How to Stand Up to a Dictator: The Fight for Our Future book cover

How to Stand Up to a Dictator: The Fight for Our Future

Maria Ressa

OverDrive eBook
Technology, Memoir, Political, History

Introduction by Amal ClooneyFrom the recipient of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, an impassioned and inspiring memoir of a career spent holding power to account.Maria Ressa is one of the most renowned international journalists of our time. For decades, she challenged corruption and malfeasance in her native country, the Philippines, on its rocky path from an authoritarian state to a democracy. As a reporter from CNN, she transformed news coverage in her region, which led her in 2012 to create a new and innovative online news organization, Rappler. Harnessing the emerging power of social media, Rappler crowdsourced breaking news, found pivotal sources and tips, harnessed collective action for climate change, and helped increase voter knowledge and participation in elections.But by their fifth year of existence, Rappler had gone from being lauded for its ideas to being targeted by the new Philippine government, and made Ressa an enemy of her country's most powerful man: President Duterte. Still, she did not let up, tracking government seeded disinformation networks which spread lies to its own citizens laced with anger and hate. Hounded by the state and its allies using the legal system to silence her, accused of numerous crimes, and charged with cyberlibel for which she was found guilty, Ressa faces years in prison and thousands in fines.There is another adversary Ressa is battling. How to Stand Up to a Dictator is also the story of how the creep towards authoritarianism, in the Philippines and around the world, has been aided and abetted by the social media companies. Ressa exposes how they have allowed their platforms to spread a virus of lies that infect each of us, pitting us against one another, igniting, even creating, our fears, anger, and hate, and how this has accelerated the rise of authoritarians and dictators around the world. She maps a network of disinformation—a heinous web of cause and effect—that has netted the globe: from Duterte's drug wars to America's Capitol Hill; Britain's Brexit to Russian and Chinese cyber-warfare; Facebook and Silicon Valley to our own clicks and votes.Democracy is fragile. How to Stand Up to a Dictator is an urgent cry for Western readers to recognize and understand the dangers to our freedoms before it is too late. It is a book for anyone who might take democracy for granted, written by someone who never would. And in telling her dramatic and turbulent and courageous story, Ressa forces readers to ask themselves the same question she and her colleagues ask every day: What are you willing to sacrifice for the truth?

Annie's picture

An inspiring, fact-filled, and necessary read from 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa, journalist and co-founder of the Philippines' leading digital media company Rappler. Ressa recounts interactions with Big Tech executives and politicians that will make you feel frustrated at tech companies' prioritization of money and "growth" over stopping the spread of disinformation and misinformation. Read this to learn more about how social media can define our thoughts, actions, and feelings and how to embrace and understand our intellectual freedoms before it's too late. -Annie

The end of the world is just the beginning : mapping the collapse of globalization book cover

The end of the world is just the beginning : mapping the collapse of globalization

Peter Zeihan

338.91 /Zeihan
Political, History, Technology

"As isolationism and realism become the dominant values of a previously interconnected world, the logic that motivated international relations and global trade must be reevaluated. Zeihan uses a mixture of geographical knowledge, political history, and sharp analysis to predict the shape of the next twenty years on the world stage"--

Tom's picture

I couldn't put this book down, and the subtitle is the reason why. There is so much information here about how geography, agriculture, transport, finance, and demographics will shape the fate of nations for the worse in the very near future. China, in the author's view, is near collapse at any moment. Famine is inevitable. I guess I'll believe it when I see it. -Tom

Sacred Britannia : the gods and rituals of Roman Britain book cover

Sacred Britannia : the gods and rituals of Roman Britain

Miranda J. (Miranda Jane) Aldhouse-Green

200.9361 /Aldhouse-Green
Nonfiction, History, Religion, Political

Two thousand years ago, the Romans sought to absorb into their empire what they regarded as a remote, almost mythical island on the very edge of the known world - Britain. The expeditions of Julius Caesar and the invasion of AD 43 brought fundamental and lasting changes to the island. Not least among these was a pantheon of new Classical deities and religious systems, along with a clutch of exotic eastern cults including Christianity. But what of Britannia and her own home-grown deities? What cults and cosmologies did the Romans encounter and how did they in turn react to them? Under Roman rule, the old gods were challenged, adopted, adapted, absorbed and re-configured. In this fresh and innovative new account, Miranda Aldhouse-Green balances literary, archaeological and iconographic evidence (and scrutinizes their shortcomings and how we interpret them) to illuminate the complexity of religion and belief in Roman Britain, and the two-way traffic of cultural exchange and interplay between imported and indigenous cults. Despite the remoteness of this period, on the threshold between prehistory and history, many of the forces, tensions, ideologies and issues of identity at work are still relevant today.

