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Old 05-18-2012, 12:59 PM   #1
stonetools
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Recommendations for books on politics

'Tis the year for politics. There's been elections in Greece and France and there will be one in the USA. Who knows, something could happen in the UK by next year.
With that mind, are there any good books on politics, political campaigns, and political history? I'd like to look beyond the US as well.
For example, in the UK, just what the heck is the "Big Society?" How did David Cameron become head of the Conservative Party, and how did they win?
One recommendation that I would make is " Game Change"by Mark Halpern, which covered the 2008 US campaign. Its a good, and entertaining read.
Are there any analogues to " Game Change" about UK or European politics?
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Old 05-18-2012, 02:52 PM   #2
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Probably not what you're looking for, but I would say that "Yes, Minister" and "Yes, Prime Minister" are good at describing how governments work. They're also pretty entertaining.

Edit: "Ciano's Diary" is also pretty revealing (he was a Cabinet Minister and son-in-law of Mussolini).

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Old 05-18-2012, 11:24 PM   #3
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Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America by Rick Perlstein

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/11/bo...ll-t.html?_r=1
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Old 05-19-2012, 08:54 PM   #4
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The best books on politics (for any place and era) are always written fifty years after the fact, while the principles are still alive to interview, but too old and worn to litigate or obfuscate.
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Old 05-19-2012, 09:47 PM   #5
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For the US, this is crucial background to understand contemporary politics:

The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:15 PM   #6
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Definitely check out the Mises Institute - Mises.org! They have all sorts of free e-books available (quality ebooks made free by donors) on economics, history, and politics. If you've never read Murray Rothbard, he's a brilliant man, but his writing is so accessible and easy to comprehend. I reccomend his History of Money and Banking in the United States and For a New Liberty personally.

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Old 08-24-2012, 11:24 PM   #7
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You just have to read The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals by Jane Mayer. It's that good and that scarey (because it is true)

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This hard-hitting expose examines both the controversial excesses of the war on terror and the home-front struggle to circumvent legal obstacles to its prosecution. New Yorker correspondent Mayer (Strange Justice) details the battle within the Bush Administration over a new anti-terrorism policy of harsh interrogations, indefinite detentions without due process, extraordinary renditions, secret CIA prisons and warrantless wiretappings. Fighting with memos and legal briefs, Mayer reports, hard-liners led by Dick Cheney, his aide David Addingtion and then-Justice Department lawyer John Yoo rejected any constraints on the treatment of prisoners or limitations on presidential power in fighting terrorism, while less militant administration lawyers invoked the Constitution and international law to oppose their initiatives. As a counterpoint to the wrangling over the definition of torture and the Geneva Conventions, the author looks at the use of techniques like waterboarding, stress positions, sleep deprivation and sexual humiliation against prisoners by the American military and CIA; her chilling account compellingly argues that this "enhanced interrogation" regimen constitutes torture. The result is a must-read: a meticulous behind-the-scenes reconstruction of policymaking that demonstrates how legal abstractions became an ugly reality.
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:38 AM   #8
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Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts is a description of the efforts of the US Ambassador to Germany from 1934 until 1939. It gives you an inside glimpse of the problems of diplomacy, especially American, British, French, Soviet and paradoxically, German, as they tried to confront a gathering evil but could only watch helplessly from the sidelines.

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Old 08-27-2012, 03:27 AM   #9
AlexBell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
You just have to read The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals by Jane Mayer. It's that good and that scarey (because it is true)
I second that; it was one of the first ebooks I bought, and I think it is excellent.

Perhaps a little off topic, but A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn is also in high repute. And Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control by Medea Benjamin, one of my favourite people in all the world, is as good and as scary as Jane Myer's Book.

Last edited by AlexBell; 08-27-2012 at 03:55 AM. Reason: fixed typo
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:02 AM   #10
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I can't resist adding three more:

War is a Racket by Maj. General Smedley D Butler (available from the MR library) is just as true today as it was nearly a hundred years ago.

This Time We Went Too Far by Norman Finkelstein and Embracing Israel/Palestine by Rabbi Michael Lerner are excellent in their quite different ways.
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:48 AM   #11
GlenBarrington
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Dick Morris. . .

I have always found his political analysis very interesting and entertaining. Pretty well written, I think. I've read 2 or 3 of his earlier books and found a lot to like in terms of a reading/thinking experience.

As an economic conservative and socially middle of the road type guy, I'm not sure I fully buy just how easily (and quickly) he seemed to 'switch sides' from Liberal to Conservative after his 'break-up' with the Clintons. I can't help but wonder if his conversion was built on personal economics rather than personal conviction, and I wonder just how connected he remains to the existing power structures; but like I said, he brings an interesting POV to the topics he chooses to address.

Even though I've slowed down on his books, he does provide a good read, I think, over all.
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