New York City -- Here we are in the land of Democratic Inaction -- unable to tell the truth from the lies, with the niggling fear of terror playing in the background and the knowledge that this isn't how it's supposed to be. This is what happens when citizens don't exercise their authority. Voting is just half the battle. Knowing what is going on is key. Bookblog has put together a list of must-reads for every American in no particular order.
The U.S. Constitution
Quick, before it disappears.
Congress for Dummies
Who is your representative? Your Senator? What do they do all day? How can you tell them they're doing it wrong?
All the President's Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
Two reporters at the Washington Post reported crimes at the highest levels of government, which led to an investigation that resulted in the impeachment of President Richard Nixon. A swift-moving page-turner that is an example of the type of reporting that journalists in America should be doing today. Woodward and Bernstein were interviewed by Larry King on August 9, the 30th anniversary of President Nixon's resignation. Read the transcript.
Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville
When Monsieur de Tocqueville came to America in the 19th Century it would have been inconceivable that his analysis and observations of our democracy in action would be so on-target more than 150 years later. This text (or portions of it)should be taught in schools.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to American Government Apparently, there's a need out there for this one. Besides explaining the branches of government, also tells you how to get your voice heard.
Bushwacked: Life in George Bush's America by Molly Ivins, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who has spent her life covering Texas, on how Bush's policies and lax Federal regulations are affecting your every day life.
Plan of Attack by Bob Woodward
Why did the U.S. invade Iraq when the 9/11 attacks were carried out by Al Qaeda factions in Afghanistan with connections to Saudi Arabia? This fascinating behind-the-scenes look at contentious road to the invasion benefits from interviews with all the major players within the Bush Administration.
Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror by Richard Clark
How could 9/11 have happened? Get the story from the man in charge -- Clark was head of anti-terrorism in the U.S. and has worked for seven U.S. Presidents before resigning in 2003. He puts the Al Qaeda threats in historical context and lays blame on the Bush administration for not acting on those threats, as he famously testified before the 9/11 commission earlier this year.
Irreparable Harm: The U.s. Supreme Court And The Decision That Made George W. Bush President by Renata Adler
This recent title analyzes the Supreme Court decision that ruled George W. Bush won the election even though Al Gore had more votes.
Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas by Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson
Not to be missed. When President Bush the elder needed an African-American to appoint to the Supreme Court, his administration scoured the nation and came up with Clarence Thomas. As his nomination moved forward, a former colleague named Anita Hill went public with allegations that Thomas had sexually harrassed her. The media circus and Congressional inquiry that followed forever changed politics and the Supreme Court. This is one of the most meticulously researched and readable books I've ever read, and it reads like a political thriller.