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The Ambassadors: America's Diplomats on the Front Lines
Overview not currently available
The Demagogue's Playbook: The Battle for American Democracy from the Founders to Trump
Posner, Eric A.
What - and who - is a demagogue? How did America’s Founders envision the presidency? What should a constitutional democracy look like - and how can it be fixed when it appears to be broken?Something is definitely wrong with Donald Trump’s presidency, but what exactly? The extraordinary negative reaction to Trump’s election - by conservative intellectuals, liberals, Democrats, and global leaders alike - goes beyond ordinary partisan and policy disagreements. It reflects genuine fear about the vitality of our constitutional system. The Founders, reaching back to classical precedents, feared that their experiment in mass self-government could produce a demagogue: a charismatic ruler who would gain and hold on to power by manipulating the public rather than by advancing the public good.President Trump, who has played to the mob and attacked institutions from the judiciary to the press, appears to embody these ideas. How can we move past his rhetoric and maintain faith in our great nation?In The Demagogue’s Playbook, acclaimed legal scholar Eric A. Posner offers a blueprint for how America can prevent the rise of another demagogue and protect the features of a democracy that help it thrive - and restore national greatness, for one and all.
Madison's Sorrow: Today's War on the Founders and America's Liberal Ideal
O'Leary, Kevin C.
An eye-opening cultural history of the political revolution that has destroyed the Republican Party and unleashed an illiberal crusade against the ideals of the Founding Fathers.The story of America is the struggle between our liberal ideal and illiberal resistance. Donald Trump catalyzed a reactionary revolution by tapping into the dark, shadowy side of American democracy that embraces exclusion and inequality. Throughout American history these alarming impulses have come to the forefront of our culture—during the Civil War, the era of the Robber Barons, and the Civil Rights Movement—but have now come to fruition in the presidency of Donald Trump. Arguing that the contemporary Republican Party is waging a counterrevolution against the core beliefs of the nation, journalist and scholar Kevin C. O’Leary cracks open American history to reveal the essence of America’s liberal heritage by critiquing the reactionary illiberal currents that periodically threaten American democracy. American politics is no longer an ongoing debate between liberals and conservatives because the new Republican Party embraces the feudal values of the Old World. While there are millions of conservatives in the population, the elected leadership of the GOP is deeply reactionary. Today’s marriage of white-identity Southerners and their northern allies to moneyed libertarians is no run-of-the-mill political partnership. Instead, it is extraordinarily dangerous. Clearly, conservatives have lost their party. And without conservatives debating liberals in an intellectual, respectful manner to address the nation’s problems, Madisonian democracy breaks down. A stimulating reinterpretation of the American experience, Madison’s Sorrow exposes the intellectual and moral deficiencies of the illiberal right while offering a robust defense of the liberal tradition.
Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents: The Politics of Leadership from Roosevelt to Reagan
Neustadt, Richard E.
Suggests a theory of presidential power, and tests it against the events in the administrations of the postwar presidents.
1941: The Year Germany Lost the War
Bestselling historian Andrew Nagorski takes a fresh look at the decisive year 1941, when Hitler’s miscalculations and policy of terror propelled Churchill, FDR, and Stalin into a powerful new alliance that defeated Nazi Germany.In early 1941, Hitler’s armies ruled most of Europe. Churchill’s Britain was an isolated holdout against the Nazi tide, but German bombers were attacking its cities and German U-boats were attacking its ships. Stalin was observing the terms of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, and Roosevelt was vowing to keep the United States out of the war. Hitler was confident that his aim of total victory was within reach.\By the end of 1941, all that changed. Hitler had repeatedly gambled on escalation and lost: by invading the Soviet Union and committing a series of disastrous military blunders; by making mass murder and terror his weapons of choice, and by rushing to declare war on the United States after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. Britain emerged with two powerful new allies - Russia and the United States. By then, Germany was doomed to defeat.Nagorski illuminates the actions of the major characters of this pivotal year as never before. 1941: The Year Germany Lost the War is a stunning examination of unbridled megalomania versus determined leadership. It also reveals how 1941 set the Holocaust in motion, and presaged the postwar division of Europe, triggering the Cold War. 1941 was a year that forever defined our world.
