Holiday Gift Guide for the Political Geek or Just Geek in Your Life.
Here are some Christmas gift ideas for the political geek or just geek in your life.
Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America by Ari Berman. Fascinating account of the behind the scenes action of the voting rights movement from 1965 to President Barack Obama. I lived through much of this history and found there were massive gaps in my understanding of why things happened the way they did.
Countless books have been written about the civil rights movement, but far less attention has been paid to what happened after the dramatic passage of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in 1965 and the turbulent forces it unleashed. Give Us the Ballot tells this story for the first time.
In this groundbreaking narrative history, Ari Berman charts both the transformation of American democracy under the VRA and the counterrevolution that has sought to limit voting rights, from 1965 to the present day. The act enfranchised millions of Americans and is widely regarded as the crowning achievement of the civil rights movement. And yet, fifty years later, we are still fighting heated battles over race, representation, and political power, with lawmakers devising new strategies to keep minorities out of the voting booth and with the Supreme Court declaring a key part of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional.
Let the Word Go Forth: The Speeches, Statements, and Writings of John F. Kennedy 1947 to 1963
Let the Word Go Forth: The Speeches, Statements, and Writings of John F. Kennedy 1947 to 1963 by Theodore “Ted” Sorensen. With the exception possible exception of FDR no other modern president has cast a longer shadow over our politics today. (See The Kennedy Half Century below). JFK’s eloquence is one of the main reasons for his continued influence.
In one volume, the writings and speeches of John F. Kennedy reveal a man and President, and portray an era as no historian or biographer could.
Here are the words that propelled a nation and moved the world. From the best-remembered speeches, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country” to the one never delivered that fateful day in Dallas “…words alone are not enough,” longtime Kennedy adviser and key White House aide Theodore Sorensen has put together speeches, important letters, debates, television and radio interviews, State of the Union addresses, and even impromptu responses during news conferences.
The result is an illuminating, moving portrayal of Kennedy’s political career and of the provocative, important ideas that inspired a generation and challenged a country’s conscience as no President before or since has done
Safire’s Political Dictionary, by William Safire. Legendary language guru, author of more than twenty-five books, and Pulitzer-prize winning political columnist, William Safire is perhaps best known for his weekly “On Language” column for the New York Times.
From slang to spin, Safire has for nearly four decades, shown us how the English language is a living, breathing and ever-evolving organism, that should never, ever be taken at face value. This is particularly true of the political jargon cast out by politicians, pundits, and the press.
When Safire catches these colorful and slippery specimens of “polingo” in his lexicographer’s net, his probing reveals them to be as curious and revealing of our historical past as our present. Want to know what the politicians are really saying, or trying to say? Then check out the newly revised edition of Safire’s Political Dictionary–a magnum opus of U.S. political terminology. In it, Safire shares with readers his expert dissection of politico-speak to uncover its deeper meanings and broader significance. This fully updated reference volume is essential and highly entertaining reading for voters of all persuasions and just about anyone interested in American political culture.
Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado (and Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care) by Rob Witwer and Adam Schrager. After the November 2015 elections in Kentucky this has become a MUST read for Kentucky Democrats.
This is the inside story of one of the most stunning reversals of political fortune in American history. Four years ago, the GOP dominated politics at every level in Colorado. Republicans held both Senate seats, five of seven congressional seats, the governor’s mansion, the offices of secretary of state and treasurer, and both houses of the state legislature. After the 2008 election, the exact opposite was true: replace the word Republicans with Democrats in the previous sentence, and you have of one the most stunning reversals of political fortune in American history.
This is also the story of how it will happen—indeed, is happening—in other states across the country. In Colorado, progressives believe they have found a blueprint for creating permanent Democratic majorities across the nation. With discipline and focus, they have pioneered a legal architecture designed to take advantage of new campaign finance laws and an emerging breed of progressive donors who are willing to commit unprecedented resources to local races. It’s simple, brilliant, and very effective.
Believer: My Forty Years in Politics by David Axelrod. Axelrod has always been a believer. Whether as a young journalist investigating city corruption, a campaign consultant guiding underdog candidates against entrenched orthodoxy, or as senior adviser to the president during one of the worst crises in American history, Axelrod held fast to his faith in the power of stories to unite diverse communities and ignite transformative political change. Now this legendary strategist, the mastermind behind Barack Obama’s historic election campaigns, shares a wealth of stories from his forty-year journey through the inner workings of American democracy.Believer is the tale of a political life well lived, of a man who never gave up on the deepest promises our country has to offer.
