Some Political Reading for 2011

I was lucky enough to receive quite a few books this past Christmas, which has meant my reading list has grown exponentially. I decided to put together a small list of some new and interesting political books, which are sure to be necessary reads for any political enthusiast. If you’re looking for any good reading material, perhaps something on this list will tickle your fancy.

The book I am currently reading, which I learned of simply by browsing the political science section of my local Chapters, is entitled The Audacity to Win by David Plouffe. Plouffe was Obama’s campaign manager in his 2008 presidential bid, and accounts for Obama’s historic rise from a candidate with zero name recognition and money, to a national candidate, to president. As it is coming directly from Plouffe, there is little worry that the information contained within is not correct. However, it is unlikely that Plouffe will include any ‘dirt’ on the Obama campaign of 2008. The book also looks to be a criticism of the Republican party, as the subtitle of the book is How Obama Won and How We Can Beat the Party of Limbaugh, Beck and Palin.

One of the books wrapped underneath the Christmas tree for me was George W. Bush’s Decision Points. I don’t need to say too much regarding this book, as it has been widely reported on. I am simply interested to hear how Bush tells his side of the story. Obviously this is an attempt to improve his legacy, but at the same time I don’t think anybody will finish the book with an unabashed love for the former president.

Another book on sitting on my bookshelf currently is A Journey: My Political Life by Tony Blair. Once again, this memoir has been widely reported on. Similar to Bush, Blair left office on less than desirable terms with the electorate. It will be interesting to see how he approaches the task of defending his political life to the reader, and how similar or different it will be to how Bush approached it.

A book that I simply could not pass up is by former president Jimmy Carter (if you read this past week’s Flashback Friday, you will know why). In what seems to be his one hundredth book, Carter opens up the diary he kept while president to give a first hand account of events that took place during his four years in the White House. The book is an attempt to provide people an avenue into Carter’s head to understand what he was thinking and going through as he led the country.

Game Change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin was a book I finished this past summer. Subtitled Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin and the Race of a Lifetime, the book outlines the 2008 election focusing on the primaries, nominations, VP selections, and campaigns of each party. While it focussed more heavily on the Democrats, with less mention of the Republican ticket, it was a good read and provided some interesting insight into an unknown side of the candidates.

I have mentioned this selection before in a previous Flashback Friday post, but I am also attempting to make time for American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by John Meacham. Generally I am more interested in content of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, but Jackson is a pretty interesting character, so I thought I would give it a go.

Another book, which I have owned for far too long and not read yet is Dreams from my Father. This was of course authored by Barack Obama and documents his life growing up, and his struggle to find his own identity. Obama’s work has been generally well received, so I am expecting it to be a decent read.

Lawrence Martin authored an interesting book on Prime Minister Stephen Harper, appropriately titled Harperland: The Politics of Control. The book will no doubt support what we all know about Harper being a very controlling individual within his party, and from what I have heard it provides quite a scathing review of a paranoid man.

As I was researching yesterday’s post on Tommy Douglas, I came across a book recently authored by Bill Waisser and C.S. Houston. Entitled Tommy’s Team: The People Behind the Douglas Years, it provides the history behind many of Douglas’ actions as premier and NDP leader, showing how he was not alone. By himself, Douglas was not able to accomplish all he wanted to. Thus he had a dedicated team of loyal personnel. But then again, who doesn’t? Not sure how groundbreaking this will be, but likely a decent history of Douglas.

So these are just a few of the current selections on my personal reading list, and perhaps some of them might be appealing to you as well. There are thousands of other books which are hot at the moment, including selections from Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Elizabeth Edwards and so on and so forth. The question I have for you all, is what books are you planning to read in 2011? These are mostly political books. Any good suggestions for Canadian or American history that you know of? Please share!


About Chris James

A student of political science at a Canadian University sharing stories of interest on Canadian and American political and social issues.

Posted on January 11, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I have attempted to read Kanata by Don Gillmor more than once and it is just not happening. Citizen of the world (Trudeau Bio) is still on my shelf half read but very interesting..

    For a fun, political read I am reading Vince Flynn novels. It is like Jack Ryan adventures.

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