New Arrivals in Politics & Current Events

Sing the Rage: Listening to Anger after Mass Violence

Sonali Chakravarti
What is the relationship between anger and justice, especially when so much of our moral education has taught us to value the impartial spectator, the cold distance of reason? In Sing the Rage, Sonali Chakravarti wrestles with this question through a careful look at the emotionally charged South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which from 1996 to 1998 saw, day after day, individuals taking the stand to speak—to cry, scream, and wail—about the atrocities of apartheid. Uncomfortable and surprising, these public emotional displays, she argues, proved to be of immense value, vital to the success of transitional justice and future political possibilities.

Chakravarti takes up the issue from Adam Smith and Hannah Arendt, who famously understood both the dangers of anger in politics and the costs of its exclusion. Building on their perspectives, she argues that the expression and reception of anger reveal truths otherwise unavailable to us about the emerging political order, the obstacles to full civic participation, and indeed the limits—the frontiers—of political life altogether. Most important, anger and the development of skills needed to truly listen to it foster trust among citizens and recognition of shared dignity and worth. An urgent work of political philosophy in an era of continued revolution, Sing the Rage offers a clear understanding of one of our most volatile—and important—political responses.

Asia in Washington: Exploring the Penumbra of Transnational Power

Kent E. Calder

For several centuries, international relations has been primarily the purview of nation-states. Key powers have included at various times Great Britain, France, Japan, China, Russia (then the U.S.S.R., and then Russia again), and the nation most influential in international relations for the past several decades has been the United States. But in a world growing smaller, with a globalizing system increasing in complexity by the day, the nation-state paradigm is not as dominant as it once was.

In Asia in Washington, longtime Asia analyst Kent Calder examines the concept of "global city" in the context of international affairs. The term typically has been used in an economic context, referring to centers of international finance and commerce such as New York, Tokyo, and London. But Calder extends the concept to political centers as well—particularly in this case, Washington, D.C.

Improved communications, enhanced transportation, greater economic integration and activity have created a new economic village, and global political cities are arising within the new structure—distinguished not by their CEOs or stock markets but by their influence over policy decisions, and their amassing of strategic intelligence on topics from national policy trends to geopolitical risk.

Calder describes the rise of Washington, D.C., as perhaps the preeminent global political city—seat of the world's most powerful government, center of NGO and multilateral policy activity, the locale of institutions such as the World Bank and IMF, and home to numerous think tanks and universities.

Within Washington, the role of Asia is especially relevant for several reasons. It represents the core of the non-Western industrialized world and the most challenge to Western dominance. It also raises the delicate issue of how race matters in international global governance—a factor crucially important during a time of globalization. And since Asia developed later than the West, its changing role in Washington raises major issues regarding how rising powers assimilate themselves into global governance structure. How do Asian nations establish, increase, and leverage their Washington presence, and what is the impact on Washington itself and the decisions made there? Kent Calder explains it all in Asia in Washington.

Border Insecurity: Why Big Money, Fences, and Drones Aren't Making Us Safer

Sylvia Longmire
When confronted with the challenges of border security and illegal immigration, government officials are fond of saying that our borders have never been as safe and secure as they are now. But ranchers in the borderlands of Arizona and Texas fear for their lands, their cattle, their homes, and sometimes their lives due to the human  and drug smuggling traffic that regularly crosses their property. Who is right? What does a secure border actually look like? More importantly,  is a secure border a realistic goal for the United States? Border Insecurity examines all the aspects of the challenge—and thriving industry—of trying to keep terrorists, drug smugglers, and illegal immigrants from entering the United  States across our land borders. It looks at on-the-ground  issues and controversies like the border fence, the usefulness of technology, shifts in the connection between illegal immigration and drug smuggling, and the potential for terrorists and drug cartels to work together. Border Insecurity also delves into how the border debate itself is part of why the government has failed to improve information sharing and why this is necessary to establish a clear and comprehensive border security strategy.

Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution

John Stevens
For the first time ever, a retired Supreme Court Justice offers a manifesto on how the Constitution needs to change.

By the time of his retirement in June 2010, John Paul Stevens had become the second longest serving Justice in the history of the Supreme Court. Now he draws upon his more than three decades on the Court, during which he was involved with many of the defining decisions of the modern era, to offer a book like none other. SIX AMENDMENTS is an absolutely unprecedented call to arms, detailing six specific ways in which the Constitution should be amended in order to protect our democracy and the safety and wellbeing of American citizens.

Written with the same precision and elegance that made Stevens's own Court opinions legendary for their clarity as well as logic, SIX AMENDMENTS is a remarkable work, both because of its unprecedented nature and, in an age of partisan ferocity, its inarguable common sense.

Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality

Jo Becker
“An engaging narrative... a thorough, perceptive read... the book stands testament to good political writing and a wealth of information made alive through prose.” --Publishers Weekly (STARRED)

A tour de force of groundbreaking reportage by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Jo Becker, Forcing the Spring is the definitive account of five remarkable years in American civil rights history: when the United States experienced a tectonic shift on the issue of marriage equality. Beginning with the historical legal challenge of California’s ban on same-sex marriage, Becker expands the scope to encompass all aspects of this momentous struggle, offering a gripping behind-the-scenes narrative told with the lightning pace of the greatest legal thrillers.

For nearly five years, Becker was given free rein in the legal and political war rooms where the strategy of marriage equality was plotted. She takes us inside the remarkable campaign that rebranded a movement; into the Oval Office where the president and his advisors debated how to respond to a fast-changing political landscape; into the chambers of the federal judges who decided that today’s bans on same-sex marriage were no more constitutional than the previous century’s bans on interracial marriage; and into the mindsets of the Supreme Court judges who decided the California case and will likely soon decide the issue for the country at large. From the state-by state efforts to win marriage equality at the ballot box to the landmark Supreme Court case that struck down a law that banned legally married gay and lesbian couples from receiving federal benefits, Becker weaves together the political and legal forces that reshaped a nation.

Forcing the Spring begins with California’s controversial ballot initiative Proposition 8, which banned gay men and lesbians from marrying the person they loved. This electoral defeat galvanized an improbable alliance of opponents to the ban, with political operatives and Hollywood royalty enlisting attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies—the opposing counsels in the Supreme Court’s Bush v. Gore case—to join together in a unique bipartisan challenge to the political status quo. Despite stiff initial opposition from the gay rights establishment, the case against Proposition 8 would ultimately force the issue of marriage equality all the way to the Supreme Court, transforming same-sex marriage from a partisan issue into a modern crisis of civil rights. Based on singular access to the internal workings of this momentous trial—and enlivened by original interviews with the participants on both sides of the case, many speaking for the first time—Forcing the Spring is at once an emotion-packed tale of love and determination as well as an eye-opening examination of an evidentiary record that federal courts across the nation are now relying on to strike down bans similar to California’s.

Shuttling between the twin American power centers of Hollywood and Washington—and based on access to all the key players in the Justice Department and the White House—Becker offers insider coverage on the true story of how President Obama “evolved” to embrace marriage equality, his surprising role in the Supreme Court battle, and the unexpected way the controversial issue played in the 2012 elections.

What starts out as a tale of an epic legal battle grows into the story of the evolution of a country, a testament and old-fashioned storytelling to move public opinion. Becker shows how the country reexamined its opinions on same-sex marriage, an issue that raced along with a snowballing velocity which astounded veteran political operatives, as public opinion on same-sex marriage flipped and elected officials repositioned themselves to adjust to a dramatically changed environment. Forcing the Spring is the ringside account of this unprecedented change, the fastest shift in public opinion ever seen in modern American politics.

Clear-eyed and even-handed, Forcing the Spring is political and legal journalism at its finest, offering an unvarnished perspective on the extraordinary transformation of America and an inside look into the fight to win the rights of marriage and full citizenship for all.

