10 books like The Republican Reversal

By James Morton Turner, Andrew C. Isenberg,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Republican Reversal. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Encounters with the Archdruid

By John McPhee,

Book cover of Encounters with the Archdruid

The “archdruid” in John McPhee’s 1971 narrative nonfiction book Encounters with the Archdruid is David Brower, the ardent, at times militant conservationist who spent the latter half of the 20th century fighting to protect wilderness and wild places from commercial exploitation. McPhee profiles Brower with characteristic depth and detail by bringing him together with three foes: a mineral engineer set on mining in the Glacier Peak Wilderness in the Cascade mountains of Washington; a real estate developer who hoped to build homes on what is now Cumberland Island National Seashore, and the commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which, despite opposition from Brower and others, dammed the spectacular Glen Canyon on the Colorado River to create Lake Powell in northern Arizona and southern Utah.

McPhee arranges for Brower and the commissioner, Floyd Dominy, to take a rafting trip down the Colorado through the Grand Canyon and later a boat…

Encounters with the Archdruid

By John McPhee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Encounters with the Archdruid as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The narratives in this book are of journeys made in three wildernesses - on a coastal island, in a Western mountain range, and on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The four men portrayed here have different relationships to their environment, and they encounter each other on mountain trails, in forests and rapids, sometimes with reserve, sometimes with friendliness, sometimes fighting hard across a philosophical divide.


To Save the Land and People

By Chad Montrie,

Book cover of To Save the Land and People: A History of Opposition to Surface Coal Mining in Appalachia

Chad Montrie has written a series of books exploring the unsung corners of environmentalism. Actually, that’s not fair. He’s explored the center of environmentalism – the activism of the poor, the working class, the average people who have fought to protect their families, their homes, their health. In To Save the Land and People, Montrie takes us into the hollows of Appalachia, where disempowered people did everything they could – even to the point of destroying bulldozers and threatening violence – to protect their communities. Montrie’s work reminds us of the struggles in Cleveland’s disempowered neighborhoods, where efforts to improve the environment often go unnoticed and lead to few successes. 

To Save the Land and People

By Chad Montrie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To Save the Land and People as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Surface coal mining has had a dramatic impact on the Appalachian economy and ecology since World War II, exacerbating the region's chronic unemployment and destroying much of its natural environment. Here, Chad Montrie examines the twentieth-century movement to outlaw surface mining in Appalachia, tracing popular opposition to the industry from its inception through the growth of a militant movement that engaged in acts of civil disobedience and industrial sabotage. Both comprehensive and comparative, To Save the Land and People chronicles the story of surface mining opposition in the whole region, from Pennsylvania to Alabama. Though many accounts of environmental activism…


Make It a Green Peace! The Rise of Countercultural Environmentalism

By Frank Zelko,

Book cover of Make It a Green Peace! The Rise of Countercultural Environmentalism

The history of politics can be dry stuff. But Frank Zelko is a natural storyteller – and a gifted historian. His subjects, Greenpeace and the men and women who formed it, provide access to the evolution of North American environmentalism from the 1960s through the 1980s. In vivid detail, Zelko narrates the drama at the heart of the Greenpeace strategy, the “mind bombs” that would activate citizens around the globe to stop whaling – at least mostly. Zelko makes us feel the urgency among these activists, their fear of nuclear testing, and their love of whales. Even among this relatively small group of activists, however, personality conflicts and philosophical differences reveal the difficulty of creating and maintaining a countercultural organization. For many of these folks, organization is not their thing. But action was. And throughout, Zelko’s fine-grained narrative reminds us that individual action is at the heart of all political…

Make It a Green Peace! The Rise of Countercultural Environmentalism

By Frank Zelko,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Make It a Green Peace! The Rise of Countercultural Environmentalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The emergence of Greenpeace in the late 1960s from a loose-knit group of anti-nuclear and anti-whaling activists fundamentally changed the nature of environmentalism-its purpose, philosophy, and tactics-around the world. And yet there has been no comprehensive objective history of Greenpeace's origins-until now.

