The best 27 Political Science books

Political science is a fascinating field that helps us understand the complex workings of government, politics, and power. In this thoughtfully curated book list, we dive into the various theories, ideologies, and institutions that shape our political landscape. Whether you're a student of political science or simply interested in global affairs, these titles will provide you with a deeper understanding of the forces that drive our societies. So grab a book and embark on a journey through the intriguing world of political science.

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1
Political Science Books: Twilight of Democracy by Anne Applebaum

Twilight of Democracy

Anne Applebaum
The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism

What's Twilight of Democracy about?

In "Twilight of Democracy," Anne Applebaum examines the rise of authoritarianism and the erosion of democratic values in Western societies. Drawing on her own experiences and interviews with former friends and colleagues who have embraced far-right ideologies, Applebaum offers a compelling analysis of the factors contributing to this troubling trend and its potential consequences for the future of democracy. This thought-provoking book provides valuable insights into the challenges facing liberal democracies today.

Who should read Twilight of Democracy?

  • Readers interested in understanding the challenges to democracy in the modern world
  • Individuals who want to gain insight into the rise of populist movements and their impact on society
  • Those who seek to broaden their perspective on political polarization and its consequences

2
Political Science Books: The Revenge Of Geography by Robert D. Kaplan

The Revenge Of Geography

Robert D. Kaplan
What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate

What's The Revenge Of Geography about?

In "The Revenge of Geography," Robert D. Kaplan explores the profound influence of geography on global politics and history. He argues that physical landscapes, natural resources, and climate shape the destinies of nations and empires, often leading to conflict and power struggles. Through insightful analysis and compelling examples, Kaplan offers a fresh perspective on the forces driving geopolitical events and the enduring significance of geography in shaping our world.

Who should read The Revenge Of Geography?

  • Readers who are interested in the influence of geography on politics and global affairs
  • Curious individuals who want to deepen their understanding of geopolitical dynamics and historical context
  • Students, researchers, or professionals in the fields of international relations, geography, or geopolitics

3

What's The Spirit of the Laws about?

"The Spirit of the Laws" is a political treatise written by the French philosopher Montesquieu. Published in 1748, the book explores the principles of government and the separation of powers. Montesquieu examines different forms of government and their impact on society, advocating for a system of checks and balances to prevent tyranny and protect individual liberties. It has had a profound influence on political thought and the development of modern democratic systems.

Who should read The Spirit of the Laws?

  • Individuals seeking a deeper understanding of political systems and governance
  • Political scientists and students studying political theory and philosophy
  • Citizens interested in the origins of modern democratic principles and systems of government

4
Political Science Books: Gideon's Trumpet by Anthony Lewis

Gideon's Trumpet

Anthony Lewis

What's Gideon's Trumpet about?

Gideon's Trumpet tells the true story of Clarence Earl Gideon, a man who fought for his right to legal representation in a landmark Supreme Court case. This compelling book explores the criminal justice system and the power of one individual to bring about change. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the law and the pursuit of justice.

Who should read Gideon's Trumpet?

  • Lawyers, law students, and anyone interested in the US legal system
  • Advocates for criminal justice reform
  • Individuals fascinated by landmark Supreme Court cases and their impact on society

5
Political Science Books: The Overstory by Richard Powers

The Overstory

Richard Powers

What's The Overstory about?

The Overstory by Richard Powers is a thought-provoking novel that weaves together the lives of nine individuals, all with a deep connection to trees. It explores the profound impact of trees on our world and challenges our perspective on the environment. Through beautiful prose and intricate storytelling, Powers brings to light the importance of conservation and the interconnectedness of all living beings.

Who should read The Overstory?

  • Environmentalists and nature lovers looking for a thought-provoking read
  • Readers interested in the interconnectedness of trees and human life
  • Those who enjoy literary fiction with deep character development

6
Political Science Books: Liberty and Tyranny by Mark R. Levin

Liberty and Tyranny

Mark R. Levin

What's Liberty and Tyranny about?

Liberty and Tyranny (2009) by Mark R. Levin delves into the fundamental principles of conservatism and the threats posed by the growing power of government. Through historical analysis and compelling arguments, Levin advocates for a return to the core values of individual liberty, free markets, and limited government, while exposing the dangers of unchecked statism.

