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3 Books For Your Consideration

First of all, there will be no quizzes or essays following the reading of these books. Maybe this is a time for you to go further into the deep end of the political pool, rather than just wading through headlines and sound bites.

 A Presidency in PerilA Presidency in Peril: The Inside Story of Obama's Promise, Wall Street's Power, and the Struggle to Control our Economic Future
by Robert Kuttner

Don't let the lengthy title discourage you. Here's an excerpt from a review at Global Geopolitics:

"Much of the book focuses on the response to the economic crisis, in particular the bank bailouts and the stimulus. In both cases Obama took a centrist path that largely protected the interests of the wealthy. This is most clear in the case of the bank bailout. In the closing weeks of the presidential campaign Obama took time out to push for the TARP, a huge wad of money for the banks that came largely without strings. After TARP, the bailouts continued, with Citigroup and Bank of America nursed back to life thanks to the generosity of the taxpayers."

The author, Robert Kuttner, presents the position that the bailout was never ambitious to begin with. In the end, the plan was inadequate in its impact on the economy. He also addresses the health care strategy, giving the premise that it was poorly timed and poorly developed.

 Strange Days IndeedStrange Days Indeed: The 1970s: The Golden Age of Paranoia
by Francis Wheen

If you are longing for the politics of yester-year, this book might help remind us that politics have not changed all that much. Wheen presents the readers with anecdotes about the leaders of this decade who had strange behaviors- from a leader who did not bathe, Nixon's late night visits to the capitol to practice speaking, and a ruler who had a favorite song to execute his rivals by. And that's just the beginning! Wheen, who declares the "insanity was contagious", goes on to delve into cultural events that appear to be in the realm of lunacy, thirty years later. There is little analysis to the events that Wheen chooses to share, which leaves the reader to draw his/her own conclusions about the decade.

Read more about the book in the Washington Post review.

 Between Two WorldsBetween Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran
by Roxana Saberi

For a look into a world quite different from ours, you might consider reading the story Saberi tells of her own captivity in Iran. In early 2009, Saberi had been convicted of espionage and sentenced to eight years at Evin Prison in Iran. After serving five months, she was released, due in part, to political diplomacy by US diplomats. Her story tells of her naiveté in dealing with the government of Iran, making assumptions based on her logic as an American citizen, "what could they possibly want from me?" This is not the logic used by the Islamic Republic, and in the end, she confessed to being a CIA spy on a mission to help overthrow the government in a so-called soft revolution. Her story is one of courage and redemption. The politics of the negotiation of her release is briefly examined, which caused some heat for the White House at the time. Read a review by one journalist at San Francisco Chronicle

During her time in prison, the Huffington Post devoted an entire page from their website to her cause.

Whether you choose to read about the past, present, or perseverance, hopefully you'll find an interesting political book to dive into this summer.


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