Book Group 2021-22

Book Group 2021-22

Book Group Chair -  Mary Sterling         bookgroup [at]

September 2021:

Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism by Anne Applebaum

Across the world today, from the Americas to Europe and beyond, liberal democracy is under siege while populism and nationalism are on the rise. In Twilight of Democracy, prize-winning historian Anne Applebaum offers an unexpected explanation: that there is a deep and inherent appeal to authoritarianism, to strongmen, and, especially, to one-party rule--that is, to political systems that benefit true believers, or loyal soldiers, or simply the friends and distant cousins of the Leader, to the exclusion of everyone else.

Drawing on reporting in Spain, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, and Brazil; using historical examples including Stalinist central Europe and Nazi Germany; and investigating related phenomena: the modern conspiracy theory, nostalgia for a golden past, political polarization, and meritocracy and its discontents, Anne Applebaum brilliantly illuminates the seduction of totalitarian thinking and the eternal appeal of the one-party state. (Goodreads review)

The September discussion will be via Zoom on September 15, from 10:00 - 11:30.

November 2021:

The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet

by Michael E. Mann 

In The New Climate War, climate scientist Michael Mann argues that all is not lost. He draws the battle lines between the people and the polluters-fossil fuel companies, right-wing plutocrats, and petrostates. And he outlines a plan for forcing our governments and corporations to wake up and make real change, including:
-- A common-sense, attainable approach to carbon pricing- and a revision of the well-intentioned but flawed currently proposed version of the Green New Deal
-- Allowing renewable energy to compete fairly against fossil fuels
-- Debunking the false narratives and arguments that have worked their way into the climate debate and driven a wedge between even those who support climate change solutions
-- Combatting climate doomism and despair-mongering

With immensely powerful vested interests aligned in defense of the fossil fuel status quo, the societal tipping point won't happen without the active participation of citizens everywhere aiding in the collective push forward. This book will reach, inform, and enable citizens everywhere to join this battle for our planet. (Goodreads review)

March 2022:

by Jessica Bruder

From the beet fields of North Dakota to the campgrounds of California to Amazon’s CamperForce program in Texas, employers have discovered a new, low-cost labor pool, made up largely of transient older adults. These invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the road by the tens of thousands in RVs and modified vans, forming a growing community of nomads.

Nomadland tells a revelatory tale of the dark underbelly of the American economy.  At the same time, it celebrates the exceptional resilience and creativity of these Americans who have given up ordinary rootedness to survive but have not given up hope. (Goodreads Review)

The March discussion will be held via Zoom on March 16, from 10:00 to 11:30 am

May 2022:

Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present
by Ruth Ben-Ghiat

Ruth Ben-Ghiat covers a century of authoritarianism to explain why strongman rulers in Africa, Europe, and Latin America, drawing from a common playbook of machismo, propaganda, violence, and corruption, have found popular support even as they bring ruin to their countries. The fruit of decades of research, Strongmen gives readers insight into how such rulers think, who and what they depend on, and how they can be opposed. (Goodreads review)

The May discussion will be held via Zoom on May 18, from 10:00 to 11:00 am

Video viewing and discussion: 11:00 am 12:00 pm

Ruth Ben-Ghiat spoke to to LWVCC in February of this year. A video of her presentation will be streamed into our meeting. For those who would like to stay for this screening, we’ll watch the presentation and then discuss.

Please note that the video viewing will only be open to current members of the LWV of Concord-Carlisle.