Candice's picture

This book is literally as the blurb says--it describes the religious atmosphere of Britain when the Romans blasted onto the scene, and uses various historical accounts and archaeological finds to give evidence. If that's your thing, then you'll love it! It can lean a little to the technical side, and assumes the reader might have a slight comfort level reading socio-archaeological articles, but the information is presented in nice, small bites so you don't get lost in the details. If deep British history is your cup of tea, and you don't need a lot of color photos to spice up the info, then you won't be disappointed. -Candice

Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the  Decline of Civic Life book cover

Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life

Eric Klinenberg

OverDrive eBook
Political, History

“A comprehensive, entertaining, and compelling argument for how rebuilding social infrastructure can help heal divisions in our society and move us forward.”—Jon Stewart NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • “Engaging.”—Mayor Pete Buttigieg, The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice) We are living in a time of deep divisions. Americans are sorting themselves along racial, religious, and cultural lines, leading to a level of polarization that the country hasn’t seen since the Civil War. Pundits and politicians are calling for us to come together and find common purpose. But how, exactly, can this be done? In Palaces for the People, Eric Klinenberg suggests a way forward. He believes that the future of democratic societies rests not simply on shared values but on shared spaces: the libraries, childcare centers, churches, and parks where crucial connections are formed. Interweaving his own research with examples from around the globe, Klinenberg shows how “social infrastructure” is helping to solve some of our most pressing societal challenges. Richly reported and ultimately uplifting, Palaces for the People offers a blueprint for bridging our seemingly unbridgeable divides. LONGLISTED FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN NONFICTION “Just brilliant!”—Roman Mars, 99% Invisible “The aim of this sweeping work is to popularize the notion of ‘social infrastructure'—the ‘physical places and organizations that shape the way people interact'. . . . Here, drawing on research in urban planning, behavioral economics, and environmental psychology, as well as on his own fieldwork from around the world, [Eric Klinenberg] posits that a community’s resilience correlates strongly with the robustness of its social infrastructure. The numerous case studies add up to a plea for more investment in the spaces and institutions (parks, libraries, childcare centers) that foster mutual support in civic life.”—The New Yorker “Palaces for the People—the title is taken from the Scottish-American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie’s description of the hundreds of libraries he funded—is essentially a calm, lucid exposition of a centuries-old idea, which is really a furious call to action.”—New Statesman “Clear-eyed . . . fascinating.”—Psychology Today

Mykle's picture

A great look at how social spaces, ie Libraries ;) are the cure to our division. This is also available on e-audio, or as a book club kit! -Mykle

Chaos machine : the inside story of how social media rewired our minds and our world. book cover

Chaos machine : the inside story of how social media rewired our minds and our world.

Fisher, Max

302.231/Fisher (NEW)
Political, Technology, Health

New York Times reporter Fisher debuts with a scathing account of the manifold ills wrought by social media. He explores toxic misogyny, recounting the unsavory particulars of "GamerGate," in which a woman video game developer was subjected to "collective harassment" after false allegations that she slept with a journalist in exchange for a positive review of her game. Other examples of the dark side of social media include anti-Muslim hate speech in Myanmar proliferating on Facebook, the spread of anti-vaccine rhetoric during the pandemic, and efforts by Russia to interfere with U.S. elections. Fisher also breaks down the tactics used by social media companies to get users to spend more time online, among them notifications that are meant to set off feel-good dopamine releases in the brain, a tactic similar to the "intermittent variable reinforcement" used by casinos. There's no shortage of books lamenting the evils of social media, but what's impressive here is how Fisher brings it all together: the breadth of information, covering everything from the intricacies of engagement-boosting algorithms to theories of sentimentalism, makes this a one-stop shop. It's a well-researched, damning picture of just what happens online. Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Candice's picture

All the awful stuff online, all of its awful effects, all in one non-awful book. -Candice

All ages welcome : recruiting and retaining younger generations for library boards, friends groups, and foundations book cover

All ages welcome : recruiting and retaining younger generations for library boards, friends groups, and foundations

Lina Bertinelli

021.82 /Bertinelli
Business, Political, Nonfiction

"With hands-on worksheets, brainstorming activities, checklists, and more, this planner provides practical tools for libraries to grow and strengthen their recruitment, retention, and training of trustees, Friends, and foundation members"--

Mykle's picture

Boomers have experience but Millenials and Gen Z have vested interest and they should be allowed/encouraged to create the future they'll have to live in. This book is good advise for seeking out younger board members but I think it can also serve as a call to younger adults that they're valued and desired. -Mykle

