Monday, November 05, 2012

Election Day Eve Books of Interest

If the current election cycle has not completely dampened your enthusiasm for politics and activism, you may be interested in a handful of political titles recently received here at NewPages. If it has, then wait for 2013 to clear your political palate, then start fresh with one of these interesting reads:

Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, published in September 2012 by Seven Stories Press, is an unabashedly liberal book from journalist Greg Palast. Palast is known for his investigative reporting of the controversial 2000 election—specifically, voter fraud in the state of Florida, and how Katherine Harris removed more than 50,000 names from the voter rolls as felons. This makes it all the more amusing that among the blurbs on the back of the book, including those from Noam Chomsky and Al Sharpton, Harris is listed as well: "Twisted and maniacal" is her "recommendation." Palast is actually offering free downloads (donation optional) of his book through Election Day at this page on his website. Read it for the history of Palast's reporting over the years, fueled by unapologetic outrage.

A handy resource for writers, bloggers, and those who want to sound impressive at dinner parties, What Liberals Believe (Skyhorse Publishing, September 2012, edited by Dr. William Martin) is a veritable Bartlett's Familiar Quotations of liberal quotes. Originally published in 2008, this updated second edition has information on the 2012 election and a section called "The Best of the Obama Years and More." The book is organized by broad categories, each containing specific topics (for example, "The Struggle for Equality" encompasses "Civil Rights," "Diversity," "Gays and Lesbians," and "Intolerance," among others). Quotes run the gamut throughout time, from Aesop and Buddha to Jon Stewart and Barack Obama.

What You Should Know About Politics...But Don't, by Jessamyn Conrad, is also out in a second edition from Skyhorse Publishing (May 2012). Conrad's non-partisan guide to political issues is divided into 13 chapters, each devoted to a broad topic—civil liberties, the environment, education, etc. This edition has been most heavily updated, since its original publication in 2008, in its chapters on the economy and foreign policy. Conrad's goal is to present each issue framed by its arguments on both sides. Each chapter begins with a bulleted list of background facts, and key terms are highlighted in bold throughout.

Lastly, for those interested less in political issues and more in the theory behind change, Skyhorse has also published The American Spring: What we talk about when we talk about revolution (July 2012). Journalist Amelia Stein interviewed 26 artists, professors, filmmakers, activists, writers, and more. Her questions are designed not only to illuminate the interviewee's background ("Describe...your first political experience") but also to provoke additional discussion ("How much of knowledge is experiential?"). The resulting topics of conversation vary, from the importance of Emma Goldman to the Occupy Wall Street movement to nonviolent protest.

Get out and vote tomorrow, and then keep reading!