READING FOR THE RESISTANCE 2017



 

   

Unabridged Bookstore is excited to promote a new weekly series for 2017, #readingisresistance.  Each week of 2017 we will feature a different title, either a new book or a classic text, that is relevant for one to remain informed, engaged and sane in these crazy political times.  Read important books about what is happening in our world now.  Read to escape, but also read to become informed.  Read history books.  Read current event books.  Read as if your democracy depended on it, because it probably does.  Reading is educating oneself.  Reading encourages free thinking.  Reading is the sharing of ideas.  Reading is a political act.  Reading is an antidote to cynicism. Reading recognizes demagoguery and rejects it.

READING IS RESISTANCE.

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FEATURED TITLE: Week of June 19th

Behind today’s headlines of billionaires taking over our government is a secretive political establishment with long, deep, and troubling roots. The capitalist radical right has been working not simply to change who rules, but to fundamentally alter the rules of democratic governance. But billionaires did not launch this movement; a white intellectual in the embattled Jim Crow South did. Democracy in Chains names its true architect—the Nobel Prize-winning political economist James McGill Buchanan—and dissects the operation he and his colleagues designed over six decades to alter every branch of government to disempower the majority.

In a brilliant and engrossing narrative, Nancy MacLean shows how Buchanan forged his ideas about government in a last gasp attempt to preserve the white elite’s power in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education. In response to the widening of American democracy, he developed a brilliant, if diabolical, plan to undermine the ability of the majority to use its numbers to level the playing field between the rich and powerful and the rest of us. 

Corporate donors and their right-wing foundations were only too eager to support Buchanan’s work in teaching others how to divide America into “makers” and “takers.” And when a multibillionaire on a messianic mission to rewrite the social contract of the modern world, Charles Koch, discovered Buchanan, he created a vast, relentless, and multi-armed machine to carry out Buchanan’s strategy. 

Without Buchanan's ideas and Koch's money, the libertarian right would not have succeeded in its stealth takeover of the Republican Party as a delivery mechanism. Now, with Mike Pence as Vice President, the cause has a longtime loyalist in the White House, not to mention a phalanx of Republicans in the House, the Senate, a majority of state governments, and the courts, all carrying out the plan. That plan includes harsher laws to undermine unions, privatizing everything from schools to health care and Social Security, and keeping as many of us as possible from voting. Based on ten years of unique research, Democracy in Chains tells a chilling story of right-wing academics and big money run amok. This revelatory work of scholarship is also a call to arms to protect the achievements of twentieth-century American self-government.

 

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PAST FEATURED TITLES 2017

Acclaimed journalist, activist, and bestselling author Naomi Klein has spent two decades studying political shocks, climate change, and “brand bullies.” From this unique perspective, she argues that Trump is not an aberration but a logical extension of the worst, most dangerous trends of the past half-century—the very conditions that have unleashed a rising tide of white nationalism the world over. It is not enough, she tells us, to merely resist, to say “no.” Our historical moment demands more: a credible and inspiring “yes,” a roadmap to reclaiming the populist ground from those who would divide us—one that sets a bold course for winning the fair and caring world we want and need.

Paperback: $16.95

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In an incisive, thorough analysis of the current international situation, Noam Chomsky examines the way that the United States, despite the rise of Europe and Asia, still largely sets the terms of global discourse. Drawing on a wide range of examples, from the sordid history of U.S. involvement with Cuba to the sanctions on Iran, he details how America’s rhetoric of freedom and human rights so often diverges from its actions. He delves deep into the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel-Palestine, providing unexpected and nuanced insights into the workings of imperial power on our increasingly chaotic planet. And, in a new afterword, he addresses the election of Donald Trump and what it shows about American society.

Fierce, unsparing, and meticulously documented, Who Rules the World? delivers the indispensable understanding of the central issues of our time that we have come to expect from Chomsky.

Now in paperback: $18.00

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We are in an age of epic political turbulence in America. Old hierarchies and institutions are collapsing. From the election of Donald Trump to the upending of the major political parties to the spread of grassroots movements like Black Lives Matter and $15 Now, people across the country and across the political spectrum are reclaiming power.  Are you ready for this age of bottom-up citizen power? Do you understand what power truly is, how it flows, who has it, and how you can claim and exercise it?  Eric Liu, who has spent a career practicing and teaching civic power, lays out the answers in this incisive, inspiring, and provocative book. Using examples from the left and the right, past and present, he reveals the core laws of power. He shows that all of us can generate power-and then, step by step, he shows us how. The strategies of reform and revolution he lays out will help every reader make sense of our world today. If you want to be more than a spectator in this new era, you need to read this book.

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In Rules for Resistance, writers from Russia, Turkey, India, Hungary, Chile, China, Canada, Italy, and elsewhere tell Americans what to expect under our own new regime, and give us guidance for living—and for resisting—in the Trump era.  Advice includes being on the watch for the prosecution of political opponents, the use of libel laws to attack critics, the gutting of non-partisan institutions, and the selective application of the law.