The Revenge of History: The Battle for the 21st Century
In 2001, Tony Blair declared that those who opposed the war on terror had been "proved wrong"--along with critics of unfettered corporate power and free market capitalism. Ten years later, the critics had been comprehensively vindicated and the champions of the New World Order proved catastrophically wrong. The evidence on hand includes the disastrous occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq and the failure of an economic model that has brought the Western World to its knees. The Revenge of History is a powerful corrective to the discredited dominant account of the first decade of the twenty-first century. As Seumas Milne shows in a panoramic narrative that reaches from 9/11 to beyond the Arab uprisings, crisis and war have turned the orthodoxies of a generation on their head. The neoliberal market, hailed as the only economic option, crashed with devastating consequences; calamitous western military interventions demonstrated the limits of US global power; the rise of China challenged both; while Latin America has embraced social and economic alternatives that were said no longer to exist. In a culture dominated by eager apologists of power, Milne has consistently written against the grain. This book offers a compelling perspective on the convulsions that brought us to the crises of the early 2010s and the shape of the emerging politics of the future--and an indictment of a global and corporate empire in decline
Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit
Overlooked by his father, and overshadowed by his war-hero brother, Bobby Kennedy was a perpetual underdog. When he had the chance to become a naval officer like his older brother, Bobby turned it down, choosing instead to join the Navy as a common sailor. It was a life-changing experience that led him to connect with voters from all walks of life: young and old, black and white, rich and poor. They were the people who turned out for him in his 1968 campaign. RFK would prove himself to be the rarest of politicians - both a pragmatist who knew how to get the job done and an unwavering idealist who could inspire millions.Drawing on extensive research and interviews, Matthews pulls back the curtain on the private world of Robert Francis Kennedy. Matthew illuminates the important moments of his life: from his early years and his start in politics, to his crucial role as attorney general in his brother’s administration and, finally, his tragic run for president. This definitive book brings Bobby Kennedy to life like never before.
State of Insecurity: Government of the Precarious (Futures)
Years of remodelling the welfare state, the rise of technology, and the growing power of neoliberal government apparatuses have established a society of the precarious. In this new reality, productivity is no longer just a matter of labour, but affects the formation of the self, blurring the division between personal and professional lives. Encouraged to believe ourselves flexible and autonomous, we experience a creeping isolation that has both social and political impacts, and serves the purposes of capital accumulation and social control. In State of Insecurity, Isabell Lorey explores the possibilities for organization and resistance under the contemporary status quo, and anticipates the emergence of a new and disobedient self-government of the precarious.
The Empire and the Five Kings
One of the West’s leading intellectuals offers a provocative look at America’s withdrawal from world leadership and the rising powers who seek to fill the vacuum left behind.The United States was once the hope of the world, a beacon of freedom and the defender of liberal democracy. Nations and peoples on all continents looked to America to stand up for the values that created the Western world and to oppose autocracy and repression. Even when America did not live up to its ideals, it still recognized their importance, at home and abroad.But as Bernard-Henri Lévy lays bare in this powerful and disturbing analysis of the world today, America is retreating from its traditional leadership role, and in its place have come five ambitious powers, former empires eager to assert their primacy and influence. Lévy shows how these five - Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, and Sunni radical Islamism - are taking steps to undermine the liberal values that have been a hallmark of Western civilization.The Empire and the Five Kings is a cri de coeur that draws upon lessons from history and the eternal touchstones of human culture to reveal the stakes facing the West as America retreats from its leadership role, a process that did not begin with Donald Trump's presidency and is not likely to end with him. The crisis is one whose roots can be found as far back as antiquity and whose resolution will require the West to find a new way forward if its principles and values are to survive.
