Guest Books

 

The Naked Future

What Happens in a World That Anticipates Your Every Move?

“A thorough yet thoroughly digestible book on the ubiquity of data gathering and the unraveling of personal privacy.” —Daniel Pink, author of Drive

Thanks to recent advances in technology, prediction models for individual behavior grow more sophisticated by the day. Whether you’ll marry, commit a crime or fall victim to one, or contract a disease are becoming easily accessible facts. The naked future is upon us, and the implications are staggering.

Patrick Tucker draws on fascinating stories from health care to urban planning to online dating. He shows how scientists can predict your behavior based on your friends’ Twitter updates, anticipate the weather a year from now, figure out the time of day you’re most likely to slip back into a bad habit, and guess how well you’ll do on a test before you take it.

Hear Patrick Tucker’s Latest Conversation with Ian Masters – June 29

Dragon in the Tropics

Venezuela and the Legacy of Hugo Chavez

This new and expanded edition of Dragon in the Tropics-the widely acclaimed account of how president Hugo Chávez (1999–2013) revamped Venezuela’s political economy-examines the electoral decline of Chavismo after Chavez’s death and the policies adopted by his successor, Nicolás Maduro, to cope with the economic chaos inherited from previous radical populist policies. Corrales and Penfold argue that Maduro has had to struggle with the inherent contradictions of a large and heterogeneous social coalition, a declining oil sector, the strength of entrenched military interests, and fewer resources to appease international allies, which have strenghtened the autocratic features of an already consolidated hybrid regime. In examining the new political realities of Venezuela, the authors offer lessons on the dynamics of succession in hybrid regimes. This book is a must-read for scholars and analysts of Latin America.

Hear Michael Penfold’s Latest Conversation with Ian Masters – June 28

Revelations

Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation

A startling exploration of the history of the most controversial book of the Bible, by the bestselling author of Beyond Belief.Through the bestselling books of Elaine Pagels, thousands of readers have come to know and treasure the suppressed biblical texts known as the Gnostic Gospels. As one of the world’s foremost religion scholars, she has been a pioneer in interpreting these books and illuminating their place in the early history of Christianity. Her new book, however, tackles a text that is firmly, dramatically within the New Testament canon: The Book of Revelation, the surreal apocalyptic vision of the end of the world . . . or is it?

In this startling and timely book, Pagels returns The Book of Revelation to its historical origin, written as its author John of Patmos took aim at the Roman Empire after what is now known as “the Jewish War,” in 66 CE. Militant Jews in Jerusalem, fired with religious fervor, waged an all-out war against Rome’s occupation of Judea and their defeat resulted in the desecration of Jerusalem and its Great Temple. Pagels persuasively interprets Revelation as a scathing attack on the decadence of Rome. Soon after, however, a new sect known as “Christians” seized on John’s text as a weapon against heresy and infidels of all kinds-Jews, even Christians who dissented from their increasingly rigid doctrines and hierarchies.

Hear Elaine Pagels’ Latest Conversation with Ian Masters – June 28

The Man Without a Face

The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin

Look out for Masha Gessen’s new book, The Future is History, coming October 2017

From journalism’s bravest, Masha Gessen—whose regular appearances on Samantha Bee, Rachel Maddow, the pages of the New York Times, and more have been a beacon of clarity in our troubled times — comes a portrait of a ruthless man’s ascent to near-absolute power.  
The Man Without a Faceis the chilling account of how a low- level, small-minded KGB operative ascended to the Russian presidency and, in an astonishingly short time, destroyed years of progress and made his country once more a threat to her own people and to the world.Handpicked as a successor by the “family” surrounding an ailing and increasingly unpopular Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin seemed like a perfect choice for the oligarchy to shape according to its own designs. Suddenly the boy who had stood in the shadows, dreaming of ruling the world, was a public figure, and his popularity soared. Russia and an infatuated West were determined to see the progressive leader of their dreams, even as he seized control of media, sent political rivals and critics into exile or to the grave, and smashed the country’s fragile electoral system, concentrating power in the hands of his cronies.

