10 books like The Assault on American Excellence

By Anthony T. Kronman,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Assault on American Excellence. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Coddling of the American Mind

By Jonathan Haidt, Greg Lukianoff,

Book cover of The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure

This book is so different from the other books on my list. I just finished reading this book recently. I found it completely fascinating. It talks about how our newer generation has changed how we listen, talk and feel. I find that this is happening in relationships as well. This book is a weave of communication, how we take things way too personally and how this affects how we interact with others in life and how we relate to our feelings. I think this book can help how we listen, share and have internal boundaries. While reading this book I didn’t realize how much I needed it. I wish all teachers, administration of all schools, and parents would read this book. 

The Coddling of the American Mind

By Jonathan Haidt, Greg Lukianoff,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Coddling of the American Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Bestseller * Finalist for the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award in Nonfiction * A New York Times Notable Book * Bloomberg Best Book of 2018

"Their distinctive contribution to the higher-education debate is to meet safetyism on its own, psychological turf . . . Lukianoff and Haidt tell us that safetyism undermines the freedom of inquiry and speech that are indispensable to universities." -Jonathan Marks, Commentary

"The remedies the book outlines should be considered on college campuses, among parents of current and future students, and by anyone longing for a more sane society." -Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Something…

The Once and Future Liberal

By Mark Lilla,

Book cover of The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics

Lilla’s goal in this book is to show how identity politics threatens the electoral prospects of the Democratic Party. He argues that the party has thrown citizenship—the “we” in political conversation—out the window in favor of “personal identities in terms of the inner homunculus, a unique little thing composed of parts tinted by race, sex, and gender,” and that this will be electorally disastrous for the Democrats. But Lilla’s arguments show that it is disastrous for our national conversation as well. When we give personal identity weight in an argument (Lilla is superb at eviscerating the shopworn phrase “speaking as an X”) we turn the intellectual clock back to premodern times when arguments were settled by power and force.

The Once and Future Liberal

By Mark Lilla,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Once and Future Liberal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From one of the most internationally admired political thinkers, a controversial polemic on the failures of identity politics and what comes next for the left — in America and beyond.

Following the shocking results of the US election of 2016, public intellectuals across the globe offered theories and explanations, but few were met with such vitriol, panic, and debate as Mark Lilla’s. The Once and Future Liberal is a passionate plea to liberals to turn from the divisive politics of identity and develop a vision of the future that can persuade all citizens that they share a common destiny.

Driven…


The Breakdown of Higher Education

By John M. Ellis,

Book cover of The Breakdown of Higher Education: How It Happened, the Damage It Does, and What Can Be Done

Ellis chronicles the history of how the university turned from an institution of open inquiry into a political monoculture that requires those in it to adhere to a particular ideology. Ellis is particularly good at showing how the strengths of the traditional university were turned into weaknesses and allowed it to be captured by the adherents of identity politics. Old-style independent scholars are hard to organize, Ellis points out, because they are just that—independent. But these truly independent scholars were no match for the politically organized groups that wanted to use the university to advance a political agenda.

The Breakdown of Higher Education

By John M. Ellis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Breakdown of Higher Education as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A series of near-riots on campuses aimed at silencing guest speakers has exposed the fact that our universities are no longer devoted to the free exchange of ideas in pursuit of truth. But this hostility to free speech is only a symptom of a deeper problem, writes John Ellis.

Having watched the deterioration of academia up close for the past fifty years, Ellis locates the core of the problem in a change in the composition of the faculty during this time, from mildly left-leaning to almost exclusively leftist. He explains how astonishing historical luck led to the success of a…

The Rise of Victimhood Culture

By Bradley Campbell, Jason Manning,

Book cover of The Rise of Victimhood Culture: Microaggressions, Safe Spaces, and the New Culture Wars

Campbell and Manning are sociologists who trace how a new moral culture of victimhood has given rise to political correctness. The new moral culture combines the properties of the old culture of honor and the old culture of dignity in a uniquely toxic way. The new victimhood culture borrows from honor culture its extreme sensitivity to insult, but borrows from the culture of dignity the tendency to call upon authorities and institutions to resolve disputes, rather than deal with them on a personal level. The victimhood culture is what has spawned the repressive campus environment of micro-aggressions, deplatforming, and bias response teams.