Signing Their Rights Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the United States Constitution
An entertaining and essential collection of stories about the surprising and strange fates of the thirty-nine statesmen who created the U.S. Constitution.Remember when our elected officials knew how to compromise? Here are short, irreverent, fun, and fact-filled biographies of the 39 men who set aside their differences and signed their names to the U.S. Constitution - the oldest written constitution of any nation in the world. You’ll meet:• The Signer Who Believed in Aliens• The Signer Who Was Shot in the Stomach• The Signer Who Went Bankrupt• The Peg-Legged Signer• And many more colorful colonists!Complete with portraits of every signatory, Signing Their Rights Away provides an entertaining and enlightening narrative for students, history buffs, politicos, and Hamilton fans alike.
The World America Made
Robert Kagan, the New York Times bestselling author of Of Paradise and Power and one of the country's most influential strategic thinkers, reaffirms the importance of United States's global leadership in this timely and important book. Upon its initial publication, The World America Made became one of the most talked about political books of the year, influencing Barack Obama's 2012 State of the Union address and shaping the thought of both the Obama and Romney presidential campaigns. In these incisive and engaging pages, Kagan responds to those who anticipate--or even long for--a post-American world order by showing what a decline in America's influence would truly mean for the United States and the rest of the world, as the vital institutions, economies, and ideals currently supported by American power wane or disappear. As Kagan notes, it has happened before: one need only to consider the consequences of the breakdown of the Roman Empire and the collapse of the European order in World War I. This book is a powerful warning that America need not and dare not decline by committing preemptive superpower suicide.
Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty
The Magna Carta is revered around the world as the founding document of Western liberty. Its principles - even its language - can be found in our Bill of Rights and in the Constitution. But what was this strange document and how did it gain such legendary status?Dan Jones takes us back to the turbulent year of 1215, when, beset by foreign crises and cornered by a growing domestic rebellion, King John reluctantly agreed to fix his seal to a document that would change the course of history. At the time of its creation the Magna Carta was just a peace treaty drafted by a group of rebel barons who were tired of the king's high taxes, arbitrary justice, and endless foreign wars. The fragile peace it established would last only two months, but its principles have reverberated over the centuries. Jones's riveting narrative follows the story of the Magna Carta's creation, its failure, and the war that subsequently engulfed England, and charts the high points in its unexpected afterlife. Reissued by King John's successors it protected the Church, banned unlawful imprisonment, and set limits to the exercise of royal power. It established the principle that taxation must be tied to representation and paved the way for the creation of Parliament. In 1776 American patriots, inspired by that long-ago defiance, dared to pick up arms against another English king and to demand even more far-reaching rights. We think of the Declaration of Independence as our founding document but those who drafted it had their eye on the Magna Carta.
Confessions of a Rogue Nuclear Regulator
Jaczko, Gregory B.
A shocking exposé from the most powerful insider in nuclear regulation about how the nuclear energy industry endangers our lives - and why Congress does nothing to stop it.Gregory Jaczko had never heard of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission when he arrived in Washington like a modern-day Mr. Smith. But, thanks to the determination of a powerful senator, he would soon find himself at the agency’s helm. A Birkenstocks-wearing physics PhD, Jaczko was unlike any chairman the agency had ever seen: he was driven by a passion for technology and a concern for public safety, with no ties to the industry and no agenda other than to ensure that his agency made the world a safer place.And so Jaczko witnessed what outsiders like him were never meant to see—an agency overpowered by the industry it was meant to regulate and a political system determined to keep it that way. After an emergency trip to Japan to help oversee the frantic response to the horrifying nuclear disaster at Fukushima in 2011, and witnessing the American nuclear industry’s refusal to make the changes he considered necessary to prevent an equally catastrophic event from occurring here, Jaczko started saying aloud what no one else had dared.Confessions of a Rogue Nuclear Regulator is a wake-up call to the dangers of lobbying, the importance of governmental regulation, and the failures of congressional oversight. But it is also a classic tale of an idealist on a mission whose misadventures in Washington are astounding, absurd, and sometimes even funny - and Jaczko tells the story with humor, self-deprecation, and, yes, occasional bursts of outrage. Above all, Confessions of a Rogue Nuclear Regulator is a tale of confronting the truth about one of the most pressing public safety and environmental issues of our time: nuclear power will never be safe.
