Leo Gura

Politics & Government Book List

34 posts in this topic

Let's pull together a list of the best books on politics and governance.

I'm noticing that one of the biggest challenges with politics is that people (including myself) are just damn ignorant of the historical facts of governance and geo-politics from around the world. We spend way too much time debating culture war issues and partisan demonization vs actually studying how societies around the world have been managed.

Politics and governance is not my area of expertise, but I want expand into it more. I want you guys to become more educated about it too. To do that I feel we need to build a foundation with books.

So search the web for the best political book lists. I'm talking about non-partisan, non-ideological stuff. Well-researched stuff. Stuff that goes into the details of how government works.

For example, I want a list of books that Michael Brooks from the Majority Report was reading. See what you can find. It shouldn't just be about American politics but international politics.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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@Leo Gura Where do you find the inspiration and motivation to still be passionate about discussing and philosophizing about worldly matters like politics, when at the same time labeling everything as pure imagination? Just for fun or for leaving an intellectual legacy as Leo?

This might sound like a harsh question, its not, i just find it hard to comprehend being passionate about something which you think is just as real as the dream you had last night.

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7 minutes ago, FlowerNote said:

@Leo Gura Where do you find the inspiration and motivation to still be passionate about discussing and philosophizing about worldly matters like politics, when at the same time labeling everything as pure imagination? Just for fun or for leaving an intellectual legacy as Leo?

I assume for love.

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I see you were inspired by Michael Brooks' extensive knowledge of policy. The dude was a walking library. He really opened my eyes on how little I know about the world of politics, especially internationally. This thread is a good contribution to his mission.

Edited by Carl-Richard

To balance beauty and complexity so perfectly is a divine mystery.

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11 minutes ago, FlowerNote said:

@Leo Gura Where do you find the inspiration and motivation to still be passionate about discussing and philosophizing about worldly matters like politics, when at the same time labeling everything as pure imagination?

From an absolute perspective, everything is an illusion, but from a relative perspective, politics is still important for survival.


To balance beauty and complexity so perfectly is a divine mystery.

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Listmuse.com , go to Nonfiction section and it has several different categories like Economics, Political Science, Anarchist/Communist/Socialist, Environmental/Activism/Social Activism, Sociology, History, etc. 

It has a regions section too for specific regions- Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, Latin America, etc. 

I think it’s based heavily on Noam Chomsky’s readings as well. 

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@louhad Thank you for finding and  sharing this resource treasure trove I had no idea it had existed and that TMBS posted their literature ?

Glossed over it a lot great books for understanding international politics from what I can see. 

BTW I and my friend on the history department from college have to read the british social historian Eric J Hobsbaum parts from the literature Michael listed as reading material for passing whole exams on our faculty.

I think personally from the list for having a solid socio-historical foundation and contemporary political grounding and true understanding in the world, one should start from reading from the list:

1. The Age of Extremes 1919-1991 by Hobsbaum (read parts have for the exam, need to cover it more over the summer) 

2. Bref History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey (read only excerpts from it, haven't read it whole - laziness, distraction) 

3. The Global Minotaur by Yannis Varufakis (same as Harvey) (not on this list) 

Would Add to the TMBS list:

Very useful resource on beginning to learn to understand the meta aspects of the genesis and adaptability of contemporary political power:

4. Power and Knowledge 1973-77

by Foucault (about 200 page book compromised out of short elucidating (though, somewhere pretty complex) interviews with the author on his understanding of the meta-origins and relationships between power and knowledge in modernity and describing the list of their various counter-intuitive manifestations

(cool example from the book how the traditional premodern folktales about vampires were co-opted and adapted for the needs of modern contexts and common imagination by the rising in power bourgeoise during the rise and expansion of the industrial revolution in the mid to late 19th century via newly popular novels about them as a metaphor and political tool to smear the image and influence the the rising negative public's perception of the then declining and no longer dominant traditional European aristocracy as lazy, decadent parasites who have now become a toll on the hardworking and moral parts of society. - he list this as a prominent example of how in modern-contemporary politics, popular cultural products intended for mass market reach and mass consumption indirectly often became used as tools for solidifying or weakening and legitimising or discrediting the current distribution of power) 

Also from Hobsbaum:

5. The Invention of Tradition 1983. - primarily read the parts  that focus on the socio-historical syncretic genesis of the symbolism and even culture of modern nationalism and nation states ( he uses examples of western European countries) and the colonial tradition left over in colonies of European empires. 

