Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer Reading List

To help understand how we got here. In no particular order:

"Nixonland," Rick Perlstein. The original sin of contemporary American politics.
"The Looming Tower," Lawrence Wright. Al Qaeda without the hyperventilation.
"The Big Con," Jonathan Chait. Explaining modern snake oil economics. (Surprise: Dick Cheney was there at the creation)
"Legacy of Ashes," Tim Weiner. Why our relations with the world at large are so utterly dysfunctional.
"The Shock Doctrine," Naomi Klein. Chicago-school economics forced upon the world at gunpoint under the guise of "freedom."

"Nixonland" is particularly interesting for me because I grew up in a household that recognized Richard Milhous Nixon for the devil he was; the Watergate hearings were a seminal event in shaping my political consciousness. I've had to put "Shock Doctrine" aside several times since starting it over a year ago because what it describes is so...horrible.

Taken together, these books present a tightly woven narrative of how far modern American politics has strayed from our ideals. All these books interrelate to a significant degree. The question is if there is any way left for us to fix what has happened during the post-World War Two nightmare of American Exceptionalism.

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