Book Recommendations

Reading is a great way to expand both your knowledge base and your perspective on the world. Here are a few books that I think are particularly useful in one or both of those endeavors.

  1. One Nation Under God, by Kevin M. Kruse – A beautifully researched and written guide to how American Christianity got so damn weird.
  2. A Bigger Table, by John Pavlovitz – A great companion to Kruse’s book. Pavlovitz, a former megachurch pastor, talks about what’s wrong with the Church today and what can be done to fix it.
  3. An American Sickness, by Elisabeth Rosenthal – A guide to the multiple factors that go into making our healthcare system the most expensive in the world.
  4. The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander – A look at the causes and effects of mass incarceration, and why they aren’t what the average white American might think they are.
  5. White Trash, by Nancy Isenburg – A history of the class structure that we deny exists in America but has been used for 400 years to keep working-class white people from questioning their own oppression by keeping them angry at those below them.
  6. You Are Not So Smart, by David McRaney – A look at the ways our brains serve as imperfect filters and interfere with our view of the world. You can’t understand the world until you understand how you understand the world.
  7. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond – An intensive study of housing-insecure communities in Milwaukee and the systemic causes of housing insecurity.
  8. Enemies: A History of the FBI, by Tim Weiner – If you’ve spent time in lefty activism circles and found yourself wondering why we’re always tripping over our own feet, this book will give you the answer.
  9. The Other End of the Leash, by Patricia McConnell – This is actually a book about dog training, which might seem off topic, but the year I spent learning about teaching dogs taught me more about teaching humans than 20 years of activism work.
  10. Organizing For Social Change, by the Midwest Academy – A comprehensive textbook on how to build an effective grassroots movement.
  11. 101 Tessellations to Color, by Wiley Fry – A detailed analysis of economic… Oh wait, this one’s just my own coloring book. But it’s still fun and worth buying ^_^
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