From gonzo class analysis to a retrospective about racism, here are some volumes that bringing context to a bleak political period
In the 70 s and the 80 s, the young Donald Trump was mentored by none other than Roy Cohn, the infamous cold war attorney who helped send the almost certainly innocent Ethel Rosenberg to the electric chair in 1953.
The playwright Lillian Hellman once recounted a narrative about how Cohn had helped remove fictions by her fan Dashiel Hammett from government-funded libraries.
Hammett was eventually summonsed before one of Senator Joe McCarthys red-baiting committees where he was asked: If you were in our position, would you permit certain books in the library?
Hammett shot back, If I were you, senator, I would not permit any libraries!
The tales probably apocryphal. Nonetheless, it captures something about the importance of volumes during bleak political periods.
In that spirit, here are some titles that might help those feeling overwhelmed by what has been a long and miserable year. Its a random and arbitrary selection( alternatives welcomed in specific comments !). Still, one way or another, all of these volumes have been brought to mind.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander
Anyone interested in US politics needs to engage with Alexanders argument about the effects of that nations swollen prison-industrial complex. All races in the US use and traffick narcotics at roughly equal levels. But African Americans are far more likely to end up in jail.
In fact, the US incarcerates a larger percentage of its black population than South Africa did during the apartheid era. In Washington DC, 75% of young black men will spend time in prison, an astonishing statistic replicated in urban centres throughout the country.
Alexander argues that the war on medications was launched in the wake of the civil right movement to target urban( the hell is, black) crime: a key element of the so-called southern strategy by which Republican dog-whistled to white voters.