Hear Masha Gessen’s Latest Conversation with Ian Masters – June 27

Whistleblower at the CIA

An Insider’s Account of the Politics of Intelligence

“Mel Goodman has spent the last few decades telling us what’s gone wrong with American intelligence and the American military . . . he is also telling us how to save ourselves.”–Seymour M. HershThe New Yorker

Whistleblower at the CIA offers a fascinating glimpse into the secret, behind-the-scenes world of U.S. intelligence. Melvin A. Goodman’s first-person account of the systematic manipulation of intelligence at the CIA underscores why whistleblowing is so important, and why the institutional obstacles to it are so intense. . . . At its core it’s an invaluable historical expose, a testimony to integrity and conscience, and a call for the U.S. intelligence community to keep its top leaders in check. Urgent, timely, and deeply recommended.”–Daniel Ellsberg

Hear Melvin Goodman’s Latest Conversation with Ian Masters – June 26

The Political Mind

A Cognitive Scientist’s Guide to Your Brain and Its Politics

A groundbreaking scientific examination of the way our brains understand politics from a New York Times bestselling author

One of the world ‘s best-known linguists and cognitive scientists, George Lakoff has a knack for making science make sense for general readers. In his new book, Lakoff spells out what cognitive science has discovered about reason, and reveals that human reason is far more interesting than we thought it was. Reason is physical, mostly unconscious, metaphorical, emotion-laden, and tied to empathy-and there are biological explanations behind our moral and political thought processes. His call for a New Enlightenment is a bold and striking challenge to the cherished beliefs not only of philosophers, but of pundits, pollsters, and political leaders. The Political Mind is a passionate, erudite, and groundbreaking book that will appeal to anyone interested in how the mind works and how we function socially and politically.

Hear George Lakoff’s Latest Conversation with Ian Masters – June 26

Nation on the Take

How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy and What We Can Do About It

American democracy has become coin operated. Special interest groups increasingly control every level of government. The necessity of raising huge sums of campaign cash has completely changed the character of politics and policy making, determining what elected representatives stand for and how their time is spent. The marriage of great wealth and intense political influence has rendered our country unable to address our most pressing problems, from runaway government spending to climate change to the wealth gap. It also defines our daily lives: from the cars we drive to the air we breathe to the debt we owe.

In this powerful work of reportage, Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman, two vigilant watchdogs, expose legalized corruption and link it to the kitchen-table issues citizens face every day. Inciting our outrage, the authors then inspire us by introducing us to an army of reformers laying the groundwork for change, ready to be called into action. The battle plan for reform presented is practical, realistic, and concrete. No one–except some lobbyists and major political donors–likes business as usual, and this book aims to help forge a new army of reformers who are compelled by a patriotic duty to fight for a better democracy.

Hear Wendell Potter’s Latest Conversation with Ian Masters – June 22

Dog Whistle Politics

How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class

Campaigning for president in 1980, Ronald Reagan told stories of Cadillac-driving “welfare queens” and “strapping young bucks” buying T-bone steaks with food stamps. In trumpeting these tales of welfare run amok, Reagan never needed to mention race, because he was blowing a dog whistle: sending a message about racial minorities inaudible on one level, but clearly heard on another. In doing so, he tapped into a long political tradition that started with George Wallace and Richard Nixon, and is more relevant than ever in the age of the Tea Party and the first black president. In Dog Whistle Politics, Ian Haney López offers a sweeping account of how politicians and plutocrats deploy veiled racial appeals to persuade white voters to support policies that favor the extremely rich yet threaten their own interests. Dog whistle appeals generate middle-class enthusiasm for political candidates who promise to crack down on crime, curb undocumented immigration, and protect the heartland against Islamic infiltration, but ultimately vote to slash taxes for the rich, give corporations regulatory control over industry and financial markets, and aggressively curtail social services.