The Rise of Victimhood Culture

By Bradley Campbell, Jason Manning,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rise of Victimhood Culture as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Rise of Victimhood Culture offers a framework for understanding recent moral conflicts at U.S. universities, which have bled into society at large. These are not the familiar clashes between liberals and conservatives or the religious and the secular: instead, they are clashes between a new moral culture-victimhood culture-and a more traditional culture of dignity. Even as students increasingly demand trigger warnings and "safe spaces," many young people are quick to police the words and deeds of others, who in turn claim that political correctness has run amok. Interestingly, members of both camps often consider themselves victims of the other.…

Democracy in America

By Alexis de Tocqueville,

Book cover of Democracy in America

And no such list is complete without Alexis de Tocqueville's classic from the 19th century, Democracy in America. Weighing in just two pages short of Don Quixote's 937 (paperback both, the ECCO Grossman Quixote translation and the Penguin Gerald Bevan de Tocqueville edition), Tocqueville ponders a question most of us contemplate and plenty of us act on: "Why Americans are so restless in the midst of their prosperity..."

Democracy in America

By Alexis de Tocqueville,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Democracy in America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

French nobleman Alexis de Tocqueville's classic treatise on the American way of life.

Over 175 years ago, Alexis de Tocqueville, an astute political scientist, came to the United States to evaluate the meaning and actual functioning of democracy. Here, Tocqueville discusses the advantages and dangers of majority rule—which he thought could be as tyrannical as the rule of a monarchy. He analyzes the influence of political parties and the press on the government and the effect of equality on the social, political, and economic life of the American people. He also offers some startling predictions about world politics, which history…

Smokepit Fairytales (Volume 1)

By Tripp Ainsworth,

Book cover of Smokepit Fairytales (Volume 1)

Smokepit Fairytales is one of the most provocative, original and surreal works of military science fiction I’ve ever read. Written by US Marine veteran Tripp Ainsworth, Smokepit Fairytales is the first book in an epic series following the trials and tribulations of a small band of Marines. Each of the characters in this book are normal, flawed human beings trying to pass the boredom in between deployments with anything they can do to distract themselves. When a war unexpectedly breaks out, they must face down their fears and band together to get the job done and get home in once piece.

This book is not for the fainthearted, but from the sheer volume of 5-star rankings on Amazon, it is not one to be missed.

Smokepit Fairytales (Volume 1)

By Tripp Ainsworth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Smokepit Fairytales (Volume 1) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hank and his trusty Corpsman, "Doc," only thought they knew what to expect when they were deployed to Iraq, but after getting trapped in an ancient Babylonian temple, things only got weird. After months of combat in a war that wouldn't end, Hank returns to California to face a different type of immigrant, the kind that comes from space.
Follow Hank through this wildly imaginative science fiction romp as he tries to figure out what it means to be human, or if he even still is one.

Identity Crisis

By Ben Elton,

Book cover of Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis is the most delicious satire! It is so much a send-up of modern times it will unfortunately date, and all too quickly become tomorrow’s history. But I don’t care. I will always find this one of the funniest books I have ever had the pleasure to read - indeed a wickedly witty laugh-out-loud on every page. Anyone who chooses to find the political incorrectness that abounds in Identity Crisis offensive really will need to delve deep in order to discover their obviously lost or sadly under-developed sense of humour.  

Identity Crisis

By Ben Elton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Identity Crisis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why are we all so hostile? So quick to take offence? Truly we are living in the age of outrage.

A series of apparently random murders draws amiable, old-school Detective Mick Matlock into a world of sex, politics, reality TV and a bewildering kaleidoscope of opposing identity groups. Lost in a blizzard of hashtags, his already complex investigation is further impeded by the fact that he simply doesn't 'get' a single thing about anything anymore.

