Saturday, September 23, 2023


Book Roundup

Last Book Roundup was on April 28, 2023, following only two in 2022. My practice then was to only post once I've accumulated a batch of 40 book notes. They aren't really reviews, because they are almost all based on reading about the books (e.g., but not exclusively, on Amazon). However, in recent years, I've added lists of related books to many entries, plus I add on an unmetered "briefly noted" list, so the absolute number of books mention has grown, making the posts huge. Last time I speculated I might cut the main list in half, to 20 books. This time I had 23 when I decided I should push this out, and much more due diligence to do, so I settled on 30. Next time will be 20 -- and hopefully less than six months. Draft file still has 88 partial drafts, 202 noted books. I've included a few books that haven't been published yet (dates in brackets) in the supplemental lists, but not as main or secondary listings.

The books on the right are ones I have read (or in Clark's case, have started -- I'm about 100 pages in). Two of those are in the supplementary lists. The second Hope Jahren is more timely, but I read (and wrote up) the memoir first. The Ther book I hoped would offer more insights into Ukraine, but had more to say about politics in Germany, Italy, and Poland. Still, someone needs to write a book that lives up to the title.

Several other books noted below are in my queue, waiting for my limited attention:

  • Cory Doctorow: The Internet Con
  • Franklin Foer: The Last Politician
  • Astra Taylor: The Age of Insecurity

I should also mention, in my queue, Samuel Moyn's previous book: Humane: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War. If I didn't have so much pending, I'd seriously consider adding Naomi Klein: Doppelganger. The title is a bit too clever, but the notion of finding perverse mirror images in the right-wing fever swamp is profound, maybe because it articulates something that's been smacking us upside the head for decades now. The long list of books I filed under Rufo is full of examples. These are books that cry out not for political debate but for psychological intervention.

As Klein notes, they often start with a kernel of truth -- often one that we on the left would at least partly agree with -- then twist it around, often blaming us for problems that their side actually caused, playing up their victimhood, less for sympathy from others than to stir up anger within their own identity cult. After all, it's not like they have any sympathy for suffering of victims outside their orbit. I've tracked quite some number of these right-wing tracts over the years, and they are clearly becoming more and more deranged.

The supplemental Iraq list is unusual here, in that it includes some books that are quite old, simply because I missed them at the time. (Christopher Hitchens is an example I don't have to scratch my head over missing. Victor Davis Hanson is one that was pretty ridiculous when it was written, but all the more so in hindsight. And Judith Miller was one held back until she thought the coast was clear.) The implicit backdrop to this list is the long list of books I've noted previously. These are collected in one huge file (6398 books, 350k words). At some point I should split this up into thematic guides. (A grep for "Iraq" finds 323 lines, which is probably close to 200 books. "Israel" finds 601 lines. "Trump" 780. "Biden" 56.)


Here are 30 more/less recent books of interest in politics, the social sciences, and history, with occasional side trips, and supplementary lists where appropriate:

Michael D Bess: Planet in Peril: Humanity's Four Greatest Challenges and How We Can Overcome Them (2022, Cambridge University Press): Fossil fuels and Climate Change; Nukes for War and Peacetime; Pandemics, Natural or Bioengineered; Artificial Intelligence. One thing that distinguishes all four is the need for international cooperation, which involves "taking the United Nations up a notch." He even tries to anticipate "rogues, cheaters, and fanatics," but only leaves six pages for the chapter on "What Could Go Wrong?"

Christopher Clark: Revolutionary Spring: Europe Aflame and the Fight for a New World, 1848-1849 (2023, Crown): Major historical work (896 pp). I've moved on to it after reading EJ Hobsbawm's The Age of Revolution: 1789-1848, which covered its six decades with remarkable concision, but didn't offer many details of the revolutionary events of 1848. People like to brag about how much wealth capitalism has bestowed on the world, but through 1848 only a very few had anything to show for it, and the new laboring class (including significant numbers of women and children) were mired in misery. Hobsbawm mentions various crop failures, famines, and crashes of the 1840s that did much to provoke revolt. But also, with nearly every nation in Europe gripped by absolute monarchy, the emerging business class had their own reasons, and ideology, for revolution. My thinking was that 1848 marked the end of an age of bourgeois revolution that started in America in 1775 and ended in 1848, after which the capitalists found they had more in common with aristocrats than with the newly militant proletariat, especially when the monarchies catered to the nouveaux riches they found themselves dependent on. One thing that Clark stresses is that even where the revolutions were successfully repressed, the victors were never able to restore their ancien regime.

NW Collins: Grey Wars: A Contemporary History of US Special Operations (2021, Yale University Press): Tries to present a broad picture of how elite military units have been used going back to 1980 (Desert One), without giving away too much, least of all anything that might damage reputations or question motives. More on special ops and clandestine war:

  • Matthew A Cole: Code Over Country: The Tragedy & Corruption of SEAL Team Six (2022, Bold Type Books).
  • Annie Jacobsen: Surprise, Kill, Vanish: The Secret History of CIA Paramilitary Armies, Operators, and Assassins (2019, Little Brown; paperback, 2020, Back Bay Books).
  • Sean Naylor: Relentless Strike: The Secret History of Joint Special Operations Command (2015, St Martin's Press; paperback, 2016, St Martin's Griffin).
  • Ric Prado: Black Ops: The Life of a CIA Shadow Warrior (2022, St Martin's Press): Ex-CIA.
  • Dan Schilling/Lori Chapman Longfritz: Alone at Dawn: Medal of Honor Recipient John Chapman and the Untold Story of the World's Deadliest Special Operations Force (2019, Grand Central).

Cory Doctorow: The Internet Con: How to Seize the Means of Computation (2023, Verso): Science fiction writer, with Rebecca Giblin, co-wrote Chokepoint Capitalism: How Big Tech and Big Content Captured Creative Labor Markets, plus more listed below. First liine: "This is a book for people who want to destroy Big Tech." Unclear to me how you can do that (not that I don't understand the desire for interoperability), but his explanation of why is succinct and pretty compelling. Two parts: one about "seizing," the other answers to a bunch of "what about" questions.

  • Cory Doctorow: Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age (paperback, 2015, McSweeney's).
  • Cory Doctorow: Radicalized: Four Tales of Our Present Moment (paperback, 2020, Tor Books): Fiction, sort of.
  • Cory Doctorow: How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism (paperback, 2021, Medium Editions).

