GT Book List

Download the full book list here: Book List Greylock Together (1)


Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick (288 pp)

Now a t.v. series, this award-winning sci-fi novel takes place in 1962 America. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco, the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some twenty years earlier the United States lost a war—and is now occupied by Nazi Germany and Japan.


The Book of Joan, Lidia Yuknavitch (266 pp)

A New York Times Editor’s Choice, this “brilliant and incendiary” dystopian novel mixes realism and fabulism, retelling the Joan of Arc story. Earth, circa 2049, has been devastated by global warming and war; the wealthy live on a suborbital complex ruled by a billionaire celebrity turned dictator.

Amanda Wakes Up, Alisyn Camerota (327pp)

CNN news anchor Camerota writes about a young upstart reporter, a ratings-obsessed media mogul, and a female senator running against a political newcomer fresh from Hollywood. Considered ‘prescient,’ despite it being in formation years ago.


Pussy, Howard Jacobson (208 pp)

“If Trump’s presidency is a source of continuing anxiety, then among its very few benefits is that it has moved one of our finest comic writers to write an elegantly savage satire of a man who defies satire.” (Guardian) “Hot revenge in print.” (Washington Post)


American War: A Novel, Omar El Akkad (352 pp)

About a second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle—a story that asks what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself.


Hello America, J.G. Ballard (240 pp)

A fable “driven on by wishes of possession and power but guided internally by myths of America…” (The Guardian). 100 years after America has been abandoned in the late 20th C, a group of European explorers returns to the climatically mutated continent.


The Queue, Basma Abdel Aziz

A female Arab journalist/psychiatrist writes a Kafka-esque novel against the backdrop of a political revolution. “Describes the sinister nature of authoritarianism, and illuminates the way that absolute authority manipulates information, mobilizes others in service to it, and fails to uphold the rights of even the faithful.”


New York 2140, Kim Stanley Robinson (613 pp)

Science-fiction about New York City after it has been vastly changed by global warming. The oceans are about 50 feet higher than before, but this is mainly an adventure story about a cast of characters navigating the new normal by canal boat, diving suit, and sky bridge.


The Plot Against America, Phillip Roth

This novel is an alternative history in which Franklin Delano Roosevelt is defeated in the presidential election of 1940 by Charles Lindbergh. The novel follows the fortunes of the Roth family during the Lindbergh presidency, as antisemitism becomes more accepted in American life and Jewish-American families like the Roths are persecuted.


It Can’t Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis

A semi-satirical 1935 political novel published during the rise of fascism in Europe, it

describes the rise of a politician who defeats Franklin Delano Roosevelt and is elected President of the United States, after fomenting fear and promising drastic economic and social reforms while promoting a return to patriotism and “traditional” values. After his election, Windrip takes complete control of the government and imposes a plutocratic/totalitarian rule with the help of a ruthless paramilitary force.


The Rhinoceros, Eugene Ionesco (play)

The inhabitants of a small, provincial French town turn into rhinoceroses. The play is often read as a response and criticism to the sudden upsurge of Communism, Fascism, and Nazism during the events preceding World War II, and explores the themes of

conformity, culture, mass movements, mob mentality, philosophy and morality.


1984, George Orwell

This dystopian novel is set in a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public manipulation. The superstate and its residents are dictated to by a political regime euphemistically named English Socialism, shortened to “Ingsoc” in Newspeak, the government’s invented language. Individualism is persecuted and independent thinking is “thoughtcrime.”


Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A love story about race and identity, from the point of view of a female Nigerian immigrant.


Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

Written in the shadow of the rise of fascism during the 1930s, this dystopian sci-fi novel speaks to a 21st-century world dominated by mass-entertainment, technology, medicine and pharmaceuticals, the arts of persuasion, and the hidden influence of elites.


Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

A sci-fi book about censorship, yes, but also about books and all the things they represent being drowned out by less meaningful information and media. (only 150 pp!)


Submission, Michel Houellebecq

A dystopian novel about a near-future France that ends up choosing between Islamism and fascism.


Ecotopia, Ernest Callenbach

An inspiring utopian novel portraying a sustainable society most of us would actually like to live in!


The Drowned World, J.G. Ballard (208 pp)

Published in 1962, this prescient novel imagines a terrifying future in which solar radiation and global warming have created a prehistoric environment in London.


The Penultimate Truth, Philip K. Dick

Resistance literature that explored the notion of “fake news” long before it became political reality. A parable about the power of propaganda, making a strong case for the idea that fear is the only political weapon more powerful than hope.

The Trial, Franz Kafka

Josef K. wakes up and is arrested on his 30th birthday for reasons he can’t understand. “K was living in a free country, after all…”


Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe

A scathing indictment on man’s inhumanity to man, a rejoicing in the occasional successful escape from hell, and bright spotlight on religion’s role in the condoning, encouraging, and justification for slavery


Class, Lucinda Rosenfeld

A satirical novel about a mother whose life spirals out of control when she’s forced to rethink her bleeding heart liberal ideals.


