Dive into the slim (only 128 pages!) New York Times bestseller by Timothy Snyder, Levin Professor of History at Yale University. Snyder looks at twenty lessons from the past to help us navigate today’s democracy. While our Founding Fathers tried to protect us from tyranny, our political order today faces new threats, not unlike those that befell Europe in the twentieth century. A fascinating and informative read.
For those left scratching their heads after Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential election might still be wondering what the hell happened. Political writers Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, who gained unprecedented access to campaign insiders, dissect all the missteps and foibles of the campaign that led to HRC’s defeat, ultimately deciding that the loss rests not on the failures of the campaign—but on the shoulders of the candidate herself.
Named one of the best books of the year, Harvard sociologist and MacArthur “Genius” grant recipient Matthew Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee as they struggle to keep roofs over their heads. These personal narratives are the jumping off point for discussing poverty and the housing crisis that is plaguing the nation and just may be one of the most important books you’ll ever read.
Omar El Akkad
This novel imagines the second American Civil War, which breaks out in a bleak future landscape in 2074. In Louisiana, one young girl is caught in the middle, placed in Camp Patience for displaced persons after her father is killed. But not everyone at Camp Patience is who they seem and soon Sarat is manipulated into being an agent of war. This novel is terrifying and dystopian, and somehow, doesn’t seem that far away.
Nancy Isenberg’s look at class in this country is an eye-opening investigation into economic disparity and entrenched social hierarchy that has existed, in some form or another, since our country was born. She examines the history of the influence of poor whites in this country, from their giving rise to the Republican party to their being pitted against Blacks during reconstruction to shaping pop culture today with shows like Duck Dynasty and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Isenberg argues that while racial disparity is a huge part of what has shaped this country, we’ve also maligned poor whites to even further place rich white men at the top of the pyramid.
Our country today is, in some ways, more different than it has been for centuries. There seems to be a confluence of issues taking America by storm—an election that didn’t go as many assumed it would, a rise of Alt-Right sentiments, an increase in poverty, the loss of the middle class and a terrible housing crisis. This summer, take a moment to read one of these important books that shed light on one of these issues—including a novel that supposes what will happen if we turn on one another for a second Civil War.
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