2019DAG Fall/Winter Media Recommendations

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If you're looking for a good book or documentary recommendation, look no further. The DAG Fall Winter list is here! The books and video list below will make the perfect companions on the chilly nights ahead.

Linking to Amazon does not represent an endorsement by Democrats Abroad or Democrats Abroad Germany. It’s just convenient. Please buy books from any bookseller you prefer. The majority of the books listed below are available in a variety of formats;  e-books, Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook and/or Audio CD. Enjoy reading and happy holidays.

The Testaments: The Sequel to The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results. What a great book, it was well worth the wait. Watch an interview with the author.

Trump on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President by Justin A. Frank

No president in the history of the United States has inspired more alarm and confusion than Donald Trump. As questions and concerns about his decisions, behavior, and qualifications for office have multiplied, they point to one primary question: Does he pose a genuine threat to our country? The American Psychiatric Association's Goldwater Rule constrains psychiatrists from offering diagnoses on public figures who are not patients and who have not endorsed such statements. But in Trump on the Couch Clinical Professor of Psychiatry Justin A Frank invokes the moral responsibility that compels him to speak out and present a full portrait of a man who presents us with a clear and present danger. Listen to an interview with the author.

The Hidden History of Guns and the Second Amendment by Thom Hartmann

Taking his typically in-depth, historically informed view, Thom Hartmann examines the brutal role guns have played in American history, from the genocide of the Native Americans to the enforcement of slavery (Slave Patrols are in fact the Second Amendment’s “well-regulated militias”) and the racist post-Civil War social order. He shows how the NRA and conservative Supreme Court justices used specious logic to invent a virtually unlimited individual right to own guns, which has enabled the ever-growing number of mass shootings in the United States. But Hartmann also identifies a handful of powerful, commonsense solutions that would break the power of the gun lobby and restore the understanding of the Second Amendment that the Framers of the Constitution intended. This is the kind of brief, brilliant analysis for which Hartmann is justly renowned.

Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America by Kathleen Belew

The white power movement in America wants a revolution. Its soldiers are not lone wolves but highly organized cadres motivated by a coherent and deeply troubling worldview made up of white supremacy, virulent anticommunism, and apocalyptic faith. In Bring the War Home, Kathleen Belew gives us the history of a movement that consolidated in the 1970s and 1980s around a potent sense of betrayal in the Vietnam War and made tragic headlines in Waco and Ruby Ridge and with the Oklahoma City bombing and is resurgent under President Trump.

Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America's Heartland by Jonathan M. Metzl

n the era of Donald Trump, many lower- and middle-class white Americans are drawn to politicians who pledge to make their lives great again. But as Dying of Whiteness shows, the policies that result actually place white Americans at ever-greater risk of sickness and death.

Physician Jonathan M. Metzl's quest to understand the health implications of "backlash governance" leads him across America's heartland. Interviewing a range of everyday Americans, he examines how racial resentment has fueled pro-gun laws in Missouri, resistance to the Affordable Care Act in Tennessee, and cuts to schools and social services in Kansas. And he shows these policies' costs: increasing deaths by gun suicide, falling life expectancies, and rising dropout rates. White Americans, Metzl argues, must reject the racial hierarchies that promise to aid them but in fact, lead our nation to demise.

This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant's Manifesto by Suketu Mehta

From Penguin Books: Drawing on his family’s own experience emigrating from India to Britain and America, and years of reporting around the world, Suketu Mehta subjects the worldwide anti-immigrant backlash to withering scrutiny. The West, he argues, is being destroyed not by immigrants but by the fear of immigrants. He juxtaposes the phony narratives of populist ideologues with the ordinary heroism of laborers, nannies, and others, from Dubai to New York, and explains why more people are on the move today than ever before. As civil strife and climate change reshape large parts of the planet, it is little surprise that borders have become so porous. 

This Land is Our Land also stresses the destructive legacies of colonialism and global inequality on large swathes of the world. When today’s immigrants are asked, ‘Why are you here?’, they can justly respond, ‘We are here because you were there.’ And now that they are here, as Mehta demonstrates, immigrants bring great benefits, enabling countries and communities to flourish.

