Books for the News, Politics and Current Events, Reading list

Five Books for Understanding the Midterm Elections

Many of us are poised watching the polling results and biting our nails about the upcoming midterm elections when all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate will be contested. By November 8th, will this country look more red or more blue? While we don’t yet know the outcome, there are experts who have been studying public opinion, strategy, and the media coverage of politics who have much to offer to help us understand what will shape the decisions Americans will make at the polls and how pundits will help explain them. Below, are five insightful and recently published books offering their own takes on how to make sense of the American political landscape.

Radical American Partisanship

Mapping Violent Hostility, Its Causes, and the Consequences for Democracy

Nathan P. Kalmoe and Lilliana Mason

“Kalmoe and Mason’s impressive theoretical insights and evidence on the causes and consequences of radical partisanship make their book the definitive account of violent partisan hostilities in twenty-first-century American politics. With the profound implications of those outstanding analyses exposed for the whole world to see during the January 6 Capitol insurrection, Radical American Partisanship has the potential to be one of the most important political science books in decades.” Michael Tesler, University of California, Irvine

Local Interests

Politics, Policy, and Interest Groups in US City Governments

Sarah F. Anzia

“An incredibly important, field-changing book. Anzia offers a completely novel description of what goes on in modern city politics. She effectively counters the (persistent) belief that local government activity is apolitical, custodial, or issueless by showing that groups have identifiable interests in local policy outcomes and that they actively work to achieve those goals. Anzia is a gifted writer and an even more gifted thinker; she offers deep insights in every chapter.” Jessica Trounstine, University of California, Merced

The Paradox of Democracy

Free Speech, Open Media, and Perilous Persuasion

Zac Gershberg and Sean Illing

The Paradox of Democracy is as provocative as it is unpredictable. It carefully and engagingly expands our understanding of how democracy works—and struggles—in a society where free expression is foundational and where media is undergoing revolutionary and rapid change. It will change how you think.” Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post

Fascism Comes to America

A Century of Obsession in Politics and Culture

Bruce Kuklick

“Fascism as both an idea and a political reality in America is an important, even urgent, topic, and it has found the ideal author for its examination in Kuklick. He draws on an impressive variety of sources—from political theory, philosophy, novels, movies, the popular press, and more—to knit together a century-long history of American ideas about and images of fascism. This important book shows persuasively, and with considerable writerly flair, the specter and appeal of ‘fascism’ in American political thought and culture.” Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, University of Wisconsin–Madison

City of Newsmen

Public Lies and Professional Secrets in Cold War Washington

Kathryn J. McGarr

“For a very long time, Washington journalists have been congratulating themselves on how much more independent and tough-minded they are than their mid-twentieth-century predecessors. With City of Newsmen, McGarr has given us a vivid, deeply researched account that presents the elite political press corps back then in a much more favorable light, as a highly professional group whose members were also highly constrained by the blindnesses that were pervasive in that time, place, and culture. Are Washington reporters really so different today?” Nicholas Lemann, staff writer for The New Yorker

All of these books are available now from our website or from your favorite bookseller.