Mobilizing against Inequality: Unions, Immigrant Workers, and the Crisis of Capitalism

Lee H. Adler

Among the many challenges that global liberalization has posed for trade unions, the growth of precarious immigrant workforces lacking any collective representation stands out as both a major threat to solidarity and an organizing opportunity. Believing that collective action is critical in the struggle to lift the low wages and working conditions of immigrant workers, the contributors to Mobilizing against Inequality set out to study union strategies toward immigrant workers in four countries: Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and United States. Their research revealed both formidable challenges and inspiring examples of immigrant mobilization that often took shape as innovative social countermovements.

Using case studies from a carwash organizing campaign in the United States, a sans papiers movement in France, Justice for Cleaners in the United Kingdom, andintegration approaches by the Metalworkers Union in Germany, among others, the authors look at the strategies of unions toward immigrants from a comparative perspective. Although organizers face a different set of obstacles in each country, this book points to common strategies that offer promise for a more dynamic model of unionism is the global North. The editors have also created a companion website for the book, which features literature reviews, full case studies, updates, and links to related publications. Visit it at www.mobilizing-against-inequality.info.

Contributors: Lee H. Adler, Cornell University; Gabriella Alberti, Leeds University; Daniel B. Cornfield, Vanderbilt University; Michael Fichter, Global Labour University, Berlin; Janice Fine, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; Jane Holgate, Leeds University; Denisse Roca-Servat, Pontifical Bolivarian University, Colombia; Maite Tapia, Michigan State University; Lowell Turner, Cornell University.

The Politics of Non-state Welfare

Melani Cammett

Across the world, welfare states are under challenge (or were never developed extensively in the first place) while non-state actors increasingly provide public goods and basic welfare. In many parts of the Middle East and South Asia, sectarian organizations and political parties supply basic services to ordinary people more extensively and effectively than governments. In sub-Saharan Africa, families struggle to pay hospital fees, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) launch welfare programs as states cut subsidies and social programs. Likewise, in parts of Latin America, international and domestic NGOs and, increasingly, private firms are key suppliers of social welfare in both urban and rural communities. Even in the United States, where the welfare state is far more developed, secular NGOs and faith-based organizations are critical components of social safety nets. Despite official entitlements to public welfare, citizens in Russia face increasing out-of-pocket expenses as they are effectively compelled to seek social services through the private market.

In The Politics of Non-state Social Welfare, a multidisciplinary group of contributors use survey data analysis, spatial analysis, in-depth interviews, and ethnographic and archival research to explore the fundamental transformation of the relationship between states and citizens. The book highlights the political consequences of the non-state provision of social welfare, including the ramifications for equitable and sustainable access to social services, accountability for citizens, and state capacity. The authors do not assume that non-state providers will surpass the performance of weak, inefficient, or sometimes corrupt states but instead offer a systematic analysis of a wide spectrum of non-state actors in a variety of contexts around the world, including sectarian political parties, faith-based organizations, community-based organizations, family networks, informal brokers, and private firms.

Contributors: Scott Allard, University of Chicago; Jennifer N. Brass, Indiana University; Melani Cammett, Brown University; Linda Cook, Brown University; Ian Gough, London School of Economics; Michael Jennings, School of Oriental and African Studies; Anirudh Krishna, Duke University; Pauline Jones Luong, University of Michigan; Lauren M. MacLean, Indiana University; Alejandra Mizala, University of Chile; Alison Post, University of California, Berkeley; Ben Ross Schneider, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The American Warfare State: The Domestic Politics of Military Spending

Rebecca U. Thorpe
How is it that the United States—a country founded on a distrust of standing armies and strong centralized power—came to have the most powerful military in history? Long after World War II and the end of the Cold War, in times of rising national debt and reduced need for high levels of military readiness, why does Congress still continue to support massive defense budgets?
In The American Warfare State, Rebecca U. Thorpe argues that there are profound relationships among the size and persistence of the American military complex, the growth in presidential power to launch military actions, and the decline of congressional willingness to check this power. The public costs of military mobilization and war, including the need for conscription and higher tax rates, served as political constraints on warfare for most of American history. But the vast defense industry that emerged from World War II also created new political interests that the framers of the Constitution did not anticipate. Many rural and semirural areas became economically reliant on defense-sector jobs and capital, which gave the legislators representing them powerful incentives to press for ongoing defense spending regardless of national security circumstances or goals. At the same time, the costs of war are now borne overwhelmingly by a minority of soldiers who volunteer to fight, future generations of taxpayers, and foreign populations in whose lands wars often take place.
Drawing on an impressive cache of data, Thorpe reveals how this new incentive structure has profoundly reshaped the balance of wartime powers between Congress and the president, resulting in a defense industry perennially poised for war and an executive branch that enjoys unprecedented discretion to take military action.

Exploiting Africa: The Influence of Maoist China in Algeria, Ghana, and Tanzania

Donovan Chau
The purpose of this book is to provide an historical examination of China’s activities in Africa, an important yet overlooked aspect of the broader subject of China in Africa today. There is a tendency of observers of China in Africa to always look forward; however, there is a need to look backward. Modern China’s historical presence in Africa must be scrutinized in order to understand the context of its current and future actions on the continent.

As the book will illustrate, China in the past meddled in the affairs of Africa, in places like Algeria, Ghana, and Tanzania. It did so for self-interest, for the benefit of the Communist Party of China, specifically its leaders’ strategic objective, which was to demonstrate influence in the world, that is, power in international politics. Though its material resources were scant in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, China nevertheless used them, in addition to devoting time and attention to Africa. It was a Meddling Dragon.

China was not required to devote time, attention, and resources to Africa. But it did, in Algeria, Ghana, and Tanzania, especially. China skillfully used its limited diplomatic, intelligence, and economic means to gain traction on the continent. It sought influence through a combination of means – through shaping perceptions, developing personal relationships, and providing tangible assistance.

There was a rhyme and reason to China’s early approach to the continent. And that rhyme and reason remains much the same today. Viewed in the broader historical and strategic contexts, China’s current presence in Africa demonstrates continuity with the past rather than a renewed focus. This book contributes vitally to the discourse on Sino-African history and adds to the contemporary strategic understanding and debate about China in Africa.

The Chinese arrived on the African continent without fanfare, yet maintained an active and influential presence, a presence which ultimately was more pragmatic than revolutionary. Though often couched in ideological rhetoric, China’s behavior in Africa in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s demonstrated goals and actions of an aspiring great power in the world. Contemporary China receives much more attention in Africa, as it does everywhere else around the world. Nevertheless, it is crucial to understand the nature and character of China’s historical actions on the African continent in order to properly grasp its future policies. Rather than merely looking forward, one must look backward to comprehend the true nature of China in Africa.

Tragedy in the Commons: Former Members of Parliament Speak Out About Canada's Failing Democracy

Alison Loat

In Tragedy in the Commons, Alison Loat and Michael MacMillan, founders of the non-partisan think tank Samara, draw on an astonishing eighty exit interviews with former Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum to unearth surprising observations about the practice of politics in Canada.
 
Though Canada is at the top of international rankings of democracies, Canadians themselves increasingly don’t see politics as a way to solve society’s problems. Small wonder. In the news, they see grandstanding in the House of Commons and MPs pursuing agendas that don’t always make sense to the people who elected them.
 
But elected officials make critical choices about how this wildly diverse country functions today and how it will thrive in the future. They direct billions of dollars in public funding and craft the laws that have allowed Canada to lead the way internationally. Even with so much at stake, citizens—voters—are turning away. How did one of the world’s most functional democracies go so very wrong?
 
In Tragedy in the Commons, MPs describe arriving at their political careers almost by accident; few say they aspired to be in politics before it “happened” to them. In addition, almost without fail, each MP describes the tremendous influence of their political party: from the manipulation of the nomination process to enforced voting in the House and in committees, the unseen hand of the party dominates every aspect of the MP’s existence.
 
Loat and MacMillan ask: Just what do we want Members of Parliament to be doing? To whom are they accountable? And should parties be trusted with the enormous power they wield with such little oversight or citizen involvement?
 
With unprecedented access to the perspective and experience of Canada’s public leaders, Tragedy in the Commons concludes by offering solutions for improving the way politics works in Canada, and how all Canadians can reinvigorate a democracy that has lost its way, its purpose and the support of the public it is meant to serve.

