The history you’ll read here has never been told: how corporations and politicians from both parties have convinced white middle class voters to vote against policies that benefit them by strategically using subtle, racially charged messages. Here this not as an accusation, so much as a call to take personal responsibility-- Haney Lopez points out that while we are all complicit in the perpetuation of dog whistle politics, as he calls these coded messages, voters who recognize that race has entered a conversation are more likely to make decisions free of racial paranoia. It's vitally important, then, to read this well-researched book: to understand for yourself how we came to have a "white man's party," and to more accurately interpret political platforms.
In Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House (Doubleday, $35), Peter Baker goes beyond the previous wave of books about the Bush administration, delivering the most comprehensive and authoritative account so far of the Bush years. Writing with characteristic balance and insight, Baker, senior White House correspondent for The New York Times, offers fresh perspective on the complicated Bush-Cheney relationship and many other aspects of that controversial period. The book manages not only to pull together in one clear narrative the wealth of information available from public sources, but also draws on many revealing quotes and anecdotes from interviews and documents not previously published.
Oxford historian Margaret MacMillan subtly rephrases the usual question about the Great War’s origins, investigating why the long European peace—in place since 1815—failed to hold in the summer of 1914. She suggests that the conflict was not inevitable, assessing Europe on the eve of war as no more rife with tensions and rivalries than it had been for decades. The War That Ended Peace (Random House, $35) erupted on a continent whose 19th-century battles had been mostly brief or at a distance while closer to home, tourism and improved transportation united rather than divided people, as did faith in a bright technological future. But if the 1900 Paris Universal Exhibition pointed to itself as “a symbol of harmony and peace,” the catalog also mentioned that war was “natural to humanity.” MacMillan, whose Paris 1919 so vividly chronicled the war’s aftermath, masterfully charts the two opposing currents in the years leading up to 1914. Her profiles of Europe’s leaders alone make the book worth reading.