The Age of American Unreason in a Culture of Lies
The prescient and now-classic analysis of the forces of anti-intellectualism in contemporary American life--updated for the era of Trump, Twitter, Breitbart and fake news controversies.The searing cultural history of the last half-century, The Age of American Unreason In A Culture of Lies focuses on the convergence of social forces--usually treated as separate entities--that has created a perfect storm of anti-rationalism. These include the upsurge of religious fundamentalism, with more political power today than ever before; the failure of public education to create an informed citizenry; the triumph of internet over print culture; and America's toxic addition to infotainment. Combining historical analysis with contemporary observation and sparing neither the right nor the left, Susan Jacoby asserts that Americans today have embraced "junk thought" that makes almost no effort to separate fact from opinion. At today's critical political juncture, nothing could be more important than recognizing the crisis described in this impassioned, tough-minded book, which challenges Americans to face the painful truth about what the flights from reason has cost us as individuals and as a nation.
The Will to Change
Everyone needs to love and be loved - even men. But to know love, men must be able to look at the ways that patriarchal culture keeps them from knowing themselves, from being in touch with their feelings, from loving. In "The Will to Change," bell hooks gets to the heart of the matter and shows men how to express the emotions that are a fundamental part of who they are - whatever their age, marital status, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. With trademark candor and fierce intelligence, hooks addresses the most common concerns of men, such as fear of intimacy and loss of their patriarchal place in society, in new and challenging ways. She believes men can find the way to spiritual unity by getting back in touch with the emotionally open part of themselves - and lay claim to the rich and rewarding inner lives that have historically been the exclusive province of women. A brave and astonishing work, "The Will to Change" is designed to help men reclaim the best part of themselves.
America, The Farewell Tour
Chris Hedges’s profound and provocative examination of America in crisis is “an exceedingly…provocative book, certain to arouse controversy, but offering a point of view that needs to be heard” (Booklist), about how bitter hopelessness and malaise have resulted in a culture of sadism and hate.America, says Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Chris Hedges, is convulsed by an array of pathologies that have arisen out of profound hopelessness, a bitter despair, and a civil society that has ceased to function. The opioid crisis; the retreat into gambling to cope with economic distress; the pornification of culture; the rise of magical thinking; the celebration of sadism, hate, and plagues of suicides are the physical manifestations of a society that is being ravaged by corporate pillage and a failed democracy. As our society unravels, we also face global upheaval caused by catastrophic climate change. All these ills presage a frightening reconfiguration of the nation and the planet.Donald Trump rode this disenchantment to power. In his “forceful and direct” (Publishers Weekly) America: The Farewell Tour, Hedges argues that neither political party, now captured by corporate power, addresses the systemic problem. Until our corporate coup d’état is reversed these diseases will grow and ravage the country. “With a trademark blend of…sharply observed detail, Hedges writes a requiem for the American dream” (Kirkus Reviews) and seeks to jolt us out of our complacency while there is still time.
Spanning twenty-five years, this historic collection of writings shows Vaclav Havel's evolution from a modestly known playwright who had the courage to advise and criticize Czechoslovakia's leaders to a newly elected president whose first address to his fellow citizens begins, "I assume you did not propose me for this office so that I, too, would lie to you." Some of the pieces in Open Letters, such as "Dear Dr. Husak" and the essay "The Power of the Powerless," are by now almost legendary for their influence on a generation of Eastern European dissidents; others, such as some of Havel's prison correspondence and his private letter to Alexander Dubcek, appear in English for the first time. All of them bear the unmistakable imprint of Havel's intellectual rigor, moral conviction, and unassuming eloquence, while standing as important additions to the world's literature of conscience.
In Search of Isaiah Berlin: A Literary Adventure
Isaiah Berlin was one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century - a man who set ideas on fire. His defence of liberty and plurality was passionate and persuasive and inspired a generation. His ideas - especially his reasoned rejection of excessive certainty and political despotism - have become even more prescient and vital today.But who was the man behind such influential views? In Search of Isaiah Berlin tells the compelling story of a decades-long collaboration between Berlin and his editor, Henry Hardy, who made it his vocation to bring Berlin's huge body of work into print. Hardy discovered that Berlin had written far more than people thought, much of it unpublished. As he describes his struggles with Berlin, who was almost on principle unwilling to have his work published, an intimate and revealing picture of the self-deprecating philosopher emerges. This is a unique portrait of a man who gave us a new way of thinking about the human predicament, and whose work had for most of his life remained largely out of view.
