A politics book recommendation: A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America by Bruce Cannon Gibney

A critic review (source Globe and Mail) can be read at: https://tgam.ca/2zSITaW.
A Generation of Sociopaths is, no doubt, a damning, searingly relevant indictment. But it’s tripped up by a number of glaring flaws in Gibney’s analysis.
Book description from Google Books:
In his “remarkable” (Men’s Journal) and “controversial” (Fortune) book — written in a “wry, amusing style” (The Guardian) — Bruce Cannon Gibney shows how America was hijacked by the Boomers, a generation whose reckless self-indulgence degraded the foundations of American prosperity. In A Generation of Sociopaths, Gibney examines the disastrous policies of the most powerful generation in modern history, showing how the Boomers ruthlessly enriched themselves at the expense of future generations.Acting without empathy, prudence, or respect for facts–acting, in other words, as sociopaths–the Boomers turned American dynamism into stagnation, inequality, and bipartisan fiasco. The Boomers have set a time bomb for the 2030s, when damage to Social Security, public finances, and the environment will become catastrophic and possibly irreversible–and when, not coincidentally, Boomers will be dying off. Gibney argues that younger generations have a fleeting window to hold the Boomers accountable and begin restoring America.
The book is rated 3.71/5 at goodreads.com, from 303 ratings. See 73 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2zTl7LZ.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2j2I2fG.

A politics book recommendation: A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America by Bruce Cannon Gibney

A critic review (source Globe and Mail) can be read at: https://tgam.ca/2zSITaW.
A Generation of Sociopaths is, no doubt, a damning, searingly relevant indictment. But it’s tripped up by a number of glaring flaws in Gibney’s analysis.
Book description from Google Books:
In his “remarkable” (Men’s Journal) and “controversial” (Fortune) book — written in a “wry, amusing style” (The Guardian) — Bruce Cannon Gibney shows how America was hijacked by the Boomers, a generation whose reckless self-indulgence degraded the foundations of American prosperity. In A Generation of Sociopaths, Gibney examines the disastrous policies of the most powerful generation in modern history, showing how the Boomers ruthlessly enriched themselves at the expense of future generations.Acting without empathy, prudence, or respect for facts–acting, in other words, as sociopaths–the Boomers turned American dynamism into stagnation, inequality, and bipartisan fiasco. The Boomers have set a time bomb for the 2030s, when damage to Social Security, public finances, and the environment will become catastrophic and possibly irreversible–and when, not coincidentally, Boomers will be dying off. Gibney argues that younger generations have a fleeting window to hold the Boomers accountable and begin restoring America.
The book is rated 3.71/5 at goodreads.com, from 303 ratings. See 73 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2zTl7LZ.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2j2I2fG.

A politics book recommendation: Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women (Women in American History) by Brittney C. Cooper

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2h8qQVQ.
But it’s clear early on that Beyond Respectability is a work of crucial cultural study. It introduces concepts of the black woman as a public citizen in post-Restoration America, and explores women whose work pushed against the dominant narrative…
Book description from Google Books:
Beyond Respectability charts the development of African American women as public intellectuals and the evolution of their thought from the end of the 1800s through the Black Power era of the 1970s. Eschewing the Great Race Man paradigm so prominent in contemporary discourse, Brittney C. Cooper looks at the far-reaching intellectual achievements of female thinkers and activists like Anna Julia Cooper, Mary Church Terrell, Fannie Barrier Williams, Pauli Murray, and Toni Cade Bambara. Cooper delves into the processes that transformed these women and others into racial leadership figures, including long-overdue discussions of their theoretical output and personal experiences. As Cooper shows, their body of work critically reshaped our understandings of race and gender discourse. It also confronted entrenched ideas of how–and who–produced racial knowledge.
The book is rated 4.41/5 at goodreads.com, from 22 ratings. See 8 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iz0kF7.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2h7WWkn.

