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Alumnae Seminar 2018:  AI: The Good, the Bad and the Unknown.


Dionne, E. J.  Jr., Norm Ornstein and Thomas Mann. One Nation after Trump.  St. Martin’s, 2017. 
     Imaginative optimism about life in America after Trump.


Dionne, E.J. Jr.  Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent.  Bloomsbury, 2012.
     Explores American history to find who we are as a nation and why we are so divided.


Douthat, Ross and Reihan Salam. Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream.  Doubleday, 2008.


D’Souza, Dinesh.  The Big Lie:  Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left.    
     The conservative commentator argues that the American left is a fascist threat. 

Gessen, Masha.  The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia. Riverhead Books /Penguin Random House, 2017.
     A brilliant if somber look at modern Russia, a failed democracy, by a prizewinning journalist.  


Hacker, Jacob S. and Paul Pierson.  American AmnesiaHow the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper.  Simon & Schuster, 2016.


Jarecki, Eugene.  Why We Fight.  Film. Written, directed and produced by Jarecki, this documentary describes the rise and maintenance of the United   

    States military–industrial complex and its 50-year involvement with the wars led by the United States to date, especially its 2003 invasion of Iraq.  98 

    minutes.  Sony Pictures Classic, 2005.   


Lewis, Sinclair.  It Cant Happen Here, Signet Classic.  1935.
     This novel is a cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy.  It juxtaposes sharp political satire with the chillingly realistic rise of a President who

     becomes a dictator to save the nation from welfare cheats, rampant promiscuity, crime, and a liberal press.


Meyer, JaneDark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires behind the Rise of the Radical Right.  Penguin/Random House, 2016.
     In this well-documented work, Mayer demonstrates how Charles and David Koch and their wealthy allies have hijacked American democracy.     


Teachout, Zephyr.  Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United.  Harvard UP, 2016.

Annotated Bibliography on What is Wrong with American Democracy Douglas J. Amy


1.Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” Perspectives on Politics, September 2014, Vol. 12, No. 3.


Probably the most important political science article on democracy in the U.S. in the last twenty years.  Uses 1800 policy decisions by Congress over 20 years to show that while the preferences of the wealthy and business lobbies have a large influence over policy outcomes, those of the general public have virtually no impact.

2. Douglas J. Amy, “What is Really Wrong with Government,” and “How to Fix American Government and Revive Democracy,” Government is Good.


Two chapters from my book/website Government is Good that discuss several ways that American democracy is failing, and several solutions to those problems.


3. William Hudson, American Democracy in Peril, 8th edition. CQ Press, Washington, DC, 2016.


For many years, in my courses at Mount Holyoke, this has been my go-to textbook on problems of American democracy. Thorough, insightful, well-researched, and very readable. Covers virtually all the major issues.

4. Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, Winner-Take-All Politics:  How Washington Made the Rich Richer and Turned its Back on the Middle Class. Simon and Schuster, NY, 2011.


Great book on how economic inequality has undermined democracy in the U.S. and has allowed conservative and wealthy interests to dominate the policymaking process.


Readings on American democracy recommended by Erik Fogg, co-author of Wedged:

     How You Became a Tool of the Partisan Political Establishment, and How to Start Thinking for Yourself Again.   At the Alumnae Seminar he will speak on  

     How Did We Develop These issues with Our Democracy?

Andris, Clio, et al. “The Rise of Partisanship and Super-Cooperators in the US House of Representatives.” PLOS One, April 21, 2015.


Boatright, Robert C. Getting Primaried: The Changing Politics of Congressional Primary Challenges. University of Michigan Press, 2014.


Ellis, Christopher, and Stinson, James A. Ideology in America.  Cambridge University Press, 2012.


Greene, Joshua. Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us. Penguin Books, 2014.


Haidt, Jonathan. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. Vintage, 2013.


Hibbing, John R., and Smith Kevin B., Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences. Routledge, 2013.


Lanthrop, Douglas. The Campaign Continues: How Political Consultants and Campaign Tactics Affect Public Policy. Praeger Publishers: Westport, CT, 2003.


Layman, Geoffrey, et al. “Party Polarization in American Politics: Characteristics, Causes, and Consequences.” Annual Review of Political Science, 2006, issue 9, pgs 83-110.


Pew Research Center: US Politics & Policy. “Political Polarization in the American Public.” June 12, 2014. Available at: Accessed 10/15/2015.


Prinz, Jesse J. The Emotional Construction of Morals. Oxford University Press, 2009.


Weeden, Jason, and Kurzban, Robert. The Hidden Agenda of the Political Mind: How Self-Interest Shapes Our Opinions and Why We Won’t Admit It. Princeton University Press, 2014.


Westen, Drew. The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation. Public Affairs, 2008.

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