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Tied to Current Events

Destined For War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?, by Graham Allison.

Graham Allison writes that America and China are destined to fight a war against each other that neither country wants to fight. He looks at our current situation through the lens of Thucydides and how Athens and Sparta grew to fear each other in a way that made war inevitable, calling it "Thucydides's Trap."...

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Riot Days, by Maria Alyokhina.

As a member of a popular anti-Putin punk band from Russia, Maria Alyokhina and her bandmates were arrested after playing a protest concert in a church. This is not just a memoir of those events but an examination of life under Vladimir Putin and life in the Russian prison system. With Russia often in American headlines, this gives a perspective for a dissident living there....

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Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century, by Jessica Bruder.

Jessica Bruder follows the fortunes of a growing class of Americans: former retirees who travel the country in RVs seeking seasonal work. It's a low cost labor pool of seniors whose Social Security and retirement isn't sufficient for a proper, settled retirement, so they find themselves as migrant workers nicknamed "workampers." ...

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Chokehold: Policing Black Men, by Paul Butler.

An exploration into the American legal system with the hypothesis that African-Americans are perceived and treated as dangerous when data suggests this perception and treatment is unjustified. Critical of the justice system, Butler argues that police violence against African-Americans is widespread and publicly supported and that attempts to reform law enforcement are destined to fail....

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A Disappearance In Damascus: Friendship and Survival in the Shadow of War, by Deborah Campbell.

An adventure by reporter Deborah Campbell who has gone to Syria in 2007 to cover the story of refugees fleeing war in Iraq when she meets a budding Iraqi female reporter who partners with her new Western friend in a quest to get reliable news out to the world. One day, her Iraqi friend is kidnapped and Campbell can't help but think their partnership had something to do with her kidnapping. Campbell then sets out to find her friend and to ponder how someone surrounded by so much hopelessness still strives to work and find meaning in helping others....

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Little Soldiers: An American Boy, a Chinese School, and the Global Race to Achieve, by Lenora Chu.

China's educational system has been praised as a model for classroom management, with students that have a reputation of stellar behavior and successful academic achievement. Lenora Chu and her husband decide to enroll their son in a Chinese school to search for reasons as to why the Chinese educational system is so successful. As it turns out, their son develops a healthy and successful academic and social life, but is the perfect world of China's educational system really perfect? Is there a catch? Chu explores the pressures teachers place on students, the militarized attitude of the educational system, and the personal cost students face. Is the system actually perfect?...

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We Were Eight Years In Power: An American Tragedy, by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

A collection of essays by award winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates, with one essay from each year of Barack Obama's presidency. The effect is to examine the evolution of the American socio-political landscape, as America comes to grip with its first African-American president and moves closer and closer to an atmosphere ripe for a Trump presidency....

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American Radical: Inside the world of an Undercover Muslim FBI Agent, by Tamer Elnoury.

The true inside story by a Muslim American spy who infiltrated radical Islamic terrorist groups to gather intelligence for the American War on Terror....

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Another Fine Mess: America, Uganda, and the War on Terror, by Helen Epstein.

This book chronicles the West's efforts to assist and prop up a dictator of an African nation who has fought numerous regional wars while its people continue to suffer from poverty and serious health issues....

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Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science, by Carey Gillam.

Best selling book that argues a popular herbicide popularly known as Roundup by Monsanto causes cancer and used at a dangerously pervasive level in our food system. The book also argues that the herbicide is used because regulators and politicians are corrupted and that scientists who publish negative data regarding the herbicide often face character assassination....

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Radical Origins: Why We Are Losing the Battle Against Islamic Extremism and How To Turn the Tide, by Azeem Ibrahim.

A high quality examination of where political science and religious history intersect. This book not only attends the cause of global jihad but offers ideas and solutions....

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Orders to Kill: The Putin Regime and Political Murder, by Amy Knight.

Russia has a long history of political violence and Amy Knight contends that Vladimir Putin has continued this tradition against journalists, activists, and political opponents....

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Fortress America: How We Embraced Fear and Abandoned Democracy, by Elaine Tyler May.

A book of reflection on how the United States became a nation of citizens increasingly disconnected from each other by embracing fear and security at the expense of habits that promote democracy. The book argues that as we increasingly embrace fear and security that we put our democracy and freedom in danger....

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The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State, by Nadia Murad.

A harrowing memoir of a 21-year old Yazidi girl whose village was conquered by ISIS in Iraq. Most of her village was butchered as the Yazidi face genocide from ISIS and she taken into slavery only to escape with the generous help of Sunni Muslims in Mosul who risked their lives to help her. Her tale is an inside look at the brutality of ISIS, a call to attention for the plight of the Yazidi people, and a love letter to a lost country....

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What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism, by Dan Rather.

With the backdrop of our current political divisiveness, venerated journalist Dan Rather reflects on the values of our country and what it means to be an American....

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How the Right Lost Its Mind, by Charles Sykes.

A conservative #nevertrump reflection on how a populist candidate like Donald Trump was able to appropriate and sway conservative America with outrage and anger. Sykes, a bestselling author and radio host, feels that the conservative movement has lost its way and wonders if it is able to effectively govern or if it will recover its traditional values....

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