The presidential election of 1920 was among the most dramatic ever. Six once-and-future presidents – Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover and Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt – jockeyed for the White House. With voters ultimately choosing between Wilson’ League of Nations and Harding’s front-porch isolationism, the 1920 shaped modern America.
Women won the vote. Republicans outspent Democrats by 4 to 1, as voters witnessed the first extensive newsreel coverage, modern campaign advertising, and results broadcast on radio. America had become an urban nation: automobiles, mass production, chain stores, and easy credit transformed the economy. 1920 paints a vivid portrait of America, beset by the Red Scare, jailed dissidents, Prohibition, smoke-filled rooms, bomb-throwing terrorists, and the Klan, gingerly crossing modernity’s threshold.
AUTHOR: DAVID PIETRUSZA
David Pietrusza has written or edited more than thirty books. His previous book, Rothstein: The Life, Times, and Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series, was nominated for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award in the Best Fact Crime category. An expert on the 1920s, Pietrusza has served on the Board of Directors of the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation and lives in upstate New York.
BOOK 2: ABIGAIL AND JOHN: PORTRAIT OF A MARRIAGE
Married in 1764, Abigail and John Adams worked side by side for a decade raising a family while John became one of the most prosperous, respected lawyers in Massachusetts. When his duties as a statesman and diplomat during the Revolutionary War expanded, Abigail and John endured lengthy separations. But their loyalty and love remained strong, as their passionate, forthright letters attest. It’s in the correspondence that Abigail comes into her own as independent woman. It’s also in these exchanges that we learn about the familial tragedies that tested them: the early deaths of their son Charles from alcoholism and their daughter Nabby from breast cancer.
As much romance as it is a lively chapter in early American history, Abigail and John is an inspirational portrait of a couple who endured the turmoil and trials of a revolution, and in so doing paved the way for the birth of a nation.
AUTHOR: EDITH B. GELLES
Edith B. Gelles, Ph. D., holds degrees from Cornell, Yale, and the University of California – Irvine. She has taught at several universities and is a Senior Scholar at Stanford’s Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research. She lives in Palo, Alto California.
BOOK 3: THE AUDACITY TO WIN: HOW OBAMA WON AND HOW WE CAN BEAT THE PARTY OF LIMBAUGH, BECK AND PALIN
Since David Plouffe helped design the plan that brought candidate Obama to the White House, the lessons of that plan have become only more relevant. Today, conservative forces led by figures like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck threaten to derail the tremendous promise of Democrats’ recent gains, making the next election – and the ones beyond it – even more crucial, Plouffe explains the secrets to winning elections in contemporary politics and shows how Democrats can build on the historic campaign of 2008 to keep the country on the right path. Featuring a new chapter on the challenges of 2010, including the epic struggle and triumph of passing the health care bill, The Audacity to Win is political writing at its boldest and most essential.
AUTHOR: DAVID PLOUFFE
David Plouffe began his career in politics going canvassing door to door in Delaware and Iowa and has since managed two U.S. Senate races, a Congressional race, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In 2001, he joined forces with David Axelrod and in 2004 their firm, AKPD Media, served as lead strategist on Barack Obama’s successful U.S. Senate bid. After managing Obama’s presidential campaign, Plouffe helped set up Organizing for America, a thirteen-million-strong group of Obama supporters, to continue the spirit and initiative of the campaign in everyday political and civic life. He remains an outside senior adviser to the Obama administration, working to help senior White House officials develop strategy for the 2010 midterm elections. Plouffe lives with his wife and two children in Washington, D.C.
BOOK 4: FAMILY OF SECRETS: THE BUSH DYNASTY, AMERICA’S INVISIBLE GOVERNMENT, AND THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF THE LAST FIFTY YEARS
Was the rise of the disastrous George W. Bush just a matter of family connections and sly, cynical operatives such as Karl Rove? Or was something more at work – something that endures beyond Bush’s departure from Washington?
Award-winning investigative journalist Russ Baker provides the astonishing answers in Family of Secrets, a groundbreaking inquiry into the Bush dynasty and the shadowy elite that has quietly steered the American republic for the past half century and more. Baker shows how this network of figures in intelligence, the military, oil, and finance enabled - and in turn benefited handsomely from – the Bushes’ perch at the highest levels of government. This deeply entrenched elite remains in power regardless of who sits in the Oval Office.
Family of Secrets punctures the conventional wisdom on both presidents Bush. It exposes the hidden truth behind W.’s purported religious conversion and the debacle of Hurricane Katrina, and reveals his secret motive for invading Iraq. It probes the murky history of “Poppy” Bush and his lifelong service to the intelligence apparatus. Ultimately, Family of Secrets is about much more than just the Bushes. It changes the way we comprehend postwar history – from the JFK assassination to Watergate – and compels us to take a new look at events now unfolding.
AUTHOR: RUSS BAKER
Russ Baker is an award-winning investigative journalist who has written for New Yorker, Vanity Fair, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Village Voice, Esquire and has served as a contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. He is the founder of http://www.whowhatwhy.com, a nonpartisan, nonprofit news Web site.
BOOK 5: THE ORIGINS OF POLITICAL ORDER
Virtually all human societies were once organized tribally, yet over time the most developed new political institutions which included a central state that could keep the peace, and uniform laws that applied to all citizens. We take these institutions for granted, but they are absent or are unable to perform in many of today’s developing countries – with often disastrous consequences for the rest of the world.
In The Origins of Political Order, Francis Fukuyama provides a sweeping account of how today’s basic political institutions developed. He begins with politics among our primate ancestors and follows the story through the emergence of tribal societies, the growth of the first modern state in China, the beginning of a rule of law in India and the Middle East, and the development of political accountability in Europe up until the eve of French Revolution.
Spanning history, evolutionary biology, archaeology, and economics, Fukuyama offers fresh insights on the origins of democratic societies.
AUTHOR: FRANCIS FUKUYAMA
Francis Fukuyama is the author of The End of History and the Last Man, Trust, The Great Disruption, Our Post-human Future, State Building and After the Neocons. All have been translated and published in many languages. They have also been hugely influential. Fukuyama is in constant demand from media channels around the world and as a speaker. He is Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford.