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Politics

Book cover for "Doom" by Niall Ferguson
Penguin Press

Disasters are by their very nature hard to predict. Pandemics, earthquakes, wildfires, financial crises, and wars are not normally distributed; there is no cycle of history to help us anticipate the next catastrophe. But when disaster strikes, we ought to be better prepared than the Romans were when Vesuvius erupted, or medieval Italians when the Black Death struck. We have science on our side, after all.

Yet in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the responses of a number of developed countries, including the United States, were badly bungled. Why? In "Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe," New York Times best-selling author Niall Ferguson sets the great crises of 2020 in broad historical perspective and explores why, in the face of a catastrophe, some societies fall apart and others hold together, while a few emerge stronger.

Book cover for "The Luckiest Guy in the World"
Skyhorse

Robert Abrams, born and raised in the Bronx, went on to become a crusading attorney general of New York from 1979 to 1993. As a reformer, he battled political machine bosses and special interests, winning landmark victories for consumers, protecting the environment, and a woman’s right to choose. He led attorneys general across the nation to protect the rights of all Americans.

He recounts his life and experiences in his new book, "The Luckiest Guy in the World: My Journey in Politics."

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Written by author and musician Larry Kirwan, Rockaway Blue, is a new novel which tells the story of a family struggling to pull itself together after an unthinkable trauma.

Larry Kirwan was the leader of New York-based Irish political rock band Black 47 for 25 years. He is author of five previous books, including, Liverpool Fantasy, A History of Irish Music, and Green Suede Shoes, and sixteen plays and musicals, including Hard Times and Rebel in the Soul.

Kirwan also hosts Celtic Crush a popular radio show on Sirius/XM.

Book cover for "High Crimes"
MacMillan Publishers / https://us.macmillan.com/

Award-winning journalists Michael D’Antonio and Peter Eisner join us to discuss their new book "High Crimes: The Corruption, Impunity, and Impeachment of Donald Trump." The book offers the most comprehensive inside story behind our most significant modern political drama: the House impeachment of Donald Trump.

Having spent a year essentially embedded inside several House committees, D'Antonio and Eisner draw on many sources to expose the politicking, playcalling, and strategies debated backstage and to explain the Democrats' successes and apparent public failures during the show itself.

Senator Jeff Flake
official photo

Former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake will participate in the Michael S. and Kitty Dukakis Pulblic Policy Lecture Series for the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) in a virtual event.

Drawing on his nearly two decades of experience on Capitol Hill, in both the Senate and House of Representatives, Jeff Flake will share candid insights on today’s political climate.

Combining anecdotes from his time in office, lessons from his New York Times bestselling book "Conscience of a Conservative," and insights on the importance of civil leadership and bipartisanship, Flake paints a picture of our current political environment and where we can expect our nation’s democracy to go from here.

When the young Alfred Charles Sharpton told his mother he wanted to be a preacher, little did he know that his journey would also lead him to prominence as a politician, founder of the National Action Network, civil rights activist, and television and radio talk show host. His ability and willingness to take on the political power structure makes him the preeminent voice for the modern era, a time unprecedented in its challenges.

In "Rise Up," Reverend Sharpton revisits the highlights of the Obama administration, the 2016 election and Trump's subsequent hold on the GOP, and draws on his decades-long experience with other key players in politics and activism, including Shirley Chisholm, Hillary Clinton, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and more.

American politics are obsessed with sex and religion has been wound up in these political struggles, and blamed for not a little of the resistance to meaningful change in America political life.

In "The Sex Obsession," Janet R. Jakobsen examines how gender and sexuality have reappeared time and again at the center of political life, marked by a series of widely recognized issues and movements.

Mara Liasson
Doby/NPR

Joe Biden is largely campaigning from his basement and Donald Trump is accepting GOP’s nomination far from the convention floor in one of the strangest elections in memory. Covering it all is Mara Liasson, who is heard daily on WAMC as NPR’s national political correspondent, where she has worked for 35 years. She also appears regularly on FOX News.

Kate Manne is known for coining the term “himpathy,” popularized in her New York Times piece on the Kavanaugh hearings, and has become a leading voice on how sexism and misogyny manifest in our politics. Her new book is "Entitled: How Male Privilege Hurts Women."

In the book, Manne exposes how male entitlement works in tandem with misogyny, himpathy, and other oppressive systems to produce unjust, perverse, and sometimes bizarre outcomes. Manne’s analysis of our current culture illustrates the extent of male entitlement’s hold on our society.

When two strikingly different men, one a Marine veteran and a staunch Republican and the other a true blue liberal son of a single mother from Berkeley first met at Yale Law School, the last thing they expected from each other was a friendship. But that's exactly what they found when the unlikely pair set out in a Volvo to see the country from a fresh perspective through each other's eyes.

In the new book "Union: A Democrat, A Republican, And A Search for Common Ground," Jordan waszak. And Christopher ha hit the road to explore the land that they love and to find out what can bring us together in an era of extreme strife and partisanship.

We aired a portion of this interview today in memoriam. 

Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis died on Friday, July 17, 2020. He was 80 years old. 