Plunder : a memoir of family property and Nazi treasure book cover

Plunder : a memoir of family property and Nazi treasure

Menachem Kaiser

940.5318 /Kaiser
Nonfiction, Literary Nonfiction, History, Religion, Political

When Kaiser takes up his Holocaust-survivor grandfather's former battle to reclaim the family's apartment building in Sosnowiec, Poland, he finds himself on a circuitous path to encounters with the long-time residents of the building, and with a Polish lawyer known as "The Killer." A surprise discovery-- that his grandfather's cousin not only survived the war, but wrote a secret memoir while a slave laborer in a vast, secret Nazi tunnel complex-- leads to Kaiser being adopted as a virtual celebrity by a band of Silesian treasure seekers who revere the memoir as the indispensable guidebook to Nazi plunder. Here Kaiser questions: What does it mean to seize your own legacy? Can reclaimed property repair rifts among the living? -- adapted from jacket

Candice's picture

First, this book is beautifully written. Menachem Kaiser's grasp of language to tell a story, illustrate situations, and convey thoughts and emotions is so fluid and engaging. Second, this book is important in many ways, but also very interesting--a real nonfiction win-win. It's a slightly winding story, starting out with particular goals and desired outcomes, but as so often happens when researching and interacting history, the modern world and reality intervene, and make things a lot harder to get hold of and follow. Menachem goes where the story leads him, and the results are so strange, interesting, and profound that you couldn't have imagined some of it. This story is also full of love and learning and respect--for self, for others, for history, and for the stories that survive. -Candice

Last best hope : America in crisis and renewal book cover

Last best hope : America in crisis and renewal

George Packer

973.933 /Packer
Political, Nonfiction

2020: A ruthless pandemic, an inept and malign government response, polarizing protests, and an election marred by conspiracy theories left many citizens in despair about their country and its democratic experiment. Packer explores four narratives that now dominate American life: Free America, which imagines a nation of separate individuals and serves the interests of corporations and the wealthy; Smart America, the world view of Silicon Valley and the professional elite; Real America, the white Christian nationalism of the heartland; and Just America, which sees citizens as members of identity groups that inflict or suffer oppression. He shows that none of these narratives can sustain a democracy: we must look for a common American identity and find it in the passion for equality that Americans of diverse persuasions have held for centuries. -- adapted from jacket

Anne M's picture

If you are looking to understand the different narratives that currently make up American discourse, George Packer's "Last Best Hope" is a good primer. Although Packer boils things down to four different groups, generalizing many things, his overall point is that current divisions will not sustain our country and discusses ways to find a way forward. A short, compelling read. -Anne M

High conflict : why we get trapped and how we get out book cover

High conflict : why we get trapped and how we get out

Amanda Ripley

303.6 /Ripley
Nonfiction, Political

High conflict is what happens when discord distills into a good-versus-evil kind of feud, the kind with an us and a them. The normal rules of engagement no longer apply: we feel increasingly certain of our own superiority and, at the same time, more and more mystified by the other side. Ripley investigates how good people get captured by high conflict-- and how they break free. She interviews people who were drawn into high conflict, and shows how they found ways to rehumanize and recategorize their opponents, even as they continued to fight for what they knew was right. -- adapted from jacket

Melody's picture

I reserved this book based on a review I read in the New York Times. It promised to be a highly readable breakdown of the driving forces behind serious conflicts--how well-meaning people get into them and how they can get out. I am learning so much from this book. I may have picked it up while thinking of the politically charged times we live in, but it has shined the light on conflict-inducing traps I didn't even know had snared me. For people who want to be freed of these snares, this book is a must-read. -Melody

We do this 'til we free us : abolitionist organizing and transforming justice book cover

We do this 'til we free us : abolitionist organizing and transforming justice

Mariame Kaba

303.372 /Kaba
Black Lives Matter, Political

"What if social transformation and liberation isn't about waiting for someone else to come along and save us? What if ordinary people have the power to collectively free ourselves? In this timely collection of essays and interviews, Mariame Kaba reflects on the deep work of abolition and transformative political struggle."--Page 4 of cover.

Victoria's picture

Seasoned activist, abolitionist, community organizer and Founder/Director of Project NIA (an organization that works to end the incarceration of children and young adults by promoting restorative and transformative justice practices,) Mariame Kaba's latest book is a collection of essays that have been described as a "pragmatic playbook" that reimagines institutionalized systems and how ordinary people can collectively implement change. In her essays she describes what it means to defund and abolish the police and how we as communities can contribute to making our spaces more equitable through strategic, collective action. In the beginning of her book she cites a quote from her father: "Everything worthwhile is done with other people". Everything she has done in her work has amplified this sentiment and I think is a truly beautiful mantra. Well worth reading! -Victoria