Cara Fitzpatrick: The Death of Public School: How Conservatives Won the War Over Education in America (2023, Basic Books): Looking back, the surprise may be that public schooling ever got to be so popular in America in the first place. Before 1800 (or possibly 1830), schooling was largely the province of churches, and even then only for the training of a select few. But with the scientific and industrial revolutions of the 19th century, building on the enlightened liberalism of the nation's founding, public education grew, even if it was sometimes sold as a means to naturalize and domesticate unruly immigrants. Some religions, especially Roman Catholics, continued to hold out for their own schools -- when I was growing up, I knew kids who went, and was aware their parents fretted over the costs -- and the rich had their own private schooling. The private school movement got a boost with the fight against desegregation, and Republicans found political opportunities on at several fronts: vouchers would appeal to the Catholic voters they started courting as part of Nixon's "emerging Republican majority," and charter schools would fit their privatization propaganda, and hurt teacher unions (who tended to support Democrats). Since then, the Republican Party has only gotten dumber, meaner, and more self-destructive. I doubt that means the battle is over, as the world itself has only become more complex and demanding of expert knowledge (as well as judicious politics), and that stuff has to be taught. Also:

  • Justin Driver: The Schoolhouse Gate: Public Education, the Supreme Court, and the Battle for the American Mind (2018, Pantheon; paperback, 2019, Vintage Books).
  • Jack Schneider/Jennifer Berkshire: A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door: The Dismantling of Public Education and the Future of School (2020, New Press).

Franklin Foer: The Last Politician: Inside Joe Biden's White House and the Struggle for America's Future (2023, Penguin Press): Journalist, writes for Atlantic, has three previous books, none with obvious political subjects (e.g., How Soccer Explains the World), so this effort at doing insider reporting of Biden's first two years is possibly novel, and almost unique compared to hundreds of scandal seekers who have gone after Trump. I've never liked Biden, so it may be faint praise to admit that he's the first president in my lifetime who has surprised me in pleasing ways -- of course, not always, and often not as much as I would have liked -- and I'm curious about how that happened. Foer seems to credit Biden himself for political pragmatism, but the bigger question is why they decided to respond to big problems in serious ways, as opposed to the studied downplaying of everything under Obama, let alone the madcap fits of Trump. Also on Biden (not much):

  • Gabriel Debendetti: The Long Alliance: The Imperfect Union of Joe Biden and Barack Obama (2022; paperback, 2023, Henry Holt).
  • Chris Whipple: The Fight of His Life: Inside Joe Biden's White House (2023, Scribner).

Meanwhile, the right has been busy pumping out anti-Biden tracts:

  • Nick Adams: The Most Dangerous President in History (2022, Post Hill Press): All you need to know about him is that he wrote Trump and Churchill: Defenders of Western Civilization (2020).
  • Todd Bensman: Overrun: How Joe Biden Unleashed the Greatest Border Crisis in US History (paperback, 2023, Bombardier Books).
  • Jason Chaffetz: The Puppeteers: The People Who Control the People Who Control America (2023, Broadside Books): Pictured as puppets on cover: Biden, Schumer, Harris, Warren, Schiff?
  • Joe Concha: Come On, Man!: The Truth About Joe Biden's Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Presidency (2022, Broadside Books).
  • Jerry Dunleavy/James Hasson: Kabul: The Untold Story of Biden's Fiasco and the American Warriors Who Fought to the End (2023, Center Street).
  • Jamie Glazov: Obama's True Legacy: How He Transformed America (paperback, 2023, Republic Book Publishers).
  • Alex Marlow: Breaking Biden: Exposing the Hidden Forces and Secret Money Machine Behind Joe Biden, His Family, and His Administration (2023, Threshold Editions). [10-03]
  • Mark R Levin: The Democrat Party Hates America (2023, Threshold Editions).
  • Kimberley Strassel: The Biden Malaise: How America Bounced Back From Joe Bidel's Dismal Repeat of the Jimmy Carter Years (2023, Twelve).

Joshua Frank: Atomic Days: The Untold Story of the Most Toxic Place in America (2022, Haymarket Books): Hanford Nuclear Reservation, in Washington, initially built as part of the Manhattan Project, the site along the Columbia River where the plutonium used on Hiroshima was created from uranium and extracted, a process that extended long after the war. The site now contains some 56 million gallons of radioactive waste, with a cleanup price tag of $677 billion (and counting).

Thomas Gabor/Fred Guttenberg: American Carnage: Shattering the Myths That Fuel Gun Violence (paperback, 2023, Mango): They enumerate 37 myths, most of which you'll find dubious (many downright bonkers) even without the supporting documentation, in eleven chapters, each with its "bottom line" summary. We've been around this block several times before, so there's not much new to add, but:

  • Thomas Gabor: Carnage: Preventing Mass Chootings in America (paperback, 2021, Booklocker.com).
  • Mark Follman: Trigger Points: Inside the Mission to Stop Mass Shootings in America (2022, Dey Street Books).
  • Cameron McWhirter/Zusha Elinson: American Gun: The True Story of the AR-15 (2023, Farrar Straus and Giroux).
  • Katherine Schweit: Stop the Killing: How to End the Mass Shooting Crisis (2021, Rowman & Littlefield; 2nd ed, paperback, 2023, Colvos).
  • Katherine Schweit: How to Talk About Guns With Anyone (paperback, 2023, 82 Stories).

Peter Heather/John Rapley: Why Empires Fall: Rome, America, and the Future of the West (2023, Yale University Press): Heather a historian of the late- and post-Roman period, Rapley a political economist. Reminds me that Cullen Murphy wrote a similar book in 2007: Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America. Unlikely that any of these authors asks the obvious question: what good are empires anyway? Sure, when Rome fell, it was promptly sacked by Germanic tribes (most famously the Vandals), because that's how the world worked then. But fates like that have been rare since 1945, unless you consider the IMF analogous. Most Americans might very well be better off without an empire. Same for the world.

Peter J Hotez: The Deadly Rise of Anti-Science: A Scientist's Warning (2023, Johns Hopkins University Press): Doctor, has written several books on public health, and has stepped up recently to counter the vast torrent of anti-vaccine nonsense coming from all (but mostly right-wing) quarters. Note that Amazon offered me a "similar items" list: virtually all of them were by anti-vax quacks (most notably RFK Jr.). [09-19]

  • Peter J Hotez: Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism: My Journey as a Vaccine Scientist, Pediatrician, and Autism Dad (paperback, 2020, Johns Hopkins University Press).
  • Peter J Hotez: Preventing the Next Pandemic: Vaccine Diplomacy in a Time of Anti-Science (2021, Johns Hopkins University Press).

Walter Isaacson: Elon Musk (2023, Simon & Schuster): Big biography (688 pp), by the "biographer of genius," or so the hype goes: his previous subjects include Leonardo Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Jennifer Doudna, and Steve Jobs. You may think you know enough about him already, but this seems to be another case where the father almost makes the son sympathetic (others include Charles Koch and Donald Trump, though at this point they should be recognized as evil in their own right). Also on Musk:

  • Ben Mezrich: Breaking Twitter: Elon Musk and the Most Controversial Corporate Takeover in History (2023, Grand Central Publishing). [11-07]
  • Jonathan Taplin: The End of Reality: How 4 Billionaires Are Selling a Fantasy Future of the Metaverse, Mars, and Crypto (2023, Public Affairs): Musk, Peter Thiel, Mark Zuckerberg, and Marc Andreesen -- "the biggest wallets paying for the most blinding lights."

Hope Jahren: Lab Girl (2016, Knopf; paperback, 2017, Vintage): Memoir of growing up in a Norwegian-American household in Minnesota to become a paleobotanist, through grad school in California and teaching posts in Atlanta, Hawaii, and finally Norway, each with her main interest, a lab full of mass spectrometers and such. The most striking chapter is one on her pregnancy off the meds that kept her centered. Also chronicles Bill, her slightly more eccentric lab assistant who followed her from post to post. She also wrote:

  • Hope Jahren: The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go From Here (2021, Delacorte; paperback, 2020, Vintage): Carefully balanced, one of the best written books on the subject, a clearheadedness which recognizes that the real solution for the problem of more is simply less.

Siddharth Kara: Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives (2023, St Martin's Press): Investigation into cobalt mining in Congo -- a mineral increasingly in demand for the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used by everything from smart phones to vehicles, which Congo supplies 75% of the world market for. If you've read Adam Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost, you may think that the exploitation of this former Belgian colony couldn't get worse, but independence under Mobutu defined the word kleptocracy, and since his demise, Congo has been ravaged by the world's longest and most devastating wars. And as always, nothing adds to human suffering more quickly than a rush for treasure.

More recent books on Africa (actually very hard to search for on Amazon):

  • JP Daughton: In the Forest of No Joy: The Congo-Océan Railroad the the Tragedy of French Colonialism (2021, WW Norton).
  • Dipo Faloyin: Africa Is Not a Country: Notes on a Bright Continent (2022, WW Norton).
  • Stuart A Reid: The Lumumba Plot: The Secret History of the CIA and a Cold War Assassination (2023, Knopf). [10-17]
  • Walter Rodney: How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (paperback, 2018, Verso).
  • Walter Rodney: Decolonial Marxism: Esays From the Pan-African Revolution (paperback, 2022, Verso).
  • Henry Sanderson: Volt Rush: The Winners and Losers in the Race to Go Green (paperback, 2023, Oneworld): Congo and Chile.
  • James H Smith: The Eyes of the World: Mining the Digital Age in Eastern DR Congo (paperback, 2017, University of Chicago Press).
  • Jason K Stearns: The War That Doesn't Say Its Name: The Unending Conflict in the Congo (paperback, 2023, Princeton University Press).
  • Susan Williams: White Malice: The CIA and the Covert Recolonialization of Africa (2021; paperback, 2023, PublicAffairs).

Naomi Klein: Doppelganger: A Trip Into the Mirror World 2023, Farrar Straus and Giroux): Canadian left-political writer, one who has regularly shown a knack not just for understanding our world but for formulating that in politically meaningful ways -- perhaps most famously in The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007). New book is more personal, based as it is on the public frequently getting her confused up with Naomi Wolf, who wrote the third-wave feminist classic The Beauty Trap (1991), and who, like Klein, was involved in Occupy Wall Street. Since then, Wolf has veered erratically toward the right, and especially promoting Covid misinformation. Odd, though, that the blurb info on this book doesn't mention Wolf by name. Not unrelated:

  • Naomi Wolf: Facing the Beast: Courage, Faith, and Resistance in a New Dark Age (paperback, 2023, Chelsea Green). [11-09]

Melvyn P Leffler: Confronting Saddam Hussein: George W Bush and the Invasion of Iraq (2023, Oxford University Press): A "fair and balanced" reappraisal of the debates and process that led to Bush's decision to invade Iraq, based on new interviews with "dozens of top officials" and "declassified American and British documents." Leffler has a long history of supporting American war policy. Some of his previous books, plus other recent books on Iraq:

  • Melvyn P Leffler: A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War (1992; paperback, 1993, Stanford University Press).
  • Melvyn P Leffler: The Specter of Communism: The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1917-1953 (1994, paperback, Hill & Wang).
  • Melvyn P Leffler: For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War (2007; paperback, 2008, Hill & Wang).
  • Melvyn P Leffler: Safeguarding Democratic Capitalism: US Foreign Policy and National Security, 1920-2015 (2017; paperback, 2019, Princeton University Press).
  • Lisa Blaydes: State of Repression: Iraq Under Saddam Hussein (2018; paperback, 2020, Princeton University Press).
  • Rolf Ekéus: Iraq Disarmed: The Story Behind the Story of the Fall of Saddam (2022, Lynne Rienner): Head of UNSCOM (Special Commission on Iraq): By one of the CIA operatives.
  • Sam Faddis: The CIA War in Kurdistan: The Untold Story of the Northern Front in the Iraq War (2020, Casemate).
  • Samuel Helfont: Iraq Against the World: Saddam, America, and the Post-Cold War Order (2023, Oxford University Press): Naval War College professor searches through Iraqi foreign policy documents to try to build a case that Saddam Hussein had it coming.
  • Steven Simon: Grand Delusion: The Rise and Fall of American Ambition in the Middle East (2023, Penguin Press): Sounds a critical note, but credentials include NSC staff, State Department, RAND Corporation, and other "think tanks."

Back on the 20th anniversary, I also collected this list of older Iraq books that I hadn't otherwise cited. Most of these are old, some embarrassingly so:

  • Thabit AJ Abdullah: Dictatorship, Imperialism and Chaos: Iraq Since 1989 (paperback, 2006, Zed Books).
  • Zaid Al-Ali: The Struggle for Iraq's Future: How Corruption, Incompetence and Sectarianism Have Undermined Democracy (2014, Yale University Press).
  • Nora Bensahel: After Saddam: Prewar Planning and the Occupation of Iraq (paperback, 2008, RAND).
  • Judith Betts/Mark Pythian: The Iraq War and Democratic Governance: Britain and Australia Go to War (paperback, 2020, Palgrave Macmillan).
  • Hans Blix: Disarming Iraq: The Search for Weapons of Mass Destruction (2004, Pantheon; paperback, 2005, Bloomsbury): Head of UN weapons inspection team.
  • Pratap Chatterjee: Iraq, Inc.: A Profitable Occupation (paperback, 2004, Seven Stories Press): Went on to write a 2009 book on Halliburton's Army.
  • Don Eberly: Liberate and Leave: Fatal Flaws in the Early Strategy for Postwar Iraq (2009, Zenith Press).
  • James Dobbins: Occupying Iraq: A History of the Coalition Provisional Authority (paperback, 2009, RAND).
  • Jessica Goodell/John Hearn: Shade It Black: Death and After in Iraq (2011, Casemate): Marine Corps Mortuary Unit memoir.
  • Peter L Hahn: Missions Accomplished? The United States and Iraq Since World War I (paperback, 2011, Oxford University Press).
  • Victor Davis Hanson: Between War and Peace: Lessons From Afghanistan to Iraq (paperback, 2004, Random House): Like "don't count your chickens until the eggs are hatched"? The section on Iraq is called "The Three Week War." It includes a chapter: "Donald Rumsfeld, a Radical for Our Time."
  • Christopher Hitchens: A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq (paperback, 2003, Plume).
  • Bill Katovsky/Timothy Carlson: Embedded: The Media at War in Iraq: An Oral History (2003; paperback, 2004, Lyons Press).
  • John Keegan: The Iraq War: The Military Offensive, From Victory in 21 Days to the Insurgent Aftermath (2004, Knopf; paperback, 2005, Vintage).
  • Dina Rizk Khoury: Iraq in Wartime: Soldiering, Martyrdom, and Remembrance (paperback, 2013, Cambridge University Press): Explores the near-constant culture of war in Iraq going back to the 1981-88 war with Iran.
  • Judith Miller: The Story: A Reporter's Journey (paperback, 2016, Simon & Schuster).
  • Ronan O'Callaghan: Walzer, Just War and Iraq: Ethics as Response (paperback, 2021, Routledge).
  • David L Phillips: Losing Iraq: Inside the Postwar Reconstruction Fiasco (paperback, 2006, Basic Books).
  • Lawrence Rothfield: The Rape of Mesopotamia: Behind the Looting of the Iraq Museum (2009, University of Chicago Press).
  • Nadia Schadlow: War and the Art of Governance: Consolidating Combat Success Into Political Victory (paperback, 2017, Georgetown University Press): Case studies on 15 American wars, from Mexico (1848) to Iraq. There's a chapter on Afghanistan (before Iraq), but nothing on Vietnam.
  • Gary Vogler: Iraq and the Politics of Oil: An Insider's Perspective (2017, University Press of Kansas): Former ExxonMobil exec, ORHA oil consultant.

