Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, by Jane Mayer

Find in catalogCan’t recommend this book highly enough. Extremely well researched, it begins with the Koch family whose fortune was started decades ago building oil refineries in Russia and Germany. Two brothers in the contentious family partnered in promoting libertarian views to the extreme of believing that the only purpose government has to exist is to protect property rights and business holdings. My impression was that extreme views include no taxes for schools, definitely no workers’ rights unions, and a desire to do away with most government departments/agencies. Of course, Social Security is a bad thing! This book details decades of the establishing of hundreds of think tanks and institutes (that are tax-deductible to contribute to due to classification as charitable/educational), even at universities, with helpful sounding names such as National Right to Work Committee, Public Engagement Group Trust, Common Sense Issues, Inc., U.S. Health Freedom Coalition, etc., that basically teach the desirability of dismantling government as we know it. Contrary to public opinion, the Tea Party uprising was not a spontaneous people-led movement but was orchestrated for decades and was named by longtime associates of the Kochs who ran an organization called the Sam Adams Alliance. The book ends on the sad note that the Kochs were planning to spend on the current 2016 presidential election almost 90% of what each of the Democrat and Republican parties were planning to spend (a billion each). There are decades worth of reasons the US Congress is unable to do much; so many new placeholders in congress don’t believe in government at all and are determined to prove it.

If Nuns Ruled the World: ten sisters on a mission by Jo Piazza

Find in catalogHighly recommended! True accounting of ten Catholic sisters who are each radically dedicated to a chosen calling to improve the world’s lot….whether it is a fight against human trafficking, torture by governments including our own, corporate profits that beg for principals to consider the mass’s needs, nuclear weapons, equality of marriage rights, supporting social welfare programs, etc.

The author, being a woman, is allowed to travel and sometimes live with the nuns for short periods,–whom she calls BadAss Nuns……and they are! Each chapter is dedicated entirely to one sister’s experiences and her work. Despite sexism and doubts from within their own Church, and without, they have been surprisingly effective as anecdotes and experiences will show. They challenge presidential candidates, financial institution empires, and myself, too. This is both impressive and inspiring.

A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren

A fighting chanceAnyone who likes personal memoirs mixed in with their current events–having to do with the tough economy and a rising political star who champions the not-rich–should read this book. Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts was the main instigator and proponent of the new Consumer Protection Agency which has already written new rules for banks and credit institutions that make the playing field more fair. Other developments are too numerous to list, but she is a great champion and fighter hoping to give the rest of America a fighting chance to change our government’s direction away from favoring the rich more and more. Bless this woman.

Reviewed by Laura R.

Those Angry Days by Lynne Olson

Those Angry DaysThis NY Times Bestseller is about the political tension in the early days of WW II. Specifically, the pivotal roles that FDR and Charles Lindbergh played as to whether or not the US should enter the war. Parts of it are a bit dry and too detailed for me, but it was a subject I knew nothing about. Particularly interesting were the “dirty tricks” played by politicians of that era, as well as the biographical information about Lindbergh.

Reviewed by matkat

Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz

If I could choose one book everyone in the world should read, it would be this one. In this book the author explores why we find it so gratifying to be right and so distressing when we find ourselves mistaken. They say that to err is human but we don’t take it very well when we are wrong. Schulz helped me see that being wrong isn’t so bad and that I’m not always right when I’m right. Using examples from the personal to the political, she shows the reader a wide range of human fallibility and ends up giving us the courage to allow ourselves to be wrong.

Reviwed by Kate