For a surprising broader understanding the socio- psychology (even its subconscious traditional religioisity desires and drives underneath it) behind the political climate and culture of contempt, demonization violence, intolerance and dangerous mass movements, even though it primarily focuses on the example of the Christian Right and evangelical mass movement, culture and political base in America :

6. American Fascists: The Rise of the Christian Right and the War on America 2006. by author Chris Hedges

(even if the title sounds and at a glance looks and suggests content that is demonizing to this group behind the first chapters of the 250page book (which I read so far) there is treasure trove of insights into subconscious religious and political drives in humans and how they due to the influence of false, failed and flawed but still powerful and lasting authority and institutions fail to actualize and often get distorted and perverted into its opposites and the human individual and collective psychology that lead people into these types of movements and convinces them or pressures them to stay in them.) 

 

 

 

Edited by Milos Uzelac

"Keep your eye on the ball. " - Michael Brooks 

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https://www.amazon.com/Political-Order-Decay-Industrial-Globalization-ebook/dp/B00IQOFS7M

Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Present Day

by Francis Fukuyama

 

Probably one of the best books about understanding what has lead up to the current political situation around the world and why it is occurring. 

his other book: The Origins of Political Order is also supposed to be really good.

 

Edited by Lyubov

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Following this thread, definitely. This isn't my area of expertise either, but I've read a decent amount of classical political theory. I still don't really feel like I'm qualified to comment on modern politics, but I see this being done all the time by people who have probably read a lot less on the subject so....

@louhad I'm going to look at some of the more modern books on that list, thanks.

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For economics this is probably the hardest and longest (over 1400 p) book on economics you will ever find.

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Switzerland does every year a national contest to recruit future diplomats; the department of foreign affairs offers a book list (including a few online reports) to get ready for it.

 

Here are the few English books recommended.  

 

History

-Clark Christopher, The Sleepwalkers LP: How Europe went to war in 1914

-Gaddis John Lewis, The Cold War. A new Histor

-Hobsbawm Eric J., Age of extremes: the short twentieth century 1914-1991

-Simmons A. John, Political Philosophy

 

Swiss History

- Gabriel Jürg Martin and Thomas Fischer, Swiss Foreign Policy 1945-2002

 

European Politics

-Brack Nathalie and Olivier Costa, How the EU Really Works

-Buonanno Laurie and Neill Nugent, Policies and Policy Processes of the European Union

-Cini Michelle und Nieves Pérez- Solórzano Borragán, European Union Politics

-Desmond Dinan, Ever Closer Union: an introduction to European Integration

-Krastev Ivan, After Europe

 

International Politics

-Griffiths Martin, Roach Steven C. and M. Scott Solomon,  Fifty Key Thinkers in International Relations

-Nye Jospeh S. Jr., Understanding International Conflicts

 

United Nations

-Fasulo Linda, An Insider's Guide to the UN

 

Economy

-Acemoglu Daron and James A. Robinson, Why nations fail. The origins of power, prosperity, and poverty

-Blanchard Olivier, Macroeconomics

-Krugman Paul R., Melitz Marc J., and Maurice Obstfeld, International Economics. Theory and policy.

-World Economic Forum, The Global Risks Report 2018http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GRR18_Report.pdf <- available for free

 

Development Politics

-Easterly William (Hrsg.), Reinventing Foreign Aid

-OECD DAC, Switzerland - DAC Peer Review of Development Co-Operation - www.oecd.org/switzerland/switzerland.htm

-UNDP- Human Development Report (annual publication) http://www.undp.org/ <- available for free

-Worldbank- World Development Report (annual publication)http://wdronline.worldbank.org/ <- available for free

 

Environment

-IISD International Institute for Sustainable Development, Environment and Trade: A Handbook. -https://www.iisd.org/pdf/2005/iisd_corp_brochure_2005.pdf <- available for free

 

 

Edited by Etherial Cat

Association with the wise is the root cause for obliterating all misery. -  Tripura Rahasya

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The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt is pretty good.

Explains essentially why everyone acts like an idiot when it comes to politics and religion, more or less.


"Never held a high regard for Darwin, selection takes too long.
A little kick in the pool shouldn't do us wrong.
Devouring the very last invention man would ever need.
But exponential growth is a frightening thing, indeed.
"

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I just finished professor Richard Wolf’s “Demacracy at Work: A cure for Capitalism “ 

highly recommend for skeptics of socialism. He provides a real solution, history, and is very persuasive. There is also a debate on youtube with his fellow libertarian colleague, Professor Epstein. Epstein does a good job at raising questions other libertarians would raise during his critiques of Wolf’s book. It available on audible! I listened to it during chores. 
 

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