Jill Lepore: The Deadline: Essays (2023, Liveright): Harvard historian, has written books on a wide range of subjects, from King Phillip's War to the Simulmatics Corporation, and to round it all out, These Truths: A History of the United States, all the while knocking out a wide range of historically astute essays for The New Yorker. This collects 640 pp of them.

David Lipsky: The Parrot and the Igloo: Climate and the Science of Denial (2023, WW Norton): Seems like every batch has a hook on which I hang the most recent batch of climate change books. This is the latest "big idea must-read book," meant to finally batter down the door of resistance, even though he must know that the problem isn't resistance but diversion, all the sneaky little side-trips politicans can be enticed along rather than biting off a task that exceeds their patience and talent. His aim is to convince you through stories (he's mostly written fiction and memoir before this), and they're less about the underlying science, which you probably know (and are tired of) by now, and more about the arts of denial -- not that I doubt there's science behind it but I still insist it's mostly art.

Other recent books on climate:

  • Neta C Crawford: The Pentagon, Climate Change, and War: Charting the Rise and Fall of US Military Emissions (2022, The MIT Press).
  • Geoff Dembicki: The Petroleum Papers: Inside the Far-Right Conspiracy to Cover Up Climate Change (2022, Greystone Books): Reveals that at least by 1959 top oil executives were aware that burning their products will cause catastrophic global warming.
  • John Gertner: The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey Into Greenland's Buried Past and Our Perilous Future (2019; paperback, 2020, Random House).
  • Robert S Devine: The Sustainable Economy: The Hidden Costs of Climate Change and the Path to a Prosperous Future (paperback, 2020, Anchor).
  • Jeff Goodell: The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death on a Scorched Planet (2023, Little Brown): After several books that danced around the edges (Big Coal, How to Cool the Planet [on geoengineering], and The Water Will Come [rising seas, sinking cities]), he finally gets to the point. Kim Stanley Robinson, who led off with this very point in The Ministry for the Future, says: "you won't see the world the same way after reading it."
  • Mike Hulme: Climate Change Isn't Everything: Liberating Climate Politics From Alarmism (paperback, 2023, Polity): But it is one thing, a big one, one with a lot of momentum, making it hard to change even without an alarming level of political resistance.
  • Michael Mann: Our Fragile Moment: How Lessons From Earth's Past Can Help Us Survive the Climate Crisis (2023, PublicAffairs).
  • George Marshall: Don't Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change (2014; paperback, 2015, Bloomsbury).
  • Anthony McMichael: Climate Change and the Health of Nations: Famines, Fevers, and the Fate of Populations (2017; paperback, 2019, Oxford University Press).
  • David W Orr, ed: Democracy in a Hotter Time: Climate Change and Democratic Transformation (paperback, 2023, MIT Press): Foreword by Bill McKibben; afterword by Kim Stanley Robinson. [09-26]
  • Friederike Otto: Angry Weather: Heat Waves, Floods, Storms, and the New Science of Climate Change (2020; paperback, 2023, Greystone Books).
  • Geoffrey Parker: Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century (2013; paperback, 2014, Yale University Press): 904 pp.
  • Rosanna Xia: California Against the Sea: Visions of Our Vanishing Coastline (2023, Heyday).

Michael Mann: On Wars (2023, Yale University Press): British-American comparative historical sociologist, wrote a series of books on The Sources of Social Power, presents this as a career capstone, surveying the entire history of war, from ancient to modern, asking why and concluding: "it is a handful of political leaders -- people with emotions and ideologies, and constrained by inherited culture and institutions -- who undertake such decisions, usually irrationally choosing war and seldom achieving their desired results." While that's true enough of the past, when war was mostly fought for plunder, and as a contest for esteem among violent males, does any of that still make sense? Sure, we do still have would-be warriors, always with their minds stuck in past fantasies, but their track record over the last century (and perhaps much more) is so dismal they should be relegated to asylums (or professional sports?). An honest book, and I have no reason to think that this one isn't, would show as much, in endless detail, but the very question -- are wars rational? -- should be unthinkable, but lamentably is still here.

John J Mearsheimer/Sebastian Rosato: How States Think: The Rationality of Foreign Policy (2023, Yale University Press): In order for the realist foreign policy to work, one must start by assuming the underlying rationality in all actors: that they understand their interests, that they can anticipate how various strategies will work or fail, and that they can adjust their strategy to their best advantage. Given that none of those assumptions are sound, it's hard to imagine why they call the resulting policy "realism." The authors have been critical of US foreign policy of late for being too bound up in ideology, and seek to rein that in with reason, but even their examples come out cock-eyed: Putin's decision to invade Ukraine may have been rigorously rational, but it was based on a set of plainly wrong assumptions, making it clearly a bad decision, one that has hurt Russia more than Putin could ever have hoped to gain. Same can be said for Bush in 2003 Iraq, except that the authors discard that decision in the irrational bucket. The two cases are remarkably similar, starting with the imagined own interests, the unacknowledged desire for independence, and the belief that overwhelming power ("shock and awe") would result in immediate capitulation.

