SUGGESTED READING

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Justice. What's the Right Thing to Do

by Michael J. Sandel

Michael Sandel is Professor of Government at Harvard University. Conservative Columnist, George Will, said of this book; "Sandel is a political philiosopher, public intellectual and a liberal but not the annoying type. His aim is not to boss people around but to bring them to the pleasures of thinking clearly about large questions of social policy. Reading this lucid book is like taking his famous undergraduate course."

American Amnesia:

How the War on Government led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper .

by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson

"Distrust in public institutions is a broad cultural trend. It is whipped by popular entertainment and reinforced by a news media that sometimes seems to relish treating every person and organization as equally venal. Distrust in government is also, however, spread systematically, deliberately, and relentlessly by the GOP leaders who gain politically by "destroying the village to save it" and by powerful interests that have profited from the confusion and disatisfaction that widespread distrust feeds."

Dark Money:

The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.

by Jane Mayer

Until you have read this book you can't say you understand modern American politics. It details how a group of ultra wealthy families dominate politics in America and just gave us a president so lacking in intellect that he has his security briefings given to him in pictures rather than words. The names are familiar, Koch, Bradley, Mercer and others. The Koch family alone has 1,200 full-time staff, in 107 offices around the country, dedicated just to political influence - that is 3 times more than the Republican National Committee and they spent $889 Million on the last election, more than either the Democratic or Republican parties. These people are now the most powerful, unelected political figures ever in American History.

The Age of Acquiescence. The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power

by Steve Frazer.

Why did the developement of extreme economic disparity in the Gilded age lead to large uprisings and resistance but this second Gilded age has seen just resigned acquiescence. Why is it that a hedge fund manager in Chicago can take home $1.3 billion in earings in a single year, and pay a lower tax rate than the 27,800,000 Americans working for a minimum wage and hardly anyone sees a problem. No matter how reckless and immoral banks and hedge funds and corporations behave, no one riots in the streets. When did free-market capitalism, no matter how corrupt, become unquestionable econmomic theory?

The Origins of Totalitarianism

by Hannah Arendt

After World War II Hannah Arendt examined totalitarian governments and how they take power. It is still the most thorough examination of the subject anyone has produced. "We can no longer afford to take that which was good in the past and simply call it our heritage,... The subterranean stream of Western history has finally come to the surface and usurped the dignity of tradition."

Phishing for Phools. The Economics of Manipulation and Deception.

by George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller

Two Nobel Prize Winning Economists argue that the "free market" is not the benign, invisible guiding hand that Adam Smith believed, but is often a source of deception, manipulation and exploitation of the defenseless. If profit can be made by fleeceing people, someone will form a company to do just that. Companies exploit human weakness because, without government regulation, market forces literally force them do it or be replaced by a company that will.

How Not to Be Wrong. The Power of Mathematical Thinking

by Jordan Ellenberg

This book is a joy to read. Ellenberg, a professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-Madisen attempts to show why mathematics is just "the extension of common sense by other means." It is not a book full of abstract equations but by the end of it, you just may be inspired to pick up a few math books that are.

A Field Guide to Lies.

Critical Thinking in the information Age.

by Daniel Levin

This book offers tools for developing information literacy. "We may expect newspapers, bloggers, the Government, and Wikipedia to be factually and logically correct but they so often aren't." Now in the era of Alternate Facts, this book is vital. It provides methods to discern truth from distortion and propoganda.

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose

by Annette Dumbach and Jud Newborn

The true story of two young German students, Sophie Scholl and her Brother Hans, who along with a handful of others, tried to stand up to Hitler's nightmare government and expose the lies and brutality. Publishing pamphlets they hoped to awaken their fellow countrymen to the distruction and ruin the Nazi government was bringing upon Germany. They paid for it with their lives.

Thirteen Days in September. Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David

by Lawrence Wright

The Pulitzer Prize winning journalist examines the 1978 Camp David conference, led by President Jimmy Carter that resulted in the first peace treaty in the modern Middle East, and the significant role played by Rosalynn Carter.

Voices From Chernobyl. The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster

by Svetlana Alexievich

Winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Literature, National Book Critics Circle award winner and an American Library Association Notable Book.

Algerian Chronicles.

by Albert Camus

Nobel Prize winning novelist, Albert Camus' essays on the Algerian Crisis. This small book met with distain and derision when it was first published in 1958 but Camus' clear-eyed refusal to condone violence on either side of that conflict has moral relavance today.

H is for Hawk.

by Helen Macdonald

Winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Costa Book Award, and Science Friday pick for one of the ten best science books of 2015.

Lights Out.

by Ted Koppel

Journalist Ted Koppel examines the country's vulnerability to cyberattack against it's electrical grid and whether the country is prepared to deal with such an attack.

It's Even Worse Than It Looks.

How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism.

by Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein

Thomas E. Mann of the Brookings Institution and Norman J. Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute together discuss how Republicans “have become more loyal to party than to country,” the authors write, so “the political system has become grievously hobbled at a time when the country faces unusually serious problems and grave threats.The country is squandering its economic future and putting itself at risk because of an inability to govern effectively.”

Reign of Error,

The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools

by Diane Ravich

The former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education, Diane Ravich argues that the crisis in American education is not a crisis of academic achievement but a rather an intentional and concerted effort to destroy public schools so that education can be exploited for profit.

Storms of My Grandchildren. The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity

by James Hansen

Dr. James Hansen was the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. This is a well footnoted and documented book that explains in clear language the crisis that humanity faces. And it describes the unconscionable efforts of the Bush administration to silence anyone within government that tried to bring the issue of climate change to public attention.

The Burning Question. We Can't Burn Half the Worlds Oil, Coal, and Gas. So How Do We Quit?

by Mike Berners-Lee and Duncan Clark

This is an excellently written book with a style that is unusually pleasent to read dispite it's dire subject. Addressing climate change demands that most of the remaining fossil fuels must stay in the ground. That would means the value of fossil fuel companies will plummet. But catastrophic climate events will eventually force governments to take sudden action. Such action will be less painful if begun now. By doing nothing governments and markets are gambling with the lives of millions of people and the livelihoods of billions.

Climate Shock. The Economic Consequence of a Hotter Planet

by Gernot Wagner and Martin Weitxman

Two noted economists discuss why we need to deal with climate change and what the economic results will be if we don't act soon. Well written.