Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What are your favorite political books?

As you may have heard, there's a political convention coming to town. To help set the literary mood, I'm planning a story highlighting some great political books you might like to dip into before the delegates arrive.

So far, in my chats with a few political junkies, Robert Penn Warren's "All the King's Men," the novel based on Huey Long, has received the most mentions.

Personally, Timothy Crouse's "Boys on the Bus" has been one of my favorites since I read it for a political science course at UNC Chapel Hill. At the time, I was an aspiring reporter who knew almost nothing about the actual practice of journalism. I lapped up Crouse's colorful insider look at the political reporters covering Nixon and McGovern during the 1972 presidential campaign.

So what are your favorites, and why are they so good? These can be fiction or nonfiction, highbrow or frothy.

Give me your suggestions. I'll include what I can in my story.


Anonymous said...

Lyndon, an oral biography - by Merle Miller.

You won't be able to put it down.

Anonymous said...

Robert Kennedy: A Memoir by Jack Newfield

Anonymous said...

"The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Robert Heinlein.


Anonymous said...

"All Too Human"
by George Stephanopoulos

jayman8003 said...

The Future of Freedom by Fareed Zakaria

The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

Fareed offers an unbiased and fact driven approach to his books, much needed in today's world where a bias is wanted in some cases.

The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman

Hot Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman

Friedman is generally a great writer and offers a differing perspective on the global age, he embraces the changes and opportunities that can come from it.

Game Change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin

Great book on the 2008 election, leans more towards a favorable view of Obama, but it is great for behind the scenes information

Also, Bob Woodward writes some great books. Although, some of them become more of a critique that pure observation, they are great for understanding the workings of the White House.

Eric said...

The High Tide of American Conservatism: Davis, Coolidge, and the 1924 Election by Garland Tucker.

Just finished it recently, good introduction to the politics of the time especially for novice historians such as myself.

George Bohmfalk said...

Agree wholeheartedly w/ All the King's Men. Poetic writing, wonderful, moving, unforgettable book.

Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow - details the beginning of partisan "factions" during Washington's first term, shows how it all began, that there's nothing new, and that our gridlock may be milder than theirs. Favorite quotes: John Adams, when he barely squeaked by an election: "Damn 'em, damn 'em, damn 'em. You see that an elective government will not do!" Jefferson, in reading an opposition paper: "You can no longer believe anything you read in a newspaper."

Lyndon Johnson volumes by Robert Caro - the still-unfolding saga of one of America's most brilliant & venal politicians.

Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail - Hunter S. Thompson. An insider look at the McGovern campaign, and an introduction to Gonzo journalism.

Cindy H. said...

Of course, lest we forget, the absolute classic by V.O.Key,
Southern Politics in State and Nation, published in 1949,
if I remember correctly.

A must read for all of those interested in current politics,
this exceedingly interesting (and entertaining) volume is
essential to understanding Southern and U.S. politics today.
The legacy of history can constitute a weight on us that
we may not even realize.

Anonymous said...

Richard Hofstadter's "Anti-intellectualism in American Life"

CeeDee said...

It's an old series of books by Allen Drury which still have some very relevent themes. He started with "Advise and Consent" published in 1959 and ended 6 books later. The fourth book ends in a cliff-hanger: one man and one woman who are key players in the story are assinated. The last two books end the story based on who lives and who dies. Politicial intrigue at its best!

The Big Four Seven said...

For me, it's the two ultimate classics on Watergate: All the President's Men and its sequel, The Final Days, both by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.

Anonymous said...

"Things Fall Apart"


"Animal Farm"

Jerry said...

In my personal preparation for the election, I am currently reading Paul F Boller, Jr's Presidential Campaigns. For more information about both of the parties, Jules Witcover's Party of the People: A History of the Democrats and Lewis L Gould's Grand Old Party: A History of the Republicans are good sources. Finally, for more information of the contenders who ran and lost over the years, Irving Stone's They Also Ran is a great read.

Pam Kelley said...

Thanks, readers, for so many good suggestions. You're a well-read bunch!
I'll try to list many of these in my story, which will be published in August.
I love hearing about books such as Ron Chernow's "Alexander Hamilton." It makes me feel better, strangely, when I read that our political system was already a mess 200 years ago.