The United States has a new president-elect, and half the country is reeling. But we have a few months before he takes office, and now that the mudslinging and scandal-mining is slowing down (at least until the midterm elections), perhaps we can focus on issues instead of candidates. Whatever your party affiliation or lack thereof, these books provide valuable insight on policy issues that Americans care about.

 

1. Health Care Reform: America’s Bitter Pill by Steven Brill

The topic is dry, but the book is anything but. Most Americans agree that the health care system is still in dire need of change. Learn about the problems in health care before and after the ACA, and what might happen next.

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

2. Terrorism: Black Flags by Joby Warrick

Spoiler alert: Hillary Clinton did not create ISIS. Awarded the Pulitzer prize, this book should clear things up for good.

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

3. Economic Growth: America Needs Talent by Jamie Merisotis

Jobs is a four-letter word essential to every political campaign. We need ’em, they promise ’em. So, what now? Read this for some ideas.

Source:
Source: Amazon

4. Climate Change: How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate by Andrew Hoffman

The scientific consensus is clear, so what’s the hold-up? For anyone whose debates have ever spiraled into insult-flinging, this book should restore some confidence in the power of discussion. OTOH, if you’re on the fence or new to the issue, Climate Change: What Everyone Needs To Know is essential reading.

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

5. Immigration: Undocumented by Aviva Chomsky

Dealing intelligently with our immigration dilemma requires both scholarly context and compassion. Full disclosure: the book is pretty one-sided, but it’s a side well worth considering, and it is deeper than your average rhetoric.

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

6. Distribution of Wealth: Saving Capitalism by Robert B. Reich

Attention Bernie Bros: Senator Sanders has high praise for this book. “If you want to understand why income and wealth inequality are the economic, political, and moral issues of our time, you must read this book.” (I hope you read that in his voice.)

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

7. Gun Control: The Second Amendment by Michael Waldman

Me, I hate guns. But my friend used hers to scare away a stalker who had been creeping around her house for over a year, without hurting anyone. There are reasons to advocate for responsible gun ownership, and too many reasons to call for restrictions. How should courts interpret this foundational law?

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

8. Voting Rights: The Fight to Vote by Michael Waldman

Another one by Waldman, this time dealing with the history of voting rights in America. Most compelling is the discussion on present-day issues: voter access, campaign corruption, polling technology, disenfranchisement, etc. Americans have always had to demand the vote, and we’ve still got hollering to do.

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

9. Policing And Prisons: From The War On Poverty To The War On Crime by Elizabeth Hinton

How does the United States have the world’s highest incarceration rate, rivaling China and Russia? Why are police killing certain civilians, and civilians killing police? Why is shutting down private prisons a big deal? The roots of our broken system go deep, and this book will help with the digging.

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

10. Reproductive Rights: After Roe by Mary Ziegler

It seems like we’ve always been deeply entrenched in Choice versus Life, but in fact, we haven’t. What happened, and how and why should we build and re-build bridges?

Source: Harvard University Press
Source: Amazon

11. Marijuana Legalization: Weed the People by Bruce Barcott

Four more states have legalized it. You might be wondering what this means for crime, DUI, your kids, and your state’s economy. This book, like America itself, leans pro-legalization, but it takes the problems therein seriously. Highly (see what I did there?!) recommended.

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

12. Indigenous People’s Rights: Grabbing Back by Alexander Reid Ross

The #NoDAPL protests have drawn national attention, including from leading politicians and assembled celebrities. Though these essays were published before NoDAPL, advocates will be interested to learn about success stories from around the world.

Source: AK Press
Source: Amazon

Now, here’s the plan: everyone buy these, then pass ’em along. Once you and everyone you know have read them, send ’em to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, and perhaps a couple of other addresses.

YouTube Channel: The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

 

Featured image via World Best Essays