Hear Ian Haney Lopez’ Latest Conversation with Ian Masters – June 21

America’s War for the Greater Middle East

A Military History

LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD • A searing reassessment of U.S. military policy in the Middle East over the past four decades from retired army colonel and New York Times bestselling author Andrew J. Bacevich

From the end of World War II until 1980, virtually no American soldiers were killed in action while serving in the Greater Middle East. Since 1990, virtually no American soldiers have been killed in action anywhere else. What caused this shift? Andrew J. Bacevich, one of the country’s most respected voices on foreign affairs, offers an incisive critical history of this ongoing military enterprise—now more than thirty years old and with no end in sight.During the 1980s, Bacevich argues, a great transition occurred. As the Cold War wound down, the United States initiated a new conflict—a War for the Greater Middle East—that continues to the present day. The long twilight struggle with the Soviet Union had involved only occasional and sporadic fighting. But as this new war unfolded, hostilities became persistent. From the Balkans and East Africa to the Persian Gulf and Central Asia, U.S. forces embarked upon a seemingly endless series of campaigns across the Islamic world. Few achieved anything remotely like conclusive success. Instead, actions undertaken with expectations of promoting peace and stability produced just the opposite. As a consequence, phrases like “permanent war” and “open-ended war” have become part of everyday discourse.

Hear Andrew Bacevich’s Latest Conversation with Ian Masters – June 15

 

Cuba Confidential

Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana

From America’s number one Cuba reporter, PEN award–winning investigative journalist Ann Louise Bardach, comes the big book on Cuba we’ve all been waiting for. An incisive and spirited portrait of the twentieth century’s wiliest political survivor and his fiefdom, Cuba Confidential is the gripping story of the shattered families and warring personalities that lie at the heart of the forty-three-year standoff between Miami and Havana.

Famous to many Americans for her cover stories and media appearances, Ann Louise Bardach has been covering Cuba for a decade. She’s talked to the crooks, spooks and politicians who have made history, and to their hired assassins and confidants. Based on exclusive interviews with Fidel Castro, his sister Juanita, his former brother-in-law Rafael Díaz-Balart, the family of Elián González, the friends and family of the legendary American fugitive Robert Vesco, the intrepid terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, and the inner circles of Jeb Bush and the late exile leader Jorge Mas Canosa, Cuba Confidential exposes the hardball take-no-prisoners tactics of the Cuban exile leadership, and its manipulation and exploitation by ten American presidents.

Hear Ann Louise Bardach’s Latest Conversation with Ian Masters – June 15

 

The Last Gun

How Changes in the Gun Industry Are Killing Americans and What It Will Take to Stop It

Newtown, Connecticut. Aurora, Colorado. Both have entered our collective memory as sites of unimaginable heartbreak and mass slaughter perpetrated by lone gunmen. Meanwhile, cities such as Chicago and Washington, D.C., are dealing with the painful, everyday reality of record rates of gun-related deaths. By any account, gun violence in the United States has reached epidemic proportions.

A widely respected activist and policy analyst—as well as a former gun enthusiast and an ex-member of the National Rifle Association—Tom Diaz presents a chilling, up-to-date survey of the changed landscape of gun manufacturing and marketing. The Last Gun explores how the gun industry and the nature of gun violence have changed, including the disturbing rise in military-grade gun models. But Diaz also argues that the once formidable gun lobby has become a “paper tiger,” marshaling a range of evidence and case studies to make the case that now is the time for a renewed political effort to attack gun violence at its source—the guns themselves.

In the aftermath of Newtown, a challenging national conversation lies ahead. The Last Gun is an indispensable guide to this debate, and essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how we can finally rid America’s streets, schools, and homes of gun violence and prevent future Newtowns.

