Tuesday, 14 October 2008

"Best American Political Writing 2008", by Various & Royce Flippin (PublicAffairs Books)

An aptly-titled collection of this year’s best (left-leaning) political journalism from the United States

Now in its seventh year, this series once again acts as an excellent introduction to America’s premier political journalists and publications. This year’s volume covers a variety of topics and themes: including the presidential election and connected issues (understandably receiving the majority of space in the book, at 15 articles); incisive reporting on the looming (at the time) economic disaster features in two superb articles – one from Joseph Stiglitz and the other by Jonathan Chait (one of my favourite contributors to The New Republic). The continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention one good article on the troubles in Pakistan, are also covered.

Some readers might be familiar already with the publications that are represented here, and the articles that are reprinted within this volume. This might – as it did with me – engender a certain amount of favouritism towards this material (for me it was The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, The Nation, and The New Republic), but I would definitely recommend branching out and reading all the articles in this book.

Five best articles (though in truth it was difficult to chose just five):

  • Andrew Sullivan, “Goodbye to All That: Why Barack Obama Matters” (The Atlantic Monthly)
  • Rick Perlstein, “All Aboard the McCain Express” (The Nation)
  • Todd S. Purdum, “Inside Bush’s Bunker” (Vanity Fair - It would have been good also to include his controversial article about Bill Clinton, “The Comeback Id”, which was perhaps a little better)
  • David Halberstam, “The History Boys” (Vanity Fair - A superb, final article from an immense talent who is sadly no longer with us.)
  • Jonathan Chait, “Feast of the Wingnuts: How Economic Crackpots Devoured American Politics” (The New Republic)

Filled with plenty of eye-opening material, sharp wit, and keen political commentary and analysis, this book will have plenty to offer, entertain and inform political-junkies and curious Joes alike. Its format also makes it perfect as a book that can be picked up and enjoyed as and when time allows. These collections are excellent for anyone who wants to catch up with, or refresh their memory of the past year's best articles on the state of US politics.

Well worth your time.

No comments:

Post a Comment