Book Recommendations

Some Favorites Across the Genres

Twitter and Teargas, The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest, Zeynep Tufekci (2017)
Tufekci examines and explains how protest has changed in the age of Facebook and Twitter. She analyzes what made the 1963 March on Washington a historic watershed and compares it to the larger but less effective Womens March. Along the way she visits and illuminates the struggles of the Zapatistas, Tahrir Square, Gezi Park and the Turkish coup and Occupy Wall Street.

Just Mercy  Brian Stevenson. (2014)
The memoir of Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative’s fight for justice for black defendants. A look at the day to day workings of the criminal courts and the thinking and effort that it takes to move them towards justice.

Tribe Sebastian Junger (2017)
A meditation on our tribal behavior in the modern world in the context of American history and Junger’s war journalism.

Lincoln in the Bardo George Saunders (2017)
Weird and lovely novel of Lincoln’s loss of his favorite child set against the emotional tapestry of American History and a Buddhist understanding of the afterlife. A mixture of Mark Twain, Luis Bunuel and the Dali Lama.

Evolution of Beauty, How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World  – and Us Richard O Prum (2017)
A speculative reimaging of the workings of evolution into an aesthetic and, at times, feminist theory by an ornithologist and evolutionary biologist. For people who like birds and find Richard Dawkins a bit cold.

Our Friends Strongly Recommend

On the Environment

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs Climate Naomi Cline (2015) 
The climate crisis should challenge us to abandon the core “free market” ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political systems. Arguing for radical change Cline believes the status quo is no longer an option.

No Place to Hide James Flynn (2016)
Short primer to the science of climate change, looming tipping points, and policy options.

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate Naomi Klein (2014)
Critique of how global capitalism drives short-term economic decisions that contribute to long-term environmental disaster.

Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in Age of Climate Crisis Vandana Shiva (2015)
Analysis of how developing nations that did not cause the climate crisis are victimized by both climate change and climate policies.

Oil and Honey: Education of an Unlikely Activist Bill McKibben (2015)
The personal evolution of college professor into a climate activist.

On Economics

 Doughnut Economics--Kate Raworth (2017)
Raworth tackles how we can break our addiction to growth; redesign money, finance, and business to be in service to people and create economies that are regenerative and distributive by design.

The Price of Inequality--Joseph Stieglitz (2013)
Stiglitz exposes the efforts of those in power to compound their wealth in ways that have stifled true capitalism. He examines the effect of inequality on our economy, our democracy, and our system of justice, explaining how inequality affects and is affecting every aspect of national policy. He offers a vision for a more just and prosperous future, supported by a concrete program to achieve that vision.

On Race

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America  Michael Eric Dyson (2017)
Dyson argues that if we are to make real racial progress we must face difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievances have been ignored, dismissed, or discounted.

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide Carol Anderson (2017)
Anderson explores the actions made in the name of protecting democracy, fiscal responsibility, or protection against fraud, by making visible the long lineage of white rage. White Rage adds an important new dimension to the national conversation about race in America.

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America Richard Rothstein
The Color of Law argues that it was not de facto segregation but de jure segregation―the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments―that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day.

The History of White People Nell Irvin Painter (2011)
Telling perhaps the most important forgotten story in American history, Irvin Painter writes about two thousand years of Western civilization, illuminating not only the invention of race but also the frequent praise of “whiteness” for economic, scientific, and political ends

Between the World and Me Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015)
Coates asks,”What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it?”  And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis Robert Putnam (2016)
Putnam tells the tale of lessening opportunity through life stories of rich, middle class, and poor kids from cities and suburbs across the country, blended with the latest social-science research.

For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…. And the Rest of Y’all  Christopher Emdin (2017)
Merging real stories with theory, research, and practice, Emdin demonstrates how by implementing the “Seven C’s” of reality pedagogy in their own classrooms, urban youth of color benefit from truly transformative education.

What Does It Mean To Be White: Developing White Racial Literacy Robin DiAngelo (2016)
Robin DiAngelo explains the factors that make this question so difficult: mis-education about what racism is; ideologies such as individualism and colorblindness; segregation; and the belief that to be complicit in racism is to be an immoral person. These factors contribute to what she terms white racial illiteracy.

Citizens but Not Americans: Race and Belonging Among Latino Millennials Nilda Flores-González  (2017)
hallenging current thinking about race and national belonging, this book contributes to our understanding of the Latino Millennial generation and makes a powerful investigation about the nature of race and belonging in the U.S. and the future of Latino millennials.