Player Piano, Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut’s first novel takes place in a near-future society that is almost totally mechanized, eliminating the need for human laborers. This widespread mechanization creates conflict between the wealthy upper class and the lower class.


God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or Pearls Before Swine, Kurt Vonnegut

The story of Eliot Rosewater, a millionaire who develops a social conscience, abandons New York City, and establishes the Rosewater Foundation in Rosewater, Indiana, “where he attempts to dispense unlimited amounts of love and limited sums of money to anyone who will come to his office.”


Heat and Light, Jennifer Haigh

A novel about fracking and how it affects a former coal-mining town in PA.


Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver (436 pp)

A novel about climate change, miracles, and Dellarobia’s sighting of butterflies.


The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future, Naomi Orestes and Erik M. Conway

In essence, this is an inventive and humorous essay from the POV of a future historian that recounts the scientific, political and social events that led to environmental disaster. It dramatizes climate change in ways traditional nonfiction cannot, reasserts the importance of scientists and the work they do, and reveals the self-serving interests of the “carbon industrial complex.”

Drowning Towers, George Turner (also called The Sea and Summer in its printings abroad)

Exploration of the effects of climate change and government corruption in the not-too-distant future as it affects a young boy. Winner in 1988 of Arthur C. Clarke Award.


A Friend of the Earth, T. Coraghessan Boyle

A story of environmental destruction caused by global warming and the greenhouse effect, set in 2025.


State of Fear, Michael Crichton

Techno-thriller about eco-terrorists who plot mass murder to publicize the danger of global warming. (Prometheus Award winner)


Forty Signs of Rain, Kim Stanley Robinson

The focus of the novel is on the effects of global warming in early 21st century.


The Cider House Rules, John Irving (560 pp)

Homer Wells grows up in an orphanage under the guidance of an obstetrician/abortion doctor and faces his own moral dilemma about performing abortions when he becomes the director of the orphanage years later.


Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

In this seminal 1952 novel, an unnamed narrator recounts his epic life-story, from his coming-of-age in a rural Southern town, to his migration to the violent streets of Harlem.


The Sellout, Paul Beatty

A biting satire and political commentary about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court. Winner of Man Booker Prize and others.


Welcome to Braggsville, T. Geronimo Johnson

This darkly comic satire is about four University of California, Berkeley students from different backgrounds who decide to protest a Civil War reenactment. Using a panoply of styles and tones, from tragicomic to Southern Gothic, Johnson skewers issues of class, race, intellectual and political chauvinism, Obamaism, social media, and much more.



 Economic Inequality/Class

 The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic, Ganesh Sitaraman (432 pp)

This tour de force of history, philosophy, law and politics, argues that a strong and sizable middle class is a prerequisite for America’s constitutional system. It makes a compelling case that inequality is more than just a moral or economic problem; it threatens the very core of our constitutional system.


The Broken Ladder, Keith Payne

Psychologist’s examination of how inequality divides us not just economically, but its consequences for how we think, how we respond to stress, how our immune systems function, and how we view moral concepts such as justice and fairness.


Runaway Inequality: An Activist’s Guide to Economic Justice, Les Leopold (320 pp)

This book “has many virtues besides its timeliness. It doesn’t just explain where the US economy went wrong; it also explains how American citizens can organize to get it back on track.” (Salon)


White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America, Joan C. Williams (192 pp.)

Williams, described by the NY Times as having “something approaching rock star status,” explains why so much of the elite’s analysis of the white working class is misguided. Chapter titles include “Why does the working class resent the poor?” “Why does the working class resent professionals but admire the rich?” “Is the working class just racist/sexist?” and “Can liberals embrace the white working class?”


The Age of Inequality: Corporate America’s War on Working People, Jeremy Gantz et al (272 pp)

Incisive articles from In These Times about the rise in inequality and the fall of the American middle class over the past 40 years.


White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, Nancy Isenberg (496 pp)

“We acknowledge racial injustice as an ugly stain on our nation’s history. With Isenberg’s landmark book, we will have to face the truth about the enduring, malevolent nature of class as well.”


Evicted by Matthew Desmond (448 pp)

Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Winner of 2017 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction.


Requiem for the American Dream: Ten Principles of Concentration of Wealth and Power, Noam Chomsky (192 pp)

In this book, Chomsky devotes a chapter to each of the ten principles (including reducing democracy, attacking the solidarity of the people, engineering election results, using fear and power of the state to keep us in line, redesigning the economy, etc.)


This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class, Elizabeth Warren (352 pp)

Explains why our middle class is under siege and how we can win the fight to save it.


Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy, Chris Hayes (304 pp)

An indictment of economic inequity, this book traces the roots of our present crisis of authority to the meritocracy and what’s gone wrong with America’s elites.



The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt (244 pp)

Arendt recognizes Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia as two sides of the same coin rather than as Right and Left. She discusses the evolution of classes into masses, the role of propaganda, the use of terror, and the nature of isolation as preconditions for domination. “How could such a book speak so powerfully to our present moment? …raises fundamental questions about how tyranny can arise and the dangerous forms of inhumanity to which it can lead.” (The Washington Post)


Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest, Zeynep Tufekci (360 pp)


On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, Timothy Snyder

A Yale historian of Eastern Europe, Snyder short book shatters any illusion that democracy is a given in the US or elsewhere. A cautionary book with 20 brilliant chapter headings. (Listen to his interview on WAMC at


The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic, George Lakoff and Elisabeth Wehling (162 pp.)

Robert Reich calls this book “must reading not only for every Democrat but for every responsible citizen.” Claiming that Democrats have too often failed to use language linking their moral values with their policies, this book demonstrates how to make that connection clearly and forcefully, with hands-on advice for discussing the most pressing issues of our time. (Lakoff is also the author of Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate–The Essential Guide for Progressives,124 pp., 2004)


The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement, Reverend William J. Barber II (135 pp.)

Reverend Barber’s memoir about how a diverse coalition — black and white, gay and straight, rich and poor, religious and secular, documented and undocumented — came together in North Carolina to address persistent racial and economic justice and how only such a diverse fusion movement can heal our nation’s wounds.


Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything, Becky Bond and Zack Exley (224 pp)

The authors were organizers who mobilized Bernie Sanders’ volunteer effort. The lessons they learned are crucial to the revival of progressive politics in America.


Indivisible Guide: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda


What We Do Now: Standing Up for Your Values in Trump’s America, Dennis Johnson (224 pp)

A collection of passionate manifestos by some of the country’s leading progressives (economists, environmentalists, activists, artists, politicians, and novelists), it aims to provide a blueprint for how progressives can move forward.


Listen Liberal: Or whatever happened to the party of the people?, Thomas Frank (224 pp)

A book that helps explain the shocking outcome of the 2016 presidential election, Frank — drawing on years of research and first-hand reporting — points out that the Democrats have done little to advance traditional liberal goals.


The Spiritual Activist, Claudia Horwitz (272 pp)

A practical guide to individual and social transformation through spirituality and faith. It will help you to make opportunities to slow down, to build stronger relationships at home and at work, and to embrace the world around you.


Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities, Rebecca Solnitt (192 pp)

The book traces a history of activism and social change over the past five decades. It is a paean to optimism in the uncertainty of the 21st century that aims to lead us to effective political engagement.


Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville (844 pp)

A study of the early American nation and its evolving democracy, from a French aristocrat and sociologist. His study of the strengths and weaknesses of an evolving democratic society has been quoted by every American president since Eisenhower, and remains a key point of reference for any discussion of the American nation or the democratic system.


Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom, Condoleeza Rice (496 pp)

“This heartfelt and at times very moving book shows why democracy proponents are so committed to their work…Both supporters and skeptics of democracy promotion will come away from this book wiser and better informed.” —The New York Times


No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need, Naomi Klein (270 pp)

Helps us understand just how we got here, and how we can, collectively, come together and heal. Reads like a primer and how-to manual for citizens living in the Trump era.

The Prince, Machiavelli

This political treatise is the most remembered of Machiavelli’s works and the one most responsible for bringing the word “Machiavellian” into usage as a pejorative. The descriptions within The Prince have the general theme of accepting that the aims of princes—such as glory and survival—can justify the use of immoral means to achieve those ends.


Climate Change/Environment

Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet, Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope (272 pp)

The former NYC mayor and the former head of the Sierra Club teamed up to write a manifesto on how the benefits of taking action on climate change are concrete, immediate, and immense. They explore climate change solutions that will make the world healthier and more prosperous, aiming to begin a new type of conversation on the issue that will spur bolder action by cities, businesses, and citizens―and even, someday, by Washington.


Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change, Elizabeth Kolbert (240 pp)

An urgent call to action.

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, Elizabeth Kolbert (319 pp)

Kolbert travelled the world to document the human role in the unfolding environmental catastrophe.


The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Freshwater in the Twenty-First Century, Alex Prud’homme (448 pp)

This book of investigative inquiry and dramatic narrative introduces the reader to an array of characters through whom the issues of climate change, population explosion, and water access and scarcity come alive.