Who should read Liberty and Tyranny?

  • Readers interested in understanding and defending conservative principles
  • Those who want to gain insights into the ideological battle between liberty and tyranny
  • People who value individual freedom, limited government, and the rule of law

7
Political Science Books: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass, Poetose Press

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass, Poetose Press

What's Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass about?

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a powerful autobiography that chronicles the life of Frederick Douglass, from his childhood in slavery to his escape to freedom. Douglass vividly depicts the brutal realities of slavery and the strength and resilience it took for him to fight for his freedom. A must-read for anyone interested in American history and the fight for equality.

Who should read Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass?

  • Students and educators studying American history and the abolitionist movement
  • Readers interested in first-hand accounts of slavery and the quest for freedom
  • Those who appreciate eloquent and powerful writing that challenges societal norms

8
Political Science Books: Discourse on the Origin of Inequality by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Donald A. Cress

Discourse on the Origin of Inequality

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Donald A. Cress

What's Discourse on the Origin of Inequality about?

Discourse on the Origin of Inequality delves into the philosophical concept of human nature and examines how social structures and institutions have led to inequality in society. Rousseau offers thought-provoking insights and challenges conventional ideas about the origins of inequality, making it a must-read for anyone interested in political philosophy and social inequality.

Who should read Discourse on the Origin of Inequality?

  • Individuals interested in political philosophy and the origins of inequality in society
  • Students and academics studying social and political sciences
  • Readers looking to gain a better understanding of human nature and the evolution of societal structures

9
Political Science Books: Diplomacy by Henry Kissinger

Diplomacy

Henry Kissinger

What's Diplomacy about?

Diplomacy (1994) by Henry Kissinger offers a comprehensive analysis of the role of diplomacy in shaping global politics. Drawing on his own experiences as a former U.S. Secretary of State, Kissinger delves into the complexities of international relations and examines the strategies and tactics employed by world leaders throughout history. This thought-provoking book provides valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities of diplomatic negotiations.

Who should read Diplomacy?

  • Individuals interested in international relations and foreign policy
  • Those looking to understand the strategies and tactics behind successful diplomatic negotiations
  • Readers who want to gain insights into historical events and their impact on global politics

10

What's The Great Transformation about?

The Great Transformation by Karl Polanyi is a groundbreaking book that examines the societal and economic changes brought about by the rise of market economies in the 19th and 20th centuries. Polanyi argues that the commodification of land, labor, and money led to the disintegration of traditional social structures and the degradation of human well-being. He calls for a reevaluation of the role of the economy in society and offers insights into the potential consequences of unregulated markets.

Who should read The Great Transformation?

  • Readers interested in understanding the historical and contemporary challenges of capitalism
  • Individuals curious about the social and economic impacts of free market ideology
  • Those seeking a critical analysis of the relationship between economy, society, and politics

What's The End of History and the Last Man about?

The End of History and the Last Man by Francis Fukuyama explores the idea that with the collapse of communism, liberal democracy has become the final form of government and the endpoint of mankind's ideological evolution. Fukuyama examines the challenges and potential threats to this end of history, offering thought-provoking insights into the future of political and social systems.

Who should read The End of History and the Last Man?

  • Readers interested in exploring the concepts of history, politics, and human development
  • Individuals who enjoy thought-provoking discussions about the future of society
  • Those seeking a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the modern world

12
Political Science Books: The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman

The World Is Flat

Thomas L. Friedman

What's The World Is Flat about?

The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman explores how globalization and technological advancements have leveled the playing field for individuals and businesses around the world. It discusses the impact of outsourcing, the rise of digital communication, and the interconnectedness of economies, offering insights into the new opportunities and challenges in the globalized era.

Who should read The World Is Flat?

  • Individuals seeking to understand the impact of globalization on the world
  • Entrepreneurs looking to leverage opportunities in a connected global economy
  • Workers navigating the realities of outsourcing and technological changes

13
Political Science Books: On China by Henry Kissinger

On China

Henry Kissinger

What's On China about?

On China offers a deep analysis of China's history, culture, and foreign policy from the perspective of a renowned statesman and scholar, Henry Kissinger. Drawing on his extensive knowledge and firsthand experiences, Kissinger provides a unique and insightful examination of China's rise as a global power and its complex relationship with the rest of the world.

