On Political Books Archives

June/July/August 2015 Immobile in America

Robert Putnam marshals the evidence that class is eclipsing race as our central source of inequality, and killing the American Dream.

By Richard D. Kahlenberg

March/April/May 2015 Operation Rent Seeking

How the war on terrorism became a business model.

By Mike Lofgren

March/April/May 2015 Death with Indignity

How Medicare and other federal subsidies rope the elderly into painful, futile, and costly end-of-life care.

By Shannon Brownlee

March/April/May 2015 Welfare with an Ocean View

The federal government spends billions replenishing beaches for the affluent. The bill will soon skyrocket thanks to climate change.

By Theodoric Meyer

March/April/May 2015 The Reckless Reign of W.

We are still living with the forty-third president’s legacy.

By Martin Longman

March/April/May 2015 The Future of Work

The American Midwest and the Mexican border are the twin faces of economic globalization—and the upheavals they have endured are the new normal.

By James McBride

March/April/May 2015 Lost in Obamacare

Buried in Steven Brill’s convoluted tome are important truths about how to reform our health care delivery system.

By Phillip Longman

January/February 2015 The Rise and Fall of the U.S. Government

While other conservatives say that the American state has become too powerful, Francis Fukuyama argues that it has grown too weak.

By John J. Dilulio Jr.

January/February 2015 SCOTUS Heads Toward the Cliff

Conservatives have made the Supreme Court radical. But not radical enough for libertarians.

By Michael O'Donnell

January/February 2015 Flipping Their Wigs

The framers would be shocked at how far conservative jurists have narrowed the definition of what constitutes political corruption.

By Daniel Bush

January/February 2015 A Thief, a Dirty Politician, and a Suicide Bomber Walk Into a Bar …

Yes, terrorists conspire with criminal networks and corrupt officials. But that doesn’t mean cracking down on crime and corruption will stop terrorism.

By Paul Pillar

January/February 2015 Is a Grand Strategy for America Even Possible?

Three of our finest flag officers attempt to offer unifying visions for the United States, but run aground on the same political polarization that flummoxes everything else.

By Heather Hurlburt

January/February 2015 Meat Puppets

How Washington bought into the anti-saturated-fat agenda.

By Kukula Glastris

November/December 2014 The Tie That Binds

How Ronald Reagan, the sunniest president in recent memory, cemented the Republican Party to the dark vision of Richard Nixon.

By Ed Kilgore

November/December 2014 Let's Pay for the Government We Get

Why, someday soon, middle-class taxes will have to go up.

By Bill White

November/December 2014 Laura of Arabia

When Yemen fell into chaos, most foreign correspondents were kept out. The only reliable news came from a few intrepid young Western freelancers who spoke the language, lived like locals, and managed to stay in the country.

By Kelly McEvers

November/December 2014 The American Way of Dying

How our refusal to face up to the realities of aging and mortality causes needless suffering.

By Phillip Longman

November/December 2014 Can We Please Put Some Bankers in Jail Now?

With Eric Holder leaving the Justice Department, Washington has a chance to get serious about prosecuting financial crimes. But what exactly has been the holdup?

By Bailey Miller

September/October 2014 Obama's Bureaucratic Generals

Inside the lives of the agency heads who actually run the federal government.

By John D. Donahue

September/October 2014 A Tale of Two Zionists

The terms of the contemporary divide over Israel's identity were laid out nearly a century ago by two fiery journalists, Vladimir Jabotinsky and Abraham Cahan.

By Jacob Heilbrunn

June/July/August 2014 Making School Choice Work

Two D.C. schools, a traditional public and a nonunionized charter, are experimenting with socioeconomic integration.

By Richard D. Kahlenberg

June/July/August 2014 A Liberal's Call to Real Liberty

How FDR redefined freedom and changed America.

By Moshe Z. Marvit

June/July/August 2014 The Unkindest Cut

The visionary guidance counselor in a poor urban high school discovers why some top colleges don't want even his best students: money.

By Elias Vlanton

June/July/August 2014 Alone on His Own Ice Floe

How Antonin Scalia ceased to be a powerhouse jurist and became a crank.

By Michael O'Donnell

March/ April/ May 2014 Abolition and Backlash

Efforts to ban capital punishment are growing. But keep this in mind: the last time the Supreme Court tried to end the death penalty, we got more executions.

By David Dagan

March/ April/ May 2014 Taking on the Heiristocracy

History shows that growth alone won’t stop vast economic inequality.

By Kathleen Geier

March/ April/ May 2014 Journalism and the CNBC Effect

Before 2007, the press failed to see the growing rot in the U.S. financial system and warn the public. Why?