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, Naomi Klein (566 pp)

A brilliant explanation of why the climate crisis challenges us to abandon the core “free market” ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political systems. The third of an anti-globalization trilogy, Klein’s strategy is to trace the origins of hyper consumption and corporate exploitation and then chart a course of liberation. According to the NY Times, “in each book she arrives at some semi hopeful place, where activists are reaffirming embattled civic values.”


Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life, Edward O. Wilson (272 pp)

World-renowned biologist states that in order to stave off the mass extinction of species, we must move swiftly to preserve the biodiversity of the planet. “A visionary blueprint for saving the planet.”


Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, Paul Hawken

100 realistic and bold solutions to climate change are offered, presenting a credible path forward — ranging from clean energy to educating girls in developing countries to land use practices that pull carbon out of the air.


Racial Injustice

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America, Michael Eric Dyson (240 pp)

A look into the current states of race relations in the United States. His last book, Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster won the American Book Award in 2007.


The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race, Jesmyn Ward (240 pp)

Jesmyn Ward knows that Baldwin’s words (“The Fire Next Time”) ring as true as ever today. In response, she has gathered short essays, memoir, and a few essential poems to engage the question of race in the United States. And she has turned to some of her generation’s most original thinkers and writers to give voice to their concerns.


Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond, Marc Lamont Hill (288 pp)

An impassioned analysis of headline-making cases of police shootings and other acts of “state violence” against African-Americans and other minorities.


The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander (336 pp)

Alexander, a civil rights litigator and legal scholar, posits that the US criminal justice system and mass incarceration of African-American males is, metaphorically, the new Jim Crow, creating new modes of discrimination and repression in employment, housing, education, public benefits, voting rights, jury duty, etc. Winner of numerous book awards.


Why are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria and Other

Conversations about Race, Beverly Daniel Tatum (294 pp)

Through research and case studies psychologist Beverly Daniel Tatum confronts the subtle ways in which racism dictates the ways both white and non-white people navigate the world.


Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates (176 pp)

What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? This book is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions for his adolescent son.


Racing to Justice: Transforming Our Conceptions of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society by John A. Powell (336 pp)

Culled from a decade of writing about social justice and spirituality, these meditations on race, identity, and social policy provide an outline for laying claim to our shared humanity and a way toward healing ourselves and securing our future.


Black Reconstruction in America: An Essay Toward a History of the Part Which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860–1880, WEB DuBois (750 pp, published in 1935)


The Making of a Racist: A Southerner Reflects on Family, History, and the Slave Trade, Charles B. Dew

A memoir by a historian of the South, particularly its history of slavery. Dew teaches at Williams College. “Each one of Charles Dew’s books has helped shape the conversation on the history of race in this nation.” (Edward Ayers, author)


Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life, Barbara J. Fields & Karen Fields (310 pp)

That the promised post-racial age has not dawned, the authors argue, reflects the failure of Americans to develop a legitimate language for thinking about and discussing inequality. That failure should worry everyone who cares about democratic institutions.


Citizen: An American Lyric, Claudia Rankine  (166 pp)

Poet Claudia Rankine meditates on police brutality, racial fatigue, depression and the denigration of black bodies in a book-length poem.


Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America, Jill Leovy (366 pp)

About urban violence and the fact that African-American men are about 6 percent of the nation’s population and more than 40 percent of its homicide dead.


Criminal Justice

Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons around the World, Baz Dreisinger (336 pp)

The author travels behind bars in 9 countries to rethink the state of justice in a global context.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson (336 pp)

A clarion call to fix our broken system of justice from the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative.

Writing my Wrongs: Life, Death and Redemption in an American Prison, Shaka Senghor (288 pp)

A redemption story told through a human portrait of what it’s like to grow up in the gravitational pull of poverty, violence, fear, and hopelessness. It is a hopeful tale that reminds us that our worst deeds don’t define who we are or what we can contribute to the world. The author is a mentor, motivational speaker, and activist for criminal justice reform who has inspired thousands.


Gideon’s Trumpet: How One Man, a Poor Prisoner, Took His Case to the Supreme Court-and Changed the Law of the United States, Anthony Lewis (288 pp)

A history of the landmark case of James Earl Gideon’s fight for the right to legal counsel in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that criminal defendants have the right to an attorney even if they cannot afford one. In 1965, the book won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Fact Crime book (and was turned into a 1980 made-for-t.v. movie). Includes info on how the Court decides what cases to take on.

Women’s Rights/Reproductive Choice

Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice, Willie Parker (224 pp)

Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision of justice, Dr. Parker, an African-American OB-GYN, now understands that providing abortions in the South (including at the last clinic in Mississippi) to be an expression of Christian compassion and writes about the moral fallacies of the anti-choice movement.


Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement, Sarah Erdreich (269 pp)

Outlines the legislative battles that are being waged against abortion rights all over the country. With a forward-looking approach, Erdreich holds abortion up, unabashedly, as a moral and fundamental human right.