A politics book recommendation: He Calls Me By Lightning: The Life of Caliph Washington and the forgotten Saga of Jim Crow, Southern Justice, and the Death Penalty by S Jonathan Bass

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2h64vIk.
Bass unearths the heretofore undocumented story of Caliph Washington and his trek through the depths of Jim Crow justice. The complex lives that populate his jailhouse journey from segregation through civil rights braid the movement’s gains and limitations into a red thread tracing the current crisis of race and criminal justice.
Book description from Google Books:
Caliph Washington didn’t pull the trigger but, as Officer James “Cowboy” Clark lay dying, he had no choice but to turn on his heel and run. The year was 1957; Cowboy Clark was white, Caliph Washington was black, and this was the Jim Crow South.As He Calls Me by Lightning painstakingly chronicles, Washington, then a seventeen-year-old simply returning home after a double date, was swiftly arrested, put on trial, and sentenced to death by an all-white jury. The young man endured the horrors of a hellish prison system for thirteen years, a term that included various stints on death row fearing the “lightning” of the electric chair. Twentieth-century legal history is tragically littered with thousands of stories of such judicial cruelty, but S. Jonathan Bass’s account is remarkable in that he has been able to meticulously re-create Washington’s saga, animating a life that was not supposed to matter.Given the familiar paradigm of an African American man being falsely accused of killing a white policeman, it would be all too easy to apply a reductionist view to the story. What makes He Calls Me by Lightning so unusual are a spate of unknown variables–most prominently the fact that Governor George Wallace, nationally infamous for his active advocacy of segregation, did, in fact, save this death row inmate’s life. As we discover, Wallace stayed Washington’s execution not once but more than a dozen times, reflecting a philosophy about the death penalty that has not been perpetuated by his successors.Other details make Washington’s story significant to legal history, not the least of which is that the defendant endured three separate trials and then was held in a county jail for five more years before being convicted of second-degree murder in 1970; this decision was overturned as well, although the charges were never dismissed. Bass’s account is also particularly noteworthy for his evocation of Washington’s native Bessemer, a gritty, industrial city lying only thirteen miles to the east of Birmingham, Alabama, whose singularly fascinating story is frequently overlooked by historians.By rescuing Washington’s unknown life trajectory–along with the stories of his intrepid lawyers, David Hood Jr. and Orzell Billingsley, and Christine Luna, an Italian-American teacher and activist who would become Washington’s bride upon his release–Bass brings to multidimensional life many different strands of the civil rights movement. Devastating and essential, He Calls Me by Lightning demands that we take into account the thousands of lives cast away by systemic racism, and powerfully demonstrates just how much we still do not know.
The book is rated 3.92/5 at goodreads.com, from 50 ratings. See 20 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2h9dWqh.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2ixeF53.

A politics book recommendation: October: The Story of the Russian Revolution by China Miéville

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2zN7NZx.
The story is old but Miéville retells it with verve and empathy. He brilliantly captures the tensions of coup and counter-coup and the kaleidoscope of coalitions that formed and then broke.
Book description from Google Books:
“Acclaimed fantasy author China Mieville plunges us into the year the world was turned upside down The renowned fantasy and science fiction writer China Mieville has long been inspired by the ideals of the Russian Revolution and here, on the centenary of the revolution, he provides his own distinctive take on its history. In February 1917, in the midst of bloody war, Russia was still an autocratic monarchy: nine months later, it became the first socialist state in world history. How did this unimaginable transformation take place? How was a ravaged and backward country, swept up in a desperately unpopular war, rocked by not one but two revolutions? This is the story of the extraordinary months between those upheavals, in February and October, of the forces and individuals who made 1917 so epochal a year, of their intrigues, negotiations, conflicts and catastrophes. From familiar names like Lenin and Trotsky to their opponents Kornilov and Kerensky; from the byzantine squabbles of urban activists to the remotest villages of a sprawling empire; from the revolutionary railroad Sublime to the ciphers and static of coup by telegram; from grand sweep to forgotten detail. Historians have debated the revolution for a hundred years, its portents and possibilities: the mass of literature can be daunting. But here is a book for those new to the events, told not only in their historical import but in all their passion and drama and strangeness. Because as well as a political event of profound and ongoing consequence, Mieville reveals the Russian Revolution as a breathtaking story”–
The book is rated 3.94/5 at goodreads.com, from 1100 ratings. See 182 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iXpmyd.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2zLpusu.