Samuel Moyn: Liberalism Against Itself: Cold War Intellectuals and the Making of Our Times (2023, Yale University Press): In the 1960s, I got very upset at liberals who supported the Vietnam War. Liberals were on top of the world in 1945, but by 1948 nearly all of them had been shamed, cajoled, and/or terrorized into turning on the left, both abroad, where the US converted failing European colonies into safe havens for further capitalist exploitation, and at home, where they allowed labor unions to be purged and curtailed. Liberalism's goal of freeing all individuals seemed revolutionary compared to the aristocracy, feudalism, and slavery that preceded it, but freedom was a two-edged sword, leaving losers far more numerous than winners. With the New Deal, some liberals started to bridge the gap with the left, offering a "safety net" to help tame the worst dysfunctions of capitalism. During the Cold War, liberals split into two camps: one turning neoconservative, the other still committed to the "safety net" but less so to labor unions, and not at all to solidarity with workers and the poor abroad. Moyn tackles this problem through six portraits of early post-WWII liberals: Judith Shklar, Isaiah Berlin, Karl Popper, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Hannah Arendt, and Lionel Trilling: not the first names I thought of, but suitable for purpose, which Moyn states clearly in his first line: "Cold War liberalism was a catastrophe -- for liberalism."

Other recent books on liberalism (philosophy and its limits):

  • Russell Blackford: How We Became Post-Liberal: The Rise and Fall of Toleration (paperback, 2023, Bloomsbury). [11-16]
  • Patrick J Deneen: Why Liberalism Failed (2018; paperback, 2019, Yale University Press): Conservative critic: note blurbs by Rod Dreher, Ross Douthat, David Brooks, Barack Obama; also note that Obama's is the most conventionally conservative. Deneen followed up with:
  • Patrick J Deneen: Regime Change: Toward a Postliberal Future (2023, Sentinel): Wherein he argues for replacing liberalism with a "pre-postmodern conservativism." I don't know which is more impossible: convincing the masses to give up on the promise of equality, or convincing the masters, having advanced through the "pursuit of happiness" (self-interest), to care responsibly for their charges.
  • Wolfram Eilenberger: The Visionaries: Arendt, Beauvoir, Rand, Weil, and the Power of Philosophy in Dark Times (2023, Penguin Press): Another batch of thinkers from Moyn's era, intersecting with Arendt.
  • Christopher William England: Land and Liberty: Henry George and the Crafting of Modern Liberalism (2023, Johns Hopkins University Press).
  • Edmund Fawcett: Liberalism: The Life of an Idea (2014; 2nd edition, paperback, 2018, Princeton University Press). Author also has a mirror volume:
  • Edmund Fawcett: Conservatism: The Fight for a Tradition (2020; paperback, 2022, Princeton University Press).
  • John Gray: The New Leviathans: Thoughts After Liberalism (2023, Farrar Straus and Giroux): Philosopher with a long list of titles -- two I've previously cited are Al Qaeda and What It Means to Be Modern (2005) and Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia (2007), but there are dozens more, including Isaiah Berlin: An Interpretation of His Thought (1996). [11-07]
  • Kei Hiruta: Hannah Arendt & Isaiah Berlin: Freedom, Politics and Humanity (2021, Princeton University Press).
  • Luke Savage: The Dead Center: Reflections on Liberalism and Democracy After the End of History (paperback, 2022, OR Books).
  • Larry Siedentop: Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism (2014; paperback, 2017, Belknap Press).
  • Brad Snyder: The House of Truth: A Washington Salon and the Foundations of Liberalism (2017, Oxford University Press): From 1912, with Felix Frankfurter, Walter Lippman, etc.
  • Vikash Yadav: Liberalism's Last Man: Hayek in the Age of Political Capitalism (2023, University of Chicago Press).

Samir Puri: The Shadows of Empire: How Imperial History Shapes Our World (2021, Pegasus Books): British, of both Indian and African heritage, an international relations professor with a background in diplomacy, has a newer book on Ukraine (see Zygar, below). The cover blurb by neo-imperialist Robert D Kaplan isn't promising, but there can be little doubt that the centuries of European imperialism have left lasting marks both on the former rulers and on the formerly ruled. I've argued that the essential mission of American foreign policy after WWII was to salvage the former colonies for capitalism, which mostly involved keeping local leaders on retainer, often arming them to suppress local rebellions, sometimes sending American troops in to do the job (as in Vietnam), and sometimes failing at that (ditto). The conceit that Americans still have of leading the "free world" is a residue of the imperial mindset. So was Britain's wish in 2003 to fight another war in Iraq. So is France's desire to "help out" in Mali and Niger. So is Russia's notion that Ukraine should be grateful for their civilization. For most people, imperialism was revealed as disaster and tragedy by WWII, but these residues linger on. It's hard to change bad habits until you're conscious of them. That I take to be the point of this book. Also (his book on Ukraine is listed under Mikhail Zygar):

  • Samir Puri: Pakistan's War on Terrorism: Strategies for Combatting Jihadist Armed Groups Since 9/11 (2011, Routledge).
  • Samir Puri: Fighting and Negotiating With Armed Groups: The Difficulty of Securing Strategic Outcomes (paperback, 2019, Routledge).
  • Samir Puri: The Great Imperial Hangover: How Empires Have Shaped the World (2020; paperback, 2021, Atlantic Books): Original edition of The Shadows of Empire.

James Risen: The Last Honest Man: The CIA, the FBI, the Mafia, and the Kennedys -- and One Senator's Fight to Save Democracy (2023, Little Brown): A biography of three-term Senator Frank Church, the last Democrat from Idaho, an early critic of the Vietnam War, and perhaps best known for his investigations exposing all sorts of malfeasance by the CIA and FBI -- the Kennedys and the Mafia factor into this through the CIA plots against Cuba. No figure in American politics saw his reputation disintegrate more totally than J Edgar Hoover, and that was largely due to Church's discoveries. As I recall, the War Powers Act, much ignored by presidents from Reagan on, was another of his legacies.

Christopher F Rufo: America's Cultural Revolution: How the Radical Left Conquered Everything (2023, Broadside Books): That's news to me, but so claims the guy touted as "America's most effective conservative intellectual [as he] proves once and for all that Marxist radicals have taken over our nation's institutions." The "ultimate objective" of this sinister conspiracy? "replacing constitutional equality with a race-based redistribution system overseen by bureaucratic 'diversity and inclusion' officials." In other words, this book is too stupid to even make fun of. Such a vast incomprehension is only to be pitied. (By the way, if you do want to make any sense of this, consider that the Marx and later leftists as the true apostles of Enlightenment liberalism, the ones who truly aspired to liberty and justice for all, as opposed to the would-be elites who jumped off the revolutionary train as soon as they secured their rights. "Thinkers" like Rufo recall that red-baiting worked once, so they assume it will work again. Had they actually read some Marx, they'd recall the quip about history repeating first as tragedy, then as farce.) Of course, there is more right-wing paranoid delusion coming your way:

  • Joe Allen: Dark Aeon: Transhumanism and the War Against Humanity (2023, War Room Books): Foreword by Stephen K Bannon claims the politics, although paranoia about globalists and cyborgs is not exclusively right-wing.
  • Glenn Beck/Justin Haskins: Dark Future: Uncovering the Great Reset's Terrifying Next Phase (2023, Forefront Books): Amazon flags this as "Best Seller in Fascism."
  • Jerome R Corsi: The Truth: About Neo-Marxism, Cultural Maoism, and Anarchy: Exposing Woke Insanity in an Age of Disinformation (2023, Post Hill Press): A list of subjects that nobody knows less about, starting with "truth."
  • Ted Cruz: Unwoke: How to Defeat Cultural Marxism in America (2023, Regnery): US Senator (R-TX). [11-07]
  • Dinesh D'Souza: United States of Socialism: Who's Behind It. Why It's Evil. How to Stop It. (2020, All Points Books).
  • Frank Gaffney/Dede Laugesen: The Indictment: Prosecuting the Chinese Communist Party & Friends for Crimes Against America, China, and the World (2023, War Room Books): "thanks to the American elites they have captured in every sector of our society."
  • Richard Hanania: The Origins of Woke: Civil Rights Law, Corporate America, and the Triumph of Identity Politics (2023, Broadside Books). [09-19]
  • Alex Jones/Kent Heckenlively: The Great Awakening: Defeating the Globalists and Launching the Next Great Renaissance (2023, Skyhorse). [10-31]
  • Jesse Kelly: The Anti-Communist Manifesto (2023, Threshold Editions).
  • Ian Prior: Parents of the World, Unite!: How to Save Our Schools From the Left's Radical Agenda (2023, Center Street).
  • Vivek Ramaswamy: Nation of Victims: Identity Politics, the Death of Merit, and the Path Back to Excellence (paperback, 2023, Center Street): Republican presidential candidate.
  • Jason Rantz: What's Killing America: Inside the Radical Left's Tragic Destruction of Our Cities (2023, Center Street). Then why has living in them never seemed more desirable? (Or expensive?)
  • Michael Savage: A Savage Republic: Inside the Plot to Destroy America (2023, Bombardier Books): Presumably he's talking about someone else's plot that he imagines he has some insight into, rather than his own -- but after three Trump books, wouldn't a mea culpa be in order? [11-14]
  • Ben Shapiro: The Authoritarian Moment: How the Left Weaponized America's Institutions Against Dissent (2021, Broadside Books).
  • Liz Wheeler: Hide Your Children: Exposing the Marxists Behind the Attack on America's Kids (2023, Regnery): OANN host, a "titan of conservative media." [09-26] Previously wrote:
  • Liz Wheeler: Tipping Points: How to Topple the Left's House of Cards (2019, Regnery).
  • Xi Van Fleet: Mao's America: A Survivor's Warning (2023, Center Street). [10-31]
  • Kenny Xu: School of Woke: How Critical Race Theory Infiltrated American Schools & Why We Must Reclaim Them (2023, Center Street).

It's worth noting that not everyone on this team right wants to seem insane. Some have written more sensible-sounding books, but they're usually based on the same paranoid assumptions. E.g.:

  • Greg Lukianoff/Rikki Schlott: The Canceling of the American Mind: Cancel Culture Undermines Trust and Threatens Us All -- but There is a Solution (2023, Simon & Schuster). [10-17]
  • Teresa Mull: Woke-Proof Your Life: A Handbook on Escaping Modern, Political Madness and Shielding Yourself and Your Family by Living a More Self-Sufficient, Fulfilling Life (paperback, 2023, Crisis Publications): Paranoia as self-help, including: learn to guard against "toxic empathy."
  • Dave Rubin: Don't Burn This Country: Surviving and Thriving in Our Woke Dystopia (2022, Sentinel). Also wrote:
  • Dave Rubin: Don't Burn This Book: Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Unreason (2020, Sentinel).
  • Will Witt: Do Not Comply: Taking Power Back From America's Corrupt Elite (2023, Center Street). Also wrote:
  • Will Witt: How to Win Friends and Influence Enemies: Taking on Liberal Arguments With Logic and Humor (2021, Center Street).

Paul Sabin: Public Citizens: The Attack on Big Government and the Remaking of American Liberalism (2021, WW Norton): The New Deal produced a broad consensus that government could work with business (especially big business) and labor unions to benefit everyone. This was attacked relentlessly by conservative business interests, especially after 1970 when productivity slowed, inflation increased, and businesses decided they should be more predatory in order to maintain their expected level of profits. Nicholas Lemann sums up this shift in his Transaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of the American Dream (2019). Sabin's throwing another wrinkle into this story, arguing that the 1960-70s advent of "environmentalists, social critics, and consumer advocates like Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, and Ralph Nader" also contributed to the erosion of liberal faith in government. This strikes me as a bit far-fetched, as it's hard to imagine who they might expect other than a democratic government might stand up for public interests. It is true that the reputation of liberal politicians as public servants was damaged by various mistakes -- chief of which was the Vietnam War -- as well as a massive increase in corporate lobbying and media. But it is also true that "public citizens" accomplished much of what they had set out to before the political tide turned conservative. Where they failed was in not securing enough political power to protect the public's gains against the corporate lobbyists and political money.

Joanna Schwartz: Shielded: How the Police Became Untouchable (2023, Viking): UCLA law professor, teaches courses on civil procedure, police accountability, and public interest lawyering. Police are very rarely held accountable for their prejudices, mistakes, judgment lapses, and unnecessary violence, as they are shielded by many layers, starting with their willingness to lie and cover for each other, their unions, administrators, lawyers (including prosecutors), judges, and enablers among the "law and order" politicians.

More on police violence:

  • Justine Barron: They Killed Freddie Gray: The Anatomy of a Police Brutality Cover-Up (2023, Arcade).
  • Devon W Carbado: Unreasonable: Black Lives, Police Power, and the Fourth Amendment (2022, New Press).
  • Ben Cohen: Above the Law: How "Qualified Immunity" Protects Violent Police (paperback, 2021, OR Books).
  • Keith Ellison: Break the Wheel: Ending the Cycle of Police Violence (2023, Twelve): Minnesota Attorney General, charged and convicted the police responsible for killing George Floyd.
  • Jamie Thompson: Standoff: Race, Policing, and a Deadly Assault That Gripped a Nation (2020, Henry Holt).
  • Ali Winston/Darwin BondGraham: The Riders Come Out at Night: Brutality, Corruption, and Cover-Up in Oakland (2023, Atria Books).

Richard Norton Smith: An Ordinary Man: The Surprising Life and Historic Presidency of Gerald R Ford (2023, Harper): A massive production (832 pp) for the House minority leader from Michigan, who got drafted to be Vice President to help bury the tarnished Spiro Agnew, then elevated to President to pardon and escape Richard Nixon, who then managed to hold off Ronald Reagan and secure the Republican nomination in 1976, only to lose to Jimmy Carter -- which set Reagan up nicely for 1980, in what really was one of the most adversely consequential elections of our lifetime. In his time, Ford was a guy who no one really hated, because he never was that important. But Republicans managed to name an aircraft carrier for him, and now he gets a big biography, even though the title admits he wasn't up to it.