Hear Tom Diaz’ Latest Conversation with Ian Masters – June 14

 

Wrestling With His Angel

The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln Vol. II, 1849-1856

by Sidney Blumenthal

“Masterful.” —Los Angeles Times
“Deeply fascinating…intelligent and rigorous.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“Magnificent.” —BookPage

 

Volume II of Sidney Blumenthal’s acclaimed, landmark biography, The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln, reveals the future president’s genius during the most decisive period of his political life when he seizes the moment, finds his voice, and helps create a new political party.In 1849, Abraham Lincoln seems condemned to political isolation and defeat. His Whig Party is broken in the 1852 election, and disintegrates. His perennial rival, Stephen Douglas, forges an alliance with the Southern senators and Secretary of War Jefferson Davis. Violent struggle breaks out on the plains of Kansas, a prelude to the Civil War.Lincoln rises to the occasion. Only he can take on Douglas in Illinois, and he finally delivers the dramatic speech that leaves observers stunned. In 1855, he makes a race for the Senate, which he loses when he throws his support to a rival to prevent the election of a proslavery candidate. Now, in Wrestling With His Angel, Sidney Blumenthal explains how Lincoln and his friends operate behind the scenes to destroy the anti-immigrant party in Illinois to clear the way for a new Republican Party. Lincoln takes command and writes its first platform and vaults onto the national stage as the leader of a party that will launch him to the presidency.

Hear Sidney Blumenthal’s Latest Conversation with Ian Masters – June 12

 

Right-Wing Resurgence

How a Domestic Terrorist Threat is Being Ignored

by Daryl Johnson

In 2008 there were 149 militia groups in the United States. In 2009, that number more than tripled to 512, and now there are nearly 600. In Right Wing Resurgence, author Daryl Johnson offers a detailed account of the growth of right wing extremism and militias in the United States and the ever-increasing threat they pose. The author is an acknowledged expert in this area and has been an intelligence analyst working for several federal agencies for nearly 20 years. The book is also a first-hand, insider’s account of the DHS Right Wing Extremism report from the person who wrote it. It is a truthful depiction of the facts, circumstances, and events leading up to the leak of this official intelligence assessment.

The leak and its aftermath have had an adverse effect on homeland security. Because of its alleged mishandling of the situation, the Department’s

Hear Daryl Johnson’s Latest Conversation with Ian Masters – June 4

 

Chasing the Harvest

Migrant Workers in California Agriculture

by Gabriel Thompson

Lives from an invisible community—the migrant farmworkers of the United States

The Grapes of Wrath brought national attention to the condition of California’s migrant farmworkers in the 1930s. Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers’ grape and lettuce boycotts captured the imagination of the United States in the 1960s and ’70s. Yet today, the stories of the more than 800,000 men, women, and children working in California’s fields—one third of the nation’s agricultural work force—are rarely heard, despite the persistence of wage theft, dangerous working conditions, and uncertain futures. This book of oral histories makes the reality of farm work visible in accounts of hardship, bravery, solidarity, and creativity in California’s fields, as real people struggle to win new opportunities for future generations.

Among the narrators:

Maricruz, a single mother fired from a packing plant after filing a sexual assault complaint against her supervisor.

Roberto, a vineyard laborer in the scorching Coachella Valley who became an advocate for more humane working conditions after his teenage son almost died of heatstroke.

Oscar, an elementary school teacher in Salinas who wants to free his students from a life in the fields, the fate that once awaited him as a child.

Hear Gabriel Thompson’s Latest Conversation with Ian Masters – June 1

 

White Working Class

Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America

by Joan C. Williams

Around the world, populist movements are gaining traction among the white working class. Meanwhile, members of the professional elite—journalists, managers, and establishment politicians—are on the outside looking in, left to argue over the reasons. In White Working Class, Joan C. Williams, described as having “something approaching rock star status” by the New York Times, explains why so much of the elite’s analysis of the white working class is misguided, rooted in class cluelessness.

Williams explains that many people have conflated “working class” with “poor”—but the working class is, in fact, the elusive, purportedly disappearing middle class. They often resent the poor and the professionals alike. But they don’t resent the truly rich, nor are they particularly bothered by income inequality. Their dream is not to join the upper middle class, with its different culture, but to stay true to their own values in their own communities—just with more money. While white working-class motivations are often dismissed as racist or xenophobic, Williams shows that they have their own class consciousness.

