What Books Should Biden Read? We Asked 22 Writers

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George Will is the author of, most recently, “The Conservative Sensibility.”

Laila Lalami recommends

“Whatever else happens during the Biden presidency, the Supreme Court will play a huge role in affirming or striking down voting rights, reproductive rights, immigration, birthright citizenship, marriage equality or environmental protections. In this book, Adam Cohen shows how Richard Nixon’s appointments of four justices to the Court set it on a dangerous rightward course that has consistently undermined the rights of the poor and the disadvantaged while protecting corporations. Cohen’s lucid work provides important context for why the president-elect, and his party, need to make the Court a central concern of their agenda.”

Laila Lalami is the author of, most recently, “Conditional Citizens.”

Thomas Piketty recommends

“This is a fascinating book about the multidimensionality of politics in the Reconstruction period. It is by navigating through these different dimensions that the Democratic Party managed to find its way from Civil War to New Deal and beyond. Today one of the big issues is whether the Democratic Party can regain the confidence of socially disadvantaged voters, independently from their origins. The country has changed a lot since Reconstruction, but there are still lessons to be learned from this period.”

Thomas Piketty is the author of, most recently, “Capital and Ideology.”

Harriet A. Washington recommends

“Amid raging cultural intolerance and a fatally mismanaged pandemic, Americans, especially people of color, sicken and die as they are pressed into service as ‘essential workers’ living in environmental sacrifice zones. The pandemic’s attendant rise in incivility and xenophobia has catalyzed open racial strife and slapped immigrant children into cages. What daunting challenge doesn’t Joe Biden face, and who can best advise the man who must lead us in repairing this broken nation?

“Perhaps the anthropologist, physician and politically savvy human-rights leader who has long and successfully jousted with the specter of medical indifference, governmental mendacity and indifference to the fate of marginalized ‘others’: Paul Farmer’s anthology of speeches offers shorter narratives suited to a busy leader that exude a moral philosophy, blueprint, case histories and deep inspiration for the change of heart that must fuel American atonement and national healing.”



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