What’s your favorite political book?

Tomorrow, we’ll be talking to Lissa Muscatine, co-owner of the bookstore Politics and Prose, and J. Peder Zane, chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at St. Augustine’s University, about the best political books and what books the candidates should be reading.

Kerri’s favorite political books are ‘The Boys on the Bus’ and ‘What It Takes’.

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How about you? What book about politics do you love? And what books do you think the candidates should be reading?

–Stephanie Curtis, social media host

  • My favorite book about politics would have to be Sinclair Lewis’ “It Can’t Happen Here.” It’s a brilliant warning, because things discussed in the fictional book CAN happen here.

  • Julie

    Al Franken’s book about a fictitious, awful version of himself running for president, “Why Not Me?”, is my favorite book of all time. As a former campaign manager myself, I found it hilarious and sadly too familiar at the same time. What I loved most was that it was the antithesis of the creative, principled, innovative campaign he actually ran.

  • Stephanie Curtis

    I just read an interview with a business consultant who recommended that every leader read The Man Without Qualities by Musil.

    It has been “next on my list” for about five years. Maybe I should get around to reading it.

    Also, I thought Primary Colors was fun.

  • joe

    Blaming the Victim. Real old title but concept is still real fresh.

  • None

    As a former campaign worker and Hill worker, I needed escape from the real world of politics and enjoyed seeing how writers would portray Washington.

    For some serious fiction takes on lobbying, presidential races or a Supreme Court nomination, read Richard North Patterson. Balance of Power, The Race, Protect and Defend. Events were liberally taken from reality but not so unbelievable.

    Probably every young female staffer, has secretly read Sammy’s Hill by Kristin Gore for some Capitol Hill chick lit.

    Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them has a chapter that accurately portrays the mood of the staff as they worked to plan the 2002 memorial for MN’s late senator.

  • Stephanie Curtis

    I had never heard of Blaming the Victim by William Ryan. Looks interesting.

  • steve austin

    I will agree with Sonja, “It Can’t Happen Here” is a brilliant warning.

    The candidates would do well to read, and attempt to understand, Civil Disobedience by Thoreau.

    I have watched dozens of authors speaking at the Politics and Prose bookstore over the years on C-SPAN2.

    It is painfully obvious that P&P bookstore is an advocate of Liberalism and the Democrat Party. Indeed, it could change its name to Move.org Bookstore, or Huffington Post bookstore, or DNC bookstore, to better reflect its biased position.

    Be sure to point out this lack of neutrality at the beginning of the show today, and let us know when you will be having Conservatives on the air to counteract the rampant liberalism.

  • Eric Stenborg

    The canidates should read “Physics for Future Presidents,” by Richard Muller.

    Course if there’s a book out there titled “Politicians Should Not Be Worried About Getting Reelected And Get Something Done” that might be first.


  • @JGeorge49

    David McColloughs Truman biography – these guys think they are facing big issues should walk in Trumans shoes – last humble Prez.

  • Kirsten Mebust

    I recommend GOD’S LONG SUMMER by Charles Marsh. It examines the links between the Christian faith and theological assumptions of five different leaders in the civil rights and anti-civil rights movements in 1964, and how those assumptions interacted with the political process of change then. It raises important questions regarding how civil rights influences what is happening now, what kind of society we want to be, and how faith can lead people to violence or to sustained commitment to justice and I think moves away from the bumper-sticker approach to religion and politics that we have suffered from for too long.


    Book for candidates: definitely The Grapes of Wrath …(Bonus book: Earth by Bill McKibben)

  • @RhenaTan

    @kerrimpr @margaretatwood Handmaids Tale. Given the current climate for women and repro rights, I don’t think an explanation is necessary.

    — Rhena Tantisunthorn(@RhenaTan) August 22, 2012

  • @LeahEOlm

    @kerrimpr The Teddy Roosevelt trilogy by Edmund Morris- President Roosevelt’s policies and courage are an inspiration, regardless of party.

    — Leah Olm (@LeahEOlm) August 22, 2012

  • @rstephens

    @kerrimpr On The Origin of Species

    — Robert Stephens (@rstephens) August 22, 2012

  • jimmy

    The Road to Serfdom

    No, They Can’t

    Anarchy, State, and Utopia

  • Charles

    “The Ordeal of Power” by Emmit John Hughes, a memoir on the Eisenhower years.


  • John

    It’s Even Worse than it Looks by Mann & Ornstein should be required reading for anyone voting this election season.

  • madalyn

    Eaarth, by Bill McKibben is an amazing read that really articulates the severity of climate change and the need to make environmental changes now! It is a great wake up call backed by hard facts. If our leaders were better informed, our environmental policies would be much different.

  • David

    the emperor wears no clothes by jack herrer

    info psychology by timothy leary

    angel tech by antero alli

    neuro politics by timothy leary

    the tao of politics

    the game of life by timothy leary

    the archaic revival by terrence mckenna

  • Mitch

    Local Stillwater author, Tony Signorelli’s book: Call to Freedom. This book dutifully examines how the Bill of Rights and the Constitution applies to politics up and to the present.

  • Jan

    The Democracy of Bees by Tom Sealey. It is an intriguing study of how a swarm of bees collectively make the life or death decision of locating a new hive. He also relates this to the human democratic process.

  • DebM

    I’m another vote for the Sinclair Lewis book “It Can’t Happen Here”.

    Regarding non-fiction, The Making of the President series by Theodore H. White was a fascinating way to get a snap-shot of the presidential elections those years.

  • Loren

    In light of those who are “confused” about legitimate rape… the Handmaid’s tale by Margaret Atwood….

    Control and Freedom who is in charge of control? of Freedom?

  • inuit

    Number One by John Dos Passos

  • Kay Thomas

    I recommend John F. Kennedy ‘s Profiles in Courage. What we need is more statesmanship from our politicians.

  • Elizabeth Parks

    In Sci-fi category, I enjoy Terry Pratchett. Some of his Discworld novels are just fun and some have significant threads of social commentary in them. I recommend “Thud” (racial & other discrimination) and “Monstrous Regiment” (war and role of women in society) as a start.

  • stephanie

    Books mentioned by guests, callers and Kerri today:

    We the Living – Ayn Rand

    The Political Brain – Drew Weston

    Predictably Irrational – Dan Ariely

    Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

    Moral Politics – George Lakoff

    The Righteous Mind – Jonathan Haidt

    The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg

    Don’t Think of an Elephant – George Lakoff

    Deep Economy – Bill McKibben

    All the King’s Men – Robert Penn Warren

    Watergate – Thomas Mallon

    2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America – Albert Brooks

    Utopia by Thomas Moore

    The books of John Ringo

    Glenn Greenwald – With liberty and Justice for Some

    Seating Arrangements – Maggie Shipstead

    Rules of Civility – Amor Towles

    The Crowded Grave – Martin Walker

    Broken Harbor – Tana French

    Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot

    A Man Without a Country – Kurt Vonnegut

    Civilization and Its Discontents – Sigmund Freud

    Handmaiden’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

    The Long Walk – Brian Kastner.

    The Yellow Birds – Kevin Powers

    Hologram for the King – Dave Eggers

    Farenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

    1984- George Orwell

  • Another vote for “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

    “When She Woke” by Hillary Jordan is great, too.

  • Bruce Carlson

    It’s Even Worse than it Looks is outstanding. It may not be the best but it is very timely.

  • Mark Benson

    Kerri/ Stephanie,

    What-nobody mentioned Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ?” (may not be the exact title)