Below find a list of nonfiction, essays, dystopian novels, and historical volumes that will help readers understand current political and social issues including racism, class division, and totalitarianism.
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Hope in the Dark–Rebecca Solnit
“People have always been good at imagining the end of the world, which is much easier to picture than the strange sidelong paths of change in a world without end.”
The Origins of Totalitarianism–Hannah Arendt
“The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.”
Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
Silence is what allows people to suffer without recourse, what allows hypocrisies and lies to grow and flourish, crimes to go unpunished.
Better never means better for everyone… It always means worse, for some.
A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.
Between the World and Me–Ta-Nehisi Coates
You must resist the common urge toward the comforting narrative of divine law, toward fairy tales that imply some irrepressible justice. The enslaved were not bricks in your road, and their lives were not chapters in your redemptive history. They were people turned to fuel for the American machine. Enslavement was not destined to end, and it is wrong to claim our present circumstance—no matter how improved—as the redemption for the lives of people who never asked for the posthumous, untouchable glory of dying for their children. Our triumphs can never compensate for this
What separates the successful from the unsuccessful are the expectations that they had for their own lives. Yet the message of the right is increasingly: It’s not your fault that you’re a loser; it’s the government’s fault.
The Court has a special responsibility to ensure that the Constitution works in practice. While education, including the transmission of our civic values from one generation to the next, must play the major role in maintaining public confidence in the Court’s decisions, the Court too must help maintain public acceptance of its own legitimacy. It can do this best by helping ensure that the Constitution remains “workable” in a broad sense of the term. Specifically, it can and should interpret the Constitution in a way that works for the people of today.
Bloodthirsty fanatics who regarded all Western inventions and practices as works of the devil, they saw themselves as divinely appointed to purify the region by slaughtering all who allied with foreigners or deviated from their narrow vision of Islam.
When you turn an election into a three-ring circus, there’s always a chance that the dancing bear will win.
What We Do Now: Standing Up for your Values in Trump’s America–Various Authors
But know this: whether you actively engage in the violent culture of hate or merely step out of the way to give it permission to persist and room to grow, you are complicit.
It Can’t Happen Here–Sinclair Lewis
Why, America’s the only free nation on earth. Besides! Country’s too big for a revolution. No, no! Couldn’t happen here!
In 1960, when a survey asked American adults whether it would “disturb” them if their child married a member of the other political party, no more than 5 percent of either party answered “yes.” But in 2010, 33 percent of Democrats and 40 percent of Republicans answered “yes.” In fact, partyism, as some call it, now beats race as the source of divisive prejudice
The past is a life sentence, a blunt instrument aimed at tomorrow.