A politics book recommendation: Anatomy of Terror: From the Death of bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State by Ali Soufan

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2zJk9Sy.
“Anatomy of Terror” not only tells a gripping story but is filled with insights that put today’s terror attacks by the Islamic State and Al Qaeda in perspective with the history and complicated geopolitics of the region.
Book description from Google Books:
In early 2011, the heart of the Muslim world roiled in protest, consumed with the upheaval of the Arab Spring. The governments of Tunisia and Egypt had already fallen; those of Libya and Yemen would soon follow. Watching the chaos from his hideout in Pakistan, Osama bin Laden saw a historic opportunity: “the next stage,” he declared, “will be the reinstating of the rule of the caliphate.”Within weeks, bin Laden was dead, shot in the dark by a U.S. Navy SEAL. Commentators around the world began to prophesy al-Qaeda’s imminent demise. But six years later, the reality is the reverse. The group’s affiliates have swollen, and the Islamic State–al-Qaeda’s most brutal spinoff to date–proclaims itself the reborn caliphate bin Laden foretold in his final weeks.In Anatomy of Terror, former FBI special agent and New York Times best-selling author Ali Soufan dissects bin Laden’s brand of jihadi terrorism and its major offshoots, revealing how these organizations were formed, how they operate, their strengths, and–crucially–their weaknesses. This riveting account examines the new Islamic radicalism through the eyes of its flag-bearers, including a Jordanian former drug dealer whose cruelties shocked even his fellow militants, an Air Force colonel who once served Saddam Hussein, and a provincial bookworm who declared himself caliph of all Muslims. We meet Ayman al-Zawahiri, titular head of al-Qaeda; Saif al-Adel, an Egyptian ex-soldier who faked his own death to become the group’s security chief; and bin Laden’s own beloved son Hamza, a prime candidate to lead the organization his late father founded.To eliminate the scourge of terrorism, we must first know who the enemy actually is, and what his motivations are. Anatomy of Terror lays bare the psychology and inner workings of al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and their spawn, and shows how the spread of terror can be stopped.
The book is rated 4.10/5 at goodreads.com, from 181 ratings. See 29 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2zIozZJ.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iUVUsA.

A politics book recommendation: This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2ixpunU.
As a writer her informal, chatty style engenders a kinship with both her struggles and triumphs. She speaks directly to the reader and welcomes them in to her private thoughts and dreams.
Book description from Google Books:
The Oscar-nominated Precious star and Empire actress delivers a much-awaited memoir–wise, complex, smart, funny–a version of the American experience different from anything we’ve read Gabourey Sidibe–“Gabby” to her legion of fans–skyrocketed to international fame in 2009 when she played the leading role in Lee Daniels’s acclaimed movie Precious. In This Is Just My Face, she shares a one-of-a-kind life story in a voice as fresh and challenging as many of the unique characters she’s played onscreen. With full-throttle honesty, Sidibe paints her Bed-Stuy/Harlem family life with a polygamous father and a gifted mother who supports her two children by singing in the subway. Sidibe tells the engrossing, inspiring story of her first job as a phone sex “talker.” And she shares her unconventional (of course!) rise to fame as a movie star, alongside “a superstar cast of rich people who lived in mansions and had their own private islands and amazing careers while I lived in my mom’s apartment.”    Sidibe’s memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight (“If I could just get the world to see me the way I see myself,” she writes, “would my body still be a thing you walked away thinking about?”). Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, This Is Just My Face will resonate with anyone who has ever felt different, and with anyone who has ever felt inspired to make a dream come true. 
The book is rated 4.01/5 at goodreads.com, from 2516 ratings. See 447 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2izvnAC.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2h77znH.

A politics book recommendation: Unbuttoned: A History of Mackenzie King’s Secret Life by Christopher Dummitt

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2iQaz8h.
What is genuinely striking in the book is the photographs of various individuals involved in the war to preserve Mackenzie King’s reputation – mostly top-ranked bureaucrats and politicians.
Book description from Google Books:
When Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King died in 1950, the public knew little about his eccentric private life. In his final will King ordered the destruction of his private diaries, seemingly securing his privacy for good. Yet twenty-five years after King’s death, the public was bombarded with stories about “Weird Willie,” the prime minister who communed with ghosts and cavorted with prostitutes. Unbuttoned traces the transformation of the public’s knowledge and opinion of King’s character, offering a compelling look at the changing way Canadians saw themselves and measured the importance of their leaders’ personal lives. Christopher Dummitt relates the strange posthumous tale of King’s diary and details the specific decisions of King’s literary executors. Along the way we learn about a thief in the public archives, stolen copies of King’s diaries being sold on the black market, and an RCMP hunt for a missing diary linked to the search for Russian spies at the highest levels of the Canadian government. Analyzing writing and reporting about King, Dummitt concludes that the increasingly irreverent views of King can be explained by a fundamental historical transformation that occurred in the era in which King’s diaries were released, when the rights revolution, Freud, 1960s activism, and investigative journalism were making self-revelation a cultural preoccupation. Presenting extensive archival research in a captivating narrative, Unbuttoned traces the rise of a political culture that privileged the individual as the ultimate source of truth, and made Canadians rethink what they wanted to know about politicians.
The book is rated 4.00/5 at goodreads.com, from 2 ratings. See 1 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2zElwlp.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2zFJMU0.