Meanwhile, each day another public figure confesses to having 'misspoken' and prostrates themselves before the judgement of Twitter. Begging for forgiveness, assuring the public "that…


Party Members

By Arthur Meursault,

Book cover of Party Members

Here we have the most politically incorrect of novels, an unflinchingly vicious take on China by a Westerner, though Party Members (pun on the second word) does have an acknowledged precursor in fellow Englishman Ralph Townsend’s Ways That Are Dark, an equally unsentimental account of China published in 1933. We follow the faceless bureaucrat protagonist, Yang Wei, as he inventively combines his passions for sex and KFC (China’s comfort food of choice) at one and the same time, and eggs on the state-sanctioned thugs who set his mother’s house on fire to clear it for developers – with her inside. To be fair, China is evolving out of the nasty pre-2008 Olympics era Meursault is documenting and this is after all satire. But the novel is not only very funny, it’s required reading precisely due to its pariah status.

Party Members

By Arthur Meursault,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Party Members as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Deep within the heart of China, far from the glamour of Shanghai and Beijing, lies the Chinese every-city of Huaishi. This worker’s paradise of smog and concrete is home to Party Member Yang Wei, a mediocre man in a mediocre job. His content life of bureaucratic monotony is shattered by an encounter with the advanced consumer goods he has long been deprived of. Aided by the cynical and malicious advice of an unlikely mentor, Yang Wei embarks on a journey of greed, corruption, and murder that takes him to the diseased underbelly of Chinese society. 

Will Yang Wei achieve his…


Squeeze Me

By Carl Hiaasen,

Book cover of Squeeze Me

Does it seem to you that life lately has become somewhat insane? The politics, breaking news flashes, social media notifications, all expounding doom and gloom. Do you ever ask yourself what happened to political correctness? If you’re exasperated by political controversy, you should read the satirical mystery, Squeeze Me. I’ve always been a big fan of journalist and novelist Carl Hiaasen. In his latest book, Hiaasen’s taken the current-day craziness to an entirely new level, turning a U.S. president loose in Florida allowing him to wreak havoc with our political system. I highly recommend this book because sometimes all you can do is laugh.

Squeeze Me

By Carl Hiaasen,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Squeeze Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'One of the world's funniest novelists'
SUNDAY TIMES

'Scabrous and unrelentingly hilarious . . . the Trump era is truly Carl Hiaasen's moment'
WASHINGTON POST

From the highly acclaimed author of Bad Monkey and Razor Girl comes this hilarious new novel of social and political intrigue, set against the glittering backdrop of Florida's gold coast.

It's the height of the Palm Beach charity ball season: for every good cause, there's a reason for the local luminaries to eat (minimally), drink (maximally), and be seen. But when prominent high-society dowager Kiki Pew suddenly vanishes during a swanky gala, and is later…

Gunfight

By Ryan Busse,

Book cover of Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry That Radicalized America

Busse offers the new perspective of an insider—an erstwhile gun executive. I’ve always held that the gun industry has gotten far too little attention historically, and that commercial forces substantially helped to create and then maintain the American gun mystique and culture long after the “frontier” closed. Busse’s work shows just how explicitly the gun industry today, since 9/11 and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, relies on “manufactured fear” to push products. The book teems with examples of fear marketing, including endorsements from social media celebrities that created a new breed of “couch commandos,” steeped in the “glorification of violence, the utter rejection of political correctness, and the freewheeling masculinity and objectification of women.” And in Busse’s view it’s not just that gun marketing has changed, but that the gun industry has transformed American culture itself, radicalizing it and shifting it toward authoritarianism.

We’ve seen and felt this malevolence of…

Gunfight

By Ryan Busse,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gunfight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A former firearms executive pulls back the curtain on America's multibillion-dollar gun industry, exposing how it fostered extremism and racism, radicalizing the nation and bringing cultural division to a boiling point.
 
As an avid hunter, outdoorsman, and conservationist–all things that the firearms industry was built on–Ryan Busse chased a childhood dream and built a successful career selling millions of firearms for one of America’s most popular gun companies.

But blinded by the promise of massive profits, the gun industry abandoned its self-imposed decency in favor of hardline conservatism and McCarthyesque internal policing, sowing irreparable division in our politics and society.…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in identity politics, political correctness, and democracy?

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