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
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!