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Recommended reading for political junkies across the spectrum

by AirTalk®

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A survey from the Authors Guild reveals a 30 percent decline in author income since 2009. Ariel Zambelich/NPR

If newspapers, magazines, and your social media feed are not helping you make sense of the world, politically-minded editors have actual books to recommend - fiction and non.

From the conservative mind of Matthew Continetti, editor-in-chief of "The Washington Free Beacon" comes a long list including, "Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America" and "The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy." For greater insights into progressive politics and worldview, Michelle Chihari, an editor with the "Los Angeles Review of Books," recommends “A Brief History of Neoliberalism” by David Harvey and “Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time.” Both editors believe it’s worth revisiting classic dystopias including “1984,” “Brave New World,” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

What do you consider required reading, and why?

Here are our guests' complete lists: 

Michelle Chihara, "Los Angeles Review of Books" 

Post-Election Reading 

  • "A Brief History of Neoliberalism," David Harvey
  • "Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time," by Ira Katznelson
  • "Never Let A Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown," by Philip Mirowski
  • "Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil," by Timothy Mitchell
  • "Coming Up Short: Working-Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty," by Jennifer Silva
  • "Between The World and Me," by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • "I.O.U.: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay," by John Lanchester
  • "Creditocracy: And the Cause for Debt Refusal," by Andrew Ross
  • "Fool’s Gold: The Inside Story of J.P. Morgan and How Wall St. Greed Corrupted its Bold Dream and Created a Financial Catastrophe," by Gillian Tett
  • "The Panama Papers," an online project at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists


  • "On Such A Full Sea: A Novel," by Chang-Rae Lee
  • "The Sell Out: A Novel," by Paul Beatty.
  • "Tuff: A Novel," by Paul Beatty
  • "Citizen: An American Lyric," by Claudia Rankine
  • "American Woman: A Novel," by Susan Choi,
  • "Under The Feet of Jesus," by Helena Maria Viramontes
  • "1984," by George Orwell
  • "The Handmaid’s Tale," by Margaret Atwood

Matthew Continetti, "The Washington Free-Beacon"

Post-Election Reading 

  • “Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America” by Jim Webb
  • “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority” by Pat Buchanan
  • “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010” by Charles Murray
  • “Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West” by Christopher Caldwell
  • “The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy” by Christopher Lasch
  • "Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties," by Paul Johnson
  • "A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy," by Harvey Mansfield
  • "The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don’ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life," by Charles Murray
  • "The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945," by George H. Nash
  • "Crisis of the House Divided: An Interpretation of the Issues in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, 50th Anniversary Edition," by Harry Jaffa
  • "Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics," by Charles Krauthammer
  • "Will This Do? The First 50 Years of Auberon Waugh," by Auberon Waugh


  • "1984," by George Orwell
  • "Brave New World," by Aldous Huxley


Michelle Chihara, section editor for Economics and Finance, "Los Angeles Review of Books;" Professor of English, Whittier College

Matthew Continetti, editor-in-chief, “The Washington Free Beacon”

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