Make It a Green Peace! draws upon meeting minutes, internal correspondence, manifestos, philosophical writings, and interviews with former members to offer the first full account of the origins of what has become the most recognizable environmental non-governmental organization in the world. Situating Greenpeace within the peace movement and counterculture of the 1960s, Frank Zelko provides a much deeper…


The Meadowlands

By Robert Sullivan,

Book cover of The Meadowlands: Wilderness Adventures on the Edge of a City

The subtitle to Robert Sullivan’s The Meadowlands is Wilderness Adventures on the Edge of a City, and it’s Sullivan’s adventures exploring the vast New Jersey wetlands that make the book so entertaining. But Sullivan is right to use the word “wilderness” to describe the 32 square miles of swamp, landfills, and rusting industrial debris along the Hackensack River where it flows into Newark Bay just five miles from the Empire State Building in New York City. Like the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, the Meadowlands have been abused and degraded for centuries but also show the resilience of nature and how people’s attitudes toward it have changed. “Now it is a good place to see a black-crowned night heron or a pied-bill grebe or eighteen species of ladybugs,” Sullivan writes, “even if some of the waters these creatures fly over can oftentimes be the color of antifreeze.” Sullivan’s loving description…

The Meadowlands

By Robert Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Imagine a grungy north Jersey version of John McPhee's classic The Pine Barrens and you'll get some idea of the idiosyncratic, fact-filled, and highly original work that is Robert Sullivan's The Meadowlands.  Just five miles west of New York City, this vilified, half-developed, half-untamed, much dumped-on, and sometimes odiferous tract of swampland is home to rare birds and missing bodies, tranquil marshes and a major sports arena, burning garbage dumps and corporate headquarters, the remains of the original Penn Station--and maybe, just ,maybe, of the late Jimmy Hoffa.  Robert Sullivan proves himself to be this fragile yet amazingly resilient region's…


What's the Matter with Kansas?

By Frank Thomas,

Book cover of What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America

The fact that the capitalist class organizations, with their use of capital strike and flight, lobbying, funding right-wing “grassroots” organizations, think tanks, media, and Chicago school intellectuals, wanted to drive economic policy in a certain direction does not inevitably lead to the conclusion that they would have succeeded in achieving these goals. Neoliberal policies could not have been implemented in even a nominal democracy without at least a modicum of support from its victims. Remarkably, large sections of the American electorate vote for and support policies that favor the very business class that has profited from their economic decline. This is the first book to describe the abandonment of the Democratic Party by less-educated Whites which had a significant effect on the American shift to the right from the 1970s onward. My co-authors and I explore this shift in up-to-date detail in our book.

What's the Matter with Kansas?

By Frank Thomas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What's the Matter with Kansas? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Reveals how conservatism became the preferred national political ideology, exploring the origins of this philosophy in the upper classes and tracing its recent popularity within the middle class.


Let Them Eat Tweets

By Jacob S. Hacker, Paul Pierson,

Book cover of Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality

Hacker and Pierson make an important contribution to understanding the mess that the promotion of unbridled capitalism has made America. They argue the elites (society’s wealthiest and most influential) have a dilemma. Being outnumbered, there is always a risk that a democratic society will vote to diminish/confiscate their wealth. They describe two ways in which this dilemma has been addressed; ensuring the needs of less affluent members of society are met, so they’re not motivated to confiscate the wealth of the elites; the other strategy for guarding their wealth is by getting poor people to blame minority groups for difficulties they may be experiencing. Sadly, they make a convincing case for the foreseeable future. Conservative elites will have control of the federal government and a significant number of states.

Let Them Eat Tweets

By Jacob S. Hacker, Paul Pierson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Let Them Eat Tweets as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Republican Party appears to be divided between a tax-cutting old guard and a white-nationalist vanguard-and with Donald Trump's ascendance, the upstarts seem to be winning. Yet how are we to explain that, under Trump, the plutocrats have gotten almost everything they want, including a huge tax cut for corporations and the wealthy, regulation-killing executive actions, and a legion of business-friendly federal judges? Does the GOP represent "forgotten" Americans? Or does it represent the superrich?

In Let Them Eat Tweets, best-selling political scientists Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson offer a definitive answer: the Republican Party serves its plutocratic masters…


Suburban Warriors

By Lisa McGirr,

Book cover of Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right

This is a field-defining work. First published in 2001, McGirr’s book prompted a generation of historians to reexamine the rise and evolution of modern American conservatism. Focused on the suburbs of Orange County, California, Suburban Warriors explored how grassroots conservative activists mobilized to reshape the politics of the nation. Through the stories of ordinary people--housewives and defense workers, evangelical worshippers, and anti-communist activists--we learn how the modern American right evolved from a fringe movement into arguably the most powerful political force in the United States.