In paperback: $15.95

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 Enter Donald J Trump and his team of advisors.  For them, as Gladstone writes, lying is the point.  The more blatant the lie, the easier it is to hijack reality and assert power over the truth.  Drawing on writers as diverse as Hannah Arendt, Walter Lippmann, and Jonathan Swift, she dissects this strategy out of the authoritarian playbook and shows how the Trump team mastered it.  She analyzes Trump tweets including the "diversion tweet," the "trial ballloon tweet," and the "deflection tweet."

And she offers hope--the inevitable reckoning history tells us we count on--and a way to recover both our belief in reality and our sanity.  NOW IN PAPERBACK $8.95

 

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Radical Hope is a collection of letters—to ancestors, to children five generations from now, to strangers in grocery lines, to any and all who feel weary and discouraged—written by award-winning novelists, poets, political thinkers, and activists. Provocative and inspiring, Radical Hope offers readers a kaleidoscopic view of the love and courage needed to navigate this time of upheaval, uncertainty, and fear, in view of the recent US presidential election.

 

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In this “thought-provoking and important” (Library Journal) analysis of state-sanctioned violence, Marc Lamont Hill carefully considers a string of high-profile deaths in America—Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and others—and incidents of gross negligence by government, such as the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. He digs underneath these events to uncover patterns and policies of authority that allow some citizens become disempowered, disenfranchised, poor, uneducated, exploited, vulnerable, and disposable. To help us understand the plight of vulnerable communities, he examines the effects of unfettered capitalism, mass incarceration, and political power while urging us to consider a new world in which everyone has a chance to become somebody. Heralded as an essential text for our times, Marc Lamont Hill’s galvanizing work embodies the best traditions of scholarship, journalism, and storytelling to lift unheard voices and to address the necessary question, “how did we get here?"

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In the face of widespread fear and apathy, an international coalition of researchers, professionals, and scientists have come together to offer a set of realistic and bold solutions to climate change. One hundred techniques and practices are described here—some are well known; some you may have never heard of. They range from clean energy to educating girls in lower-income countries to land use practices that pull carbon out of the air. The solutions exist, are economically viable, and communities throughout the world are currently enacting them with skill and determination. If deployed collectively on a global scale over the next thirty years, they represent a credible path forward, not just to slow the earth’s warming but to reach drawdown, that point in time when greenhouse gases in the atmosphere peak and begin to decline. These measures promise cascading benefits to human health, security, prosperity, and well-being—giving us every reason to see this planetary crisis as an opportunity to create a just and livable world

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Ed loved this practical, inspirational book that is both a memoir and an activist handbook. Reverend Barber is involved in the struggle for justice in North Carolina, at the forefront of the resistance, building a new justice movement with a fusion coalition of people committed to America’s third reconstruction (the first was after the civil war; the second was the civil rights movement of the 60’s), following in the footsteps of Martin Luther King, jr.  He organizes and mobilizes for collective action, taking a stand AGAINST systemic injustice in America: the wealth divide, the legacy of slavery, racism, militarism, homophobia. He believes in a moral movement toward justice (that also includes non-religious people), fighting FOR workers’ rights, voting rights, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and women’s access to healthcare with FUSION COALITIONS that are “radically inclusive”, pursuing “militantly pro-labor, pro-justice, anti-racist, anti-poverty solutions.” The Third Reconstruction reads as a primer on how to successfully fight the radical right, including a 14-point mobilization plan. Ed highly recommends!!

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THE NASTY WOMEN PROJECT is an invaluable collection of heartfelt and courageous voices from American women that is sure to rouse and inspire. All proceeds from the sale of this book go to Planned Parenthood!

 

 

 

 

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Today, with economic inequality rising, the middle class collapsing, and power increasingly concentrated in the hands of economic elites, our middle-class constitution is at risk. Steps must be taken to preserve middle-class America or the united states will cease to be a democracy, says Vanderbilt law professor (and former Elizabeth Warren policy director) Ganesh Sitaraman, author of The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic. This provocative, compelling, even thrilling book, fusing political philosophy, history and economics, gives a historical context to our present problem: the collapse of the middle class, the number one threat to American constitutional government today.  If we want to preserve our republic, the only sustainable answer is to rebuild our middle class; this important book is a monumental achievement providing a bold, historic vision that can ignite our collective imagination and frame the debate about solutions. Ed loved and highly recommends.

 

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ON TYRANNY is a small, succint primer listing "twenty lessons from the twentieth century" to consider when contemplating our current, imperiled political order.  The book's message: It CAN happen here but we CAN prevent it.  We need more writers like Timothy Snyder, and more discerning readers to engage in the political act of reading books like this!

 

 

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A COLONY IN A NATION is a welcome addition to the current literature dealing with racial inequality, privilege, and the American Criminal Justice System. Hayes argues that there are really two Americas- a nation, where Americans are treated as citizens, and a colony, where people are treated as colonized and where policing resembles   occupation. His brilliantly argued critique of “white fear” is essential reading, and Hayes helps reframe our thinking on the politics of American crime and punishment. A compelling, urgent read!

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TEARS WE CANNOT STOP is a powerful work of cultural analysis.  It is a cry from the heart, a lament, an urgent book in the vein of James Baldwin's THE FIRE NEXT TIME and Martin Luther King's WHY WE CAN'T WAIT, told with righteous anger and unflinching honesty.  It is moving, challenging, sometimes uncomfortable and provocative, covering the ideas of white privilege, the culture of whiteness, the power of language, black subjugation, the myth of white history as American history, and personal reparations, complete with an amazing reading list to encourage further learning.  Read and be prepared to be changed.

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HOPE IN THE DARK is Rebecca Solnit’s rallying cry for activism, her well thought-out, well-argued case for hope in transforming society.  Martin Luther King spoke of an “infinite hope,” and Solnit explains its importance and how to maintain it, not as a substitute for action, but as a prerequisite for it.  Howard Zinn said the “struggle for justice should never be abandoned because of the over-whelming power of those wo have the guns and money,” and Solnit argues that to maintain in hope is the opposite of powerlessness, that resistance begins in the imagination, that hope generates struggle which generates more hope, that hope is a rejection of inaction and defeatism, that hope sustains activism.  This is truly an important book for our times!

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DEMAND THE IMPOSSIBLE! asks you to close your eyes for a moment and think creatively about what a better world might look like, ask “what if?” and question received wisdom; then grow these questions into calls to action, into creating alternatives, into challenging profit-driven systems everywhere, into “getting busy with projects of reframing and repair, movement making, agitating, educating, and community organizing.” 

 

 

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THE FIRE NEXT TIME is a brilliant, searing, intensely personal document, written in the form of a letter (2 letters, actually,1 short and 1 much longer) that gives voice to the disturbing/ongoing consequences of racial injustice in America.  Full of passion and eloquence, it is especially relevant today some 50 years after its initial 1963 publication.  It is an indictment of, and an exhortation to address, racism’s terrible legacy, and the continued enslavement of black people in America, 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. 

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DARK MONEY is written in straightforward and largely unemotional prose, but it reads as if conceived in quiet anger. Mayer believes that the Koch brothers and a small number of allied plutocrats have essentially hijacked American democracy, using their money not just to compete with their political adversaries, but to drown them out.  It emerges as an impressively reported and well-documented work. The importance of DARK MONEY flows from its scope and perspective. It is not easy to uncover the inner workings of an essentially secretive political establishment. Mayer has come as close to doing it as anyone is likely to come anytime soon.

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FREEDOM IS A CONSTANT STRUGGLE is an incisive, urgent, and comprehensive understanding of systematic racism, the grounds for intersectional analysis and solidarity, and the importance of working together as equals to unmask and depose systems of injustice. This wide-ranging and brilliant set of essays includes a trenchant analysis of police violence against people of color, of the systematic incarceration of black people in America, the grounds of Palestinian solidarity for the Left, the affirmation of transgender inclusion, and the necessity of opposing the G4S corporation and its high-profit empire dedicated to the institutionalization of racism in the name of security. 

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 BEAUTIFUL TROUBLE brings together dozens of seasoned artists and activists from around the world to distill their best practices into a toolbox for creative action. Sophisticated enough for veteran activists, accessible enough for newbies, this compendium of troublemaking wisdom is a must-have for aspiring changemakers. Showcasing the synergies between artistic imagination and shrewd political strategy, Beautiful Trouble is for everyone who longs for a more beautiful, more just, more livable world – and wants to know how to get there.

 

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THE ORIGINS OF TOTALITARIANISM begins with the rise of anti-Semitism in central and western Europe in the 1800s and continues with an examination of European colonial imperialism from 1884 to the outbreak of World War I. Arendt explores the institutions and operations of totalitarian movements, focusing on the two genuine forms of totalitarian government in our time—Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia—which she adroitly recognizes were two sides of the same coin, rather than opposing philosophies of Right and Left. From this vantage point, she discusses the evolution of classes into masses, the role of propaganda in dealing with the nontotalitarian world, the use of terror, and the nature of isolation and loneliness as preconditions for total domination.

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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.

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WHAT WE DO NOW is a collection of passionate manifestos by some of the country's leading progressives, aims to provide a blueprint for how those stunned progressives can move forward. Its powerful contributions -- from economists, environmentalists, activists, artists, politicians, and novelists -- will offer encouragement and guidance to practicing constitutionally protected acts of resistance throughout the unprecedented upcoming administration.

 



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THE TRUMP SURVIVAL GUIDE, by Gene Stone, offers invaluable guidance and concrete solutions they can use to make a difference in this serious call-to-arms—showing them how to move from anger and despair to activism as the Trump presidency is in full swing and he signs one executive order after another.  While marches and social media are important forms of protest, concrete actions achieve real change. Positive and reinforcing, The Trump Survival Guide presents the essential information we need to effectively make our voices heard and our power felt.