A politics book recommendation: The Lost Order: A Novel (Cotton Malone) by Steve Berry

A critic review (source Washington Times) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2s0Nbvr.
Berry’s fans will love his latest endeavor as he brings more detail into Malone’s past and how he came to be known as Cotton. The villains are a bit over the top, and their ultimate goal is somewhat confusing, but it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
Book description from Google Books:
The Knights of the Golden Circle was the largest and most dangerous clandestine organization in American history. It amassed billions in stolen gold and silver, all buried in hidden caches across the United States. Since 1865 treasure hunters have searched, but little of that immense wealth has ever been found.Now, one hundred and sixty years later, two factions of what remains of the Knights of the Golden Circle want that lost treasure—one to spend it for their own ends, the other to preserve it. Thrust into this battle is former Justice Department agent Cotton Malone, whose connection to the knights is far deeper than he ever imagined. At the center is the Smithsonian Institution—linked to the knights, its treasure, and Malone himself through an ancestor, a Confederate spy named Angus “Cotton” Adams, whose story holds the key to everything. Complicating matters are the political ambitions of a reckless Speaker of the House and the bitter widow of a United States Senator, who together are planning radical changes to the country. And while Malone and Cassiopeia Vitt face the past, ex-president Danny Daniels and Stephanie Nelle confront a new and unexpected challenge, a threat that may cost one of them their life. From the backrooms of the Smithsonian to the deepest woods in rural Arkansas, and finally up into the rugged mountains of northern New Mexico, The Lost Order by Steve Berry is a perilous adventure into our country’s dark past, and a potentially even darker future.
The book is rated 4.11/5 at goodreads.com, from 3234 ratings. See 396 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2s0PHSv.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2s0RW86.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A politics book recommendation: Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2paGIZn.
Much of “Dear Ijeawele” will feel familiar to those who know Adichie’s previous works, but this book is more personal, more urgent. “I want to help create the world my daughter will love, to hasten the coming of true justice. I want the world to be better,” she says.
Book description from Google Books:
New York Times Best SellerA Skimm Reads PickFrom the best-selling author of Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists comes a powerful new statement about feminism today–written as a letter to a friend. A few years ago, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a dear friend from childhood, asking her how to raise her baby girl as a feminist. Dear Ijeawele is Adichie’s letter of response.     Here are fifteen invaluable suggestions–compelling, direct, wryly funny, and perceptive–for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman. From encouraging her to choose a helicopter, and not only a doll, as a toy if she so desires; having open conversations with her about clothes, makeup, and sexuality; debunking the myth that women are somehow biologically arranged to be in the kitchen making dinner, and that men can “allow” women to have full careers, Dear Ijeawele goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century. It will start a new and urgently needed conversation about what it really means to be a woman today.
The book is rated 4.56/5 at goodreads.com, from 10215 ratings. See 1668 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2pLVsC2.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2paAJnk.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A politics book recommendation: Generation Revolution: On the Front Line Between Tradition and Change in the Middle East by Rachel Aspden

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2uU5Pmb.
“Generation Revolution” is an excellent social history of Egypt’s persistent pathologies, as well as a universal story about the difficulty of changing deeply ingrained societal attitudes.
Book description from Google Books:
Generation Revolution’ unravels the complex forces shaping the lives of four young Egyptians caught between tradition and modernity, and what their stories mean for the future of the Middle East. In 2003, Rachel Aspden arrived in Egypt as a 23-year-old trainee journalist. She found a country on the brink of change. The two-thirds of Egypt’s 80 million citizens under the age of 30 were stifled, broken and frustrated, caught between a dictatorship that had nothing to offer them and their autocratic parents’ generation, and left clinging to tradition and obedience by a lifetime of fear. In January 2011, the young people’s patience ran out. They thought the revolution that followed would change everything for them. But as violence escalated, the economy collapsed and as the united front against Mubarak shattered into sectarianism, many found themselves wavering, hesitant to discard the old ways. What happens when a revolution unravels? Why is a generation raised on Hollywood movies and global brand names turning to religion? How do you choose between sex and tradition, consumerism and faith? Why would people who once chanted for freedom support a military state? And where will the next generation take the Middle East? Following the stories of four young Egyptians – Amr the atheist software engineer, Amal the village girl who defied her family and her entire community, Ayman the one-time religious extremist and Ruqayah the would-be teenage martyr – ‘Generation Revolution’ unravels the complex forces shaping the lives of young people caught between tradition and modernity, and what their stories mean for the future of the Middle East.
The book is rated 4.00/5 at goodreads.com, from 28 ratings. See 2 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uChv1o.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uUDw75.