Impassioned, rigorous, and richly stocked with memorable stories and characters, This Land Is Our Land is a timely and necessary intervention and literary polemic of the highest order. Listen to an interview with the author.

Divided We Stand: The Battle Over Women's Rights and Family Values That Polarized American Politics by Marjorie J. Spruill

More than forty years ago, two women's movements drew a line in the sand between liberals and conservatives. The far-reaching legacy of that rift is still felt today. The women's rights movement and the conservative women's movement have irrevocably affected the course of modern American history. We cannot fully understand the present without appreciating the events leading up to Houston and thereafter.

Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America by Christopher Leonard

For five decades, CEO Charles Koch has kept Koch Industries quietly operating in deepest secrecy, with a view toward very, very long-term profits. He’s a genius businessman: patient with earnings, able to learn from his mistakes, determined that his employees develop a reverence for free-market ruthlessness, and a master disrupter. These strategies made him and his brother David together richer than Bill Gates.

But there’s another side to this story. If you want to understand how we killed the unions in this country, how we widened the income divide, stalled progress on climate change, and how our corporations bought the influence industry, all you have to do is read this book. Watch an interview with the author.

Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy by Tressie McMillan Cottom

In Lower Ed Tressie McMillan Cottom—a bold and rising public scholar, herself once a recruiter at two for-profit colleges—expertly parses the fraught dynamics of this big-money industry to show precisely how it is part and parcel of the growing inequality plaguing the country today. McMillan Cottom discloses the shrewd recruitment and marketing strategies that these schools deploy and explains how, despite the well-documented predatory practices of some and the campus closings of others, ending for-profit colleges won’t end the vulnerabilities that made them the fastest-growing sector of higher education at the turn of the twenty-first century. Listen to an interview with the author.


Documentaries

Legalize Equality - Watch it for free courtesy of Global Women's Caucus

This updated short film about the ERA explains the legal and economic arguments for the ERA. Excerpted from the award-winning documentary, Equal Means Equal, with new footage and commentary. Learn about what constitutional gender equality would mean, the legal questions around ERA passage, and why the ERA is still necessary. Click here to access the film.

The Laundromat

The Laundromat pulls back the curtain on a complex system of laws that enables wealthy individuals and corporations to avoid taxes and evade consequences.

American Factory

The first film distributed by Barack Obama and Michelle Obama's production company, Higher Ground Productions. In post-industrial Ohio, a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America. It's a surprising and emotional film.

 

The Great Hack

The Cambridge Analytica scandal is examined through the roles of several affected persons. Focusing on the U.S. 2016 presidential election and Great Britain's Brexit campaign, THE GREAT HACK details the measures taken by political operatives to successfully manipulate internet users' opinions and, ultimately, their votes. The camera follows some significant players in the real-life drama that unfolds.

 

The Family 

This series is a companion to the 2008 book The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power by Jeff Sharlet. In The Family, a five-part docu-series for Netflix, director Jesse Moss uses Sharlet's books and some original reporting to detail the history and influence of the Fellowship, which is also known as the Family. It also includes updated material about Trump and Pence's relationship to "The Family."

 

Knock Down The House

Four working-class women (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, Paula Jean Swearengin) run for Congress, overcoming adversity to battle powerful political machines in very different American landscapes. One of their races will change the country forever. A very hopeful film.

 

When They See Us

A miniseries created, co-written, and directed by Ava DuVernay. In 1989 a jogger was assaulted and raped in New York's Central Park, and five young people were subsequently charged with the crime. The quintet labeled the Central Park Five, maintained its innocence, and spent years fighting the convictions, hoping to be exonerated. This limited series spans a quarter of a century, from when the teens are first questioned about the incident in the spring of 1989, going through their exoneration in 2002, and ultimately, the settlement reached with the city of New York in 2014.

 

For more recommendations, check out our list from 2017

If you have a recommendation, please send it to communications@democratsabroad.de