Be Like the Fox; Machiavelli In His World by Erica Benner. W.W. Norton, 2017. Machiavelli emerges in Benner’s book as an ethical thinker who sought to maintain both the liberties and the moral standards of his Florence.
The Politicians and the Equalitarians; The Hidden History of American Politics by Sean Wilentz. W.W. Norton, 2017 paper. From the beginning two important principles at stake: the importance of an egalitarian tradition and partisan politics, agreeing to its frequent nastiness.
Kennedy and King; The President, the Pastor, and the Battle over Civil Rights by Steven Levingston. Hachette, 2017. The contentious relationship between John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. during the early years of the Civil Rights movement.
Radicals Chasing Utopia; Inside the Rogue Movements Trying to Change the World by Jamie Bartlett. Nations Books, 2017 paper. The subcultures and fringe groups that are rejecting the current status quo and asking how societies can better meet the needs of their people.
Master or Slave?; The Fight for the Soul of Our Information Civilization by Shoshana Zuboff. Public Affairs, 2017. Will the logic of surveillance capitalism and the theme of machine supremacy control human society? Will it lead to even greater inequalities?
History of the United States in Five Crashes; Stock Market Meltdowns That Defined a Nation by Scott Nations. William Morrow, 2017. The five most significant stock market crashes in the past century: The Panic of 1907, Black Tuesday (1929, Black Monday 1987, the Great Recession (2008) and the Flash Crash (2010). Large differences in the degree of severity.
The Money Cult; Capitalism, Christianity, and the Unmaking of the American Dream by Chris Lehmann. Melville House, 2017 paper. Moneyed success and Christianity have always been entangled.
Hidden in Plain Sight; What Really Caused the World’s Worst Financial Crisis and Why It Could Happen Again by Peter Wallison. Encounter Books, 2017 paper. It was not Wall Street’s greed nor insufficient regulation of the financial system, but rather Federal housing policies and the wish to extend home ownership to a new class of workers.
The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution; Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic by Ganesh Sitaraman. Knopf, 2017. Inequality isn’t such an easy problem to solve, if our first response is to protect laissez-faire capitalism.
Reclaiming Gotham; Bill de Blasio and the Movement to End America’s Tale of Two Cities by Juan González. The New Press, 2017. De Blasio’s administration is the most progressive New York City government since Fiorello La Guardia’s in the 1930s. The alternative is a political world filled with rich men’s money.
The Givers; Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age by David Callahan. Knopf, 2017. The few controlling the American capitalist structure; add to that their increasing direction of philanthropy.