We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (64 pp)

In Sweden, every high school sophomore gets a free copy of this little book, based on Adichie’s TEDx talk. Paints a picture of a feminism that is inclusive and benefits all. Can be read in under an hour.


Bearing Right: How Conservatives Won the Abortion War, William Saletan (327 pp)

An expose of how abortion rights activists have had their message co-opted in a culture of privacy and limited government — as much a story about messaging, rhetoric, and re-shaping the way we think, as it is of politics. (written 2004)


The War on Choice: The Right-Wing Attack on Women’s Rights and How to Fight Back, Gloria Feldt (352 pp)

A chronicle of the actions being taken at the highest levels of government to turn back the clock on women’s reproductive freedom (written in 2004).


Our Bodies, Our Crimes: The Policing of Women’s Reproduction in America, Jeanne Flavin (288 pp)

Through vivid case studies, Flavin’s battle cry for women about economic position, choice-making, autonomy, sexual freedom and healthcare shows how the state seeks to establish what a good woman and fit mother should look like and whose reproduction is valued.


Corporate Money/Voter Suppression/Civil Liberties/Radical Right Agenda

Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the

Radical Right, Jane Mayer (464 pp)

Jane Mayer spent five years conducting hundreds of interviews-including with several sources within the network-and scoured public records, private papers, and court proceedings in reporting this book. In a taut and utterly convincing narrative, she traces the byzantine trail of the billions of dollars spent by the network and provides vivid portraits of the colorful figures behind the new American oligarchy.


Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, Nancy MacLean (368 pp)

“Nancy MacLean tells the long-overlooked story of the political economist who developed the playbook for the Koch brothers. James McGill Buchanan merged states rights’ thinking with free market principles and helped to fashion the inherently elitist ideology of today’s Republican Party.”


Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State, Karen Greenberg (336 pp)

A history of American surveillance in the 21st century that shows how the government has eroded civil liberties since 9/11.


Keeping Down the Black Vote: Race and the Demobilization of American Voters (2009), Frances Fox Piven (281 pp)

An examination of how our political system, despite “get out the vote” rhetoric, works to suppress the vote—especially the votes of African Americans.


The Great Suppression: Voting Rights, Corporate Cash, and the Conservative Assault on Democracy, Zachary Roth (256 pp)

A comprehensive look at Republicans’ strategies to tilt elections their way, including gerrymandering and voter ID laws.


The Political Divide


American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, Chris Hedges (274 pp)

“Though published a decade ago, this is essential reading for anyone hoping to understand the Mike Pence sector of the current administration.”


The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, Jonathan Haidt (419 pp)

Haidt, a social psychologist, seeks to enrich liberalism, and political discourse generally, with a deeper awareness of human nature. Originally motivated by a desire to help progressives do a better job of connecting with American moral values, he ultimately found the good in all sides and became a non-partisan centrist. “As I show clearly in my book, the three major philosophical camps—left, right, and libertarian—are each the guardians of deep truths about how to have a humane and flourishing society.” His TED talk on “The Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives” can be found at


The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Ruined Government, Enriched

Themselves, and Beggared the Nation, Thomas Frank (400 pp)

An investigation of the decades of deliberate―and lucrative―conservative misrule.


American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, Colin Woodard (384 pp.)

A fascinating look at American regionalism and the eleven “nations” that continue to shape North America. • A New Republic Best Book of the Year • The Globalist Top Books of the Year • Winner of the Maine Literary Award for Non-fiction (2012)


American Character: A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good, Colin Woodard (320 pp)

An analysis of the history of the common good versus individual rights, the public-private spectrum. “An illuminating national portrait at a particularly divisive time.”


The Politics of Crazy: How America Lost Its Mind and What We Can Do About It, Chris Ladd (194 pp)

From a “recovering Republican” who left the GOP after the 2016 Republican convention, Ladd’s book is an effort to explain the forces that have undermined responsible, responsive politics and point the way toward a more solid future. His current blog is called “Political Orphans.”


Gun Violence

Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives, Gary Younge (304 pp)

The tragic story of 10 kids killed by gunfire on an arbitrarily selected day, November 23, 2013.


How America Got Its Guns: A History of the Gun Violence Crisis, William Briggs (352 pp)

This book on the history of guns in America examines the Second Amendment and the laws and court cases it has spawned. Briggs profiles not only protagonists in the national gun debate but also ordinary people, showing the ways guns have become part of the lives of many Americans.


The Supreme Court/Legal Rulings

My Own Words, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (400 pp)

This book offers Justice Ginsburg on wide-ranging topics, including gender equality, the workings of the Supreme Court, being Jewish, law and lawyers in opera, and the value of looking beyond US shores when interpreting the US Constitution. A fascinating glimpse into the life of one of America’s most influential women.


Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court, Damon Root (286 pp)

Overruled is the story of two competing visions, each one with its own take on what role the government and the courts should play in our society, a fundamental debate that goes to the very heart of our constitutional system.


Dissent and the Supreme Court: Its Role in the Court’s History and the Nation’s Constitutional Dialogue, Melvin Urofsky (audiobook or Kindle only)

Judicial authority Urofsky writes of the necessity of constitutional dialogue as one of the ways in which we as a people reinvent and reinvigorate our democratic society.

Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court, Jan Crawford Greenburg (384 pp)

The story of the conservative effort to shift the direction of the high court.


The Soul of the First Amendment, Floyd Abrams (145 pp)

The legal history of the First Amendment through to Citizens United. Abrams represented the plaintiffs in that case.


Media/Fake News

The Trouble with Reality: A Rumination on Moral Panic in Our Time, Brooke Gladstone (96 pp)

Drawing on writers as diverse as Hannah Arendt, Philip Dick and Jonathan Swift, Gladstone (NPR’s “On the Media”) writes about the vulnerability of reality in the age of Trump in which lying is the point.


The Influencing Machine, Brooke Gladstone (208 pp) — written in comic form

NPR’s “On the Media” Brooke Gladstone guides us through the complexities of the modern media.


Weaponized Lies: How to Think Critically in the Post-Truth Era, Daniel Levitin (314 pp) — Winner of the 2016 Mavis Gallant Prize for Nonfiction

The fundamental lessons in critical thinking that we need to know and share now.


The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote, Sharyl Attkisson (304 pp)

This investigative reporter shares her inside knowledge, revealing how the Smear takes shape, who its perpetrators are, exposing their tactics and their access to those who are corrupting the political process.



The Making of Donald Trump, David Cay Johnston (288 pp)

The culmination of nearly 30 years of reporting on Donald Trump, this in-depth report by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston takes a revealingly close look at the mogul’s rise to prominence — and, now, ultimate power.


Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency, Joshua Green (272 pp)

The inside story of the partnership between Steve Bannon and DT — the key to understanding the rise of the alt-right, the fall of Hillary Clinton, and the hidden forces that drove the greatest upset in American political history.


Read Already (or upcoming)

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of our Racial Divide, Carol Anderson (256 pp)

Strangers in Their Own Land, Arlie Russell Hochschild (288 pp)

Hillbilly Elegy, JD Vance

A Colony in a Nation, Chris Hayes (256 pp)

The Handmaids Tale, Margaret Atwood

No Is Not Enough, Naomi Klein

On Tyranny, Timothy Snyder

Dark Money, Jane Mayer


GT Update: May 30, 2017

Dear Greylock Together,

Summer is supposed to be around the corner. The weather hasn’t been lifting too many spirits, but I hope everyone does relax and ease up on the gas pedal for a bit over the summer. If we feel weary 6 months into this presidency, remember that the folks in the White House and on Capitol Hill probably aren’t having as much of a ball at this experience as they were hoping to. And, we live in a summer destination spot, so we should enjoy it! This past weekend, I hope many of you were able to celebrate the amazing energy we have in our community; the opening of Building 6 at Mass MoCA and all the ways that institution has pushed the envelope on community engagement, contemporary art, and economic development partnerships is a marvel.

Memorial Day and Heroes in Portland

Yesterday’s Memorial Day ceremonies also serve as a reminder of so many who have come before us who sacrificed for the ideals this country was built upon, for which we continue to strive and add our own efforts. Many are dismayed that the president has not recognized by name Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and Rick Best, who were murdered standing up against a racist attack. May they rest in peace, and may their sacrifice not be forgotten.

Our Next Greylock Together Meeting is this Sunday, June 4th3:00-4:30pm at the Williamstown Youth Center. We will be joined by Joyce Hackett from Code Blue, and hope that despite various graduation ceremonies happening over the weekend, that you’ll be able to come out and hear about Automatic Voter Registration. As always, childcare is provided and all are welcome!

Thank you Alexander for the following notes about our surveys and the Quist race.

Please Take our Second Greylock Together Survey

This survey includes bills about two dynamite issues: the economy and healthcare.  How do we bolster a fragile recovery, fix a rigged system, and protect the victories of the past?  With laws, and this is our first step.  We need your voice — do you support a $15 minimum wage, do you want a public option?  You make the decisions… what will Greylock Together support?  With hundreds of active members, we have a lot of power: help us decide how to use it!

Our last survey shows the Greylock Together community is overwhelmingly supportive of nonpartisan redistricting to end gerrymandering, automatic voter registration, and ending the disenfranchisement of felons.  Changing the system of voting from first-past-the-post also has majority support, but many people still have questions about that one.  We’ll ask the research team to get us more info.  So we’re getting good results and soon we’ll know what to support… and where our representatives stand!