Just War Theory

Ellen Garcia
For several years, there continue to be a lot of controversy about the ethical and moral justification of Just War theory. The ethical issue has created two sides of opposing views, those who view Just War as ethical and those who view it as unethical. Even today, Just War theory still creates passionate debate among philosophers and religious leaders as well as the public concerning this theory. Some proponents of Just War theory argue that it brings peace and justice, while those opposing just war theory note the damages and even instability are created by wars. However, both sides agree that war is necessary where peace can not be achieved by peaceful means. In the recent past, the war in Iraq that was started by the U.S and its allies has ignited a passionate debate over if this war is a just war. To further investigate these opposing viewpoints, this position paper will attempt to explain the issue by looking at both sides of the issue. Various positions on both sides will be highlighted, and then a position will arrived at basing on the findings of both sides. Lastly, this paper will conclude in favor of just war. (...) In any debate over war, it’s impossible for the church or the mass to voice one view point on the issue. This is because even the Bible itself has two opposing aspects on the issue. On one side, the Bible teaches Christians that rulers who pursue their own individual goals against the people wish sin against the will of God, and in such a situation other world rulers are supposed to at times enforce peace even through force, though under Gods guidelines. But, on the side, God wishes man to live peaceful without fighting and killing each other. Thus all Christians exonerate some level of coercion, however, they basically they are peaceful.

Uncle Sam Can't Count: A History of Failed Government Investments, from Beaver Pelts to Green Energy

Burton W. Folsom Jr., Jr.

In their fascinating history of government misadventure, Burton and Anita Folsom show why the Obama administration's urge to pick winners and losers in the private sector is doomed to fail.

From the days of George Washington through World War II to today, government investments have failed dismally. They not only drain the Treasury of cash but also impede economic growth, and they hurt the very companies they try to support.

Why does federal aid seem to have a reverse Midas touch? Simply put, federal officials don't have the same abilities or incentives as entrepreneurs. In addition, federal control always produces political control of some kind. What is best for politicians is not often what works in the marketplace. Politicians want to win votes, and they can do so by giving targeted CEOs benefits while dispersing costs to others.

Uncle Sam Can't Count is filled with examples of government failures and free market triumphs, including

  • John Jacob Astor, who owned a fur company that defeated a government-funded rival—supported by George Washington himself—by actively cooperating in trade with the Native Americans instead of trying to tell them what they wanted.
  • The Wright brothers, who, with two thousand dollars of their own money, successfully flew the first manned flight, while the government threw money at Samuel Langley, whose two failed attempts at flight both landed in the Potomac River.
  • George Mitchell, who spent seventeen years developing fracking, after the high taxes on oil drilling were repealed, while the government subsidized ethanol.

Uncle Sam Can't Count is a hard-hitting critique of a government completely incapable of either picking winners or learning from its many mistakes, which demonstrates why business should be left to private entrepreneurs.

On The Path To Genocide: Armenia and Rwanda Re-examined

Deborah Mayersen

Why did the Armenian genocide erupt in Turkey in 1915, only seven years after the Armenian minority achieved civil equality for the first time in the history of the Ottoman Empire?  How can we explain the Rwandan genocide occurring in 1994, after decades of relative peace and even cooperation between the Hutu majority and the Tutsi minority? Addressing, for the first time, the question of how the risk of genocide develops over time, this book helps us to better understand why genocide occurs when it does. It provides a comprehensive historical analysis of the factors that led to the 1915 Armenian genocide and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, using fresh sources and perspectives that yield new insights into the history of the Armenian and Rwandan peoples. Finally, it also presents new research into constraints that inhibit genocide, and how they can be utilized to attempt the prevention of genocide in the future. 

Trait Theory

Ellen Garcia
Trait theory was developed from the concept of trait which simply describes the characteristic behavior of individuals thus their personality. Trait encompasses all aspects of how individuals perceive, believes and feels about things. This is what distinguishes individuals from one another. Trait theories are therefore concerned with understanding the differences in people’s personality and establish the causes of these perceived differences. Although different theories have been developed by different people, they all base on the following assumptions: people genetically inherit traits from their biological parents; some traits are predominantly suited for leadership; and people who make good leaders have the correct if not sufficient combination of traits (Digman, 1990). It is through these assumptions that this theory has formed a good basis for selection of leaders thus a very important discipline in management. This essay therefore seeks to discuss ‘five factor’ trait theory highlighting some of the advantages and disadvantages of using such a theory to select leaders in the workforce. Unlike the traditional psychological researches, contemporary psychological researchers in personality have managed to come up with a more comprehensive and empirical model for analyzing personality traits known as ‘the five factor’ or the ‘big five’ theory (Digman, 1990). The ‘five factor’ theory is a five factor model with broad categories of personality traits, each category having its distinct behavioral characteristics associated with them. Though the theory is new, the five factor model has proved to be one of the most practical and applicable model in studying human personality and has thus been accorded critical attention (Digman 1990)

Contesting Trade in Central America: Market Reform and Resistance

Rose J. Spalding

In 2004, the United States, five Central American countries, and the Dominican Republic signed the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), signaling the region's commitment to a neoliberal economic model. For many, however, neoliberalism had lost its luster as the new century dawned, and resistance movements began to gather force. Contesting Trade in Central America is the first book-length study of the debate over CAFTA, tracing the agreement's drafting, its passage, and its aftermath across Central America.

Rose J. Spalding draws on nearly two hundred interviews with representatives from government, business, civil society, and social movements to analyze the relationship between the advance of free market reform in Central America and the parallel rise of resistance movements. She views this dynamic through the lens of Karl Polanyi's "double movement" theory, which posits that significant shifts toward market economics will trigger oppositional, self-protective social countermovements. Examining the negotiations, political dynamics, and agents involved in the passage of CAFTA in Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, Spalding argues that CAFTA served as a high-profile symbol against which Central American oppositions could rally. Ultimately, she writes, post-neoliberal reform "involves not just the design of appropriate policy mixes and sequences, but also the hard work of building sustainable and inclusive political coalitions, ones that prioritize the quality of social bonds over raw economic freedom."

This Noble Land: My Vision for America

James A. Michener
In such modern classics as Chesapeake, Centennial, Hawaii, Alaska, and Texas, James A. Michener proved time and again that his understanding of and love for his country was unparalleled. This Noble Land is Michener’s most personal statement about America, an examination of the issues that threaten to fragment and undermine the nation—racial conflict, the widening gulf between rich and poor, the decline of education, the inadequacies of our health care system—as well as a thought-provoking prescription for sustaining our “outstanding success.” First published shortly before Michener’s death, This Noble Land stands as a wake-up call for a troubled era, infused with the wisdom and passion of a lifetime.
 
Praise for This Noble Land
 
“A book-length essay on the often worrying, often inspiring course of America in the nine decades of Michener’s life.”The Washington Post
 
“Michener is more interested in fixing the problems than in fixing the blame.”The Dallas Morning News
 
“Michener’s are the beach books that, unlike most other beach books, leave you smarter than you were when you started reading. Each delivers the product of all that research, doled out to the reader at just the right rate. You know right away who the bad guys are—the petty ones, the stingy ones. The heroes are generous and energetic and smart and, above all, unprejudiced. The real-life villains in This Noble Land are the people Michener perceives as ‘petty, mean and vengeful.’”St. Louis Post-Dispatch
 
“Stirring . . . an admirable effort to define what has made our country great and how to preserve what is best about it.”Kirkus Reviews


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Transparent Government: What It Means and How You Can Make It Happen

Donald Gordon
Provides a blueprint for more effective government and greater citizen participation.

"Transparency" has become the new mantra of politicians and pundits alike. But what does it mean in practice? In this informative, clearly written book community activist Donald Gordon defines the essential features of a transparent government and makes a convincing case that it is critical for a healthy and maturing democracy and the basic liberties we all take for granted.

Gordon first presents a clear definition of transparency in government and why we should pursue it, followed by a review of the history of transparency in American politics. He then makes the case for how transparency serves as the foundation for active civic engagement. 

