Thursday, 6 November 2008

Five More Books for After-Election Reading--US This Time

The circumstances are different, but I’ve been reflecting on what would be good after-election reading, the way I did after the Canadian Federal election. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Some novels to help us understand how far the United States has come:

Sally Hemmings: a Novel by Barbara Case Riboud. The life of Thomas Jefferson’s black mistress.

The Book of Negroes/ Someone Knows my Name
by Lawrence Hill. Based on a ittle known historical document called the Book of Negroes, dating from the US Revolution.

All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren. Set in the Louisiana of the first decades of the 20th century, it tells the story of a white (and they all were white then) politician, and how he changed from being a decent populist to becoming a demagogue.

How Stella Got Her Groove Back by Terry McMillan. A feel-good chick lit novel by an African American writer who’s got considerable groove herself. Her world is a universe away from the people—whatever race—in All the King’s Men, thank goodness.

The Poisonwood Bible: by Barbara Kingsolver. A Fundamentalist family in Africa and what happened afterwards. Kingsolver’s master work.

And as a bonus, a book of non-fiction that shows the way to what we, and the new president, should do next.

The Conscience of a Liberal
by Paul Krugman. This year’s Nobel Prize winner for economics outlines how a relatively equitable society was forged during the Depression of the 1930s and World War II, how free market and fundamentalist ideologues worked to destroy that after the mid-1970s, and what we might do to recover lost ground today. Published more than a year ago, it does presages the Obama and shows the way out the current financial crisis.


Martin Langeland said...

An excellent list!
Yet I have the temerity to request an addition: "The Divine Right of Capital" by Marjorie Kelley. This gives a clear eyed understanding of the particular beasts that created the mess in our Augean stables, that is: our corporate aristocracy, with its emphasis on running companies to provide the highest return to shareholders, who claim to own the enterprise, rather than include the workers who produce or the community which provides the setting and raw materials.
It is a call for corporate democracy as sharp and lusty as Tom Paine's call for political democracy.

Mary Soderstrom said...

Thank you for the suggestion, Martin. I don't know the book, and I'll look for it today.

Best wishes