Montana and Quist

Last week in Montana’s House race, Democrat Rob Quist lost by seven points to Gregory Gianforte.  This might seem disappointing and surprising — weren’t we pouring a lot of effort and money into that race, and didn’t Gianforte assault a reporter the day before the election?  But Montana is deep red!  In these special elections, we’re paying the most attention to the overall trend, not any individual result.  In other words, victory would have been amazing, but we weren’t counting on it.  Instead, we’re looking at the whole picture.

Montana is 21 points more Republican than the American average, meaning that the results are about fifteen points more Democratic than we’d ordinarily expect.  And in combination with all the past results this year, we’re talking about a good year next year.  Your work is paying off, so keep it up!

Chart by Harry Enten of

Steve Ballmer’s Data Trove

About a month ago, the New York Times wrote a fascinating article about former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s project to provide the public with a comprehensive look at how government revenue is collected and spent. Love data? It’s definitely a website worth checking out here.

The Big Bad Budget

As we all have seen by now, Trump’s proposed budget is disastrous on a number of levels. Though it seems unlikely that it will be approved given that many Republicans oppose it, it’s still scary to think that any budget similar to this could be approved. Here’s a good New York Times info piece about the proposed budgetAnd a helpful piece that Indivisible posted about the budget. Whether you’re concerned about Medicaid, the EPA, ridiculous tax rates, or anything and everything else, now’s a good time to call your representatives and tell them what you don’t want to see the decimation of our social safety nets to fund tax cuts for the wealthy

Berkshire: Richard Neal 202-225-5601
Bennington: Peter Welch 202-225-4115

Rensselaer: John Faso 202-225-5614

See you soon,


GT Update: May 25, 2017

Dear Greylock Together,

It seems it’s appropriate to focus, at least for a moment, on victories, small and large, as we continue to trudge through the onslaught of international and political news.

  1. Important Supreme Court vote – on Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that North Carolina’s gerrymandering of congressional districts using race is unconstitutional. This case should go down as a hallmark ruling that will hopefully serve as a precedent for other decisions that ultimately will lead to less partisan districting.

More here:

  1. 2 flipped seats – while not Congressional seats, two Democrats have recently bested Republicans in traditionally Republic strongholds. On Tuesday, Edie DesMarais defeated Republican Matthew Panche for a NH House seat in Wolfeboro, which has not elected a Democrat in the last 100 years. And yesterday, Democrat Christine Pellegrino defeated Republican Thomas Gargiulo for a NY State Assembly seat, in a county that Hillary Clinton had lost by 23 points last November.
  2. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu gave a poignant speech defending the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, the final of 4 confederate monuments/statues that he and the City Council had decided to remove in a process that began 2 years ago. In his speech, Landrieu defies opposition claims that the monuments are an important part of the city’s history. He points out the “searing truth” that there are no monuments to slaves ships that docked in New Orleans, and that there is no public recognition “of the shame of slavery,” in their city and reminds defenders of these monuments that there is a difference between remembrance of history and reverence of it.

Watch his speech here:

  1. In his meeting today with the U.S. President, Pope Francis gave him a copy of his 2015 encyclical (fancy name for papal document on important topics), which makes an urgent plea for drastic measures to cut fossil-fuel emissions and other environmental protection. For someone who has claimed the climate change is a hoax fabricated by the Chinese, hopefully the president (or at least members of his staff) will take some time to learn from this document on his flight back to the U.S.

And yet, grim news continues to emanate from Washington, D.C.

FY18 Federal Budget Plan Released

Yesterday the White House released the president’s “America first” (a.k.a. “taxpayer-first”) budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. In the budget, the big winner is the defense industry, with $469 billion added over the decade. Border security also receives a boost (note that it appears the plan is now for American rather than Mexican taxpayers to pay for a border wall), and the Veterans Administration gets additional funding to allow veterans to seek outside medical care (this last thing we can get behind!) 6 weeks of paid parental leave are also added, which appears to be the “big win” for which Ivanka has been angling – still far behind many other wealthy industrial nations.

The effect this budget would have on economically disadvantaged members of our community is dire: Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance, SNAP (food stamps), school lunch programs, disability benefits, individuals with student loans, Planned Parenthood, the Center for Disease Control, the National Institute of Health – all stand to lose significant funding.

American Health Care Act CBO Score

The House of Representatives on May 4 passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) before a Congressional Budget Office score had been derived. Today, just about 3 weeks after their vote, the CBO has released its estimates on what effect this bill will have:

  • 23 million people will lose their insurance over the next decade, beginning with 14 million losing coverage next year
  • Medicaid spending will be cut considerably, resulting in 14 million fewer covered by the program by 2026
  • Low-income senior citizens will in some cases end up paying up 800% what they do now
  • In states that opt for waivers from certain mandates, premiums for those with pre-existing conditions could increase dramatically
  • Maternity care, mental health, and substance abuse support is decreased significantly

In the meantime, 13 men in the Senate are working on their own version of the bill. It probably can’t be a lot worse than what the House passed, but I personally don’t have high hopes for what they’ll come up with.