Hear Joan Williams’ Latest Conversation with Ian Masters – May 30

 

The Blood Bankers

Tales from the Global Underground Economy

by James S. Henry

Like tentacles on a vast octopus, the firsthand investigations in The Blood Bankers all lead to one core. A financial detective of sorts, investigative journalist Jim Henry analyzes a range of scandals, including the looting of the Philippines by the Marcos family and the financial collapse of nations throughout the developing world. A rogues’ gallery of international criminals owes its existence to the dramatic growth of the underground global economy over the last two decades. Our world is being reshaped, often in sinister fashion, by wide open capital markets and an international banking network that exists to launder hundreds of billions of dollars in ill-gotten gains. Here is an inside look at globalization’s dark side-the new high growth global markets for influence-peddling, capital flight, money laundering, weapons, drugs, tax evasion, child labor, illegal immigration, and other forms of transnational crime.

Hear James Henry’s Latest Conversation with Ian Masters – May 29

 

Move Fast and Break Things

How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy

by Jonathan Taplin

A stinging polemic that traces the destructive monopolization of the Internet by Google, Facebook and Amazon, and that proposes a new future for musicians, journalists, authors and filmmakers in the digital age.

Move Fast and Break Things is the riveting account of a small group of libertarian entrepreneurs who in the 1990s began to hijack the original decentralized vision of the Internet, in the process creating three monopoly firms–Facebook, Amazon, and Google–that now determine the future of the music, film, television, publishing and news industries.

Jonathan Taplin offers a succinct and powerful history of how online life began to be shaped around the values of the men who founded these companies, including Peter Thiel and Larry Page: overlooking piracy of books, music, and film while hiding behind opaque business practices and subordinating the privacy of individual users in order to create the surveillance-marketing monoculture in which we now live.

The enormous profits that have come with this concentration of power tell their own story. Since 2001, newspaper and music revenues have fallen by 70 percent; book publishing, film, and television profits have also fallen dramatically. Revenues at Google in this same period grew from $400 million to $74.5 billion. Today, Google’s YouTube controls 60 percent of all streaming-audio business but pay for only 11 percent of the total streaming-audio revenues artists receive. More creative content is being consumed than ever before, but less revenue is flowing to the creators and owners of that content.

Hear Jonathan Taplin’s Latest Conversation with Ian Masters – May 29

 

Churchill and Orwell

The Fight for Freedom

by Thomas E. Ricks

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes a dual biography of Winston Churchill and George Orwell, who preserved democracy from the threats of authoritarianism, from the left and right alike.

Both George Orwell and Winston Churchill came close to death in the mid-1930’s—Orwell shot in the neck in a trench line in the Spanish Civil War, and Churchill struck by a car in New York City. If they’d died then, history would scarcely remember them. At the time, Churchill was a politician on the outs, his loyalty to his class and party suspect. Orwell was a mildly successful novelist, to put it generously. No one would have predicted that by the end of the 20th century they would be considered two of the most important people in British history for having the vision and courage to campaign tirelessly, in words and in deeds, against the totalitarian threat from both the left and the right. In a crucial moment, they responded first by seeking the facts of the matter, seeing through the lies and obfuscations, and then they acted on their beliefs. Together, to an extent not sufficiently appreciated, they kept the West’s compass set toward freedom as its due north.

It’s not easy to recall now how lonely a position both men once occupied. By the late 1930’s, democracy was discredited in many circles, and authoritarian rulers were everywhere in the ascent. There were some who decried the scourge of communism, but saw in Hitler and Mussolini “men we could do business with,” if not in fact saviors. And there were others who saw the Nazi and fascist threat as malign, but tended to view communism as the path to salvation. Churchill and Orwell, on the other hand, had the foresight to see clearly that the issue was human freedom—that whatever its coloration, a government that denied its people basic freedoms was a totalitarian menace and had to be resisted.

