All the Latest Conspiracy Theories: A Journalist Explores

Book review: Republic of Lies, by Anna Merlan (Amazon / Book Depository) It’s a typically disorienting winter day in an unremarkable part of Los Angeles, the palm trees bristling above the Walgreens and the tire shops, the golden light washing insistently over the slowly rotating sign above a twenty-four-hour burger joint, its paint peeled away into nonexistence. The sun doesn’t penetrate into this vast, windowless … Continue reading All the Latest Conspiracy Theories: A Journalist Explores

Be Very Afraid

Fear: Trump in the White House, by Bob Woodward (Amazon Book Depository) (I keep promising myself I’m not going to read any more of these Trump/White House books but I’m unable to resist, apparently.) Real power is fear.  That’s the mantra seeded throughout veteran political reporter and one-half of Woodward and Bernstein Bob Woodward’s diligently reported behind-the-scenes look at the Trump White House. What does … Continue reading Be Very Afraid

Jon Ronson Double Feature: “Them” and its Could-Be Addendum, “The Elephant in the Room”

Book review: Them and The Elephant in the Room, by Jon Ronson (Amazon / Book Depository) This book began its life in 1995 as a series of profiles of extremist leaders, but it quickly became something stranger. My plan had been to spend time with those people who had been described as the extremist monsters of the Western world – Islamic fundamentalists, neo-Nazis, etc. I wanted to join them … Continue reading Jon Ronson Double Feature: “Them” and its Could-Be Addendum, “The Elephant in the Room”

Hilarious, Acidic Commentary From the 2016 Campaign Circus

Book review: Insane Clown President, by Matt Taibbi (Amazon/ Book Depository) Who knows what will come next, but that’s not really what this story is about. “Insane Clown President” instead describes how we got here. Matt Taibbi is one of several journalists who covered the madness of the Trump campaign on the ground and has since published in longer form about the experience. Taibbi’s dispatches … Continue reading Hilarious, Acidic Commentary From the 2016 Campaign Circus

Immersive Journalism from the Ugly, Scary Heart of America’s White Nationalists

Book review: Everything You Love Will Burn, by Vegas Tenold (Amazon / Book Depository) What had initially motivated my excursion into the world of white supremacy was curiosity about a brand of politics that seemed almost too outdated to be real – and one that I was surprised to find thriving throughout the country.  Journalist Vegas Tenold says that it was the 2011 massacre perpetrated … Continue reading Immersive Journalism from the Ugly, Scary Heart of America’s White Nationalists

Obama’s Nonfiction Reading Recommendations

Featured photo: President Barack Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia shop for books at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C., on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) President Obama published a list on his Facebook page of his favorite books and music of 2017 and it’s pretty wonderful. As I’ve said, I love lists, especially of others’ favorites … Continue reading Obama’s Nonfiction Reading Recommendations

Biting Commentary On What’s Not Normal, and What’s Possible

Book review: Trump is F*cking Crazy, by Keith Olbermann (Amazon / Book Depository) (It’s another week of political releases, so apologies for the back-to-back similarly-themed content, but you know it’s important!) MSNBC political commentator Keith Olbermann chronicled the Trump campaign, election, and aftermath in a video series for GQ called The Resistance. This book is a collection of those commentaries, opinions, rants, analyses, researched revelations, and carefully-crafted insults in chronological … Continue reading Biting Commentary On What’s Not Normal, and What’s Possible

Revisiting the Roots of the Alt-Right

Book review: Alt-America, by David Neiwert Alt-America is an alternative universe that has a powerful resemblance to our own, except that it’s Alt-America, the nation its residents have concocted and refigured in their imaginations. It is not the America where the rest of us live. In this other America suppositions take the place of facts, and conspiracy theories become concrete realities. Its citizens live alongside … Continue reading Revisiting the Roots of the Alt-Right

What Are You Going to Do With All That Anger?

Book review: The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore, by Jared Yates Sexton Amazon/ Book Depository Jared Yates Sexton sprang to national prominence while attending a Donald Trump rally in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 2016. He was one of the first journalists to report on the blatant racism, violence, anger and frenetic energy being activated at these events. All of which … Continue reading What Are You Going to Do With All That Anger?

“Imagine you have a country and no one to run it.”

Book review: The Man Without a Face, by Masha Gessen Amazon / Book Depository “Imagine you have a country and no one to run it. This was the predicament that Boris Yeltsin and his inner circle thought they faced in 1999.” What do we really know about Vladimir Putin? What beyond the carefully orchestrated and controlled images, crafted to underscore his macho masculinity and infallible … Continue reading “Imagine you have a country and no one to run it.”

What’s Behind Each Trump Cabinet Door

Book review: Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse, by John Nichols “Presidents can often be inconsequential – or foolish, or erratic, or incomprehensible. But presidencies are never any of those things. They are powerful, overarching, definitional.  They shape more than policies; they shape our sense of what the United States can be…Donald Trump’s presidency will make America something different than it has ever been – something darker if his autocratic agendas … Continue reading What’s Behind Each Trump Cabinet Door

An American’s Ideas and Impressions From Istanbul

Book review: Notes on a Foreign Country, by Suzy Hansen This is a book about an American living abroad in the era of American decline…As an American abroad now, [post-Iraq and Afghanistan wars] you do not have the same crazy, smiling confidence. You do not want to speak so loud. You feel always the vague risk of breaking something. In Turkey and elsewhere…I felt an almost physical sensation of intellectual and emotional … Continue reading An American’s Ideas and Impressions From Istanbul