback, 2018, Chiron Publications): Some chapters: "If Trump Were a Policeman I Would Have to Take Away His Gun"; "Trump's Sick Psyche and Nuclear Weapons: A Deadly Mixture"; "Facing the Truth: The Power of a Predatory Narcissist"; "Trump's No Madman, He's Following the Strongman Playbook"; "Visions of Apocalypse and Salvation."

John Glaser/Christopher A Preble/A Trevor Thrall: Fuel to the Fire: How Trump Made America's Broken Foreign Policy Even Worse (and How We Can Recover) (2019, Cato Institute).

Mardy Grothe: Deconstructing Trump: The Trump Phenomenon Through the Lens of Quotation History (2019, Quoterie Press).

Pete Hegseth: American Crusade: Our Fight to Stay Free (2020, Center Street): Flag-waving "old school patriot" with military background and tattoos, sees Trump as a "sign of a national rebirth," while decrying "Leftists who demand socialism, globalism, secularism, and politically-correct elitism." Parlayed his conceits into a job as co-host of Fox & Friends Weekend.

Donald Heinz: After Trump: Achieving a New Social Gospel (paperback, 2020, Cascade Books).

Rosanna Hildyard: Ubu Trump (paperback, 2017, Eyewear Publishing): Alfred Jarry's 1888 play Ubu Roi, "translated and entirely updated" by Hildyard. When I first saw MacTrump, I flashed on this as the more apt production . . . and here it is!

Gene Ho: Trumpography: How Biblical Principles Paved the Way to the American Presidency (paperback, 2018, iUniverse).

Adam Hodges: When Words Trump Politics: Resisting a Hostile Regime of Language (paperback, 2019, Stanford University Press): Analysis of Trump's words (you know, "the best words"), especially via Twitter.

Carl Hoffman: Liar's Circus: A Strange and Terrifying Journey Into the Upside-Down World of Trump's MAGA Rallies (2020, Custom House). Katy Tur's Unbelievable (2017) provides a sense of what Trump's rallies are like, or at least were during the 2016 campaign, but this promises to be both more in-depth and more up-to-date. While the fans and the appeal are likely to be the same, I can't help but wonder if Trump being president doesn't intensify the sense of power. [September 22]

Charles Hurt: Trump Saves America: Our Last Hope to Be Great Again (2019, Center Street).

Aaron James: Assholes: A Theory of Donald Trump (2016, Doubleday).

Brittany Kaiser: Targeted: The Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower's Inside Story of How Big Data, Trump, and Facebook Broke Democracy and How It Can Happen Again (2019, Harper).

David King: Why Trump Deserves Trust, Respect, and Admiration (paperback, 2016, CreateSpace): Blank pages -- not the first such Trump book I've seen.

Edward Klein: All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trump (2017, Regnery).

Howard Kurtz: Donald Trump, the Press, and the War Over the Truth (2018, Regnery).

Gary Lachman: Dark Star Rising: Magick and Power in the Age of Trump (paperback, 2018, TarcherPerigee).

Martin E Latz: The Real Trump Deal: An Eye-Opening Look at How He Really Negotiates (2018, Brisance Books).

David Limbaugh: Guilty by Reason of Insanity: Why the Democrats Must Not Win (2019, Regnery).

Trevor Loudon: White House Reds: Communists, Socialists & Security Risks Running for US President, 2020 (paperback, 2020, independent): Quotes Trump saying the 2020 election would be about "Communism versus Freedom," then proceeds to red-bait "ten high profile contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination." Previously wrote Barack Obama and the Enemies Within (2011, 688 pp), and The Enemies Within: Communists, Socialists and Progressives in the US Congress (2013, 702 pp).

Michael Maccoby, ed: Psychoanalytic and Historical Perspectives on the Leadership of Donald Trump (paperback, 2020, Routledge).

Derek Mailhiot: Trump: America's First Zionist President (paperback, 2019, independent): Author means this as a compliment, but where exactly does that leave America First? Even if you see Trump's "deep relationship" is really with Christian Zionism, what does that mean but a yearning for Armageddon? And that's a longing Israeli Zionists want to encourage?

Stephen Mansfield: Choosing Donald Trump: God, Anger, Hope, and Why Christian Conservatives Supported Him (2017, Baker Books).

Gerardo Marti: American Blindspot: Race, Class, Religion, and the Trump Presidency (paperback, 2020, Rowman & Littlefield).

Mike McCormick: Fifteen Years a Deplorable: A White House Memoir (paperback, 2019, 15 Years a Deplorable).

Rachel Montgomery: All I Ever Wanted to Know About Donald Trump I Learned From His Tweets: A Psychological Exploration of the President Via Twitter (paperback, 2017, Skyhorse).

Samhita Mukhopadhyay/Kate Harding, eds: Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump's America (paperback, 2017, Picador).

Stephanie Muravchik/Jon A Shields: Trump's Democrats (2020, Brookings Institution Press). [August 25]

Jack Murphy: Democrat to Deplorable: Why Nine Million Obama Voters Ditched the Democrats and Embraced Donald Trump (paperback, 2018, independent).

Caitríona Perry: In America: Tales From Trump Country (2018, Gill Books).

Carol Pogash, ed: Quotations From Chairman Trump (2015, RosettaBooks). I'm surprise this hasn't been revised and reissued, given how much additional verbiage Trump has spewed in the meantime. Maybe the editor thinks it was already perfect? By the way, this wasn't the first attempt to parody Chairman Mao's "Little Red Book": I had a copy of Quotations From Chairman LBJ back in the day; and it was followed by a little blue book of Richard Nixon quotes, Poor Richard's Almanack.

Joel Pollak/Larry Schweikart: How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution (paperback, 2017, Regnery).

Kevin Powell: My Mother. Barack Obama. Donald Trump. And the Last Stand of the Angry White Man (2018, Atria Books).

Jack Rasmus: The Sourge of Neoliberalism: US Economic Policy From Reagan to Trump (paperback, 2020, Clarity Press).

Ted Rall: Trump: A Graphic Biography (paperback, 2016, Seven Stories Press).

Ian Reifowitz: The Tribalization of Politics: How Rush Limbaugh's Race-Baiting Rhetoric on the Obama Presidency Paved the Way for Trump (paperback, 2019, Ig Publishing).

Sheldon Roth: Psychologically Sound: The Mind of Donald J Trump (Bombardier Books). Against every other psychologist and psychiatrist who's weighed in on the subject, argues that Trump is "remarkably complicated, often brilliant, comfortingly human, and most importantly, of completely sound mind."

David Rubin: Trump and the Jews (2018, Shiloh Israel Press): Note that Amazon's "frequently bought together" adds David Rubin: God, Israel, and Shiloh: Returning to the Land (paperback, 2011, Shiloh Israel Press), and Mark Blitz: Decoding the Antichrist and the End Times: What the Bible Says and What the Future Holds (paperback, 2019, Charisma House).

John Bernard Ruane: The Real News! The Never-Before-Told Stories of Donald Trump & Fake News (paperback, 2018, Post Hill Press).

Michael Savage: Stop Mass Hysteria: America's Insanity From the Salem Witch Trials to the Trump Witch Hunt (2018, Center Street).

Steven E Schier/Todd E Eberly: The Trump Presidency: Outsider in the Oval Office (paperback, 2017, Rowman & Littlefield).

Ben Shapiro: The Establishment Is Dead: The Rise and Election of Donald Trump (2017, Creators Publishing).

Marsha Shearer: America in Crisis: Essays on the Failed Presidency of Donald Trump (paperback, 2019, GoMyStory).

James B Stewart: Deep State: Trump, the FBI, and the Rule of Law (2019, Penguin Books).

David A Stockman: Trumped! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin . . . And How to Bring It Back (2016, Laissez Faire Books): Ronald Reagan's Budget Director, turned libertarian iconoclast, fantasizes a bit about Trump making "ten great deals" -- which, of course, he never came close to considering, and not just because he doesn't really consider anything.

Gene Stone: The Trump Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Living Through What You Hoped Would Never Happen (2017, Dey Street Books).

Roger Stone: The Making of the President 2016: How Donald Trump Orchestrated a Revolution (2017, Skyhorse). I missed this, but did list Stone's later book, The Myth of Russian Collusion: The Inside Story of How Donald Trump Really Won (paperback, 2019, Skyhorse).

Stephen E Strang: God, Trump, and Covid-19: How the Pandemic Is Affecting Christians, the World, and America's 2020 Election (paperback, 2020, Frontline): Short (128 pp) follow up to the author's God, Trump, and the 2020 Election: Why He Must Win and What's at Stake for Christians if He Loses (2020, Frontline), and for that matter his 2017 book, God and Donald Trump.

Joe Walsh: F*ck Silence: Calling Trump Out for the Cultish, Moronic Authoritarian Con Man He Is (2020, Broadside Books): Author is a "rock-ribbed conservative," a former Republican congressman from Illinois who briefly challenged Trump in the 2020 Republican presidential primary.

Jonathan Weisman: (((Semitism))) Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump (2018, St Martin's Press).

Shannon Wheeler: Sh*t My President Says: The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J Trump (2017, Top Shelf Productions).

John K Wilson: President Trump Unveiled: Exposing the Bigoted Billionaire (paperback, 2017, OR Books).

Byron York: Obsession: Inside the Democrats' War on Trump (2020, Regnery). Chief political correspondent for the Washington Examiner, and Fox News hack. Previously wrote: The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: The Untold Story of How Democratic Operatives, Eccentric Billionaires, Liberal Activists, and Assorted Celebrities Tried to Bring Down a President -- and Why They'll Try Even Harder Next Time (2005, Crown Forum). [September 8]

Also: books that I've written about (or noted) before, that I missed when looking for old Trump books:

Tucker Carlson: Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution (2018, Free Press).

Andrew C McCarthy: Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency (2019, Encounter Books).