By Steven Waldman

March/ April/ May 2014 Refuting U.S. Declinism, Sort of

Don’t worry about America losing its dominant position in the global economy. Worry instead about whether average Americans will benefit.

By Anne Kim

March/ April/ May 2014 Backward, Christian Soldiers

To end the culture war that divides America, we need to recognize that each side has the same roots: the radical democratic individualism of America’s Protestant heritage.

By Paul Baumann

March/ April/ May 2014 The Origin of Ideology

Are left and right a feature (or bug) of evolution?

By Chris Mooney

March/ April/ May 2014 Broken Promised Land

Truman’s quick recognition of Israel was tragic, dysfunctional, and quintessentially American.

By Heather Hurlburt

January/ February 2014 Class Conscious

How high schools condition students to accept their lot.

By Richard D. Kahlenberg

January/ February 2014 A Middle Course for the Middle Kingdom?

Competition with China really isn’t a zero-sum game. So why does it feel that way?

By Daniel Kurtz-Phelan

January/ February 2014 Letters from Camelot

Even in his private correspondence, Arthur Schlesinger Jr. was an unapologetic Kennedy partisan.

By Michael O'Donnell

November/ December 2013 Scribimus Indocti Doctique Poemata Passim*

How the Romans invented Facebook, sort of.

By Justin Peters

November/ December 2013 Guerrillas in the Midst

Why our next war will be fought in cities.

By Shawn Brimley

November/ December 2013 Campaign 2012: How We Dodged a Bullet

Mitt Romney didn’t lose because of the GOP’s far-right agenda. That’s what’s scary.

By Ed Kilgore

November/ December 2013 Dark Sidekick

How Dick Cheney controlled, and lost control of, George W. Bush.

By Eleanor Clift

September/ October 2013 The Incurious Investigator

Why introspection was too dangerous for Washington’s bravest sleuth.

By Jamie Malanowski

September/ October 2013 Hands Across the Water

Can a trade pact with Europe help America tame China?

By Dane Stangler

September/ October 2013 What Tea Party Republicans Can Learn From Woodrow Wilson

Averse to compromise, he died a bewildered and broken man.

By Michael O'Donnell

September/ October 2013 Brothers in Armchairs

For Allen and John Foster Dulles, regime change was an extension of the family business.

By Jacob Heilbrunn

Mob of Democrats

Egypt isn’t the only country where elected leaders are being ousted in the name of democracy.

By Christopher Walker

July/ August 2013 What Dr. King Didn't Say

Misremembering the March on Washington.

By Moshe Z. Marvit

July/ August 2013 Union City Blues

How a poor New Jersey town and its teacher’s unions turned around its schools.

By Richard D. Kahlenberg

July/ August 2013 A for Effort

Other countries' schools outperform ours by following a philosophy that is—or ought to be—very American: innate talent is less important than sheer drive.

By Thomas Toch and Taylor White

July/ August 2013 The Life of the Mayor-for-Life

Richard M. Daley may not have been the smartest guy in the room. But he knew how to run Chicago.

By Alan Ehrenhalt

July/ August 2013 The Glory of the Commons

Jonathan Rowe’s brilliant posthumous meditation on the shared, non-commercialized realms of life that sustain us.

By Timothy Noah

May/ June 2013 Self-Made Countries

Why poor nations aren’t prisoners of their history.

By Charles Kenny

May/ June 2013 Profs in the Cloud

The perils and promise of online learning.

By Richard D. Kahlenberg

May/ June 2013 Revolution for Thee, Not Me

Online learning will transform the nature of college for everybody—except the affluent.

By Daniel Luzer

May/ June 2013 The Great Unraveling

Chronicling America’s not-quite-decline.

By Michael O'Donnell

May/ June 2013 The Year of Living Historically

What Deng Xiaoping, Pope John Paul, the Ayatollah Khomeini, and Margaret Thatcher had in common.

By Jacob Heilbrunn

May/ June 2013 Overthinking Obama

Forget Kenya. The president’s secret political philosophy is apparently rooted in seventeenth-century Rotterdam.

By Mark Schmitt

March/ April 2013 Slaves of Defunct Economists

Why politicians pursue austerity policies that never work.

By Henry Farrell

March/ April 2013 Charity Case

How taxpayers subsidize failing philanthropies.

By Georgia Levenson Keohane

March/ April 2013 Consequential Drift

The government program where party differences have widened the most, and matter the most, is Medicaid.

By Ed Kilgore

March/ April 2013 Bar Examined

The ever-diminishing advantages of a career in the law versus the undiminished enthusiasm of law schools to mint new attorneys.