A politics book recommendation: A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age by Daniel J. Levitin

A critic review (source The Economist) can be read at: http://econ.st/2uRbvx8.
…if everyone could adopt the level of healthy statistical scepticism that Mr Levitin would like, political debate would be in much better shape. This book is an indispensable trainer.
Book description from Google Books:
From The New York Times bestselling author of The Organized Mind and This is Your Brain on Music, a primer to the critical thinking that is more necessary now than ever. We are bombarded with more information each day than our brains can process–especially in election season. It’s raining bad data, half-truths, and even outright lies. New York Times bestselling author Daniel J. Levitin shows how to recognize misleading announcements, statistics, graphs, and written reports revealing the ways lying weasels can use them. It’s becoming harder to separate the wheat from the digital chaff. How do we distinguish misinformation, pseudo-facts, distortions, and outright lies from reliable information? Levitin groups his field guide into two categories–statistical infomation and faulty arguments–ultimately showing how science is the bedrock of critical thinking. Infoliteracy means understanding that there are hierarchies of source quality and bias that variously distort our information feeds via every media channel, including social media. We may expect newspapers, bloggers, the government, and Wikipedia to be factually and logically correct, but they so often aren’t. We need to think critically about the words and numbers we encounter if we want to be successful at work, at play, and in making the most of our lives. This means checking the plausibility and reasoning–not passively accepting information, repeating it, and making decisions based on it. Readers learn to avoid the extremes of passive gullibility and cynical rejection. Levitin’s charming, entertaining, accessible guide can help anyone wake up to a whole lot of things that aren’t so. And catch some lying weasels in their tracks!  
The book is rated 3.76/5 at goodreads.com, from 1247 ratings. See 236 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uzpmgc.
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A politics book recommendation: Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2paGIZn.
Much of “Dear Ijeawele” will feel familiar to those who know Adichie’s previous works, but this book is more personal, more urgent. “I want to help create the world my daughter will love, to hasten the coming of true justice. I want the world to be better,” she says.
Book description from Google Books:
New York Times Best SellerA Skimm Reads PickFrom the best-selling author of Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists comes a powerful new statement about feminism today–written as a letter to a friend. A few years ago, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a dear friend from childhood, asking her how to raise her baby girl as a feminist. Dear Ijeawele is Adichie’s letter of response.     Here are fifteen invaluable suggestions–compelling, direct, wryly funny, and perceptive–for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman. From encouraging her to choose a helicopter, and not only a doll, as a toy if she so desires; having open conversations with her about clothes, makeup, and sexuality; debunking the myth that women are somehow biologically arranged to be in the kitchen making dinner, and that men can “allow” women to have full careers, Dear Ijeawele goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century. It will start a new and urgently needed conversation about what it really means to be a woman today.
The book is rated 4.56/5 at goodreads.com, from 10183 ratings. See 1666 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2pLVsC2.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2paAJnk.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A politics book recommendation: The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For by David McCullough

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2sfHMgP.
His faith in the country is touching, and this book is a gift (and not just a last-minute one for your nephew, either).
Book description from Google Books:
A New York Times Bestseller A timely collection of speeches by David McCullough, the most honored historian in the United States—winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among many others—that reminds us of fundamental American principles.Over the course of his distinguished career, David McCullough has spoken before Congress, the White House, colleges and universities, historical societies, and other esteemed institutions. Now, at a time of self-reflection in America following a bitter election campaign that has left the country divided, McCullough has collected some of his most important speeches in a brief volume designed to identify important principles and characteristics that are particularly American. The American Spirit reminds us of core American values to which we all subscribe, regardless of which region we live in, which political party we identify with, or our ethnic background. This is a book about America for all Americans that reminds us who we are and helps to guide us as we find our way forward.
The book is rated 4.34/5 at goodreads.com, from 1445 ratings. See 326 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2tz0unL.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tyZkZn.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A politics book recommendation: No One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America by Ron Powers