Hear Tom Ricks’s Latest Conversation with Ian Masters – May 28

 

ISIS

Inside the Army of Terror (Updated Edition)

by Michael Weiss, Hassan Hassan

Fully Revised & Updated Edition of the New York Times Bestselling and Highly Praised Book on ISIS

With newly added material and breaking news including:
—Interview with a former ISIS spymaster
—Why ISIS is targeting Europe and the US
—What Russia wants in Syria
—Revelations on the brutal ideology of ISIS

With brutal attacks in last year across the globe—Brussels, Paris, Beirut, Egypt, Turkey—the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has proved itself the greatest terrorist threat in the world today. They have conquered massive territories in Syria and Iraq in a bid to create a new Muslim caliphate under the strict dictates of Sharia law.

In this fully revised and updated edition of ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror, American journalist Michael Weiss and Syrian analyst Hassan Hassan explain how these violent extremists evolved from a nearly defeated Iraqi insurgent group into a jihadi army of international volunteers who, with slickly produced murder videos, are spreading violence and mayhem across the globe. Beginning with the early days of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of ISIS’s first incarnation, Weiss and Hassan explain who the key players are—from their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to the former Saddam Baathists in their ranks—where they come from, how they have attracted both local and global support, and how they operate—from their social media strategy to their illicit oil revenues. As money and matériel continue to flow into the region to combat the ISIS’s spreading terror, other forces—Assad’s regime, Russian planes, Iranian Quds Forces, and other Shiite militias—are gaining power and using the fight against ISIS as a means to leverage their agenda in the region.

Hear Hassan Hassan’s Latest Conversation with Ian Masters – May 23

 

The Great Satan vs. the Mad Mullahs

How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other

by William O. Beeman

For more than twenty-five years, the United States and Iran have been diplomatically estranged, each characterizing the other not only as a political adversary, but also as devious, threatening, and essentially evil. According to William O. Beeman’s provocative book, The “Great Satan” vs. the “Mad Mullahs,” such demonization is a self-fulfilling prophecy, as both countries have embraced exactly the policies and rhetoric that would particularly threaten or insult the other. Drawing on his experience as a linguistic anthropologist, Beeman parses how political leaders have used historical references, religious associations, and the mythology of evil to inflame their own citizens against the foreign country, and proposes a way out of this dangerous debacle.

“William Beeman’s analysis of dissonant perceptions of Iran and the USA is compelling and important. . . . I am particularly grateful for this work.”—James Peacock, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“[Beeman] is more interested in informing the reader than in impressing his peers. The other strength of the book lies in the author’s knowledge of Iranian history and culture. . . . It challenges the reader and forces him to question stereotypes about Iran and Washington’s perspective on the country.”—Abbas William Samii, Middle East Journal

Hear William Beeman’s Latest Conversation with Ian Masters – May 23

 

The Plot to Hack America

How Putin’’s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election

by Malcolm Nance

In April 2016, computer technicians at the Democratic National Committee discovered that someone had accessed the organization’s computer servers and conducted a theft that is best described as Watergate 2.0. In the weeks that followed, the nation’s top computer security experts discovered that the cyber thieves had helped themselves to everything: sensitive documents, emails, donor information, even voice mails.

Soon after, the remainder of the Democratic Party machine, the congressional campaign, the Clinton campaign, and their friends and allies in the media were also hacked. Credit cards numbers, phone numbers, and contacts were stolen. In short order, the FBI found that more than twenty-five state election offices had their voter registration systems probed or attacked by the same hackers.

Western intelligence agencies tracked the hack to Russian spy agencies and dubbed them the CYBER BEARS. The media was soon flooded with the stolen information channeled through Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. It was a massive attack on America but the Russian hacks appeared to have a singular goal-elect Donald J. Trump as president of the United States.

Hear Malcolm Nance’s Latest Conversation with Ian Masters – May 17