Benjamin Carter Hett’s The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic isn’t the first book I have read trying to explain how Hitler came to power, but it’s the best. Reading it as too many Americans pretend that Biden’s victory saved American democracy was particularly sobering.
Jack Kelly’s The Edge of Anarchy: the Railroad Barons, the Gilded Age, and the Greatest Labor Uprising in America tell the story of the Pullman strike of 1894. This is another of those books that shows exactly how little progress has been made in America over the last 127 years. Reading it in the context of the wealth gap increasing during a pandemic also struck a cord. Still,Kelly did a great job telling a critical story.
If you like history and/or you want to learn more about the real America, The Edge of Anarchy will not disappoint. It will upset you though.
Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States is the best book I have read about American history. While it’s not perfect, I love the way Zinn acknowledges his own biases and attempts to explain a much accurate version of American history than is almost ever shared.
Greg Grandin’s Fordlandia is reported to describe the rise and fall of Henry Ford’s Brazilian rubber plantation. In reality, Fordlandia is another striking example of the destruction and exploitation brought by capitalism.
Thomas Frank’s The People No: A Brief History of Anti-Populism was an easy, entertaining read.
The Price of Peace is Zachary Carter’s look at the life and ideas of economist John Maynard Keynes. While economics can often be a boring subject, I found The Price of Peace to be an important, educational read.
Greg Grandin’s The end of the Myth: the frontier to the border wall in the mind of /America is the best look at the rise of so-called Trumpism I have read. Still, I think the book overcomplicates what is sadly too simple a reality.
Human nature is fundamentally selfish. Sure, there are people who don’t fall into the trap of selfishness, but most people are fundamentally selfish. The policies of nations, fueled by the rich and powerful, exploit the selfish, weak tendencies of most people to create societies based on division. As is hopefully obvious to most, by far the most common, brutal divisions stoked are race-based divisions. Throughout American history, The powerful have constantly stoke racial divisions, because a united people would reject the failed societies that give much to the few while forcing the rest to struggle.
Given my life experience as a blind person who tried finding work for years with no success, I’m predisposed to supporting a job guarantee. Still Pavlina Tcherneva’s The Case for a Job Guarantee was a great read.
Stephanie Kelton’s The Deficit Myth is one of the most thought-provoking books I have read in years. Setting aside the fact that this reality indicates I’m a nerd, The Deficit Myth is an important contribution to our understanding of the economy and government’s involvement in the economy.
Growing up in Massachusetts, I heard a little bit about Mark “the Bird” Fidrych I vaguely remember people talking about him talking to the ball. I remember people talking about his patting the dirt in front of the mound. Most of all, I remember people talking about the joy watching him pitch brought them.