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2xkggno.
This brave book — which reads like the act of consecration it is — imparts both, and demands society do the same for all who struggle.
Book description from Google Books:
“Extraordinary and courageous . . . No doubt if everyone were to read this book, the world would change.”—New York Times Book Review New York Times-bestselling author Ron Powers offers a searching, richly researched narrative of the social history of mental illness in America paired with the deeply personal story of his two sons’ battles with schizophrenia. From the centuries of torture of “lunatiks” at Bedlam Asylum to the infamous eugenics era to the follies of the anti-psychiatry movement to the current landscape in which too many families struggle alone to manage afflicted love ones, Powers limns our fears and myths about mental illness and the fractured public policies that have resulted. Braided with that history is the moving story of Powers’s beloved son Kevin–spirited, endearing, and gifted–who triumphed even while suffering from schizophrenia until finally he did not, and the story of his courageous surviving son Dean, who is also schizophrenic. A blend of history, biography, memoir, and current affairs ending with a consideration of where we might go from here, this is a thought-provoking look at a dreaded illness that has long been misunderstood.
The book is rated 3.92/5 at goodreads.com, from 971 ratings. See 258 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2xktkt8.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2wEydJF.

A politics book recommendation: The Genius of Judaism by Bernard-Henri Lévy

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2uSETD3.
The Genius of Judaism, a smart, revealing and essential book for our times, is Lévy’s own private whale, and our treacherous world is his Nineveh.
Book description from Google Books:
From world-renowned public intellectual Bernard-Henri L�vy comes an incisive and provocative look at the heart of Judaism. “A smart, revealing, and essential book for our times.”–The Washington Post For more than four decades, Bernard-Henri L�vy has been a singular figure on the world stage–one of the great moral voices of our time. Now Europe’s foremost philosopher and activist confronts his spiritual roots and the religion that has always inspired and shaped him–but that he has never fully reckoned with. The Genius of Judaism is a breathtaking new vision and understanding of what it means to be a Jew, a vision quite different from the one we’re used to. It is rooted in the Talmudic traditions of argument and conflict, rather than biblical commandments, borne out in struggle and study, not in blind observance. At the very heart of the matter is an obligation to the other, to the dispossessed, and to the forgotten, an obligation that, as L�vy vividly recounts, he has sought to embody over decades of championing “lost causes,” from Bosnia to Africa’s forgotten wars, from Libya to the Kurdish Peshmerga’s desperate fight against the Islamic State, a battle raging as we speak. L�vy offers a fresh, surprising critique of a new and stealthy form of anti-Semitism on the rise as well as a provocative defense of Israel from the left. He reveals the overlooked Jewish roots of Western democratic ideals and confronts the current Islamist threat while intellectually dismantling it. Jews are not a “chosen people,” L�vy explains, but a “treasure” whose spirit must continue to inform moral thinking and courage today. L�vy’s most passionate book, and in many ways his most personal, The Genius of Judaism is a great, profound, and hypnotic intellectual reckoning–indeed a call to arms–by one of the keenest and most insightful writers in the world. Praise for The Genius of Judaism “In The Genius of Judaism, L�vy elaborates on his credo by rebutting the pernicious and false logic behind current anti-Semitism and defends Israel as the world’s most successful multi-ethnic democracy created from scratch. L�vy also makes the case for France’s Jews being integral to the establishment of the French nation, the French language, and French literature. And last, but certainly not least, he presents a striking interpretation of the Book of Jonah. . . . A tour de force.”–Forbes “Ardent . . . L�vy’s message is essentially uplifting: that the brilliant scholars of Judaism, the authors of the Talmud, provide elucidation into ‘the great questions that have stirred humanity since the dawn of time.’ . . . A philosophical celebration of Judaism.”–Kirkus Reviews “L�vy (Left in Dark Times), a prominent French journalist and politically engaged philosopher, turns his observations inward here, pondering the teachings of Judaism and the role they have played in contemporary European history as well as in his own life and intellectual inquiry. . . . [L�vy’s] musings on the meaning of the story of Jonah and the relevance of symbolic Ninevahs in our time are both original and poetic. . . . A welcome addition to his oeuvre.”–Publishers Weekly
The book is rated 4.00/5 at goodreads.com, from 1 ratings.
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A politics book recommendation: Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World’s Best Writers by Joel Whitney