The Counterrevolution: How Our Government Went to War Against Its Own Citizens
Harcourt, Bernard E.
A distinguished political theorist sounds the alarm about the counterinsurgency strategies used to govern Americans.Militarized police officers with tanks and drones. Pervasive government surveillance and profiling. Social media that distract and track us. All of these, contends Bernard E. Harcourt, are facets of a new and radical governing paradigm in the United States--one rooted in the modes of warfare originally developed to suppress anticolonial revolutions and, more recently, to prosecute the war on terror.The Counterrevolution is a penetrating and disturbing account of the rise of counterinsurgency, first as a military strategy but increasingly as a way of ruling ordinary Americans. Harcourt shows how counterinsurgency's principles--bulk intelligence collection, ruthless targeting of minorities, pacifying propaganda--have taken hold domestically despite the absence of any radical uprising. This counterrevolution against phantom enemies, he argues, is the tyranny of our age. Seeing it clearly is the first step to resisting it effectively.
The Security Principle: From Serenity to Regulation
In The Security Principle, French philosopher Frédéric Gros takes a historical approach to the concept of security, looking at its evolution from the Stoics to the social network. With lucidity and rigour, Gros’s approach is fourfold, looking at security as a mental state, as developed by the Greeks; as an objective situation and absence of all danger, as prevailed in the Middle Ages; as guaranteed by the nation-state and its trio of judiciary, police, and military; and finally biosecurity, control, regulation, and protection in the flux of contemporary society. In this deeply thought-provoking account, Gros’s exploration of security shines a light both on its past meanings and its present uses, exposing the contemporary abuses of security and the pervasiveness of it in everyday life in the Global North.
We Are Indivisible: A Blueprint for Democracy After Trump
Overview not currently available
The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America
Ever since this nation’s inception, the idea of an open and ever-expanding frontier has been central to American identity. Symbolizing a future of endless promise, it was the foundation of the United States’ belief in itself as an exceptional nation—democratic, individualistic, forward-looking. Today, though, America has a new symbol: the border wall.In The End of the Myth, acclaimed historian Greg Grandin explores the meaning of the frontier throughout the full sweep of U.S. history—from the American Revolution to the War of 1898, the New Deal to the election of 2016. For centuries, he shows, America’s constant expansion—fighting wars and opening markets—served as a “gate of escape,” helping to deflect domestic political and economic conflicts outward. But this deflection meant that the country’s problems, from racism to inequality, were never confronted directly. And now, the combined catastrophe of the 2008 financial meltdown and our unwinnable wars in the Middle East have slammed this gate shut, bringing political passions that had long been directed elsewhere back home.It is this new reality, Grandin says, that explains the rise of reactionary populism and racist nationalism, the extreme anger and polarization that catapulted Trump to the presidency. The border wall may or may not be built, but it will survive as a rallying point, an allegorical tombstone marking the end of American exceptionalism.
Glendon, Mary Ann
Political speech in the United States is undergoing a crisis. Glendon's acclaimed book traces the evolution of the strident language of rights in America and shows how it has captured the nation's devotion to individualism and liberty, but omitted the American traditions of hospitality and care for the community.
Political Order and Political Decay
The second volume of the bestselling landmark work on the history of the modern state. Taking up the essential question of how societies develop strong, impersonal, and accountable political institutions, Fukuyama follows the story from the French Revolution to the so-called Arab Spring and the deep dysfunctions of contemporary American politics. He examines the effects of corruption on governance, and why some societies have been successful at rooting it out. He explores the different legacies of colonialism in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and offers a clear-eyed account of why some regions have thrived and developed more quickly than others. And he boldly reckons with the future of democracy in the face of a rising global middle class and entrenched political paralysis in the West.
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