No matter who wins the U.S. presidential election on November 8, America’s got some grappling to do. This race has been full of sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and general bigotry. Many voters are unenthusiastic about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and the two candidates are widely rated as dishonest and untrustworthy in polls. Meanwhile, police shootings have rocked cities across the country. Hate groups have attacked Muslims. Long-standing political coalitions have devolved into in-fighting.
These are some reading recommendations that will hopefully provide a deeper look at some of these issues. Books may seem like small comfort. But in a time like this, when it’s hard to understand how American culture became so hate-filled, reading is probably the best possible option—to get off the internet, pick up a book, and think about how the country has gotten here.
Besides, The Atlantic has observed that Donald Trump “appears not to read.” As a courtesy to our readers, we’ve compiled nearly three dozen titles, recommended by academics, comedians, political activists, and more—plenty of material to help avoid Trump’s bookish sin.
The recommendations below are from people who have had a role in shaping the culture around this election, whether through advocacy, written work, commentary, or other means. They are an ideologically diverse group of thinkers—intentionally so. The Atlantic isn’t recommending these titles; they are. The titles are listed here. Each one links to its recommender, along with an explanation for why they picked that title; and the full list of recommenders and selection is below.