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2uIL29W.
Finks is a fascinating and timely book – particularly interesting in light of the ongoing debate over fake news.
Book description from Google Books:
When news broke that the CIA had colluded with literary magazines to produce cultural propaganda throughout the Cold War, a debate began that has never been resolved. The story continues to unfold, with the reputations of some of America’s best-loved literary figures–including Peter Matthiessen, George Plimpton, and Richard Wright–tarnished as their work for the intelligence agency has come to light. Finks is a tale of two CIAs, and how they blurred the line between propaganda and literature. One CIA created literary magazines that promoted American and European writers and cultural freedom, while the other toppled governments, using assassination and censorship as political tools. Defenders of the “cultural” CIA argue that it should have been lauded for boosting interest in the arts and freedom of thought, but the two CIAs had the same undercover goals, and shared many of the samemethods: deception, subterfuge and intimidation. Finks demonstrates how the good-versus-bad CIA is a false divide, and that the cultural Cold Warriors again and again used anti-Communism as a lever to spy relentlessly on leftists, and indeed writers of all political inclinations, and thereby pushed U.S. democracy a little closer to the Soviet model of the surveillance state.
The book is rated 4.07/5 at goodreads.com, from 41 ratings. See 9 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2v1FUck.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uJhdGe.

A politics book recommendation: Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom by Thomas E. Ricks

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2urcWXJ.
“Churchill & Orwell” is an eminently readable, frankly inspirational and exceptionally timely tribute to the two men Simon Schama called “the architects of their time.”
Book description from Google Books:
New York Times Bestseller A dual biography of Winston Churchill and George Orwell, who preserved democracy from the threats of authoritarianism, from the left and right alike. Both George Orwell and Winston Churchill came close to death in the mid-1930’s–Orwell shot in the neck in a trench line in the Spanish Civil War, and Churchill struck by a car in New York City. If they’d died then, history would scarcely remember them. At the time, Churchill was a politician on the outs, his loyalty to his class and party suspect. Orwell was a mildly successful novelist, to put it generously. No one would have predicted that by the end of the 20th century they would be considered two of the most important people in British history for having the vision and courage to campaign tirelessly, in words and in deeds, against the totalitarian threat from both the left and the right. In a crucial moment, they responded first by seeking the facts of the matter, seeing through the lies and obfuscations, and then they acted on their beliefs. Together, to an extent not sufficiently appreciated, they kept the West’s compass set toward freedom as its due north. It’s not easy to recall now how lonely a position both men once occupied. By the late 1930’s, democracy was discredited in many circles, and authoritarian rulers were everywhere in the ascent. There were some who decried the scourge of communism, but saw in Hitler and Mussolini “men we could do business with,” if not in fact saviors. And there were others who saw the Nazi and fascist threat as malign, but tended to view communism as the path to salvation. Churchill and Orwell, on the other hand, had the foresight to see clearly that the issue was human freedom–that whatever its coloration, a government that denied its people basic freedoms was a totalitarian menace and had to be resisted. In the end, Churchill and Orwell proved their age’s necessary men. The glorious climax of Churchill and Orwell is the work they both did in the decade of the 1940’s to triumph over freedom’s enemies. And though Churchill played the larger role in the defeat of Hitler and the Axis, Orwell’s reckoning with the menace of authoritarian rule in Animal Farm and 1984 would define the stakes of the Cold War for its 50-year course, and continues to give inspiration to fighters for freedom to this day. Taken together, in Thomas E. Ricks’s masterful hands, their lives are a beautiful testament to the power of moral conviction, and to the courage it can take to stay true to it, through thick and thin.
The book is rated 4.12/5 at goodreads.com, from 786 ratings. See 149 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uqZbZ2.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uIa6sH.