I suspect I will not be the only contributor to this symposium to recommend Jonah Goldberg's Suicide of the West — but I won't let that stop me. It is required reading, and will likely enter the pantheon of essential conservative works. You're going to have to read it to be part of the conversation: This summer is as good a time as any.
Jonathan Neumann's To Heal the World? is another worthy read. Neumann looks at the concept of tikkun olam ("repairing the world," in Hebrew) and how it has taken over certain segments of American Judaism. Neumann shows that the phrase's current manifestation is not just a modern interpretation but also a misunderstanding of an ancient Talmudic precept. As he astutely writes,"Tikkun Olam is not what it means to be an American Jew; it is what it means to be an American liberal."
Amy Chozick's Chasing Hillary is a memoir of her time following Hillary Clinton across the 2008 and 2016 campaigns. It's less an inside take on those campaigns and more a look at Chozick's experience covering them. One highlight is Chozick's humorous yet disturbing description of "The Guys," Hillary's semi-interchangeable and often rude press lackeys. Chozick left them unnamed, piquing my curiosity, so I was grateful to Politico's "Playbook" for identifying them here.
"The Guys" would benefit from reading Mona Charen's Sex Matters. It is a fascinating look at how the blurring of gender lines has made things difficult for both men and women, but especially for women. In addition to being a good read, the book has the benefit of good timing, as the #MeToo phenomenon has raised all kinds of questions about relations between the sexes. When Mona was on C-SPAN's Q&A with Brian Lamb, he played a montage of powerful men who had engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior. Lamb called it the longest piece of video ever played on Q&A. That in and of itself is telling.
Another kind of inappropriate behavior takes place in the form of backbiting among those in positions of power. Donald Rumsfeld's When the Center Held is a memoir of his days as chief of staff in the rivalrous Ford administration. In one instance, territorial aides withheld a key speech from White House economist Alan Greenspan until the day of the address. When he finally saw it, he spotted half a dozen errors, which he had to scramble to correct. As Greenspan said after, "It was surreal. I was the only economist present, and I said to myself, . . .'What am I doing here?'" Greenspan would hardly be the first White House aide to think that, nor was he the last.