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Understand 2018’s Political Landscape with These Must-Read Titles

News spreads faster than it can be fact-checked, and people are turning to nonfiction books to understand the causes and implications of political events.
by Juan Salazar | Nov 6 2018

In a globalized world, where stories sail at us faster than ever, we turn to tools that help us keep up. This is what people are reading most on the Blinkist app so far this year.

Blue Notes

What Happened is Hillary Clinton’s take on the events that contributed to her loss in the 2016 election. She also argues that some of these factors could become an ongoing threat to democracy in the USA, including cyberattacks and false stories on social media.

Internal Combustion

Fire and Fury’s behind-the-scenes look provides insight into major figures of Trump’s campaign and White House staff, as well as Trump’s character and abilities as a leader. Wolff’s coverage starts in the middle of 2016 until the end of Trump’s first 100 days in office.

A Hardened Foe

Black Flags is a comprehensive history of one of the 21st century’s most dangerous terrorist groups: ISIS. Warrick shows how twentieth century geopolitics and contemporary issues in Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, and Afghanistan have contributed to ISIS’s presence in the Middle East.

The Call of Public Service

A Higher Loyalty is James Comey’s revealing account of his time as a public official. Comey provides anecdotes and shares lessons in leadership learned from working with the administrations of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.

Don’t Count Them Out

Nancy Isenberg questions the notion that equality has been a foundational value in the United States. Isenberg presents American history through the perspective of poor whites, exploring the political and cultural ideas that shaped those who have come to be called “white trash.”

Follow the Money

Dark Money is a reminder of the influence that money can have on politics. Mayer focuses on the lives of Charles and David Koch, who built up a network of donors and organizations beginning in the 1970s. This book helps us understand the Koch brothers’ methods and the impact they have had on the United States’s political landscape.

Pressure Cooker

It might seem to us that the world is in a state of turmoil, and it is natural to wonder how we got here. Age of Anger examines many of the concepts and traditions from the Enlightenment, begun in Europe in the 18th century, and their continued influence on societies all over the globe.


The Soul of America explores the use of fear as a political tactic throughout the United States’s history. Meacham helps readers understand how politicians use charisma and prey on people’s fears around important issues. The book uses key moments in the country’s tumultuous past to better understand its deep and lasting conflicts.

Shifting East

Why The West Rules — For Now traces the West-East divide to the birth of two civilizations: one in Mesopotamia and one in China. With the ebb and flow of power between these two over millennia, Morris argues that Western dominance will not endure forever, though the shift may not happen as quickly as some fear.

How Can You Know?

We not only have facts, but also “alternative facts.” We have news and “fake news” too. The Death of Expertise shows how competing narratives have been blurring the lines of what constitutes truth for some time now. And it’s not just political discourse that is at fault.

Politics is difficult to follow. News is produced faster than ever before and can be as polarizing as the discourse it is reporting. This is why people are turning to non-fiction books. They offer a view of the greater nuances that underpin the evening’s soundbites and that do not have to live and die in the 24-hour news cycle.

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