Believer reveals the roots of Axelrod’s devotion to politics and his faith in democratic change. As a child of the ’60s in New York City, Axelrod worked his first campaigns during a tumultuous decade that began with soaring optimism and ended in violence and chaos. As a young newspaperman in Chicago during the 1970s and ’80s, Axelrod witnessed another world transformed when he reported on the dissolution of the last of the big city political machines—Richard Daley, Dan Rostenkowski, and Harold Washington—along with the emergence of a dynamic black independent movement that ultimately made Obama’s ascent possible.
The Cynic: The Political Education of Mitch McConnell by Alec MacGillis From a dogged political reporter, an investigation into the political education of Mitch McConnell and an argument that this powerful Senator embodies much of this country’s political dysfunction.
Based on interviews with more than seventy-five people who have worked alongside Mitch McConnell or otherwise interacted with him over the course of his career, The Cynic is both a comprehensive biography of one of this country’s most powerful politicians and a damning diagnosis of this country’s eroding political will.
Tracing his rise from a pragmatic local official in Kentucky to the leader of the Republican opposition in Washington, the book tracks McConnell’s transformation from a moderate Republican who supported abortion rights and public employee unions to the embodiment of partisan obstructionism and conservative orthodoxy on Capitol Hill. Driven less by a shift in ideological conviction than by a desire to win elections and stay in power at all costs, McConnell’s transformation exemplifies the “permanent campaign” mindset that has come to dominate American government.
The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick. By now it’s clear that whether you’re promoting a business, a product, or yourself, social media is near the top of what determines your success or failure. And there are countless pundits, authors, and consultants eager to advise you.
But there’s no one quite like Guy Kawasaki, the legendary former chief evangelist for Apple and one of the pioneers of business blogging, tweeting, Facebooking, Tumbling, and much, much more. Now Guy has teamed up with Peg Fitzpatrick, who he says is the best social-media person he’s ever met, to offer The Art of Social Media—the one essential guide you need to get the most bang for your time, effort, and money.
With over one hundred practical tips, tricks, and insights, Guy and Peg present a bottom-up strategy to produce a focused, thorough, and compelling presence on the most popular social-media platforms. They guide you through steps to build your foundation, amass your digital assets, optimize your profile, attract more followers, and effectively integrate social media and blogging.
The Kennedy Half Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy Larry J. Sabato. John F. Kennedy died almost half a century ago―yet because of his extraordinary promise and untimely death, his star still resonates strongly. On the anniversary of his assassination, celebrated political scientist and analyst Larry J. Sabato―himself a teenager in the early 1960s and inspired by JFK and his presidency―explores the fascinating and powerful influence he has had over five decades on the media, the general public, and especially on each of his nine presidential successors.
A recent Gallup poll gave JFK the highest job approval rating of any of those successors, and millions remain captivated by his one thousand days in the White House. For all of them, and for those who feel he would not be judged so highly if he hadn’t died tragically in office, The Kennedy Half-Century will be particularly revealing. Sabato reexamines JFK’s assassination using heretofore unseen information to which he has had unique access, then documents the extraordinary effect the assassination has had on Americans of every modern generation through the most extensive survey ever undertaken on the public’s view of a historical figure. The full and fascinating results, gathered by the accomplished pollsters Peter Hart and Geoff Garin, paint a compelling portrait of the country a half-century after the epochal killing. Just as significantly, Sabato shows how JFK’s presidency has strongly influenced the policies and decisions―often in surprising ways―of every president since.
The Speechwriter by Barton Swaim. An intimate and hilarious look inside the spin room of the modern politician: a place where ideals are crushed, English is mangled, people are humiliated, and the opportunity for humor is everywhere.
Everyone knows this kind of politician: a charismatic maverick who goes up against the system and its ways, but thinks he doesn’t have to live by the rules. Through his own experience as the speechwriter for a controversial governor, Barton Swaim tells the story of a band of believers who attach themselves to this sort of ambitious narcissist—and what happens when it all comes crashing down.
The Speechwriter is a funny and candid introduction to the world of politics, where press statements are purposefully nonsensical, grammatical errors are intentional, and better copy means more words. Swaim paints a portrait of a man so principled he’d rather sweat than use state money to pay for air conditioning, so oblivious he’d wear the same stained shirt for two weeks, so egotistical he’d belittle his staffers to make himself feel better, and so self-absorbed he never once apologized to his staff for making his administration the laughing stock of the country. On the surface, this is the story of one politician’s rise and fall. But in the end, it’s a story about us—the very real people who want to believe in our leaders and must learn to survive with broken hearts.
The Martian by Andy Weir.
You probably have heard of the movie, you might have even see it and this isn’t political, but it is one of the most fun reads I have had in a LONG time!
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.
Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.
But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
Move and groove along with this fun and unique dancing Groot! this plant from another planet will dance along to built-in music “I want you back”. He will also dance to any sounds you make or music you play! you’re sure to have an out of this world experience with this exciting grooving’ Groot!.