The heart of the book is Gordon's "Transparency Index." The author examines best practices in measuring transparency and then isolates the critical factors that can be used to assess any type of government and its commitment to transparency. In addition, a scoring system is presented that allows for comparison of government entities.

For anyone who wishes that government were more effective and responsive, this book shows how these goals can be achieved.

Arab Winter Comes to America: The Truth About the War We're In

Robert Spencer
Robert Spencer explains the driving forces behind the jihadists operating now in the US: Their beliefs, their associations, and the international jihad network that is working for the same goals around the globe -- including in the Arab spring uprisings.

The Rule of Nobody: Saving America from Dead Laws and Broken Government

Philip K. Howard

The secret to good government is a question no one in Washington is asking: “What’s the right thing to do?”

What’s wrong in Washington is deeper than you think.

Yes, there’s gridlock, polarization, and self-dealing. But hidden underneath is something bigger and more destructive. It’s a broken governing system. From that comes wasteful government, rising debt, failing schools, expensive health care, and economic hardship.

Rules have replaced leadership in America. Bureaucracy, regulation, and outmoded law tie our hands and confine policy choices. Nobody asks, “What’s the right thing to do here?” Instead, they wonder, “What does the rule book say?”

There’s a fatal flaw in America’s governing system—trying to decree correctness through rigid laws will never work. Public paralysis is the inevitable result of the steady accretion of detailed rules. America is now run by dead people—by political leaders from the past who enacted mandatory programs that churn ahead regardless of waste, irrelevance, or new priorities.

America needs to radically simplify its operating system and give people—officials and citizens alike—the freedom to be practical. Rules can’t accomplish our goals. Only humans can get things done.

In The Rule of Nobody Philip K. Howard argues for a return to the framers’ vision of public law—setting goals and boundaries, not dictating daily choices. This incendiary book explains how America went wrong and offers a guide for how to liberate human ingenuity to meet the challenges of this century.

The Rise of the American Corporate Security State: Six Reasons to Be Afraid

Beatrice Edwards
Take Back Our Civil Liberties! Beatrice Edwards, executive director of the organization representing Edward Snowden and four other NSA whistleblowers, argues that we now live in a Corporate Security State, where the government is more interested in protecting the companies that serve it than the citizens who support it. Hheavy domestic surveillance, political persecution of dissenters, the threat of indefinite detention codified into law—how did we get here? And is there a way out? Edwards details how intelligence agencies took advantage of 9/11 to illegitimately extend the government’s reach. Corporations, she shows, were only too eager to sell them expensive surveillance technology, as well as share data on customers and employees using the bogus threat of an imminent “cyber war.” This is why the Justice Department isn’t going after the institutions responsible for the financial collapse of 2008—government and business are partners in crime. But Edwards offers a plan to fight back and restore transparency to government, keep private information private, and make democracy a reality once again.

Political Insults: How Offenses Escalate Conflict

Karina V. Korostelina
Five women entered the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow and began a performance of a "Punk Prayer." Young people fried eggs on the eternal flame near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ukraine. A small island in the Japan Sea provoked a diplomatic spat between the leadership of Japan and South Korea. All of these incidents are examples of politically motivated insults that escalated into surprisingly significant clashes. While the field of conflict analysis has looked extensively at the dynamics of insults between individuals, it has largely ignored the more complicated dynamics of insult commited between groups, often of uneven political and social power. In this book, Karina V. Korostelina offers a novel framework for analyzing the ways in which seemingly minor insults between ethnic groups, nations, and other types of groups escalate to disproportionately violent behavior and political conflict. Insult can take many forms. Yet, as this book shows, it is always a social act mutually defined between groups, and it has the power to destablize and redefine social and power hierarchies. Korostelina identifies six different drivers of political insults, producing a theoretical model for analyzing intergroup insult and conflict. She uses her model to explore each of the incidents above, among other recent conflicts, to explicate the complicated dynamics that figure within them. The book concludes with practical suggestions for analyzing and resolving complex conflict situations.

Bargaining on Nuclear Tests: Washington and its Cold War Deals

Or Rabinowitz
Most observers who follow nuclear history agree on one major aspect regarding Israel's famous policy of nuclear ambiguity; mainly that it is an exception. More specifically, it is largely accepted that the 1969 Nixon-Meir understanding, which formally established Israel's policy of nuclear ambiguity and transformed it from an undeclared Israeli strategy into a long-lasting undisclosed bilateral agreement, was in fact a singularity, aimed at allowing Washington to turn a blind eye to the existence of an Israeli arsenal. According to conventional wisdom, this nuclear bargain was a foreign policy exception on behalf of Washington, an exception which reflected a relationship growing closer and warmer between the superpower leading the free world and its small Cold War associate. Contrary to the orthodox narrative, this research demonstrates that this was not the case. The 1969 bargain was not, in fact, an exception, but rather the first of three Cold War era deals on nuclear tests brokered by Washington with its Cold War associates, the other two being Pakistan and South Africa. These two deals are not well known and until now were discussed and explored in the literature in a very limited fashion. Bargaining on Nuclear Tests places the role of nuclear tests by American associates, as well as Washington's attempts to prevent and delay them, at the heart of a new nuclear history narrative.

Networks of Domination: The Social Foundations of Peripheral Conquest in International Politics

Paul MacDonald
In the nineteenth century, European states conquered vast stretches of territory across the periphery of the international system. Much of Asia and Africa fell to the armies of the European great powers, and by World War I, those armies controlled 40 percent of the world's territory and 30 percent of its population. Conventional wisdom states that these conquests were the product of European military dominance or technological superiority, but the reality was far more complex. In Networks of Domination, Paul MacDonald argues that an ability to exploit the internal political situation within a targeted territory, not mere military might, was a crucial element of conquest. European states enjoyed greatest success when they were able to recruit local collaborators from within the society and exploit divisions among elites. Different configurations of social ties connecting potential conquerors with elites were central to both the patterns of imperial conquest and the strategies conquerors employed. MacDonald compares episodes of British colonial expansion in India, South Africa, and Nigeria during the nineteenth century, and also examines the contemporary applicability of the theory through an examination of the United States occupation of Iraq. The scramble for empire fundamentally shaped, and continues to shape, the international system we inhabit today. Featuring a powerful theory of the role of social networks in shaping the international system, Networks of Domination bridges past and present to highlight the lessons of conquest.

Bombing to Win: Air Power and Coercion in War

Robert A. Pape

From Iraq to Bosnia to North Korea, the first question in American foreign policy debates is increasingly: Can air power alone do the job? Robert A. Pape provides a systematic answer. Analyzing the results of over thirty air campaigns, including a detailed reconstruction of the Gulf War, he argues that the key to success is attacking the enemy's military strategy, not its economy, people, or leaders. Coercive air power can succeed, but not as cheaply as air enthusiasts would like to believe.

Pape examines the air raids on Germany, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq as well as those of Israel versus Egypt, providing details of bombing and governmental decision making. His detailed narratives of the strategic effectiveness of bombing range from the classical cases of World War II to an extraordinary reconstruction of airpower use in the Gulf War, based on recently declassified documents. In this now-classic work of the theory and practice of airpower and its political effects, Robert A. Pape helps military strategists and policy makers judge the purpose of various air strategies, and helps general readers understand the policy debates.

Top Selling in Politics & Current Events

The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap

Matt Taibbi
A scathing portrait of an urgent new American crisis
 
Over the last two decades, America has been falling deeper and deeper into a statistical mystery:
 
Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles.
Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world’s wealth. The rich get massively richer. No one goes to jail.
 
In search of a solution, journalist Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends—growing wealth inequality and mass incarceration—come together, driven by a dramatic shift in American citizenship: Our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or poverty. The Divide is what allows massively destructive fraud by the hyperwealthy to go unpunished, while turning poverty itself into a crime—but it’s impossible to see until you look at these two alarming trends side by side.
 
