Check out some great books on progressive politics, recommended by FightingBob.com staff.
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A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror
By Alfred McCoy
McCoy, a UW-Madison history professor, has written the definitive book on American-sponsored torture in the last half-century.
Bidding for Power: America's Democracy on the Chopping Block
By Ed Garvey
FightingBob.com's editor and publisher wrote this book about his own struggles as an underfunded candidate and campaign finance reform advocate attempting to have his voice heard.
Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army
By Jeremy Scahill
"Blackwater" is a name that evokes such horror and revulsion that Dick Cheney's friends finally changed it, but we would barely know what Blackwater is if it weren't for Scahill.
Blue Grit: Making Impossible, Improbable, and Inspirational Political Change in America
By Laura Flanders
Among other things, Flanders shows us that progressives tend to do pretty well once they ignore the advice and the example of the Democratic Party establishment.
Body of War (DVD)
By Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro
The True Story of an Anti-War Hero starring Tomas Young. (2007)
Closed Minds? Political Ideology in American Universities
By Bruce L. R. Smith, Jeremy D. Mayer, and A. Lee Fritschler
Right-wingers talk constantly about how left-wingers have taken over the universities to turn students into unthinking liberals. This book finds that none of this is true.
Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive Youth for Western Civilisation
By Margaret Mead
Mead's classic studies Somoa in order to tell the West more about itself.
Communication Revolution: Critical Junctures and the Future of Media
By Robert W. McChesney
McChesney is the one media critic who most often reminds us that journalists enjoy First Amendment protection because they are supposed to provide a public service vital to democracy, not so that media corporations can earn obscene profits.
Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt
By Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco
A fascinating journey into Pine Ridge, South Dakota; Camden, New Jersey; Welch, West Virginia; and Immokalee, Florida to shine a bright light on the worst side effects of unregulated, hyper-subsidized capitalism in the United States in 2012.
Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans
By Wendell Potter
Potter, a Fighting Bob Fest speaker, details the massive corporate spin campaign against Michael Moore's "Sicko" and other health care reform efforts.
Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
By Bill McKibben
The endless and mindless economic expansion that has brought the world to the brink of environmental disaster must be replaced by localized economies that focus on what communities need rather than what corporations need to sell. The good news is that McKibben shows how this is already working in some communities.
Dick: The Man Who is President
By John Nichols
The "Dick" in the title is Cheney, and the rest of it speaks for itself.
Division Street: America
By Studs Terkel
A collection of short oral histories from people talking about social and economic life in Terkel's beloved Chicago.
Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
By Bill McKibben
McKibben, a Fighting Bob Fest speaker and celebrated environmentalist, shows us that we've passed the tipping point for dramatic climate change. Now we must learn how to live in a world that will keep warming and experiencing more droughts, extreme storms, and catastrophes. Humans can survive as a species only if we learn to adapt to the new reality.
End This Depression Now
By Paul Krugman
Don't expect the usual economic and political nonsense in this prescription out of U.S.'s economic mess. Warning: Krugman might even call for raising taxes as investments in the future rather than the destruction and divestment that seem to be the order of the day.
Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy
By Frederick Clarkson
Fighting Bob La Follette: The Righteous Reformer
By Nancy Unger
The author of the recurring FightingBob.com series "What Would Fighting Bob Do?" and Fighting Bob Fest regular, Unger has written the definitive Robert La Follette biography.
Finding Beauty in a Broken World
By Terry Tempest Williams
Williams draws on her experiences in Rwanda, Italy, Utah and other parts of the world to illustrate themes of loss and renewal and affirms the importance of respecting all living species.
By Anthony Lewis
A history of the landmark case of James Earl Gideon's fight for the right to legal counsel. We wish we could look back and shake our heads at the era when the indigent lacked adequate counsel, but alas we are still in that era.
Granny D: You're Never Too Old to Raise a Little Hell
By Doris Haddock and Dennis Burke
Granny D's inspiring story takes you with her on her walk across the U.S. in support of campaign finance reform in her 90th year and teaches you a life leason about the power of one.
Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression
By Studs Terkel
Gut wrenching personal narratives from the people who lived them.
Honest Graft: Big Money and the American Political Process
By Brooks Jackson
Back in 1990, Jackson described the many ways in which corporate special interests buy elections and scare off would-be candidates who might disagree with them.
Hope Dies Last: Keeping the Faith in Troubled Times
By Studs Terkel
An inspiring book for those who are looking for a reason not to give up on the essential goodness of human beings or the unlimited possibilities of the human race.
I Dare You!
By William H. Danforth
Long considered a classic of the self-help genre, this book also forcasted our nation's health care crisis and other political problems some 70 years ago.
Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan
By Kim Phillips-Fein
Phillips-Fein shows us how a few men with big money used their fortunes and positions to create the social, political and media environment for the Reagan revolution and its anti-government attitudes.
It Takes a City: Getting Serious About Urban School Reform
By Paul Thomas Hill, Christine Campbell and James Harvey
The Brookings Institution guide to mayoral takeovers of big-city public education systems.
Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam
By Nick Turse
Daniel Ellsberg says,“No book I have read in decades has so shaken me, as an American. Turse lays open the ground-level reality of a war that was far more atrocious than Americans at home have ever been allowed to know. He exposes official policies that encouraged ordinary American soldiers and airmen to inflict almost unimaginable horror and suffering on ordinary Vietnamese, followed by official cover-up as tenacious as Turse’s own decade of investigative effort against it. Kill Anything That Moves is obligatory reading for Americans, because its implications for the likely scale of atrocities and civilian casualties inflicted and covered up in our latest wars are inescapable and staggering.”
Lessons from the Heartland: A Turbulent Half-Century of Public Education in an Iconic American City
By Barbara Miner
Winner of the Ida and Studs Terkel award, Ed Garvey says of Miner's book, "All who are interested in education and issues of race should get this superb book. The focus is on Milwaukee, one of the most segregated cities in America. You will enjoy this book."
Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization
By Lester R. Brown
A survival strategy for a planet and a civilization in decline.
Raising Hell for Justice: The Washington Battles of a Heartland Progressive
By Dave Obey
No less an authority than Bill Moyers said of this book, "Dave Obey’s story reminds us that in a city of quicksand it is still possible to stand on principle as a servant of your ideals and the public." That's good enough for us.
Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street
By Jim Wallis
Reverend Wallis urges us to look at the global financial crisis as an opportunity to examine our priorities and how we think about our world and our lives.
By Jonathan Kozol
Best book of all time when it comes to illustrating our nation's school funding crisis. Shows the tremendous gap between resources allocated for kids in poor neighborhoods compared to kids in affluent neighborhoods, explains how the gaps exist, and shows us the results.
She's No Lady: Politics, Family, and International Feminism
By Arvonne Fraser
Arvonne is a legend in Minnesota and a frequent FightingBob.com contributing writer who shows us how women's issues are everybody's issues.
Single Payer Solution: America's Health Care Cure
By Lex Tinker-Sackett
The free market is supposed to dispose of failed business models, yet the health insurance industry thrives even though its administrative costs are out of control and it continually attempts to ration care to improve profits. It is time for the free market to eliminate this failed model.
Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders, and the People Who Fight Back
By Amy Goodman
Goodman understands that propoganda doesn't work if the media doesn't reproduce it and that some people are too smart to believe it even when they do.
Swim against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow
By Jim Hightower
Hightower casts his net and finds inspiring stories about progressives who are winning battles and making a difference--today.
Target Iran: The Truth About the White House's Plans for Regime Change
By Scott Ritter
Because the senseless boondoggle in Iraq is just not enough for some people.
Taxi to the Dark Side
By Alex Gibney
Okay, it is not a book it is a documentary film about an innocent Afghan taxi driver tortured to death in the name of the United States government's War on Terror. Just see it.
The "S" Word: A Short History of an American Tradition...Socialism
By John Nichols
While the grand American tradition of red baiting has returned, the even grander tradition American socialism lives on in committed social justice activists and in the programs that make government worth having.
By John Grisham
This novel is about a ficticious state Supreme Court election in Mississippi, but it happened for real in Wisconsin in 2008. Grisham is not a horror writer, but this story is horrifying.
The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory
By David Plouffe
David Plouffe helped lead the campaign to elect Barack Obama while also conducting an elaborate social experiment on non-voters and new voters. The book takes readers inside the campaign and explains why a less unorthodox approach would have failed.
The Best Congress Money Can Buy
By Philip M. Stern
A meticulously documented account of how our campaign finance system forces elected officials to ignore their duties and spend almost all of their efforts fundraising and courting big-money campaign donors.
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
By Michael Lewis
Lewis, author of Liar’s Poker, explains how the unbridled demand for shareholder profits, the unquestioned belief in easy money, and the unregulated persuit of derivatives eventually sent the American economy into free fall.
The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again
By Robert McChesney and John Nichols
FightingBob.com contributing editors McChesney and Nichols document how the number and reach of PR operatives is expanding as the ranks of journalists declines. For the sake of our democracy, we need a new, publicly-subsidized system of independent journalism.
The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope
By Jonathan Alter
An exploration of FDR's first hundred days in office, when he put in the foundation for national recovery from the Great Depression.
The Fog of War
By Errol Morris
UW-Madison alum Errol Morris interviews Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, and gets him to admit that the war in Vietnam was a huge, stupid mistake.
