An occasional blog about populist politics and popular music, not necessarily at the same time.
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Saturday, September 23, 2023
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:
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:
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.
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:
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):
Meanwhile, the right has been busy pumping out anti-Biden tracts:
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:
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]
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:
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:
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):
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:
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:
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:
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:
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):
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):
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:
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.:
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:
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.
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):
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.