Who should read On China?

  • Readers interested in the history and geopolitics of China
  • Individuals looking to understand China's approach to international relations
  • Those who want to gain insights into the intersection of culture, tradition, and modernity in China

What's The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin about?

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is a classic memoir that offers a firsthand account of one of America's founding fathers. In this book, Franklin shares the story of his life, from his humble beginnings to his achievements as a writer, inventor, and statesman. Filled with wisdom and wit, it provides valuable insights into the principles and values that shaped Franklin's extraordinary life.

Who should read The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin?

  • Individuals seeking to learn from the life and wisdom of a founding father
  • Readers interested in personal development and self-improvement
  • History enthusiasts curious about the early days of the United States

15
Political Science Books: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by Stephen M. Walt, John J. Mearsheimer

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

Stephen M. Walt, John J. Mearsheimer

What's The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy about?

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (2007) by Stephen M. Walt and John J. Mearsheimer examines the influence of pro-Israel lobbying groups on U.S. foreign policy. The book delves into the power dynamics at play and challenges the notion that U.S. support for Israel is solely based on strategic interests.

Who should read The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy?

  • Readers interested in the influence of interest groups on foreign policy
  • Individuals seeking a deeper understanding of the US-Israel relationship
  • Those who want to explore controversial and thought-provoking perspectives on international affairs

What's The Plot Against the President about?

The Plot Against the President by Lee Smith is a gripping exposé that delves into the alleged conspiracy to undermine Donald Trump's presidency. Through meticulous research and interviews, Smith uncovers a web of deceit and manipulation within the intelligence community and mainstream media. The book challenges the narrative surrounding the Trump-Russia investigation and raises thought-provoking questions about the power dynamics at play in American politics.

Who should read The Plot Against the President?

  • Anyone interested in understanding the intricacies of the alleged conspiracy against President Donald Trump
  • Readers who enjoy political non-fiction and investigative journalism
  • Individuals who want to gain insight into the complexities of modern American politics

What's Two Treatises of Government about?

Two Treatises of Government is a classic work of political philosophy by John Locke. In it, Locke argues against the divine right of kings and advocates for the idea that political authority is derived from the consent of the governed. He also discusses the concept of natural rights and the social contract, laying the groundwork for modern democratic theory.

Who should read Two Treatises of Government?

  • Individuals interested in the history and development of political philosophy
  • Students and scholars studying the foundations of modern political theory
  • People who want to understand the concept of natural rights and social contract

18

What's The Tragedy of Great Power Politics about?

The Tragedy of Great Power Politics by John J. Mearsheimer offers a compelling analysis of international relations and the pursuit of power among major states. Mearsheimer argues that the anarchic nature of the international system inevitably leads to competition and conflict between great powers. Drawing on historical examples and realist theory, the book provides valuable insights into the dynamics of global politics.

Who should read The Tragedy of Great Power Politics?

  • Anyone interested in international relations and the dynamics of global power
  • Political science students and scholars seeking a deep understanding of realist theory
  • Policy makers and analysts looking to comprehend the complexities of international security

What's The Oxford Handbook of Political Science about?

The Oxford Handbook of Political Science provides a comprehensive overview of the field, covering topics such as political theory, comparative politics, public policy, and international relations. Edited by Robert E. Goodin, this book brings together leading scholars to explore key issues and debates in political science, making it an essential resource for students and researchers.

Who should read The Oxford Handbook of Political Science?

  • Undergraduate and graduate students studying political science
  • Academics and researchers seeking a comprehensive overview of the field
  • Politically engaged individuals who want to deepen their understanding of political processes

20
Political Science Books: The Dictator's Handbook by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Alastair Smith

The Dictator's Handbook

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Alastair Smith

What's The Dictator's Handbook about?

The Dictator's Handbook (2011) by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith offers a provocative analysis of political power. Through case studies and game theory, the book reveals the strategies and incentives that drive political leaders, showing how they prioritize their own survival over the well-being of their citizens. It provides a unique perspective on the dynamics of dictatorship and democracy.

Who should read The Dictator's Handbook?

  • Politically inclined individuals seeking to understand the strategies and behaviors of dictators
  • Students and academics studying political science or international relations
  • Anyone curious about the dynamics of power and governance in authoritarian regimes

21
Political Science Books: Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg

Liberal Fascism

Jonah Goldberg

What's Liberal Fascism about?

Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg explores the history and ideology of fascism, challenging the commonly held belief that it is a phenomenon of the political right. Through extensive research and analysis, Goldberg argues that many of the ideas and tactics associated with fascism actually have roots in progressive and liberal movements. The book offers a thought-provoking perspective on the complex relationship between liberalism and authoritarianism.

Who should read Liberal Fascism?

  • Readers who are interested in exploring the historical connections between liberalism and fascism
  • Individuals who want to challenge their preconceived notions about political ideologies
  • Those who are open to engaging with thought-provoking and controversial perspectives

What's The Constitution of the United States of America about?

The Constitution of the United States of America is a foundational document that outlines the framework for the U.S. government and the rights of its citizens. Written by the Founding Fathers, it has shaped the country's laws and political system since its ratification in 1788. This book provides a comprehensive analysis of the Constitution and its amendments, offering valuable insights into the principles that govern the nation.

Who should read The Constitution of the United States of America?

  • Students and educators studying American history and government
  • Citizens who want to educate themselves on the fundamental laws and rights of the United States
  • Legal professionals and policymakers looking to deepen their understanding of the Constitution

23
Political Science Books: Rights of Man by rojas soledad, Thomas Paine

Rights of Man

rojas soledad, Thomas Paine

What's Rights of Man about?

Rights of Man (1791) by Thomas Paine is a powerful defense of the principles of the French Revolution and a critique of the British political system. Paine argues for the natural rights of all individuals and advocates for a more democratic and representative form of government. This influential work challenges the existing social and political order, making a compelling case for equality and justice.

Who should read Rights of Man?

  • Readers interested in political philosophy and human rights
  • Individuals looking to understand the foundations of democratic societies
  • Those who want to explore different perspectives on social justice and equality

What's The Logic of Collective Action about?

The Logic of Collective Action (1965) by Mancur Olson explores how individuals contribute to and benefit from collective goods. Through a blend of economic theory and political analysis, Olson examines the challenges that arise when individuals pursue their own self-interest within groups and the implications for public policy and societal decision-making.

Who should read The Logic of Collective Action?

  • Individuals who want to understand how collective action and group behavior work
  • People interested in economics, social sciences, and political science
  • Those who want to learn about the challenges and limitations of organizing collective interests

25
Political Science Books: The Revolution by Ron Paul

The Revolution

Ron Paul

What's The Revolution about?

The Revolution by Ron Paul is a book that examines the political and economic climate in the United States. It challenges the status quo and advocates for a return to individual liberty and limited government. Paul presents his vision for a revolution in American society, one that prioritizes personal responsibility and free-market principles. A thought-provoking read for those interested in political change.

Who should read The Revolution?

  • Individuals seeking a deeper understanding of libertarian principles and their application to politics and society
  • Readers interested in challenging mainstream political and economic narratives
  • People looking for alternative perspectives on government, monetary policy, and personal freedom

26
Political Science Books: Hegemony or Survival by Noam Chomsky

Hegemony or Survival

Noam Chomsky

What's Hegemony or Survival about?

Hegemony or Survival by Noam Chomsky explores the concept of hegemony and its impact on global politics. Chomsky argues that the United States has pursued a policy of maintaining its hegemonic power through military and economic means, often at the expense of other nations and the well-being of their citizens. He also examines the potential for survival in a world dominated by a single superpower.

Who should read Hegemony or Survival?

  • People who are interested in international relations and global politics
  • Readers who want to understand the impact of US foreign policy on the world
  • Individuals who are critical of mainstream media and seek alternative perspectives

27
Political Science Books: So Far from God by John S.D. Eisenhower

So Far from God

John S.D. Eisenhower
The U.S. War With Mexico, 1846-1848

What's So Far from God about?

So Far from God is a historical account of the American military involvement in the Pacific theater during World War II. Written by John S.D. Eisenhower, the book provides a detailed analysis of the strategies, battles, and key figures that shaped the outcome of the war in the Pacific. It offers a comprehensive and insightful perspective on this significant chapter in history.

Who should read So Far from God?

  • Anyone interested in historical events and World War II
  • Readers who want to gain insights into the life and presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • People who enjoy reading biographies and learning about influential figures in history

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