The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders' Cure for Royalism
By John Nichols
Nichols examines the long history of impeachment and uses it against President George W. Bush, citing cases from England, commentaries about the U.S. Constitution, and the impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon.
The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic
By George Lakoff and Elisabeth Wehling
Lakoff says Democrats lose debates because they do not use language that links their values with their policies. The Little Blue Book gives practical advice for making arguments in favor of Democratic and liberal positions on the economy, the environment, public education, taxes and public services.
The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam
By Barbara Tuchman
Tuchman sorts through centuries of bad government to explore the question of why societies destroy themselves. Highlights include the fall of Troy and the United States' involvement in Vietnam.
The Other America: Poverty in the United States
By Michael Harrington
Harrington used a wealth of research to illustrate the depth of poverty in world's richest nation, with an emphasis on degree to which birth station determines one's opportunities.
The Other Side of the River: A Story of Two Towns, a Death, and America's Dilemma
By Alex Kotlowitz
An African American teenager drowns the St. Joseph River and the people of the Michigan towns of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph--divided by race, class and the river itself--have to admit that it might not have been an accident.
The Process of Government: A Study of Social Pressures
By Bentley, Arthur F.
First published in 1908, this book posited the rather controversial theory that all political and public policy outcomes are the result of the activities of groups. Bentley was a Progressive who wanted government to find ways to temper the excesses of Big Business, but his focus on interest groups conflicted with most Progressives' emphasis on the direct vote or elected representation.
The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder
By Vincent Bugliosi
Bugliosi makes an airtight case for convicting President George W. Bush for the murder of nearly 4,000 American soldiers in the war in Iraq. It makes sense to us.
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
By Naomi Klein
While most decent people react to disasters and crises by trying to mitigate them, the ghosts of Milton Friedman ram through privatization schemes and public divestment strategies that would never fly if anyone was looking.
The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict
By Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes
Stiglitz and Bilmes do yeoman's work just to dig up the actual and projected costs of the Iraq War. Using "emergency" funds to pay for most of the war, the authors show that the Pentagon and the White House keep us in the dark about the war's true cost, including the $600 billion for current and future health care for veterans.
The Wealth Primary: Campaign Fundraising and the Constitution
By Jamin Raskin
With the U.S. Constitution as its guide, the book takes on the notion that candidates need wealth to qualify for office.
Thirst: Fighting the Corporate Theft of Our Water
By Alan Snitow, Deborah Kaufman, and Michael Fox
Water is not free, and for many people stealing it is a full-time job.
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
By Jon Meacham
The Pulitzer Prize–winning Meacham paints a portrait of Jefferson as an extraordinary man during extraordinary times. Jefferson was both a philosophical genius and a smart politician, often finding ways to do both at the same time.
Three Cups of Tea
By Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
The story of a man who has helped build schools in Afghanistan as a creative alternative to bombing it into the stone age and terrorizing the people who live there.
Trotsky: Downfall of a Revolutionary
By Bertrand M. Patenaude
A reconstruction of Leon Trotsky's last years of exile in Mexico, mostly chronicling Trotsky's personal and family life.
Water Follies: Groundwater Pumping And The Fate Of America's Fresh Waters
By Robert Jerome Glennon
If you thought peak oil was bad just wait until we run out of water. Fortunately, we don't have to.
Which Side Are You On?: Trying to Be for Labor When It's Flat on Its Back
By Thomas Geoghegan
Geoghegan writes artfully and powerfully from his perspective as a Chicago labor attorney that the neoconservative movement has caused a widening rift between working-class and middle class people in the U.S.
While America Sleeps: A Wake-up Call for the Post-9/11 Era
By Russ Feingold
Feingold focuses on the oversimplification and exploitation of complicated of complex issues in the wake of 9/11 and how this has determined our new place in the world.
Who Stole the American Dream?
By Hedrick Smith
Smith applies his Pulitzer Prize winning reporting and writing skills to the task of illustrating how big business and the super wealthy, with the help of elected officials and the news industry, have transfered some $6 trillion in wealth away from the middle class and into their own households. This wealth transfer has put the kind of life most Americans had grown to expect--homeownership, college, family vacations, retirement--out of reach for an ever increasing percentage of the nation's families.
Why America Fights: Patriotism and War Propaganda from the Philippines to Iraq
By Susan A. Brewer
Brewer looks at wartime messages generated by the government and the manipulation of and by print and broadcast "news" reporters.
Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do
By Studs Terkel
Thisi is Terkel's seminal oral history. He just lets working people talk about the work they do, and the result is illuminating.
You Have No Rights: Stories of America in an Age of Repression
By Matthew Rothschild
Rothschild takes us through the Bush administration's short, rich history of attempting to destroy the most valuable freedoms Americans have (had?) secured.