In The Divide, Matt Taibbi takes readers on a galvanizing journey through both sides of our new system of justice—the fun-house-mirror worlds of the untouchably wealthy and the criminalized poor. He uncovers the startling looting that preceded the financial collapse; a wild conspiracy of billionaire hedge fund managers to destroy a company through dirty tricks; and the story of a whistleblower who gets in the way of the largest banks in America, only to find herself in the crosshairs. On the other side of the Divide, Taibbi takes us to the front lines of the immigrant dragnet; into the newly punitive welfare system which treats its beneficiaries as thieves; and deep inside the stop-and-frisk world, where standing in front of your own home has become an arrestable offense. As he narrates these incredible stories, he draws out and analyzes their common source: a perverse new standard of justice, based on a radical, disturbing new vision of civil rights.
 
Through astonishing—and enraging—accounts of the high-stakes capers of the wealthy and nightmare stories of regular people caught in the Divide’s punishing logic, Taibbi lays bare one of the greatest challenges we face in contemporary American life: surviving a system that devours the lives of the poor, turns a blind eye to the destructive crimes of the wealthy, and implicates us all.

Praise for The Divide
 
“These are the stories that will keep you up at night. . . . The Divide is not just a report from the new America; it is advocacy journalism at its finest.”Los Angeles Times
 
“Ambitious . . . deeply reported, highly compelling . . . impossible to put down.”The New York Times Book Review
 
“Brilliant and enraging.”The Awl

Praise for Matt Taibbi’s Griftopia
 
“A stinging new history of the financial crisis that heralds a return of Menckenesque, dirt-under-the-fingernails American journalism.”GQ
 
“A relentlessly disturbing, penetrating exploration of the root causes of the trauma that upended economic security in millions of American homes . . . a full-scale indictment of Wall Street and Washington.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Matt Taibbi is [Hunter S.] Thompson’s heir. . . . [Griftopia] is the most lucid, justifiably angry description of what happened and what continues to happen to our nation’s economy.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer
 
“Taibbi chronicles the corruption of the political process with indignation and dark humor.”—Time


From the Hardcover edition.

The Real Crash (Fully Revised and Updated): America's Coming Bankruptcy---How to Save Yourself and Your Country

Peter Schiff

You might be thinking everything’s okay: the stock market is on the rise, jobs are growing, the worst of it is over.

You’d be wrong.

In The Real Crash, New York Times bestselling author Peter D. Schiff argues that America is enjoying a government-inflated bubble, one that reality will explode . . . with disastrous consequences for the economy and for each of us. Schiff demonstrates how the infusion of billions of dollars of stimulus money has only dug a deeper hole: the United States government simply spends too much and does not collect enough money to pay its debts, and in the end, Americans from all walks of life will face a crushing consequence.

We’re in hock to China, we can’t afford the homes we own, and the entire premise of our currency—backed by the full faith and credit of the United States—is false. Our system is broken, Schiff says, and there are only two paths forward.  The one we’re on now leads to a currency and sovereign debt crisis that will utterly destroy our economy and impoverish the vast majority of our citizens.  

However, if we change course, the road ahead will be a bit rockier at first, but the final destination will be far more appealing.  If we want to avoid complete collapse, we must drastically reduce government spending—eliminate entire agencies, end costly foreign military escapades and focus only on national defense—and stop student loan or mortgage interest deductions, as well as drug wars and bank-and-business bailouts. We must also do what no politician or pundit has proposed: America should declare bankruptcy, restructure its debts, and reform our system from the ground up.

Persuasively argued and provocative, The Real Crash explains how we got into this mess, how we might get out of it, and what happens if we don’t. And, with wisdom born from having predicted the Crash of 2008, Peter Schiff explains how to protect yourself, your family, your money, and your country against what he predicts.

Imagine: Living in a Socialist U.S.A.

Frances Goldin

"What are the possibilities inherent in Socialism? What is it? What can it mean to humanity ’s future? What would it look like in America? These are the questions raised in this exquisitely timely book. We must profoundly change the way we live, or we will not survive. A Socialism that we make ourselves could be the answer."—Alice Walker

The polar ice caps are melting, hurricanes and droughts ravish the planet, and Earth’s population is threatened by catastrophic climate change. Millions of American jobs have been sent overseas and aren’t coming back. Young African American men make up the majority of America’s prison population. Half of the American population is poor or near poor, living precariously on the brink, while the top one percent owns as much as the bottom eighty. Government police-state spying on its citizens is pervasive. Consequently, as former President Jimmy Carter has said, "we have no functioning democracy."

Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA is at once an indictment of American capitalism as the root cause of our spreading dystopia and a cri di coeur for what life could be like in the United States if we had economic as well as a real political democracy. It features thirty-one concise and accessible essays by revolutionary thinkers and activists on various aspects of a new society and, crucially, on how to get from where we are now to where we want to be, living in a society that is truly fair and just.

Contributors Include

Paul Street • Joel Kovel • Ron Reosti • Rick Wolff • Michael Steven Smith • Mumia Abu-Jamal • Angela Davis • Ajamu Baraka • Harriet Fraad • Tess Fraad-Wolff • Renate Bridenthal • Blanche Wiesen Cook • Leslie Cagan • Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz • Steven Wishnia •Juan Gonzalez • Frances Fox Piven • Arun Gupta • Tom Angotti • Dave Lindorff • William Ayers • Mat Callahan • Clifford D. Conner • Fred Jerome • Michael Moore • Michael Ratner • Kazembe Balagun • Michael Zweig • Dianne Feeley • Paul Le Blanc • Martín Espada • Terry Bisson

Mein Kampf

Adolf Hitler

The angry ranting of an obscure, small-party politician, the first volume of Mein Kampf was virtually ignored when it was originally published in 1925. Likewise the second volume, which appeared in 1926. The book details Hitler\'s childhood, the \"betrayal\" of Germany in World War I, the desire for revenge against France, the need for lebensraum for the German people, and the means by which the National Socialist party can gain power. It also includes Hitler\'s racist agenda and his glorification of the \"Aryan\" race. The few outside the Nazi party who read it dismissed it as nonsense, not believing that anyone couldor wouldcarry out its radical, terrorist programs. As Hitler and the Nazis gained power, first party members and then the general public were pressured to buy the book. By the time Hitler became chancellor of the Third Reich in 1933, the book stood atop the German bestseller lists. Had the book been taken seriously when it was first published, perhaps the 20th century would have been very different.

Beyond the anger, hatred, bigotry, and self-aggrandizing, Mein Kampf is saddled with tortured prose, meandering narrative, and tangled metaphors (one person was described as \"a thorn in the eyes of venal officials\"). That said, it is an incredibly important book. It is foolish to think that the Holocaust could not happen again, especially if World War II and its horrors are forgotten. As an Amazon reader has pointed out, "If you want to learn about why the Holocaust happened, you can\'t avoid reading the words of the man who was most responsible for it happening." Mein Kampf, therefore, must be read as a reminder that evil can all too easily grow.

The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth

Mark Mazzetti
A Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter’s riveting account of the transformation of the CIA and America’s special operations forces into man-hunting and killing machines in the world’s dark spaces: the new American way of war

The most momentous change in American warfare over the past decade has taken place away from the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, in the corners of the world where large armies can’t go. The Way of the Knife is the untold story of that shadow war: a campaign that has blurred the lines between soldiers and spies and lowered the bar for waging war across the globe. America has pursued its enemies with killer drones and special operations troops; trained privateers for assassination missions and used them to set up clandestine spying networks; and relied on mercurial dictators, untrustworthy foreign intelligence services, and proxy armies.

This new approach to war has been embraced by Washington as a lower risk, lower cost alternative to the messy wars of occupation and has been championed as a clean and surgical way of conflict. But the knife has created enemies just as it has killed them. It has fomented resentments among allies, fueled instability, and created new weapons unbound by the normal rules of accountability during wartime.

Mark Mazzetti tracks an astonishing cast of characters on the ground in the shadow war, from a CIA officer dropped into the tribal areas to learn the hard way how the spy games in Pakistan are played to the chain-smoking Pentagon official running an off-the-books spy operation, from a Virginia socialite whom the Pentagon hired to gather intelligence about militants in Somalia to a CIA contractor imprisoned in Lahore after going off the leash.

