Musing about law, books, and politics

Recommended Books for Understanding Our Current Politics

These are my top recommendations. Click on the book for the Amazon description.

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How Democracies Die is first because it’s a quick easy read and an overview of how we got here, and how we can get out.

I also recommend this interview with one of the authors, Steven Levitsky. I wrote a thread-blog post about that interview here.

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This is a complex and brilliant book. Professor Snyder is fluent in numerous languages (I believe 11!) and uses primary sources in the original languages.

I also recommend Snyder’s YouTube series, Timothy Snyder Speaks. You can find it here. It’s a great supplement to the book (or even replacement if you don’t have time to read.)

Here’s a blog post highlighting Snyder’s work:

A brief description of sadopopulism and what Snyder calls “governing by crisis and spectacle.

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(Note: This book is here because of a fantastic essay “Authoritarianism is Not a Momentary Madness, but an Eternal Dynamic within Liberal Democracies,” by Stenner & Haidt. You can read a summary here “Authoritarianism is Not a Momentary Madness.”

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Here’s an interview with Jason Stanley in which he talks about some of the main ideas from his book.

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MacLean traces the rise of the modern libertarian movement. Warning: This book enrages libertarians.

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This classic work describing fascism describes a cult of leadership. Here’s blog post summarizing the key ideas.

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To Make Men Free was one of my sources for blog post on the history of the GOP. You can read my very brief history of the GOP here.

This classic work anticipated the current rise of the GOP as an authoritarian party. I did a blog post summarizing the main points here.

Recommended Scholarly Studies:

The Authentic Appeal of the Lying Demagogue, by Oliver Hahl, Minjae Kim and Ezra W. Zuckerman Sivan.

Political Orientations are Correlated with Brain Structure in Young Adults, by Ryota Kanai, Tom Feilden, Colin Firth, and Geraint Rees.

Right Wing Authoritarian Scale, Ngo and Saunders.