If you’re eager to get a handle on what the incoming Trump administration will look like and how its policies could potentially affect you, the following books might help. No matter what side of the political spectrum you most identify with, it’s important to hear opposing viewpoints. Not to agree, but to understand. Here, then, is our list of must-read titles for the aspiring Trumpologist.
Donald J. Trump with Tony Schwartz
The first stop on your journey toward understanding Trump and his administration should be the President-elect’s own works. He’s written several books, and all of them could give the curious reader a peek into his thought process. Trump: The Art of the Deal is going to be a must-read for any prospective Trumpologist, as is his 2015 political manifesto Great Again: How to Fix Our Crippled America. To develop perspective on how Trump’s thoughts on national policy have evolved over the years, you might also want to read his 2000 title The America We Deserve.
Norman Vincent Peale
Once you’re familiar with Trump’s own body of work, then it’s time to move on to the thinkers who have influenced him the most. Trump is a big fan of the late Norman Vincent Peale. Peale was his former minister, and apparently left quite an impression on the future President-elect. He’s recommended his book The Power of Positive Thinking on a number of occasions. Another Trump influencer? Roy Cohn, attorney, political operative, and former chief counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy.
McCarthyism in Twentieth-Century America
Cohn wrote several books before his death in 1986, but they’re all out of print. A good substitute might be Ted Morgan’s Reds: McCarthyism in Twentieth-Century America. Morgan examines the Scare in a cultural context, arguing that politicians overstated the threat of American communism in order to use it to advance their careers. Those looking for the rare sympathetic view of McCarthy and Cohn’s efforts might try Blacklisted by History by M. Stanton Evans. For what it’s worth, Ann Coulter, author of In Trump We Trust, described it as “the greatest book since the Bible.”
What We Can All Do to Save America's Future
Ben Carson, MD, with Candy Carson
You can also get an idea of what the Trump administration’s foreign and domestic policies will look like by reading the works of his cabinet appointees and advisors. Quite a few of them have written books. National Security Advisor Lieutenant Michael T. Flynn’s shared his strategy on winning the War on Terrorism in The Field of Fight. Secretary of Energy nominee Rick Perry’s Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America From Washington is a small government manifesto that might suggest a highly privatized future.
Secretary for Housing and Urban Development nominee Ben Carson’s One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America’s Future warns against the dangers of “media elitism and political correctness”, a “godless government” and Obamacare. Secretary of Labor nominee Andrew Puzder co-authored Job Creation: How it Really Works and Why the Government Doesn’t Understand It, a work extolling the values of entrepreneurialism and arguing for government deregulation of the marketplace.
The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin
Understanding some of the Trump administration’s biggest international challenges could also be helpful. Accusations that Russia played a role in securing Trump’s election win will likely continue to plague his administration, as will the impact of Vladimir Putin’s muscular foreign policy. Masha Gessen’s The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin will probably be on a lot of reading lists in 2017, as will chess champion and activist Garry Kasparov’s Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and The Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped, and Robert Legvold’s Return to Cold War.
The Week That Changed the World
China and the “One China” policy is going to be a major diplomatic challenge. Frank Dikötter’s The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution 1945-1957 is a great place to start if you’re interested in the conflict that led to mainland China and Taiwan’s curious relationship, and Margaret MacMillan’s Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World is a great look at how the United State came to adopt the policy in the first place.
A Short History of a Catastrophe
Charles Glass; foreword by Patrick Cockburn
Finally, the conflict in Syria doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon, and will likely remain a major humanitarian crisis for the foreseeable future. How did it all start and who are its major players? Charles Glass’ Syria Burning: A Short History of a Catastrophe is as concise an overview of the conflict as you can find.