Sliderule

Home → Books read → Reading List

A Reading List for Students of American Politics and History

Reading List

Here is a list of important books on American history and politics, which seem significant and worthy of attention.  They tell the story of America from its enviably revolutionary beginnings to its present sad state with a sociopolitical system driven by money and fundamentalist religion, with little regard for real democracy.  This list is promoted for the observational and diagnostic qualities of the books in it.  In order by year of publication.

  1. "Against All Enemies" by Richard A. Clarke, 2004, Free Press.  Inside America's War on Terror by the man who was there.  Reviewed.
  2. "A Pretext for War" by James Bamford, 2004, Doubleday.  9/11, Iraq, and the abuse of America's Intelligence agencies.  So much for honesty.
  3. "The Sorrows of Empire" by Chalmers Johnson, 2004, Metropolitan Books.  Militarism, secrecy, and the end of the Republic.  Foreboding.
  4. "The Republican War on Science" by Chris Mooney, 2005, Basic Books.  A well-documented exposé of organized attempts to distort and misrepresent scientific facts.  Reviewed.
  5. "American Theocracy" by Kevin Phillips, 2006, Viking.  The peril and politics of radical religion, oil, and borrowed money in the 21st century. 
  6. "Blackwater" by Jeremy Scahill, 2007, Nation Books.  The rise of the world's most powerful mercenary army.  The all-American business model.
  7. "Descent Into Chaos" by Ahmed Rashid, 2008, Viking.  The United States and the failure of nation building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia.  Tell me again why they went there.
  8. "Republic, Lost" by Lawrence Lessig, 2011, Twelve.  How money corrupts Congress and four strategies to stop it.  What ever happened to their democracy?
  9. "Flight of the Eagle" by Conrad Black, 2013, McClelland & Stewart.  A strategic history of the United States written by a perceptive and unapologetic friend.  No mythology here.
  10. "Pay Any Price" by James Risen, 2014, Houghton, Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co.  Greed, power, and endless war.
  11. "Dark Money" by Jane Mayer, 2016, Scribe Publications.  How a secretive group of billionaires is trying to buy political control in the U.S.  A warning.
  12. "The War on Science" by Shawn Otto, 2016, Milkweed Editions.  Who's waging it, why it matters, what can be done about it.  A comprehensive study and perhaps the most important book here, explaining many related things.  Reviewed.

"Reviewed" = Reviewed at Some Books Worth Reading