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Political

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

Tom Waits book cover

Tom Waits

Matt Mahurin

779.2 /Mahurin
Political, Black Lives Matter, Black History, Gardening

"A collection of portraits of musician Tom Waits, the result of a 30-year collaboration with photographer and illustrator Matt Mahurin This book is a testament to the unique collaboration, going back three decades, between the photographer and illustrator Matt Mahurin and the musician Tom Waits. Having shot magazine portraits, album covers, and music videos of Waits, Mahurin was inspired to resurrect 100 dormant film negatives as a jumping off point to explore his own surreal, poetic, and occasionƯally dark vision. The images vary from traditional porƯtraits to ones that capture Waits in concert--but the majority are imagined scenes in which Waits is more muse than musician. In addition to the diverse images, the book includes a foreword by Waits, an essay by Mahurin on their longtime collaboration, and 20 original paintings, drawings, photographs, and digital images inspired by Waits's song titles."--Publisher's website.

Victoria's picture

This is a riveting read; with essays that document black legacies to American land linking past, present African American stewards and hopes for the future -Victoria

Sisters in hate : American women on the front lines of white nationalism book cover

Sisters in hate : American women on the front lines of white nationalism

Seyward Darby

322.42 /Darby
Political

"After the election of Donald J. Trump, journalist Seyward Darby went looking for the women of the so-called "alt-right" -- really just white nationalism with a new label. The mainstream media depicted the alt-right as a bastion of angry white men, but was it? As women headlined resistance to the Trump administration's bigotry and sexism, most notably at the Women's Marches, Darby wanted to know why others were joining a movement espousing racism and anti-feminism. Who were these women, and what did their activism reveal about America's past, present, and future? Darby researched dozens of women across the country before settling on three -- Corinna Olsen, Ayla Stewart, and Lana Lokteff. Each was born in 1979, and became a white nationalist in the post-9/11 era. Their respective stories of radicalization upend much of what we assume about women, politics, and political extremism. Corinna, a professional embalmer who was once a body builder, found community in white nationalism before it was the alt-right, while she was grieving the death of her brother and the end of her marriage. For Corinna, hate was more than just personal animus -- it could also bring people together. Eventually, she decided to leave the movement and served as an informant for the FBI. Ayla, a devoutly Christian mother of six, underwent a personal transformation from self-professed feminist to far-right online personality. Her identification with the burgeoning "tradwife" movement reveals how white nationalism traffics in society's preferred, retrograde ways of seeing women. Lana, who runs a right-wing media company with her husband, enjoys greater fame and notoriety than many of her sisters in hate. Her work disseminating and monetizing far-right dogma is a testament to the power of disinformation. With acute psychological insight and eye-opening reporting, Darby steps inside the contemporary hate movement and draws connections to precursors like the Ku Klux Klan. Far more than mere helpmeets, women like Corinna, Ayla, and Lana have been sustaining features of white nationalism. Sisters in Hate shows how the work women do to normalize and propagate racist extremism has consequences well beyond the hate movement."--Amazon.

Amanda's picture

This book shows how easily a person can be seduced by racism and white nationalism, how innocuous it can seem, and how deep a person can get into it. One of the main women featured is no longer a participant in the culture, and has found a different way to belong, and I really wish the best for her. This was a fascinating and engaging read, and I highly recommend it. -Amanda

Drawing the vote : an illustrated guide to voting in America book cover

Drawing the vote : an illustrated guide to voting in America

Tommy Jenkins

324.62 /Jenkins
Graphic Novels, Political, History

"Coinciding with the 2020 US presidential election, Drawing the Vote, an original graphic novel, looks at the history of voting rights in the United States, and how it has affected the way we vote today. Author Tommy Jenkins traces this history from the earliest steps toward democracy during the American Revolution, to the upheaval caused by the Civil War, the fight for women's suffrage, the Civil Rights movement, the election of an African American president, and the control by a Republican majority. Along the way, Jenkins identifies events and trends that led to the unprecedented results of the 2016 presidential election that left Americans wondering, "how did this happen?" To balance these complex ideas and statistics, Kati Lacker's clean artistic style makes the book both beautiful and accessible. At a time when many citizens are experiencing apathy about voting and skepticism concerning our bitterly divided political parties, Drawing the Vote seeks to offer some explanation for how we got here and how every American can take action to make their vote count"--

Anne M's picture

After seeing the students in his college classes become cynical about voting, Tommy Jenkins wanted to show the hard fight in expanding voting rights in our country. This fun, accessible history comic is the result. But the fight isn't over. Jenkins explains new methods, as well as the tried-and-true restrictions, cropping up to limit who can vote and when. -Anne M

