During this year’s annual American Political Science Association conference in Boston from August 30 – September 2, conference attendees will consider Democracy and Its Discontents—how current dilemmas of democracy provoke scholars to work across disciplines and specializations to understand the changes occurring both national and globally.

Below are titles that inspire us to evaluate our democracy in crisis.

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The Government

They Said No to Nixon: Republicans Who Stood Up to the President’s Abuses of Power by Michael Koncewicz

“A bracing reminder of the threat to constitutional order posed by a president who wields power without self-restraint.”—Ken Hughes, author of Fatal Politics 

“A chilling account of how that deeply authoritarian president managed to push American politics to the right. This intelligent and important book should be must reading for anyone worried about the current decline of American democracy.”—Ellen Schrecker, author of Many Are the Crimes 




How Big Should Our Government Be? by Jon Bakija, Lane Kenworthy, Peter Lindert, Jeff Madrick

“An important new book [that] goes deep into this question of government footprint and growth.”—Jared Bernstein, The Washington Post 

“A very readable combination of theory, logic, and evidence. … Highly recommended reading on a highly charged subject that is central to our nation’s future.”—William Gale, Arjay and Frances Miller Chair in Federal Economic Policy at the Brookings Institution and Co-Director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center




Protests and Social Movements

How to Read a Protest: The Art of Organizing and Resistance by L.A. Kauffman

“L.A. Kauffman is one of the people I look to most for the big picture about American activism. The next chapter is something we will all write together if and when we rise to the promise and the legacy of the radical past that Kauffman so ably describes.”—Rebecca Solnit, author of Hope in the Dark

“An incredible tool for understanding collective action: who is involved, how it unfolds, and what makes it successful. Kauffman helps us understand and interpret the reasons behind protest in our time, giving us a valuable gift of insight and research.”—Marina Sitrin, coauthor of They Can’t Represent Us! 



Making All Black Lives Matter: Reimagining Freedom in the Twenty-First Century by Barbara Ransby

“I can imagine no more perfect example of the dedicated scholar-activist than Barbara Ransby. … This book passionately urges us to adopt the radical and feminist versions of democracy that will move us forward.”—Angela Y. Davis

“One of the most important texts for this generation and generations to come—truth telling so clarifying it begs us to be better and bolder. Everyone, read this book, then read it again.”—Patrisse Khan-Cullors, cofounder of Black Lives Matter Global Network and coauthor of When They Call You a Terrorist




The Activist’s Handbook: Winning Social Change in the 21st Century by Randy Shaw

“A must read for grassroots activists, Shaw offers indispensable insights into the strategies and tactics necessary to overcome powerful interests. This new edition significantly expands and updates the original, which is an organizing classic.”—Van Jones, author of Rebuild the Dream

“This is a unique book, wise, realistic, and enormously valuable for anyone interested in social change. It is practical in its advice, and inspiring in its stories of ordinary people successfully confronting powerful interests.”—Howard Zinn, author ofA People’s History of the United States



From Fascism to Populism in History by Federico Finchelstein

“Timely, accessible, and essential reading. … Written in the context of Trump’s rise to power, From Fascism to Populism in History challenges the idea of US exceptionalism and provides us with concrete analytical tools to better understand contemporary politics and society.”—Tanya Harmer, author of Allende’s Chile and the Inter-American Cold War

“An original, creative, and bold work that will be debated by scholars for decades to come.”—Carlos de la Torre, author of Populist Seduction in Latin America




Mass Harm and Terrorism