One of the original 13 Freedom Riders and an eye-witness to many momentous and historic occasions in the last 50+ years of working in public service, Lewis was the son of sharecroppers; he survived a brutal beating by police during a landmark 1965 march in Selma, Alabama; and became a towering figure of the civil rights movement and a longtime US congressman. In 2012, Joe Donahue spoke with him in about his book "Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change." 

In the long history of American demagogues, from Huey Long to Donald Trump, never has one man caused so much damage in such a short time as Senator Joseph McCarthy.

We still use “McCarthyism” to stand for outrageous charges of guilt by association, a weapon of polarizing slander. From 1950 to 1954, McCarthy destroyed many careers and even entire lives, whipping the nation into a frenzy of paranoia, accusation, loyalty oaths, and terror. When the public finally turned on him, he came crashing down, dying of alcoholism in 1957.

Larry Tye’s new biography, "Demagogue," is a portrait of a human being capable of immense evil, yet beguiling charm. McCarthy was a tireless worker and a genuine war hero. When he made it to the Senate, he flailed around in search of an agenda. Finally, after three years, he hit upon anti-communism.

When Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, President Obama observed that Trump “is not an outlier; he is a culmination, a logical conclusion of the rhetoric and tactics of the Republican Party for the past ten, fifteen, twenty years.”

In his new book "Burning Down The House: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party," author Julian Zelizer, esteemed Princeton historian and CNN Political Analyst, pinpoints the moment when our country was set on a path towards the current era of bitterly partisan and ruthless politics.

Zelizer argues that Newt Gingrich’s political strategies in the 1980s, when he waged a campaign against Speaker of the House Jim Wright, have inspired some of the most divisive episodes in contemporary American politics, from the Tea Party movement to the Trump presidency.

Joe Donahue:  Veteran political journalist and 60 Minutes Correspondent John Dickerson's new book "The Hardest Job in the World: The American Presidency", is a deep dive into the history, evolution and current state of the American presidency, and how we can make the job less impossible and more productive.

In the book, Dickerson writes about presidents in history, such as Washington, Lincoln, FDR and Eisenhower, and in contemporary times from LBJ and Reagan and Bush, Obama and Trump, to show how a complex job has been done, and why we need to reevaluate how we view the presidency, how we choose our presidents and what we expect from them once they're in office. John Dickerson is a 60 Minutes correspondent, prior to that he was a co-host of CBS This Morning, the anchor of Face the Nation. And CBS News' Chief Washington correspondent. The new book, "The Hardest Job in the World: The American Presidency".

Joe Donahue: Welcome to The Book Show, a celebration of reading and writers. I'm Joe Donahue. Robert Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, including Secretary of Labor from 1993 to 1997. He's also the bestselling author of "Saving Capitalism" and "The Common Good". His latest book is "The System: Who Rigged It, How To Fix It". It's an analysis of how the rigged systems of American politics and power operate. How this status quo came to be and how average citizens can enact change.

Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the Pulitzer Prize-winning authors of the acclaimed, best-selling "Half the Sky" now issue a plea, deeply personal and told through the lives of real Americans, to address the crisis in working-class America, while focusing on solutions to mend a half century of governmental failure.

Their new book is "Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope."

When the decorated Captain of a great ship descends the gangplank for the final time, a new leader, a man with a yellow feather in his hair, vows to step forward. Though he has no experience, no knowledge of nautical navigation or maritime law, and though he has often remarked he doesn’t much like boats, he solemnly swears to shake things up.

Dave Eggers’ new novel "The Captain and The Glory: An Entertainment," is a savage satire of the United States in the throes of insanity that tells the story of a noble ship, the Glory, and the loud, clownish, and foul Captain who steers it to the brink of disaster.

A new generation is stepping up. There are now 26 millennials in Congress; a fivefold increase gained in the last midterms. They’re governing over Midwestern cities and college towns, running for city councils and serving in state legislatures. They’re acting urgently on climate change (because they’re going to live it); they care deeply about student debt (because they have it); they’re utilizing big tech but still want to regulate it (because they understand how it works).

TIME national correspondent Charlotte Alter examines how millennials have gained power—from City Hall to Congress—in order to learn what America might look like when they’re in charge, in her new book: "The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For: How a New Generation of Leaders Will Transform America."

Over the last three years, Charlotte Alter has crisscrossed the country speaking with the millennial leaders who are trying to rebuild the country from the ground up.

Eitan Hersh received a PhD from Harvard University in 2011. He served for six years on the faculty of Yale University as assistant professor of political science and resident fellow of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies before becoming a tenured associate professor of political science at Tufts University.

In "Politics Is for Power: How to Move Beyond Political Hobbyism, Take Action, and Make Real Change," Hersh shows us a way toward more effective political participation.

Peter Pomerantsev is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Institute of Global Affairs at the London School of Economics, an author and TV producer. He studies propaganda and media development, and has testified on the challenges of information war to the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the UK Parliament Defense Select Committee.

In his new book, "This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality," he writes from the front lines of the disinformation age, where he meets Twitter revolutionaries and pop-up populists, “behavioral change” salesmen, Jihadi fanboys, Identitarians, truth cops, and many others. Forty years after his dissident parents were pursued by the KGB, Pomerantsev finds the Kremlin re-emerging as a great propaganda power.