At the heart of the book is the story of two proud and rival entities, the CIA and the American military, elbowing each other for supremacy. Sometimes, as with the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, their efforts have been perfectly coordinated. Other times, including the failed operations disclosed here for the first time, they have not. For better or worse, their struggles will define American national security in the years to come.


The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man

Luke Harding

IT BEGAN WITH A TANTALIZING, ANONYMOUS EMAIL: “I AM A SENIOR MEMBER OF THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY.”
 
What followed was the most spectacular intelligence breach ever, brought about by one extraordinary man. Edward Snowden was a 29-year-old computer genius working for the National Security Agency when he shocked the world by exposing the near-universal mass surveillance programs of the United States government. His whistleblowing has shaken the leaders of nations worldwide, and generated a passionate public debate on the dangers of global monitoring and the threat to individual privacy.
 
In a tour de force of investigative journalism that reads like a spy novel, award-winning Guardian reporter Luke Harding tells Snowden’s astonishing story—from the day he left his glamorous girlfriend in Honolulu carrying a hard drive full of secrets, to the weeks of his secret-spilling in Hong Kong, to his battle for asylum and his exile in Moscow. For the first time, Harding brings together the many sources and strands of the story—touching on everything from concerns about domestic spying to the complicity of the tech sector—while also placing us in the room with Edward Snowden himself. The result is a gripping insider narrative—and a necessary and timely account of what is at stake for all of us in the new digital age.




From the Trade Paperback edition.

Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics

Charles Krauthammer
 From America’s preeminent columnist, named by the Financial Times the most influential commentator in the nation, the long-awaited collection of Charles Krauthammer’s essential, timeless writings.
 
A brilliant stylist known for an uncompromising honesty that challenges conventional wisdom at every turn, Krauthammer has for decades daz­zled readers with his keen insight into politics and government. His weekly column is a must-read in Washington and across the country. Now, finally, the best of Krauthammer’s intelligence, erudition and wit are collected in one volume.
 
Readers will find here not only the country’s leading conservative thinker offering a pas­sionate defense of limited government, but also a highly independent mind whose views—on feminism, evolution and the death penalty, for example—defy ideological convention. Things That Matter also features several of Krautham­mer’s major path-breaking essays—on bioeth­ics, on Jewish destiny and on America’s role as the world’s superpower—that have pro­foundly influenced the nation’s thoughts and policies. And finally, the collection presents a trove of always penetrating, often bemused re­flections on everything from border collies to Halley’s Comet, from Woody Allen to Win­ston Churchill, from the punishing pleasures of speed chess to the elegance of the perfectly thrown outfield assist.
 
With a special, highly autobiographical in­troduction in which Krauthammer reflects on the events that shaped his career and political philosophy, this indispensible chronicle takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the fashions and follies, the tragedies and triumphs, of the last three decades of American life.

Russians: The People behind the Power

Gregory Feifer
From former NPR Moscow correspondent Gregory Feifer comes an incisive portrait that draws on vivid personal stories to portray the forces that have shaped the Russian character for centuries-and continue to do so today.

RUSSIANS explores the seeming paradoxes of life in Russia by unraveling the nature of its people: what is it in their history, their desires, and their conception of themselves that makes them baffling to the West? Using the insights of his decade as a journalist in Russia, Feifer corrects pervasive misconceptions by showing that much of what appears inexplicable about the country is logical when seen from the inside. He gets to the heart of why the world's leading energy producer continues to exasperate many in the international community. And he makes clear why President Vladimir Putin remains popular even as the gap widens between the super-rich and the great majority of poor.

Traversing the world's largest country from the violent North Caucasus to Arctic Siberia, Feifer conducted hundreds of intimate conversations about everything from sex and vodka to Russia's complex relationship with the world. From fabulously wealthy oligarchs to the destitute elderly babushki who beg in Moscow's streets, he tells the story of a society bursting with vitality under a leadership rooted in tradition and often on the edge of collapse despite its authoritarian power.

Feifer also draws on formative experiences in Russia's past and illustrative workings of its culture to shed much-needed light on the purposely hidden functioning of its society before, during, and after communism. Woven throughout is an intimate, first-person account of his family history, from his Russian mother's coming of age among Moscow's bohemian artistic elite to his American father's harrowing vodka-fueled run-ins with the KGB.

What emerges is a rare portrait of a unique land of extremes whose forbidding geography, merciless climate, and crushing corruption has nevertheless produced some of the world's greatest art and some of its most remarkable scientific advances. RUSSIANS is an expertly observed, gripping profile of a people who will continue challenging the West for the foreseeable future.

A Brief History of Neoliberalism

David Harvey
Neoliberalism - the doctrine that market exchange is an ethic in itself, capable of acting as a guide for all human action - has become dominant in both thought and practice throughout much of the world since 1970 or so. Its spread has depended upon a reconstitution of state powers such that privatization, finance, and market processes are emphasized. State interventions in the economy are minimized, while the obligations of the state to provide for the welfare of its citizens are diminished. David Harvey, author of 'The New Imperialism' and 'The Condition of Postmodernity', here tells the political-economic story of where neoliberalization came from and how it proliferated on the world stage. While Thatcher and Reagan are often cited as primary authors of this neoliberal turn, Harvey shows how a complex of forces, from Chile to China and from New York City to Mexico City, have also played their part. In addition he explores the continuities and contrasts between neoliberalism of the Clinton sort and the recent turn towards neoconservative imperialism of George W. Bush. Finally, through critical engagement with this history, Harvey constructs a framework not only for analyzing the political and economic dangers that now surround us, but also for assessing the prospects for the more socially just alternatives being advocated by many oppositional movements.

Half the Sky

Nicholas D. Kristof
#1 National Bestseller

From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.

With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there, among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope.

They show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. That Cambodian girl eventually escaped from her brothel and, with assistance from an aid group, built a thriving retail business that supports her family. The Ethiopian woman had her injuries repaired and in time became a surgeon. A Zimbabwean mother of five, counseled to return to school, earned her doctorate and became an expert on AIDS.

Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. Unleashing that process globally is not only the right thing to do; it’s also the best strategy for fighting poverty.

Deeply felt, pragmatic, and inspirational, Half the Sky is essential reading for every global citizen.

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism

Jeremy Rifkin

In The Zero Marginal Cost Society, New York Times bestselling author Jeremy Rifkin describes how the emerging Internet of Things is speeding us to an era of nearly free goods and services, precipitating the meteoric rise of a global Collaborative Commons and the eclipse of capitalism.

 

Rifkin uncovers a paradox at the heart of capitalism that has propelled it to greatness but is now taking it to its death—the inherent entrepreneurial dynamism of competitive markets that drives productivity up and marginal costs down, enabling businesses to reduce the price of their goods and services in order to win over consumers and market share. (Marginal cost is the cost of producing additional units of a good or service, if fixed costs are not counted.) While economists have always welcomed a reduction in marginal cost, they never anticipated the possibility of a technological revolution that might bring marginal costs to near zero, making goods and services priceless, nearly free, and abundant, and no longer subject to market forces.

 

Now, a formidable new technology infrastructure—the Internet of things (IoT)—is emerging with the potential of pushing large segments of economic life to near zero marginal cost in the years ahead. Rifkin describes how the Communication Internet is converging with a nascent Energy Internet and Logistics Internet to create a new technology platform that connects everything and everyone. Billions of sensors are being attached to natural resources, production lines, the electricity grid, logistics networks, recycling flows, and implanted in homes, offices, stores, vehicles, and even human beings, feeding Big Data into an IoT global neural network. Prosumers can connect to the network and use Big Data, analytics, and algorithms to accelerate efficiency, dramatically increase productivity, and lower the marginal cost of producing and sharing a wide range of products and services to near zero, just like they now do with information goods.

