another political + nonfiction book list

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I’ve read a lot of nonfiction in the past, but until now, it’s been limited to feminist ideology and American politics. However, this booklist features a very diverse set of authors and topics, even though they are all connected by a general theme of politics, foreign affairs, and feminism. A fun fact about all these books is that they are all from used bookstores. I sought out most of these books on my favorite online used bookstore, Thriftbooks, but a couple randomly drew my attention at a local used bookstore. These are all books that I recommend for anyone that wants to learn more about the topics I just mentioned and is genuinely curious about the world.


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the fix by Jonathan Tepperman. This book is about 10 issues that are plaguing the world and how 10 countries recognized a national crisis and took action to solve it. These problems range from terrorism to economic inequality. Something I extremely liked about it was how the author structured the novel. He would introduce the issue, introduce the country’s crisis, how and who solved it, and how their methods apply to other nations. The writing was also really fun to read as it was informal and easy to understand, Tepperman even made a quick joke about Canadians. Quick fun fact, Jonathan Tepperman is the editor in chief of Foreign Policy, something I didn’t know until after I read this book.

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a problem from hell by Samantha Power. This is a very long book, but don’t let that dissuade you from reading it. I learned so much from this book. It’s about the history of genocide and the United State’s specific inactive role in stopping global genocide. I think a quick substance warning is needed because genocide is a very heavy topic and Power is really descriptive in the atrocities that take place. However, despite that, it was still an engaging and enlightening book. 

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whistling Vivaldi by Claude M. Steele. I don’t think I could name a favorite book out of these (because I enjoyed them so much) but this book was the most interesting and engaging to me. It’s about how stereotypes unconsciously affect people’s behavior and achievement, thereby hindering their future achievement. The author details experiments and studies that he has led and heard of. Steele focuses mainly on the “identity threat” in an academic setting, however, he applies his findings to real-world scenarios and general events. I learned so much from this book and read it fairly quickly because of how absorbed I was in it. If you are interested in psychology and social sciences, or just want to understand an aspect of the achievement gap, then this is the book for you.

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our women on the ground: a collection of essays. Our Women on the Ground is the only collection of essays on this list. It’s another short book, but there are a wide variety of stories and narrative in them. The essays were written by Arab women reporters, photographers, journalists. Their stories are primarily about what it’s like to be a woman reporting and documenting some of the most volatile areas in the world, all while being overlooked and undervalued. I thought it was really interesting how a lot of these women used the misogyny of their countries to propel their passion and persevere through the war zones.

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the broken branch by Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein. Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein are one of my favorite author duos. This book helped me contextualize and verbalize a lot of my observations about American politics. I know that we all get frustrated with politics, but specifically with the ineffective nature of congress. Mann and Ornstein are experts in Congressional reform and study the increasingly polarized aspects of Congress. I recommend this book to anyone interested in how congress doesn’t work, but specifically to those of you who are Americans because I think that understanding our government in the modern context is very important. In history class, we all hear about what the founding fathers had in mind for the country, but it’s also really crucial to examine the reality of our government.

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a vindication of the rights of women by Mary Wollstonecraft. To end this list, I am finally introducing a classic feminist text. Mary Wollstonecraft is considered one of the first feminists. She highlights some of the key parts of modern feminist ideology, but it was written in the 18th century. It’s worth mentioning that some of her beliefs are now considered archaic, for example, women as mothers, but I still think this text is worth examining. Don’t think that because it’s a classic or a philosophic novel, it’s hard or difficult to read. While it requires some concentration and effort, her voice varies pretty heavily from your typical 18th-century author. I think that this is a piece of literature that I think everyone should read at least once.


Please leave any book recommendations you have or if you’ve read any of these books, your own opinions! I’m also really interested in other’s favorite non-fiction or fiction books.

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3 thoughts on “another political + nonfiction book list

  1. Jane says:

    The Penguin Great Ideas series has a more ‘potted’ Wollstonecraft, which is a good introduction, and you’re right everyone should read it – didn’t Virginia Woolf have a copy of it on her desk and thanked her every morning or something like that?!

    Liked by 1 person

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