By Elizabeth Lesly Stevens

March/ April 2013 Chávez’s Magical Realism

How the Comandante may get the last laugh, even from the grave.

By Daniel Kurtz-Phelan

January/ February 2013 Did Hurricane Sandy Save Obamacare?

How disaster relief justifies the welfare state.

By Dan Farber

January/ February 2013 Class No Longer Dismissed

Why some conservatives are warming to socioeconomic school integration.

By Richard D. Kahlenberg

January/ February 2013 COIN Operated

In Iraq and Afghanistan, General David Petraeus applied all the lessons learned in Vietnam—except for the one that mattered most.

By Laura M. Colarusso

January/ February 2013 An Arranged Marriage

Why Eisenhower distrusted, but needed, Nixon.

By Andrew Rudalevige

November/ December 2012 Up from Independence

Harry Truman was a classic American striver, and a failure, until politics intervened.

By Alonzo Hamby

November/ December 2012 Brass Backwards

Thomas Ricks explains the declining competence of America's senior military commanders.

By Jacob Heilbrunn

November/December 2012 Memoirs of an Academic Fraudster

Inside the shadowy business of ghostwriting college students' papers.

By Daniel Luzer

November/ December 2012 Spread Too Thin

Scholars have discovered that certain everyday food items have played pivotal roles in the history of civilization. Apparently, peanut butter is not one of them.

By Justin Peters

November/ December 2012 Drone On

It’s probably a matter of when, not if, al-Qaeda in Yemen successfully strikes the U.S. Yet the drone attacks currently keeping the organization at bay are also helping recruit more terrorists. Can you say “no-win situation”?

By Haley Sweetland Edwards

November/December 2012 Act of Recovery

Only one national reporter, Michael Grunwald, bothered to take a detailed look at how well the $787 billion stimulus was spent. What he discovered confounds the Beltway conventional wisdom.

By Ryan Cooper

September/October 2012 First-Rate Temperaments

Liberals don’t want to admit it, and conservatives don’t want to pay for it, but building character—resilience, optimism, perseverance, focus—may be the best way to help poor students succeed.

By Thomas Toch

September/October 2012 Why Aren’t Conservatives Funny?

An academic’s doomed attempt to explain why there are no good right-wing comedians.

By Joshua Green

September/October 2012 Broken in Hoboken

How the poor used to live.

By Jamie Malanowski

September/October 2012 Identity Politics Revisited

By most accounts, economic issues are the real core of politics, and social issues are a distraction. A historian begs to differ.

By Mark Schmitt

September/October 2012 A Malevolent Forrest Gump

Strom Thurmond's loathsomeness on race obscures his larger role: he was there at all the major choke points of modern conservative history.

By Michael O'Donnell

July/August 2012 The Ascent of Chris Christie

George W. Bush nicknamed him “Big Boy.” Will Mitt Romney call him “my running mate”?

By Laura M. Colarusso

July/August 2012 Tempting but Insane

Should the South just be its own country?

By Colin Woodard

July/August 2012 Young Guns

Obama’s surprisingly strong national security record owes much to a group of youthful aides few Americans have heard of.

By Michael O'Donnell

May/June 2012 The New Nixon

How it took a novelist to make Richard Nixon seem human.

By Jamie Malanowski

May/June 2012 Peaced Out

Peter Beinart warns that American Jews must refocus on the democratic and humanitarian principles of Zionism before Israel becomes simply another despotic Middle Eastern state.

By Joshua Hammer

May/June 2011 Arab Springboard

American democracy promotion didn’t spark the Arab uprisings, but a shared hatred of our Middle East policies sure helped them spread.

By Keach Hagey

May/June 2012 Losing Our Religion

Ross Douthat rightly asserts that religious faith is essential to America’s understanding of itself. But his own understanding of religion is suspiciously selective.

By Paul Baumann

March/April 2012 Stay for Tea

The real Tea Partiers are worth getting to know. Because they’re going to be here a while. And they might prove useful.

By Steven M. Teles

March/April 2012 The Rise of the Amero-pessimists

Two political thinkers, a liberal and a conservative, believe America is headed toward inexorable decline. There are good reasons to believe they’re both wrong.

By Ruy Teixeira

March/April 2012 Thinking Out Loud

An oral history of the twentieth century, dictated on his deathbed, shows that Tony Judt was, to the end, the consummate public intellectual.

By Michael O'Donnell

March/April 2012 Calvin vs. Hobbes

A novelist’s lonely struggle to recover the religion-inspired liberalism of America’s founding ethos.