Meaghan Winter is a freelance magazine writer and author of the new book "All Politics Is Local: Why Progressives Must Fight for the States."

After the 2016 election, Republicans had their largest majority in the states since 1928, controlling legislative chambers in thirty-two states and governor offices in thirty-three. They also held both chambers of Congress and the presidency despite losing the popular vote. What happened?

Winter shows how the Democratic Party and left-leaning political establishment have spent the past several decades betting it all on the very risky and increasingly foolhardy strategy of abandoning the states to focus on federal races.

Revealing misconduct of the powerful is always dangerous. Whistleblowers, therefore, face a difficult choice: by challenging and exposing corruption, they perform a vital public service yet they historically suffer for it.

In "Whistleblowers: Honesty in America from Washington to Trump," author and scholar Allison Stanger frames whistleblowing as an important but unrecognized cousin of civil disobedience. She shows how its practice has held powerful elites accountable in America across the centuries.

She asserts its goal: to prevent the abuse of power by those who hold it; is rooted in the very DNA of America, dating back to the country’s founding. Allison Stanger is a Professor of International Politics and Economics at Middlebury College, New America Cybersecurity Fellow, and an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute.

The economy has been brutal to American workers for several decades. The promise at the heart of the American Dream is withering away. While onlookers assume those suffering in marginalized working-class communities will instinctively rise up, the 2016 election threw into sharp relief how little we know about how the working-class translate their grievances into politics.

In "We're Still Here: We're Still Here: Pain and Politics in the Heart of America," Jennifer M. Silva tells a deep, multi-generational story of pain, place, and politics that will endure long after the Trump administration. Drawing on over 100 interviews with black, white, and Latino working-class residents of a declining coal town in Pennsylvania, Silva reveals how the decline of the American Dream is lived and felt.

Jennifer M. Silva is an Assistant Professor in the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University in Bloomington.

In the 2018 election cycle, women across the country were running in - and winning - local and national office in higher numbers than ever before.

In “See Jane Win: The Inspiring Story of the Women Changing American Politics,” award-winning journalist Caitlin Moscatello provides an insider look at this pivotal time in women’s history.

Closely following four candidates throughout the entire campaign process, Moscatello takes readers inside their exciting, winning campaigns and the sometimes thrilling, sometimes brutal realities of running for office while female.

Many of the political issues we struggle with today have their roots in the US Constitution. In the book "Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws that Affect Us Today" Cynthia and Sanford Levinson take readers back to the creation of this historic document and discuss how contemporary problems were first introduced and then they offer possible solutions.

Sanford Levinson joins us. The book was originally released in 2017 but a new edition has been published, adding two new chapters.

Dr. Dean Haycock is the author of "Tyrannical Minds, Psychological Profiling, Narcissism and Dictatorship." The book tells readers that not everyone can become a tyrant. It requires a particular confluence of events to gain absolute control over entire nations.

First, you must be born with the potential to develop brutal personality traits. Often, these are combined in “The Dark Triad” of malignant narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy, as well as elements of paranoia, and an extraordinary ambition to achieve control over others. Second, your predisposition to antisocial behavior must be developed and strengthened during childhood. You might suffer physical and/or psychological abuse, or grow up in trying times. Finally, you must come of age when the political system of your country is unstable.

Jonathan M. Metzl is the Frederick B. Rentschler II professor of sociology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University and director of its Center for Medicine, Health, and Society. He is the author of several books and a prominent expert on gun violence and mental illness.

John Lanchester is the author of five novels, including his latest, "The Wall," the best-selling "Debt to Pleasure," and "Capital," as well as several works of nonfiction, including "I.O.U." and "How to Speak Money."

"The Wall" is a novel of a broken world and what might be found when all is lost. It blends the issues of our time, rising waters, rising fear, rising political division, into a suspenseful story of love, trust, and survival.

Book Cover - The Human Network

Inequality, social immobility, and political polarization are only a few crucial phenomena driven by the inevitability of social structures. Social structures determine who has power and influence, account for why people fail to assimilate basic facts, and enlarge our understanding of patterns of contagion.

Despite their primary role in shaping our lives, human networks are often overlooked when we try to account for our most important political and economic practices. In "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs and Behaviors." Stanford Professor Matthew Jackson illuminates the complexity of the social networks in which we are (often unwittingly) positioned and aims to facilitate a deeper appreciation of why we are who we are.

Named by The Atlantic as one of the hundred most influential figures in American history, and by Time and Life magazines as one of the most influential Americans of the twentieth century, Ralph Nader has helped us drive safer cars, eat healthier food, breathe better air, drink cleaner water, and work in safer environments for more than four decades.

His new book, "How the Rats Re-formed Congress," is a fable about rats that invade Congress and astonishingly trigger a peoples' political revolt. It starts when a Congressional reporter breaks a strange and shocking story: "Rats have invaded the toilet bowls" of both the Speaker of the House and the Minority Leader. The mighty rat invasions spark a national news frenzy.

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