It’s come to our attention that there are quite a few Democratic-leaning/leading book clubs in the Upstate. And we can also see from social media interactions that there is, as expected, a huge interest in presidential candidates. As it turns out every currently declared presidential candidate and all but one of the potential candidates (Eric Swalwell, we’re waiting!) has written a book. Here’s a look at each candidate’s tome with descriptions from Amazon.
Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose
In November 2014, 13 members of the Biden family gathered on Nantucket for Thanksgiving, a tradition they had been celebrating for the past 40 years; it was the one constant in what had become a hectic, scrutinized, and overscheduled life. The Thanksgiving holiday was a much-needed respite, a time to connect, a time to reflect on what the year had brought, and what the future might hold. But this year felt different from all those that had come before. Joe and Jill Biden’s eldest son, Beau, had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor fifteen months earlier, and his survival was uncertain. “Promise me, Dad,” Beau had told his father. “Give me your word that no matter what happens, you’re going to be all right.” Joe Biden gave him his word.
Promise Me, Dad chronicles the year that followed, which would be the most momentous and challenging in Joe Biden’s extraordinary life and career. Vice President Biden traveled more than a hundred thousand miles that year, across the world, dealing with crises in Ukraine, Central America, and Iraq. When a call came from New York, or Capitol Hill, or Kyiv, or Baghdad―“Joe, I need your help”―he responded. For twelve months, while Beau fought for and then lost his life, the vice president balanced the twin imperatives of living up to his responsibilities to his country and his responsibilities to his family.
Writing with poignancy and immediacy, Joe Biden allows readers to feel the urgency of each moment, to experience the days when he felt unable to move forward as well as the days when he felt like he could not afford to stop. This is a book written not just by the vice president, but by a father, grandfather, friend, and husband. Promise Me, Dad is a story of how family and friendships sustain us and how hope, purpose, and action can guide us through the pain of personal loss into the light of a new future.
Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future
Once described by the Washington Post as “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of,” Pete Buttigieg, the 36-year-old Democratic mayor of South Bend, IN, has improbably emerged as one of the nation’s most visionary politicians. First elected in 2011, Buttigieg left a successful business career to move back to his hometown, previously tagged by Newsweek as a “dying city,” because the industrial Midwest beckoned as a challenge to the McKinsey-trained Harvard graduate. Whether meeting with city residents on middle-school basketball courts, reclaiming abandoned houses, confronting gun violence, or attracting high-tech industry, Buttigieg has transformed South Bend into a shining model of urban reinvention.
While Washington reels with scandal, Shortest Way Home interweaves two once-unthinkable success stories: that of an Afghanistan veteran who came out and found love and acceptance, all while in office, and that of a Rust Belt city so thoroughly transformed that it shatters the way we view America’s so-called flyover country.
United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good
In United, Cory Booker draws on personal experience to issue a stirring call to reorient our nation and our politics around the principles of compassion and solidarity. He speaks of rising above despair to engage with hope, pursuing our shared mission, and embracing our common destiny.
Here is his account of his own political education, the moments—some entertaining, some heartbreaking, all of them enlightening—that have shaped his civic vision. Here are the lessons Booker learned from the remarkable people who inspired him to serve, men and women whose example fueled his desire to create opportunities for others. Here also are his observations on the issues he cares about most deeply, from race and crime and the crisis of mass incarceration to economic and environmental justice.
An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream
In the spirit of a young Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father, comes a candid and compelling memoir about race and poverty in America. In many ways, there was no reason Julian Castro would have been expected to be a success. Born to unmarried parents in a poverty-stricken neighborhood of a struggling city, his prospects of escaping his circumstance seemed bleak.
But he and his twin brother Joaquin had something going for them: their mother. A former political activist, she provided the launch pad for what would become an astonishing ascent. Julian and Joaquin would go on to attend Stanford and Harvard before entering politics at the ripe age of 26. …
Julian Castro’s story not only affirms the American dream, but also resonates with millions, who in an age of political cynicism and hardening hearts are searching for a new hero. No matter one’s politics, this book is the transcendent story of a resilient family and the unlikely journey of an emerging national icon
The Right Answer: How We Can Unify Our Divided Nation
The son of a union electrician and grandson of an immigrant, John K. Delaney grew up believing that anything was possible in America. Before he was 50, he founded, built and then sold two companies worth billions of dollars. Driven by a deep desire to serve, in 2012 he stepped away from his businesses, ran for Congress, and won. Now he has a new mission: unifying our terribly divided nation and guiding it to a brighter future.
As a boy, Delaney learned the importance of working hard, telling the truth and embracing compromise. As an entrepreneur, he succeeded because he understood the need to ensure opportunity for all, focus on the future, and think creatively about problem-solving. …He illustrates the potency of these principles with vivid stories from his childhood, his career in business, his family, and his new life as a politician. He also writes candidly about the often frustrating experience of working on Capitol Hill.
Is Today the Day?
Publishing April 25. From her years serving in the armed forces to becoming the first Hindu woman to be elected to Congress, Tulsi Gabbard reveals the lessons she’s learned and the experience she’s gained while living in service to her country.