Norman Solomon: War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine (2023, New Press): Author has several books on media, as well as two previous ones on war: War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death (2005), and his memoir, Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters With America's Warfare State. This starts the selling of the Global War on Terror after 9/11, with how it was exploited when it was popular, and how as enthusiasm faded it gradually got swept out of sight. Still, one needs to look further back to get the point: Vietnam was touted as the "living room war" as daily broadcasts showed the war degenerating into a hopeless quagmire as dissent grew. If the military learned anything from that war, it was the importance of better managing the press. That seemed to work in the 1990 Gulf War, and the many embedded journalists in the 2003 drive to Baghdad did as they were told, but Iraq fell apart even faster than Vietnam, so the press was virtually shut down after Bremer left, with very few reporters free to dispute press office claims, and diminishing interest in finding out more.

  • Norman Solomon: False H ope: The Politics of Illusion in the Clinton Era (paperback, 1994, Common Courage Press).
  • Norman Solomon: The Trouble With Dilbert: How Corporate Culture Gets the Last Laugh (paperback, 1997, Common Courage Press).
  • Martin A Lee/Norman Solomon: Unreliable Sources: A Guide to Detecting Bias in News Media (1990; paperback, 1998, Lyle Stuart).
  • Norman Solomon: The Habits of Highly Deceptive Media: Decoding Spin and Lies in the Mainstream News (paperback, 2002, Common Courage Press).
  • Norman Solomon/Jeff Cohen: The Wizards of Media Oz: Behind the Curtain of Mainstream News (paperback, 2002, Common Courage Press).
  • Norman Solomon/Reese Ehrlich: Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You (paperback, 2003, Context Books).

Astra Taylor: The Age of Insecurity: Coming Together as Things Fall Apart (paperback, 2023, House of Anansi Press): Author of important books on democracy and the internet, activist in Occupy Wall Street and the Debt Collective, as sharp and as broadly knowledgeable as anyone writing today. These essays were written for the CBC Massey Lectures, but sum up a world view, for a world where politicians pride themselves as guardians of our security, while plunging us into ever greater precarity.

Peter Turchin: End Times: Elites, Counter-Elites, and the Path of Political Disintegration (2023, Penguin Press): Attempts to work out a scientific framework for comparative history, or rather claims to have worked one out, with a vast range of data points ("CrisisDB"), and is now intent on applying it to the anomaly that is present-day America. Much of this hangs on his concept of the over-production of elites (themselves a slippery concept, given that one can be elite in something without having effective power over anything else). The ability to jump so widely makes for a heady mix, but you mostly wind up grasping at hints.

Mikhail Zygar: War and Punishment: Putin, Zelensky, and the Path to Russia's Invasion of Ukraine (2023, Scribner): A year after the invasion comes the first wave of books trying to explain how and why it happened -- most mixed in with more than a dollop of self-serving propaganda. This is one of the more credible prospects (at least I've found interviews with him to be credible): Zygar, a Russian now based in Berlin, has many years as an independent journalist, which got him close enough to write and distant enough to publish All the Kremlin's Men: Inside the Court of Vladimir Putin. He starts here by going deep into history to show how Russians and Ukrainians came to hold very different views of each other -- a basic cognitive dissidence that American hawks, stuck with their own myths, show no interest in. Other recent books on the conflict (Matthews and Plokhy are most comparable, and Puri offers an interesting viewpoint; others are more specialized, running the range of views; none strike me as pro-Russian, but a couple are critical of the US):

  • Gilbert Achcar: The New Cold War: The United States, Russia, and China From Kossovo to Ukraine (paperback, 2023, Haymarket Books).
  • Dominique Arel/Jesse Driscoll: Ukraine's Unnamed War: Before the Russian Invasion of 2022 (paperback, 2023, Cambridge University Press): Noted as "new edition," but not clear when the old edition was published.
  • Yevgenia Belorusets: War Diary (paperback, 2023, New Directions).
  • Medea Benjamin/Nicolas JS Davies: War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict (paperback, 2022, OR Books): Co-founder of antiwar group Codepink.
  • Mark Edele: Russia's War Against Ukraine: The Whole Story (paperback, 2023, Melbourne University Press).
  • Alexander Etkind: Russia Against Modernity (paperback, 2023, Polity): It's hard to disentangle Russia's war in Ukraine from the growth of a reactionary political philosophy (e.g., Alexsandr Dugin) that leads to such irredentism.
  • Ian Garner: Z Generation: Into the Heart of Russia's Fascist Youth (2023, Hurst): Think tank guy, "focuses on Soviet and Russian war propaganda," believes it is believed.
  • Luke Harding: Invasion: The Inside Story of Russia's Bloody War and Ukraine's Fight for Survival (paperback, 2022, Vintage): Guardian journalist.
  • Maximilian Hess: Economic War: Ukraine and the Global Conflict Between Russia and the West (2023, Hurst): Analyst for Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia. Key thing here is that the economic war has been going on since 2014. [10-15]
  • Andrey Kurkov: Diary of an Invasion (2023, Deep Vellum): Novelist, based in Kyiv.
  • Aaron Maté: Cold War, Hot War: How Russiagate Created Chaos From Washington to Ukraine (paperback, 2023, OR Books). Grayzone podcaster, works with Matt Taibbi. I think there's something to this, but Grayzone sells it so hard they come off as Russian propagandists. [12-05]
  • Owen Matthews: Overreach: The Inside Story of Putin and Russia's War Against Ukraine (2023, Mudlark): British journalist, former Newsweek Moscow bureau chief.
  • Jade McGlynn: Russia's War (2023, Polity): British "specialist in Russian media, memory, and foreign policy" at King's College, London.
  • Sergei Medvedev: A War Made in Russia (paperback, 2023, Polity): Based in Helsinki, previously wrote:
  • Sergei Medvedev: The Return of the Russian Leviathan (paperback, 2019, Polity): Putin and the "archaic forces of imperial revanchism."
  • Iuliia Mendel: The Fight of Our Lives: My Time With Zelenskyy, Ukraine's Battle for Democracy, and What It Means for the World (2022, Atria/One Signal): Ukrainian journalist, Zelensky's former press secretary.
  • Christopher Miller: The War Came to Us: Life and Death in Ukraine (2023, Bloomsbury): Financial Times journalist, based in Kyiv.
  • David Petraeus/Andrew Roberts: Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare From 1945 to Ukraine (2023, Harper). [10-17]
  • Serhii Plokhy: The Russo-Ukrainian War: The Return of History (2023, WW Norton): Historian, has written books on Russia, also The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine.
  • Bartosz Popko: Stories From Ukraine: The True Price of War (paperback, 2022, self-published): Collects 18 first-person perspectives.
  • Samir Puri: Russia's Road to War With Ukraine: Invasion Amidst the Ashes of Empires (2023, Biteback): British, of Indian heritage via Africa, was an international observer at five Ukrainian elections. Previously wrote: The Great Imperial Hangover: How Empires Have Shaped the World.
  • Samuel Ramani: Putin's War on Ukraine: Russia's Campaign for Global Counter-Revolution (2023, Hurst): British "Russia expert."
  • Serhii Rudenko: Zelensky: A Biography (paperback, 2023, Polity).
  • Gwendolyn Sasse: Russia's War Against Ukraine (paperback, 2023, Polity): "Einstein Professor for the Comparative Study of Democracy and Authoritarianism" in Berlin. [11-20]
  • Philipp Ther: How the West Lost the Peace: The Great Transformation Since the Cold War (paperback, 2023, Polity): Covers a wide swath of European politics after 1989, as does his earlier book:
  • Philipp Ther: Europe Since 1989: A History (2016; paperback, 2018, Princeton University Press).
  • Serhiy Zhadan: Sky Above Kharkiv: Dispatches From the Ukrainian Front (2023, Yale University Press).


