united states

Why has American politics fallen into such a state of horrible dysfunction? Can it ever be fixed? These are the questions that motivate Michael Tomasky’s deeply original examination into the origins of our hopelessly polarized nation.

Michael Tomasky is a columnist for the Daily Beast, a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, and the editor of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas.

His new book is "If We Can Keep It: How the Republic Collapsed and How it Might Be Saved."

  We’re often told that the United States is, was, and always has been a Christian nation. But in One Nation Under God, historian Kevin M. Kruse reveals that the idea of “Christian America” is an invention—and a relatively recent one at that.

As Kruse argues, the belief that America is fundamentally and formally a Christian nation originated in the 1930s when businessmen enlisted religious activists in their fight against FDR’s New Deal. Corporations from General Motors to Hilton Hotels bankrolled conservative clergymen, encouraging them to attack the New Deal as a program of “pagan statism” that perverted the central principle of Christianity: the sanctity and salvation of the individual. Their campaign for “freedom under God” culminated in the election of their close ally Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.

  What does it mean to be an illegal immigrant, or the child of immigrants, in this era of restrictive immigration laws in the United States? As lawmakers and others struggle to respond to the changing landscape of immigration, the effects of policies on people's daily lives are all too often overlooked.

In Everyday Illegal, author Joanna Dreby recounts the stories of children and parents in eighty-one families to show what happens when a immigration system emphasizes deportation over legalization.

Joanna Dreby is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University at Albany.

  In Mea Culpa: Lessons on Law and Regret from U.S. History, Steven W. Bender examines how the United States’ collective shame about its past has shaped the evolution of law and behavior.

We regret slavery and segregationist Jim Crow laws. We eventually apologize, while ignoring other oppressions, and our legal response to regret often fails to be transformative for the affected groups.