Suburban Warriors

By Lisa McGirr,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Suburban Warriors as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the early 1960s, American conservatives seemed to have fallen on hard times. McCarthyism was on the run, and movements on the political left were grabbing headlines. The media lampooned John Birchers's accusations that Dwight Eisenhower was a communist puppet. Mainstream America snickered at warnings by California Congressman James B. Utt that "barefooted Africans" were training in Georgia to help the United Nations take over the country. Yet, in Utt's home district of Orange County, thousands of middle-class suburbanites proceeded to organize a powerful conservative movement that would land Ronald Reagan in the White House and redefine the spectrum of…


Strangers in Their Own Land

By Arlie Russell Hochschild,

Book cover of Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right

Hochschild provides a textured and personalized account of Tea Party-supporting men and women whom she got to know in the bayou area of Louisiana in the 2010s. Her concept of the “deep story”—defined as a story that feels true even when it is factually incorrect—helped me to understand why people may believe the lies they absorb from the internet and other media. Her insights into how economic disruption drove these Americans toward a more abrasive form of politics also gels with my own historical understanding of fascist sympathies. In an era when many experts adopt a strident tone, I love Hochschild’s work for its genuine effort to understand. 

Strangers in Their Own Land

By Arlie Russell Hochschild,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Strangers in Their Own Land as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Strangers in Their Own Land, the renowned sociologist Arlie Hochschild embarks on a thought-provoking journey from her liberal hometown of Berkeley, California, deep into Louisiana bayou country - a stronghold of the conservative right. As she gets to know people who strongly oppose many of the ideas she famously champions, Hochschild nevertheless finds common ground and quickly warms to the people she meets, people whose concerns are actually ones that all Americans share: the desire for community, the embrace of family, and hopes for their children.


Invisible Hands

By Kim Phillips-Fein,

Book cover of Invisible Hands: The Businessmen's Crusade Against the New Deal

Shifting away from the grassroots origins of modern conservatism, Invisible Hands examines how wealthy, conservative businessmen mobilized to counter the power of organized labor, dismantle the New Deal, and propel the right into political power. Phillips-Fein begins her story in the Depression, as a small set of disgruntled industrialists organized against what they saw as creeping socialism, embodied in FDR’s New Deal. Although marginal at first, these titans of capitalism spent great effort and tremendous sums of money to change the tone and tenor of American politics, convincing many Americans to abandon the promises of economic security for the supposed beneficence of the free market.

Invisible Hands

By Kim Phillips-Fein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the wake of the profound economic crisis known as the Great Depression, a group of high-powered individuals joined forces to campaign against the New Deal-not just its practical policies but the foundations of its economic philosophy. The titans of the National Association of Manufacturers and the chemicals giant DuPont, together with little-known men like W. C. Mullendore, Leonard Read, and Jasper Crane, championed European thinkers Friedrich von Hayek and Ludwig von Mises and their fears of the "nanny state." Through fervent activism, fundraising, and institution-building, these men sought to educate and organize their peers as a political force to…


All Politics Is Local

By Meaghan Winter,

Book cover of All Politics Is Local: Why Progressives Must Fight for the States

A timely and well-researched look at the right’s successful, decades-long strategy of capturing state legislatures, this book sounds the alarm—and points to a crucial path forward. I love that Winter succeeds where many academic authors have failed: she has written a book that’s both deeply informative and fun to read. I especially appreciate her concrete and practical approach to moving the United States in a more progressive direction; anyone can point out that the right is, by many measures, winning, but it takes real talent to show us what we can do about it.

All Politics Is Local

By Meaghan Winter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Politics Is Local as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After the 2016 election, the Republican Party seized control not just of the White House and Congress but of many state governments. To be precise, the GOP seized control of both legislative chambers in 32 states and governor offices in 33 states-a majority the party hadn't held since 1928. What happened?

In In the Red, journalist Meaghan Winter argues that over the last couple decades, the Democratic Party has made a very risky strategic choice to abandon state and local races in order to win federal races, while the GOP poured money into winning state governor seats and state congresses.…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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