What can you do about this?

Call your governor and make sure they know you are counting on them to oppose AHCA as well as the draconian cuts to our social safety net as proposed by this budget.

Massachusetts (R-Charlie Baker): (617) 725-4005

New York (D-Andrew Cuomo): (518) 474-8390

Vermont (R-Phil Scott): (802) 828-3333

If you prefer to write, use these links:

MA – Baker:

NY – Cuomo:

VT – Scott:

What Else?

Are there topics you’d like to know more about? Do you have a question you’d like our team to answer? Or our Bullet Points Team to further research?

Let us know!

Upcoming Book Group: Strangers in their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild

Our Book Group meets next on Thursday, June 22 at 7:00 p.m. at Congregation Beth Israel, 53 Lois Street, North Adams.

Our Next Greylock Together Meeting is Sunday, June 4, 3:00-4:30 p.m. at the Williamstown Youth Center. We hope Dustin Reidy from NY-19 will be able to join us, as he was ill this past Sunday and unable to make it. For those of you who haven’t made it to a meeting in a while – don’t be shy about reconnecting. We want to see anyone and everyone, regardless of how often they’re able to join in on the in-person fellowship and discussion!

Have a great long weekend!

GT Update: May 17, 2017

Dear Greylock Together,

What a week! How are you doing? Outraged? Desensitized? Tired? If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed, astonished, excited perhaps, or maybe even defeated, I’m right there with you.

What will happen next with regard to Comey’s firing, the Russia investigation (hooray for the appointment of former FBI Robert Mueller as Special Counsel!), and repercussions at the White House remains to be seen. (Here’s a guideIndivisible has created regarding what’s been happening, if you need a primer.)

However, this frenzy of news, and our collective activism has me wondering how we can sustain our energy, or know which actions to take at what time. My feeling is that the one thing we can control is our own actions. We can decide which issues are of greatest important to each of us individually, how we’d like to express ourselves and exercise our voices as constituents, and what we’d like to share with our friends and family members.

Voter Suppression

In the meantime, receiving less coverage in the news was the May 11 establishment of a Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, with Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State tapped to run the commission. This group and this man will inevitably lead to more voter suppression, and many rights groups are very concerned about this. See the ACLU’s take on this topic here.

Please Take the Voting Reform Survey

Don’t forget to weigh in on specific types of voting reform you’d like to see Greylock Together endorse as a group:

Mandatory Sentencing

Last Thursday, Jeff Sessions sent a memo to all Federal prosecutors requiring them to pursue mandatory minimum sentences for drug, gun, and gang-related crimes. This goes directly against the fairly widespread recognition that such tough sentencing for low level, non-violent drug crimes has not been effective in combating drug-related crimes, and has had a devastating negative impact on many in our country, in particular communities of color. Even the Koch brothers are against this policy. Call your state Attorney General to register your alarm and opposition:

Book Group: White Rage

Our Book Group meets tomorrow, Thursday, May 16 at 7:00 p.m. at Congregation Beth Israel, 53 Lois Street, North Adams. We will be discussing White Rage by Carol Anderson, which provides a stark reckoning of our country’s structural oppression and disfranchisement of our black citizens. Voter Suppression, Mandatory Sentencing – none of this is new.

Local Politics

Williamstown held its annual Town Meeting last night, and among the articles voted in were a resolution to become a Pollinator Friendly Community, to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day, to affirm the town’s Immigrants Trust act (in support of town policy for town employees including police to not inquire about immigration status, or act at the behest of ICE), and zoning by-laws to restrict both by special permit and by location future applications for retail marijuana establishments.

Kids Connect Kiddos on Willinet

For your dose of cute, with a heaping lift of hope for our future, see what some of our most recent Kids Connect participants learned about pollinators!

Race Talk

This past Sunday, a group of us gathered to have a conversation about race. We shared stories about what we’ve seen and experienced in our own community, ideas for how we might both become and indicate that we are an inclusive and welcoming community, and thoughts on how diversity education initiatives might be brought about for young and old alike. This is only the beginning, and we will get together again soon to continue and widen the discussion if you missed it. Stay tuned.

Our Next Greylock Together Meeting is this Sunday, May 21, 3:00-4:30 p.m. at the Williamstown Youth Center. Join us for a visit by Dustin Reidy from NY-19, and for committee meetings, as well as planning for specific state-level voter reform action.

See you soon!