By Benjamin J. Dueholm

March/April 2012 Not a Drop to Drink

How water scarcity will soon be Asia’s defining crisis.

By Christina Larson

January/February 2012 Boarish Behavior

Feral pigs are violent, dirty, and ugly, and they ravage every ecosystem they live in—still, who knew killing them could be such fun?

By Justin Peters

January/February 2012 The Greatest Regeneration

The American dream can be revived, says Tom Brokaw, if we can overcome our disunity, and universal national service is the key.

By Harris Wofford

January/February 2012 The Last Days of Hugh Trevor-Roper

How a historian who reveled in destroying the reputations of others ruined his own.

By Michael O'Donnell

January/February 2012 The Spy Who Came In from the Heat

How an idealistic spy in Asia challenged the American way of war, and what his tragedy teaches us about finding allies today.

By Geoffrey Cain

January/February 2012 The GOP’s Reality-Based Community

The fall of moderate Republicans wasn’t inevitable. But their resurrection is hard to imagine.

By Jacob Heilbrunn

January/February 2012 Party of God Knows What

Will Hezbollah remain a movement devoted to war with Israel or a pragmatic political player in Lebanon? That choice could determine the future of the Middle East.

By Joshua Hammer

January/February 2012 The Campaign-Industrial Complex

Political reform will never happen until candidates and donors realize they’re being ripped off.

By Walter Shapiro

November/ December 2011 Sisyphus Gets to the Top

How America's forbidding political landscape made health care reform impossible for Clinton and nearly so for Obama.

By Harold Pollack

November/ December 2011 They Shall Reap the Whirlwind

How religious zealots in the Israeli government are supporting a new generation of extremist settlers who hate the Israeli government.

By Joshua Hammer

November/ December 2011 Justice Served

U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens's thirty-five-year tenure was marked by intellectual rigor, lack of pretension, and the firm belief that absolutism had no place on the bench.

By Michael O'Donnell

November/ December 2011 Dumbing Down Darwin

Robert Frank's effort to explain the lessons of evolution without offending libertarian sensibilities

By James K. Galbraith

November/ December 2011 Assault on Battery

The promising, frustrating, indispensable race by government and industry to revolutionize the storage of electricity.

By Eric D. Isaacs

November/ December 2011 When Giants Roamed the Earth

How the self-proclaimed Capitalist Tool was brought down by capitalism itself.

By Jamie Malanowski

September/October 2011 “My Mommy Doesn’t Have Any Papers”

How the underground life of undocumented immigrants leaves their children cognitively impaired.

By Maggie Severns

September/October 2011 Heart of Dunkelheit

Germany’s other genocide.

By Paul Hockenos

July/August 2011 No Holiday in Cambodia

How the United Nations foots the bill for a state ruled by thugs.

By Joshua Kurlantzick

July/August 2011 Watching Titanic in Pyongyang

What the first systematic survey of North Korean refugees tells us about life inside the Hermit Kingdom, and about whether the regime might be ready to fall.

By Geoffrey Cain

July/August 2011 Rhee Engineering Education

Has D.C.’s radical experiment in school reform really worked?

By Thomas Toch

July/August 2011 The Searchers

What it was like working for Larry and Sergey during Google’s pioneering first years.

By Jamie Malanowski

July/August 2011 From William Lloyd Garrison to Barry Commoner

Why the left’s despair over Barack Obama has deep historical roots.

By Jacob Heilbrunn

May/June 2011 Tiller’s Killer

What the murder of a late-term abortion doctor does and does not say about the anti-choice movement.

By Ed Kilgore

May/June 2011 No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

A mountain of studies now shows that AmeriCorps, the nation's biggest community service program, works. House Republicans want to zero out its budget.

By Melissa Bass

May/June 2011 Misreading the New York Times

There's plenty to criticize about America's newspaper of record. So why do conservatives make up reasons that don't exist?

By Jim Sleeper

May/June 2011 Bangkok on the Nile

Middle East reformers would do well to study Thailand for lessons in how not to build a democracy.

By Joshua Kurlantzick

March/April 2011 Desert Fathers

The Religious Right's real pioneers came not from the South but Southern California.

By Ed Kilgore

March/April 2011 One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Frederick Hess’s big new school reform idea is that no big new school reform idea works everywhere.

By Steven M. Teles

March/April 2011 Ike Reconsidered

How conservatives ignored, and liberals misconstrued, Eisenhower’s warnings about military spending.

By Christopher Preble

March/April 2011 Metropolis on a Hill

Why urban America, once written off, has come back.

By Matthew Yglesias

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