It’s hard to imagine any better qualified trio of acclaimed political scholars and journalists to explain the political mess we’re in and where we go from here: E.J. Dionne is a columnist for The Washington Post, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a professor at Georgetown University. Norm Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a contributing editor and columnist for National Journal and The Atlantic. And Thomas Mann is a resident scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California in Berkeley and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Together in One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet-Deported (St. Martin’s, $25.99), they trace the various elements that gave rise to the election of Donald Trump, then point to some possible ways ahead, striking a guardedly optimistic note. They contend that the protests and national soul-searching triggered by Trump’s presidency could lead eventually to an era of democratic renewal. But, they caution, this will take much work and depend on those opposed to Trump coming up with some unifying alternatives.
Chris Hayes’s popular first book five years ago, Twilight of the Elites, took America’s meritocracy to task for a failure of leadership that has resulted in our institutional dysfunction and crisis of authority. That argument seems more relevant today than ever. In A Colony in a Nation (W.W. Norton, $26.95), Hayes, host of a news and opinion show on MSNBC, expands the discussion of America’s widening inequality gap begun in his earlier work. He focuses this time on law and order, making a persuasive case that our criminal justice system treats whites and blacks very differently. With characteristic passion and intelligence, Hayes delivers a timely appeal for much greater social justice. “An eye-opening look,” said one online reviewer. “Scholarly yet engrossing,” said another. “A book for our time,” said a third.
There is no shortage of Obama Administration alums writing books. The question is: Which are actually worth reading? One is Thanks, Obama (Ecco, $27.99) by David Litt, who became a presidential speechwriter at the ripe old age of twenty-four and now is somehow old enough to pen a memoir. He details his White House experience with humor, self-deprecation, and a healthy reverence for his boss and the causes the Obama Administration championed. Readers will especially enjoy his tales of being the go-to-guy for Obama’s funniest lines and most memorable comedic performances. The book offers a nice peek at life inside the White House and the ups and downs of crafting a message for a president – even one who reads, thinks, reflects, and tells the truth.