Best Books on American Democracy and Life This Year

Best Books on American Democracy and Life

Have you read any great books this year that helped you understand where we are and where we’re going in this wild, amazing journey of America?

Sadly, one of the most timely and important books of the year is from my friend, Adam Winkler. We know that we must now, at long last, figure out the relationship of the Second Amendment to sensible public policy in a democracy. No book is better grounding for that than Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America,  Adam Winkler (Norton).

What recently published book (or poem, essay or article) that relates to our American Republic would you recommend? Fiction or non-fiction, so long as it tells the story of where we are, where we’re going, and/or what paths we might take . . .  Here’s an excerpt from my list, in addition to Gunfight, and not in any particular order (and more to come):

It All Turns on Affection: The Jefferson Lecture & Other Essays, Wendell Barry (Counterpoint 2012)

The Shareholder Value Myth, Lynn Stout (Berrett-Koehler 2012)

Republic Lost, Lawrence Lessig (Twelve Books 2012)

The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebees, Farm Fields & the Dinner Table, Tracie McMillan (Scribner 2012)

Brandishing the First Amendment, Tamara Piety (Univ. Mich. Press 2012)

Private Empire: ExxonMobil & American Power, Steve Coll (The Penguin Press 2012)

And, of course, don’t forget Corporations Are Not People  (Berrett-Koehler 2012).

Let me know if you have other suggestions, or a comment on the books you see posted here. If you send me an email at with your suggestions or comment along with your mailing address (not retained or shared, I assure you)  I’ll be happy to send you a copy  of that short but perennial “best book”,

The US Constitution The United States Constitution (along with the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address).  It is a convenient pocket-sized edition (see image).

Looking forward to hearing (and reading) your suggestions.

Best wishes for the holidays, and a peaceful new year.

– Jeff Clements

About Jeff Clements

Jeff serves as President of American Promise, a nonpartisan national movement to reform and renew America's political system to combat corruption and secure freedom and equal opportunity for all Americans. He has practiced law for three decades in public service and in a private firm, and is the author of Corporations Are Not People: Reclaiming Democracy From Big Money & Global Corporations. He is also the founder of Whaleback Partners LLC, which provides sustainable financing to businesses in the local agriculture economy. Twitter: LinkedIn:
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