Five days : the fiery reckoning of an American city book cover

Five days : the fiery reckoning of an American city

Wes Moore

305.896 /Moore
Nonfiction, Political

Baltimore When Freddie Gray was arrested for possessing an 'illegal knife' in April 2015, he was, by eyewitness accounts that video evidence later confirmed, treated 'roughly' as police loaded him into a vehicle. By the end of his trip in the police van, Gray was in a coma he would never recover from. This killing led to a week of protests and then five days described alternately as a riot or an uprising that set the entire city on edge, and caught the nation's attention. Moore attended Gray's funeral, and saw every strata of the city come together, all looking to comfort each other, but also looking for answers. Through shifting points of view, Moore and Green create an engrossing account of the deep causes of the violence-- and the small seeds of hope planted in its aftermath. -- adapted from jacket

Anne M's picture

Wes Moore and Erica Green take us through Baltimore's reckoning with systemic racism, crippling poverty, and police brutality after Freddie Gray's murder in police custody. Focusing on the five days after Gray's death, they show us Baltimore through the individuals that lived events of that week, from a protest organizer, a police officer, and an owner of the Baltimore Orioles. Moore and Green slow those days down and tell us what happened. It is a powerful book, gives interesting context on the city's history, and individualizes life in America. -Anne M

In the shadow of statues : a white southerner confronts history book cover

In the shadow of statues : a white southerner confronts history

Mitch Landrieu

305.8009763 /Landrieu
Political

The New Orleans mayor who removed Confederate statues from the city confronts the racism that shapes many Americans and argues for white America to reckon with its past.

Stacey's picture

Added by Stacey

My vanishing country : a memoir book cover

My vanishing country : a memoir

Bakari Sellers

BIOGRAPHY Sellers, Bakari
Black Lives Matter, Nonfiction, Memoir, Political

"An eye-opening odyssey through the South's past, present, and future that is a moving and gripping tribute to America's forgotten rural working-class black folks. The small town of Denmark was once a thriving hub of South Carolina's idyllic Low Country. Yet today, this majority African-American town with a population of 3,500 is emblematic of the "Forgotten South" -- small communities of color stretching from Appalachia to the Sunbelt. For CNN political analyst Bakari Sellers, Denmark is "home" -- the land on which his forefathers toiled to build lives of meaning and substance, despite systemic racism and Jim Crow laws. In My Vanishing Country, he illuminates the pride and pain that continue to fertilize the soil of one of the poorest states in the nation and the forces threatening rural working-class black life. As he eloquently and powerfully argues, places like Denmark are worth saving; its people -- and their hopes and dreams -- matter because they are an indelible part of America. Since the 2016 election, politicians and the media have focused on the struggles of the white working class while consistently overlooking the residents of Denmark. In this atmospheric, rich, and poetic book, Sellers shines a light on life in today's rural South, where Americans still struggle for the basics of modern life: internet access, groceries, medical care, and clean water. Part memoir, part historical and cultural analysis, My Vanishing Country is a compelling read that captures the remarkable spirit and resilience of one small town and makes visible other "forgotten" communities. My Vanishing Country charts Seller's extraordinary journey -- from growing up the son of civil rights icon Cleveland Sellers to building on his father's achievements as the youngest person to serve in the South Carolina legislature, to his work today at CNN, and to his life as the father of twins he hopes will embrace the Sellers family name and carry on its legacy." --

Melody's picture

Added by Melody

The skin we're in : a year of black resistance and power book cover

The skin we're in : a year of black resistance and power

Desmond Cole

eBOOK
Black Lives Matter, Nonfiction, Memoir, Political

protest, Cole, a columnist with the Toronto Star, was summoned to a meeting with the paper's opinions editor and was informed that his activism violated company policy. Rather than limit his efforts defending Black lives, Cole chose to sever his relationship with the publication. Then in July, at another TPS meeting, Cole challenged the board publicly, addressing rumours of a police cover-up of the brutal beating of Dafonte Miller by an off-duty police officer and his brother. When Cole refused to leave the meeting until the question was publicly addressed, he was arrested. The image of Cole walking, handcuffed and flanked by officers, out of the meeting fortified the distrust between the city's Black community and its police force. In a month-by-month chronicle, Cole locates the deep cultural, historical and political roots of each event so that what emerges is a personal, painful and comprehensive picture of entrenched, systemic inequality. Urgent, controversial and unsparingly honest, The Skin We're In is destined to become a vital text for anti-racist and social justice movements in Canada, as well as a potent antidote to the all-too-present complacency of many white Canadians."--

Melody's picture

Added by Melody