Additional books, noted without comments other than for clarity. I reserve the right to return to some of these later (but probably won't; many are here because I don't want to think about them further).

Michele Alacevich: Albert O Hirschman: An Intellectual Biography (2021, Columbia University Press): Second biography I've seen, after Jeremy Adelman: Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O Hirschman (2013), reportedly stronger on Hirschman's economic theories.

Charles Camic: Veblen: The Making of an Economist Who Unmade Economics (2020, Harvard University Press).

Rachel Chrastil: Bismarck's War: The Frano-Prussian War and the Making of Modern Europe (2023, Basic Books).

James C Cobb: C Vann Woodward: America's Historian (2022, The University of North Carolina Press).

Trae Crowder/Corey Ryan Forrester/Drew Morgan: The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin' Dixie Outta the Dark (paperback, 2017, Atria).

Trae Crowder/Corey Ryan Forrester: Round Here and Over Yonder: A Front Porch Travel Guide by Two Progressive Hillbillies (Yes, That's a Thing) (2023, Harper Horizon).

Sandrine Dixson-Declève/Owen Gaffney/Jayati Ghosh/Jorgen Randers/Johan Rockström/Per Espen Stoknes: Earth for All: A Survival Guide for Humanity (paperback, 2022, New Society): "A Report to the Club of Rome (2022) Fifty Years After The Limits to Growth (1972)."

Robert Elder: Calhoun: American Heretic (2021, Basic Books).

Roland Ennos: The Age of Wood: Our Most Useful Material and the Construction of Civilization (2020, Scribner).

Samuel G Freedman: Into the Bright Sunshine: Young Hubert Humphrey and the Fight for Civil Rights (2023, Oxford University Press).

Newt Gingrich: March to the Majority: The Real Story of the Republican Revolution (2023, Center Street): Memoir of the 1994 election that made Gingrich Speaker of the House.

Josh Hawley: The Masculine Virtues America Needs (2023, Regnery): US Senator (R-MO), famous Jan. 6 track star.

David Horowitz: I Can't Breathe: How a Racial Hoax Is Killing America (2021, Regnery).

Robert Kagan: The Ghost at the Feast: America and the Collapse of World Order, 1900-1941 (2023, Knopf): Carries on from his 2006 book, Dangerous Nation: America's Foreign Policy From Its Earliest Days to the Dawn of the Twentieth Century.

Patrick Radden Keefe: Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty (2021, Doubleday).

Cody Keenan: Grace: President Obama and Ten Days in the Battle for America (2022, Mariner Books): Obama speechwriter, focuses on the speeches of 10 days in June 2015.

Keith Kellogg: War by Other Means: A General in the Trump White House (2021, Regnery).

Michael G Laramie: Queen Anne's War: The Second Contest for North America, 1702-1713 (2021, Westholme).

Marc Levinson: The Box: How a Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger (2nd edition paperback, 2016, Princeton University Press).

Marc Levinson: Outside the Box: How Globalization Changed From Moving Stuff to Spreading Ideas (2020, Princeton University Press).

Robert Lighthizer: No Trade Is Free: Changing Course, Taking on China, and Helping America's Workers (2023, Broadside Books): Trump's US Trade Representative.

Stephen A Marglin: Raising Keynes: A Twenty-First-Century General Theory (2021, Harvard University Press): 928 pp.

Ben Mezrich: The Antisocial Network: The GameStop Short Squeeze and the Ragtag Group of Amateur Traders That Brought Wall Street to Its Knees (2021, Grand Central).

Walter Benn Michaels/Adolph Reed Jr: No Politics but Class Politics (paperback, 2023, Eris).

Adolph L Reed Jr: The South: Jim Crow and Its Afterlives (2022, Verso).

James Rickards: Sold Out: How Broken Supply Chains, Surging Inflation, and Political Instability Will Sink the Global Economy (2022, Portfolio).

Peter Robison: Flying Blind: The 737 MAX Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing (2021, Doubleday; paperback, 2022, Anchor).

Kermit Roosevelt III: The Nation That Never Was: Reconstructing America's Story (2022, University of Chicago Press).

Julio Rosas: Fiery (But Mostly Peaceful): The 2020 Riots and the Gaslighting of America (2022, DW Books): Sees ANTIFA under every rock.

Mike Rothschild: The Storm Is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything (2021, Melville House).

Marco Rubio: Decades of Decadence: How Our Spoiled Elites Blew America's Inheritance of Liberty, Security, and Prosperity (2023, Broadside Books).

Kohei Saito: Karl Marx's Ecosocialism: Capital, Nature, and the Unfinished Critique of Political Economy (paperback, 2017, Monthly Review Press).

Kohei Saito: Marx in the Anthropocene: Towards the Idea of Degworth Communism (paperback, Cambridge University Press): Argues that Marx had a long-suppressed ecological critique of capitalism.

Craig Shirley: April 1945: The Hinge of History (2022, Thomas Nelson): Wrote Newt Gingrich's authorized biography.

Thomas Sowell: Social Justice Fallacies (2023, Basic Books).

David Stasavage: The Decline and Rise of Democracy: A Global History From Antiquity to Today (2020, Princeton University Press).

Greg Steinmetz: American Rascal: How Jay Gould Built Wall Street's Biggest Fortune (2022, Simon & Schuster).

James B Stewart/Rachel Abrams: Unscripted: The Epic Battle for a Media Empire and the Redstone Family Legacy (2023, Penguin Press): The struggle for succession at Paramount Global.

Cass R Sunstein: How to Interpret the Constitution (2023, Princeton University Press).

Owen Ullmann: Empathy Economics: Janet Yellen's Remarkable Rise to Power and Her Drive to Spread Prosperity to All (2022, Public Affairs).

Volker Ullrich: Germany 1923: Hyperinflation, Hitler's Putsch, and Democracy in Crisis (2023, Liveright).

Nikki Usher: News for the Rich, White, and Blue: How Place and Power Distort American Journalism (2021, Columbia University Press). Studying recent trends in newspapers, including the New York Times.

Maurizio Valsania: First Among Men: George Washington and the Myth of American Masculinity (2022, Johns Hopkins University Press).

Thomas D Williams: The Coming Christian Persecution: Why Times Are Getting Worse and How to Prepare for What Is to Come (2023, Crisis Publications): Catholic theologian.

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