Off the Sidelines: Speak Up, Be Fearless, and Change Your World
Off the Sidelines is a playbook for women who want to step up, whether in Congress or the boardroom or the local PTA. If women were fully represented in politics, Gillibrand says, national priorities would shift to issues that directly impact them: affordable daycare, paid family medical leave, and equal pay. Pulling back the curtain on Beltway politics, she speaks candidly about her legislative successes (securing federally funded medical care for 9/11 first responders, repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) and her crushing disappointments (failing by five votes to pass a bill protecting survivors of sexual assault in the military).
Gillibrand also shares stories of growing up the daughter and granddaughter of two trailblazing feminists in a politically active family in Albany, NY, and retraces her nonlinear path to public office. She lays bare the highs and lows of being a young (pregnant!) woman in Congress, the joys and sacrifices every working mother shares, and the support system she turns to in her darkest moments: her husband, their two little boys, and lots of girlfriends.
In Off the Sidelines, Gillibrand is the tough-love older sister and cheerleader every woman needs. She explains why “ambition” is not a dirty word, failure is a gift, listening is the most effective tool, and the debate over women “having it all” is absurd at best and demeaning at worst. In her sharp, honest, and refreshingly relatable voice, she dares us all to tap into our inner strength, find personal fulfillment, and speak up for what we believe in.
The Truths We Hold: An American Journey
Senator Kamala Harris’s commitment to speaking truth is informed by her upbringing. The daughter of immigrants, she was raised in an Oakland, CA, community that cared deeply about social justice; her parents–an esteemed economist from Jamaica and an admired cancer researcher from India–met as activists in the civil rights movement when they were graduate students at Berkeley. Growing up, Harris herself never hid her passion for justice, and when she became a prosecutor out of law school, a deputy district attorney, she quickly established herself as one of the most innovative change agents in American law enforcement. …
By reckoning with the big challenges we face together, drawing on the hard-won wisdom and insight from her own career and the work of those who have most inspired her, Kamala Harris offers a master class in problem solving, in crisis management, and leadership in challenging times. Through the arc of her own life, on into the great work of our day, she communicates a vision of shared struggle, shared purpose, and shared values.
The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics
In just over a decade, John Hickenlooper has gone from brew pub entrepreneur to governor of Colorado, hailed by political analysts and media alike as a solid contender to be the next vice president. In The Opposite of Woe, Hickenlooper tells his own story of unlikely success in his singularly sharp and often hilarious voice.
After 10 years at Wesleyan, Hickenlooper found himself laid off from his first job as a geologist. So he rented a space in an empty warehouse in an empty pocket of Denver’s downtown to open a brew pub. Honest, likable, practical, Hickenlooper turned out to be a natural at the job; the pub was a huge success. In fifteen years, he blossomed from small business owner into millionaire at the helm of a string of pubs across the western United States. He was so influential in the community that, encouraged by many, he ran for mayor, essentially as a lark. And then he won.
So began his eight years as one of the most creative and successful mayors in the United States. Doubling down in politics, Hickenlooper ran for Colorado governor in 2010, and won again—twice. Tackling a host of volatile issues, from prison reform to fracking, capital punishment to same-sex marriage and legalized marijuana, Hickenlooper’s administration has persuaded opposing constituencies of a true battleground state to agree and move forward on a middle path—all while dealing with tragic wildfires, floods, and the assassination of a cabinet member.
Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy
Who are the innovators who have built a contraption that can turn the energy of a simple wave off the Oregon coast into burnt toast in Idaho? Who are the scientists in Massachusetts who have invented a battery that now runs your hand drill and will soon run your car? Readers will meet them all in this book. They will learn how the new energy economy will grow, the research that is required, and the legislation that must be passed to make the vision a reality.
This is a thoughtful, optimistic book, based on sound facts. No one before has tied together the concepts of economic growth and greenhouse gas reductions with such concrete examples. No one has previously told the real stories of the people who are right now on the front lines of the energy revolution. The co-authors, one a U.S. Congressman who is the primary sponsor of the New Apollo Energy Act, and the other the founder of the Apollo Alliance, have joined their experience, expertise, and passion for a clean energy future to lay out the path to stop global warming and gain energy independence.
The Senate Next Door
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar has tackled every obstacle she’s encountered–her parents’ divorce, her father’s alcoholism and recovery, her political campaigns and Washington’s gridlock – with honesty, humor and pluck.
After being kicked out of the hospital while her infant daughter was still in intensive care, Klobuchar became the lead advocate for one of the first laws in the country guaranteeing new moms and their babies a 48-hour hospital stay. Later she ran Minnesota’s biggest prosecutor’s office and in 2006 was the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from her state. Along the way she fashioned her own political philosophy grounded in her belief that partisan flame-throwing takes no courage at all; what really matters is forging alliances with unlikely partners to solve the nation’s problems.
Optimistic, plainspoken and often very funny, The Senator Next Door is a story about how the girl next door decided to enter the fray and make a difference. At a moment when America’s government often seems incapable of getting anything done, Amy Klobuchar proves that politics is still the art of the possible.
Dealing Death and Drugs: The Big Business of Dope in the U.S. and Mexico
The War on Drugs doesn’t work. This became obvious to El Paso City Representatives Susie Byrd and Beto O’Rourke when they started to ask questions about why El Paso’s sister city Ciudad Juárez has become the deadliest city in the world—8,000-plus deaths since January 1, 2008. Byrd and O’Rourke soon realized American drug use and United States’ failed War on Drugs are at the core of problem. In Dealing Death and Drugs — a book written for the general reader — they explore the costs and consequences of marijuana prohibition. They argue that marijuana prohibition has created a black market so profitable that drug kingpins are billionaires and drug control doesn’t stand a chance. Using Juárez as their focus, they describe the business model of drug trafficking and explain why this illicit system has led to the never-ending slaughter of human beings. Their position: the only rational alternative to the War on Drugs is to end to the current prohibition on marijuana.
“If Washington won’t do anything different, if Mexico City won’t do anything different, then it is up to us — the citizens of the border who understand the futility and tragedy of this current policy first hand — to lead the way.” — from the Afterword
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Dealing Death and Drugs will be donated to Centro Santa Catalina, a faith-based community in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, founded in 1996 by Dominican Sisters for the spiritual, educational and economic empowerment of economically poor women and for the welfare of their families.
Where We Go From Here: Two Years in the Resistance
In Where We Go from Here, New York Times bestselling author Bernie Sanders reveals the blueprint for his 2020 presidential run by chronicling the day-by-day struggles that he and his progressive colleagues have waged over the last two years in the fight against Donald Trump’s reactionary agenda and for a government that works for all, not just wealthy campaign contributors.
At home, Sanders has helped lead the fight for Medicare for all, fought for workers desperate for higher wages, and supported immigrants in the DACA program and children affected by gun violence. He has stood with the people of Puerto Rico devastated by Hurricane Maria, as well as veterans, teachers, the incarcerated, the persecuted, and all those who are too often ignored by Washington. Abroad, his voice has been clear that we need a foreign policy that strives for peace―not war―and international cooperation to address the crisis of climate change.
Maintaining a vibrant democracy has never been easy, and in these dangerous and unprecedented times, it has been more difficult than ever. Bernie Sanders shows, however, that we can repair the damage Trump has done―and create a nation based on the principles of economic, social, racial, and environmental justice.
This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class
The fiery U.S. senator from Massachusetts and bestselling author offers a passionate, inspiring book about why our middle class is under siege and how we can win the fight to save it
Senator Elizabeth Warren has long been an outspoken champion of America’s middle class, and by the time the people of Massachusetts elected her in 2012, she had become one of the country’s leading progressive voices. Her book is at once an illuminating account of how we built the strongest middle class in history, a scathing indictment of those who have spent the past thirty-five years undermining working families, and a rousing call to action.
Warren grew up in Oklahoma, and she’s never forgotten how difficult it was for her mother and father to hold on at the ragged edge of the middle class. An educational system that offered opportunities for all made it possible for her to achieve her dream of going to college, becoming a teacher, and, later, attending law school. But now, for many, these kinds of opportunities are gone, and a government that once looked out for working families is instead captive to the rich and powerful.
Written in the candid, high-spirited voice that is Warren’s trademark, This Fight Is Our Fight tells eye-opening stories about her battles in the Senate and vividly describes the experiences of hard-working Americans who have too often been given the short end of the stick.
A Politics of Love: A Handbook for a New American Revolution
In this stirring call to arms, the activist and spiritual leader confronts the cancerous politics of fear and divisiveness threatening the United States today, urging all spiritually aware Americans to return to—and act out of—our deepest value: love.
Williamson argues that we must do more than respond to external political issues. We must address the deeper, internal causes that have led to this current dysfunction. We need a new, whole-person politics of love that stems not just from the head but from the heart, not just from intellectual understanding but from a genuine affection for one another. By committing to love, we will make a meaningful contribution to the joyful, fierce and disruptive energies that are rising at this critical point in time. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “we must think anew, and act anew . . . and then we shall save our country.”
The War on Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future
The shift toward automation is about to create a tsunami of unemployment. Not in the distant future–now. One recent estimate predicts 45 million American workers will lose their jobs within the next twelve years–jobs that won’t be replaced. In a future marked by restlessness and chronic unemployment, what will happen to American society?
In The War on Normal People, Andrew Yang paints a dire portrait of the American economy. Rapidly advancing technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics and automation software are making millions of Americans’ livelihoods irrelevant. The consequences of these trends are already being felt across our communities in the form of political unrest, drug use, and other social ills. The future looks dire-but is it unavoidable?
And he imagines a different future – one in which having a job is distinct from the capacity to prosper and seek fulfillment. At this vision’s core is Universal Basic Income, the concept of providing all citizens with a guaranteed income-and one that is rapidly gaining popularity among forward-thinking politicians and economists. Yang proposes that UBI is an essential step toward a new, more durable kind of economy, one he calls “human capitalism.”