 

The plummeting of marginal costs is spawning a hybrid economy—part capitalist market and part Collaborative Commons—with far reaching implications for society, according to Rifkin. Hundreds of millions of people are already transferring parts of their economic lives to the global Collaborative Commons. Prosumers are plugging into the fledgling IoT and making and sharing their own information, entertainment, green energy, and 3D-printed products at near zero marginal cost. They are also sharing cars, homes, clothes and other items via social media sites, rentals, redistribution clubs, and cooperatives at low or near zero marginal cost. Students are enrolling in free massive open online courses (MOOCs) that operate at near zero marginal cost. Social entrepreneurs are even bypassing the banking establishment and using crowdfunding to finance startup businesses as well as creating alternative currencies in the fledgling sharing economy. In this new world, social capital is as important as financial capital, access trumps ownership, sustainability supersedes consumerism, cooperation ousts competition, and “exchange value” in the capitalist marketplace is increasingly replaced by “sharable value” on the Collaborative Commons.

 

Rifkin concludes that capitalism will remain with us, albeit in an increasingly streamlined role, primarily as an aggregator of network services and solutions, allowing it to flourish as a powerful niche player in the coming era. We are, however, says Rifkin, entering a world beyond markets where we are learning how to live together in an increasingly interdependent global Collaborative Commons.

Strategy: A History

Lawrence Freedman
Selected as a Financial Times Best Book of 2013 In Strategy: A History, Sir Lawrence Freedman, one of the world's leading authorities on war and international politics, captures the vast history of strategic thinking, in a consistently engaging and insightful account of how strategy came to pervade every aspect of our lives. The range of Freedman's narrative is extraordinary, moving from the surprisingly advanced strategy practiced in primate groups, to the opposing strategies of Achilles and Odysseus in The Iliad, the strategic advice of Sun Tzu and Machiavelli, the great military innovations of Baron Henri de Jomini and Carl von Clausewitz, the grounding of revolutionary strategy in class struggles by Marx, the insights into corporate strategy found in Peter Drucker and Alfred Sloan, and the contributions of the leading social scientists working on strategy today. The core issue at the heart of strategy, the author notes, is whether it is possible to manipulate and shape our environment rather than simply become the victim of forces beyond one's control. Time and again, Freedman demonstrates that the inherent unpredictability of this environment-subject to chance events, the efforts of opponents, the missteps of friends-provides strategy with its challenge and its drama. Armies or corporations or nations rarely move from one predictable state of affairs to another, but instead feel their way through a series of states, each one not quite what was anticipated, requiring a reappraisal of the original strategy, including its ultimate objective. Thus the picture of strategy that emerges in this book is one that is fluid and flexible, governed by the starting point, not the end point. A brilliant overview of the most prominent strategic theories in history, from David's use of deception against Goliath, to the modern use of game theory in economics, this masterful volume sums up a lifetime of reflection on strategy.

Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World

Andrew Breitbart
Known for his network of conservative websites that draws millions of readers everyday, Andrew Breitbart has one main goal: to make sure the "liberally biased" major news outlets in this country cover all aspects of a story fairly. Breitbart is convinced that too many national stories are slanted by the news media in an unfair way.

In RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION, Breitbart talks about the key issues that Americans face, how he has aligned himself with the Tea Party, and how one needs to deal with the liberal news world head on. Along the way, he details his early years, working with Matt Drudge, the Huffington Post, and so on, and how Breitbart developed his unique style of launching key websites to help get the word out to conservatives all over.

A rollicking and controversial read, Breitbart will certainly raise your blood pressure, one way or another.

Cengage Advantage Books: American Government and Politics Today, Brief Edition, 2012-2013: Edition 7

Steffen Schmidt
New features, up-to-date political news and analysis and a great low price make AMERICAN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS TODAY: BRIEF EDITION, 2012-2013 a top seller. The text shows students how easily and effectively students can participate in the political process. Praised for its balanced coverage, the book examines all the key concepts of American government, while providing exciting student-oriented features that focus on active citizenship.
Important Notice: Media content referenced within the product description or the product text may not be available in the ebook version.

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

Barack Obama
In July 2004, Barack Obama electrified the Democratic National Convention with an address that spoke to Americans across the political spectrum. One phrase in particular anchored itself in listeners’ minds, a reminder that for all the discord and struggle to be found in our history as a nation, we have always been guided by a dogged optimism in the future, or what Obama called “the audacity of hope.”

The Audacity of Hope is Barack Obama’s call for a different brand of politics—a politics for those weary of bitter partisanship and alienated by the “endless clash of armies” we see in congress and on the campaign trail; a politics rooted in the faith, inclusiveness, and nobility of spirit at the heart of “our improbable experiment in democracy.” He explores those forces—from the fear of losing to the perpetual need to raise money to the power of the media—that can stifle even the best-intentioned politician. He also writes, with surprising intimacy and self-deprecating humor, about settling in as a senator, seeking to balance the demands of public service and family life, and his own deepening religious commitment.

At the heart of this book is Barack Obama’s vision of how we can move beyond our divisions to tackle concrete problems. He examines the growing economic insecurity of American families, the racial and religious tensions within the body politic, and the transnational threats—from terrorism to pandemic—that gather beyond our shores. And he grapples with the role that faith plays in a democracy—where it is vital and where it must never intrude. Underlying his stories about family, friends, and members of the Senate is a vigorous search for connection: the foundation for a radically hopeful political consensus.

A public servant and a lawyer, a professor and a father, a Christian and a skeptic, and above all a student of history and human nature, Barack Obama has written a book of transforming power. Only by returning to the principles that gave birth to our Constitution, he says, can Americans repair a political process that is broken, and restore to working order a government that has fallen dangerously out of touch with millions of ordinary Americans. Those Americans are out there, he writes—“waiting for Republicans and Democrats to catch up with them.”


From the Hardcover edition.

After America: Get Ready for Armageddon

Mark Steyn
Optimistic About America’s Future?
Don’t Be.


In his giant New York Times bestseller, America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, Mark Steyn predicted collapse for the rest of the Western World. Now, he adds, America has caught up with Europe on the great rush to self-destruction.

It’s not just our looming financial collapse; it’s not just a culture that seems on a fast track to perdition, full of hapless, indulgent, childish people who think government has the answer for every problem; it’s not just America’s potential eclipse as a world power because of the drunken sailor policymaking in Washington—no, it’s all this and more that spells one word for America: Armageddon.

What will a world without American leadership look like? It won’t be pretty—not for you and not for your children. America’s decline won’t be gradual, like an aging Europe sipping espresso at a café until extinction (and the odd Greek or Islamist riot). No, America’s decline will be a wrenching affair marked by violence and possibly secession.

With his trademark wit, Steyn delivers the depressing news with raw and unblinking honesty—but also with the touch of vaudeville stand-up and soft shoe that makes him the most entertaining, yet profound, columnist on the planet. And as an immigrant with nowhere else to go, he offers his own prescription for winning America back from the feckless and arrogant liberal establishment that has done its level best to suffocate the world’s last best hope in a miasma of debt, decay, and debility. You will not read a more important—or more alarming, or even funnier—book all year than After America.

What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America

Cal Thomas
Solutions ... not theories. Political progress ... not political posturing. Instead of the constant jockeying for political advantage, in What Works, author and columnist Cal Thomas focuses on what promotes the general welfare, regardless of which party or ideology gets the credit. Thomas probes and provides answers to questions like, Why must we constantly fight the same battles over and over? Why don’t we consult the past and use common sense in order to see that what others discovered long ago still works today? And why does present-day Washington too often look like the film Groundhog Day, with our elected officials waking up each day only to repeat identical talking points from previous days, months, and years? Without letting politics, or ignorance, get in the way, Thomas urges readers to pay attention so that politicians can no longer pick their pockets---literally or intellectually. What Works is about solutions, not theories. It’s about pressuring political leadership to forget about the next election and start focusing on the needs of the people who work hard to provide for themselves, send their tax dollars to Washington, and want to see the country achieve something of value ... like it has always done.