A politics book recommendation: Unbuttoned: A History of Mackenzie King’s Secret Life by Christopher Dummitt

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2iQaz8h.
What is genuinely striking in the book is the photographs of various individuals involved in the war to preserve Mackenzie King’s reputation – mostly top-ranked bureaucrats and politicians.
Book description from Google Books:
When Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King died in 1950, the public knew little about his eccentric private life. In his final will King ordered the destruction of his private diaries, seemingly securing his privacy for good. Yet twenty-five years after King’s death, the public was bombarded with stories about “Weird Willie,” the prime minister who communed with ghosts and cavorted with prostitutes. Unbuttoned traces the transformation of the public’s knowledge and opinion of King’s character, offering a compelling look at the changing way Canadians saw themselves and measured the importance of their leaders’ personal lives. Christopher Dummitt relates the strange posthumous tale of King’s diary and details the specific decisions of King’s literary executors. Along the way we learn about a thief in the public archives, stolen copies of King’s diaries being sold on the black market, and an RCMP hunt for a missing diary linked to the search for Russian spies at the highest levels of the Canadian government. Analyzing writing and reporting about King, Dummitt concludes that the increasingly irreverent views of King can be explained by a fundamental historical transformation that occurred in the era in which King’s diaries were released, when the rights revolution, Freud, 1960s activism, and investigative journalism were making self-revelation a cultural preoccupation. Presenting extensive archival research in a captivating narrative, Unbuttoned traces the rise of a political culture that privileged the individual as the ultimate source of truth, and made Canadians rethink what they wanted to know about politicians.
The book is rated 4.00/5 at goodreads.com, from 2 ratings. See 1 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2zElwlp.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2zFJMU0.

A politics book recommendation: The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2iDhykT.
In telling what might otherwise be a grim tale, Egan, a two-time Pulitzer finalist, nimbly splices together history, science, reporting and personal experiences into a taut and cautiously hopeful narrative.
Book description from Google Books:
The Great Lakes–Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Superior–hold 20 percent of the world’s supply of surface fresh water and provide sustenance, work and recreation for tens of millions of Americans. But they are under threat as never before, and their problems are spreading across the continent. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes is prize-winning reporter Dan Egan’s compulsively readable portrait of an ecological catastrophe happening right before our eyes, blending the epic story of the lakes with an examination of the perils they face and the ways we can restore and preserve them for generations to come.For thousands of years the pristine Great Lakes were separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the roaring Niagara Falls and from the Mississippi River basin by a “sub-continental divide.” Beginning in the late 1800s, these barriers were circumvented to attract oceangoing freighters from the Atlantic and to allow Chicago’s sewage to float out to the Mississippi. These were engineering marvels in their time–and the changes in Chicago arrested a deadly cycle of waterborne illnesses–but they have had horrendous unforeseen consequences. Egan provides a chilling account of how sea lamprey, zebra and quagga mussels and other invaders have made their way into the lakes, decimating native species and largely destroying the age-old ecosystem. And because the lakes are no longer isolated, the invaders now threaten water intake pipes, hydroelectric dams and other infrastructure across the country.Egan also explores why outbreaks of toxic algae stemming from the overapplication of farm fertilizer have left massive biological “dead zones” that threaten the supply of fresh water. He examines fluctuations in the levels of the lakes caused by manmade climate change and overzealous dredging of shipping channels. And he reports on the chronic threats to siphon off Great Lakes water to slake drier regions of America or to be sold abroad.In an age when dire problems like the Flint water crisis or the California drought bring ever more attention to the indispensability of safe, clean, easily available water, The Death and the Life of the Great Lakes is a powerful paean to what is arguably our most precious resource, an urgent examination of what threatens it and a convincing call to arms about the relatively simple things we need to do to protect it.
The book is rated 4.44/5 at goodreads.com, from 635 ratings. See 173 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2hcSTU0.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2hcT01S.