Communist Manifesto: The revolutionary text that changed the course of history

Karl Marx

This book is essential for anyone seeking to understand the history of the 19th and 20th centuries. Comprehending the motives and actions of many of its leading figures is impossible unless one has read this key text. 'The Communist Manifesto' left its mark upon the souls of leaders and rebels alike and shaped the deeds of whole nations for the greater part of 100 years. It could also be said to have led indirectly to the violent death of hundreds of millions of people.

Rules for Radicals

Saul Alinsky

First published in 1971, Rules for Radicals is Saul Alinsky's impassioned counsel to young radicals on how to effect constructive social change and know “the difference between being a realistic radical and being a rhetorical one.” Written in the midst of radical political developments whose direction Alinsky was one of the first to question, this volume exhibits his style at its best. Like Thomas Paine before him, Alinsky was able to combine, both in his person and his writing, the intensity of political engagement with an absolute insistence on rational political discourse and adherence to the American democratic tradition.




From the Trade Paperback edition.

Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power

Steve Coll
An “extraordinary” and “monumental” exposé of Big Oil from two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Coll (The Washington Post)

In this, the first hard-hitting examination of ExxonMobil—the largest and most powerful private corporation in the United States—Steve Coll reveals the true extent of its power. Private Empire pulls back the curtain, tracking the corporation’s recent history and its central role on the world stage, beginning with the Exxon Valdez accident in 1989 and leading to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The action spans the globe—featuring kidnapping cases, civil wars, and high-stakes struggles at the Kremlin—and the narrative is driven by larger-than-life characters, including corporate legend Lee “Iron Ass” Raymond, ExxonMobil’s chief executive until 2005. A penetrating, news-breaking study, Private Empire is a defining portrait of Big Oil in American politics and foreign policy.


No, They Can't: Why Government Fails-But Individuals Succeed

John Stossel
The government is not a neutral arbiter of truth. It never has been. It never will be. Doubt everything. John Stossel does. A self-described skeptic, he has dismantled society’s sacred cows with unerring common sense. Now he debunks the most sacred of them all: our intuition and belief that government can solve our problems. In No, They Can’t, the New York Times bestselling author and Fox News commentator insists that we discard that idea of the “perfect” government—left or right—and retrain our brain to look only at the facts, to rethink our lives as independent individuals—and fast.

With characteristic tenacity, John Stossel outlines and exposes the fallacies and facts of the most pressing issues of today’s social and political climate—and shows how our intuitions about them are, frankly, wrong:

• the unreliable marriage between big business, the media, and unions

• the myth of tax breaks and the ignorance of their advocates

• why “central planners” never create more jobs and how government never really will

• why free trade works—without government Interference

• federal regulations and the trouble they create for consumers

• the harm caused to the disabled by government protection of the disabled

• the problems (social and economic) generated by minimum-wage laws

• the destructive daydreams of “health insurance for everyone”

• bad food vs. good food and the government’s intrusive, unwelcome nanny sensibilities

• the dumbing down of public education and teachers’ unions

• how gun control actually increases crime

. . . and more myth-busting realities of why the American people must wrest our lives back from a government stranglehold.

Stossel also reveals how his unyielding desire to educate the public with the truth caused an irreparable rift with ABC (nobody wanted to hear the point-by- point facts of ObamaCare), and why he left his long-running stint for a new, uncensored forum with Fox. He lays out his ideas for education innovation as well and, finally, makes it perfectly clear why government action is the least effective and desirable fantasy to hang on to. As Stossel says, “It’s not about electing the right people. It’s about narrowing responsibilities.” No, They Can’t is an irrefutable first step toward that goal.

Twilight of Abundance: Why the 21st Century Will Be Nasty, Brutish, and Short

David Archibald
Baby boomers enjoyed the most benign period in human history: fifty years of relative peace, cheap energy, plentiful grain supply, and a warming climate due to the highest solar activity for 8,000 years. The party is over—prepare for the twilight of abundance.

Asia's Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific

Robert D. Kaplan
From Robert D. Kaplan, named one of the world’s Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine, comes a penetrating look at the volatile region that will dominate the future of geopolitical conflict.
 
Over the last decade, the center of world power has been quietly shifting from Europe to Asia. With oil reserves of several billion barrels, an estimated nine hundred trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and several centuries’ worth of competing territorial claims, the South China Sea in particular is a simmering pot of potential conflict. The underreported military buildup in the area where the Western Pacific meets the Indian Ocean means that it will likely be a hinge point for global war and peace for the foreseeable future.
 
In Asia’s Cauldron, Robert D. Kaplan offers up a vivid snapshot of the nations surrounding the South China Sea, the conflicts brewing in the region at the dawn of the twenty-first century, and their implications for global peace and stability. One of the world’s most perceptive foreign policy experts, Kaplan interprets America’s interests in Asia in the context of an increasingly assertive China. He explains how the region’s unique geography fosters the growth of navies but also impedes aggression. And he draws a striking parallel between China’s quest for hegemony in the South China Sea and the United States’ imperial adventure in the Caribbean more than a century ago.
 
To understand the future of conflict in East Asia, Kaplan argues, one must understand the goals and motivations of its leaders and its people. Part travelogue, part geopolitical primer, Asia’s Cauldron takes us on a journey through the region’s boom cities and ramshackle slums: from Vietnam, where the superfueled capitalism of the erstwhile colonial capital, Saigon, inspires the geostrategic pretensions of the official seat of government in Hanoi, to Malaysia, where a unique mix of authoritarian Islam and Western-style consumerism creates quite possibly the ultimate postmodern society; and from Singapore, whose “benevolent autocracy” helped foster an economic miracle, to the Philippines, where a different brand of authoritarianism under Ferdinand Marcos led not to economic growth but to decades of corruption and crime.
 
At a time when every day’s news seems to contain some new story—large or small—that directly relates to conflicts over the South China Sea, Asia’s Cauldron is an indispensable guide to a corner of the globe that will affect all of our lives for years to come.

Advance praise for Asia’s Cauldron
 
Asia’s Cauldron is a perfect summation of the present turbulent moment in history, when the World War II security structure is beginning a rapid transformation. Kaplan engages the striking possibilities of where the current confrontation between China and Japan could lead, and underscores the point that this is a lot more significant than a simple border dispute.”—Paul Bracken, Yale University, author of The Second Nuclear Age
 
“Master global strategist Robert D. Kaplan turns his gaze to the bubbling heat of the South China Sea in his latest tour de force. Asia’s Cauldron deconstructs the extreme volatility of this enormous, dangerous, and vital maritime space.”Admiral James Stavridis, United States Navy (Ret.), dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University and Supreme Allied Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 2009–2013


From the Hardcover edition.

The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World O

Samuel P. Huntington
The classic study of post-Cold War international relations, more relevant than ever in the post-9/11 world, with a new foreword by Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Since its initial publication, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order has become a classic work of international relations and one of the most influential books ever written about foreign affairs. An insightful and powerful analysis of the forces driving global politics, it is as indispensable to our understanding of American foreign policy today as the day it was published. As former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski says in his new foreword to the book, it “has earned a place on the shelf of only about a dozen or so truly enduring works that provide the quintessential insights necessary for a broad understanding of world affairs in our time.”

Samuel Huntington explains how clashes between civilizations are the greatest threat to world peace but also how an international order based on civilizations is the best safeguard against war. Events since the publication of the book have proved the wisdom of that analysis. The 9/11 attacks and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated the threat of civilizations but have also shown how vital international cross-civilization cooperation is to restoring peace. As ideological distinctions among nations have been replaced by cultural differences, world politics has been reconfigured. Across the globe, new conflicts—and new cooperation—have replaced the old order of the Cold War era.

The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order explains how the population explosion in Muslim countries and the economic rise of East Asia are changing global politics. These developments challenge Western dominance, promote opposition to supposedly “universal” Western ideals, and intensify intercivilization conflict over such issues as nuclear proliferation, immigration, human rights, and democracy. The Muslim population surge has led to many small wars throughout Eurasia, and the rise of China could lead to a global war of civilizations. Huntington offers a strategy for the West to preserve its unique culture and emphasizes the need for people everywhere to learn to coexist in a complex, multipolar, muliticivilizational world.