I know what you’re thinking: “A list of books about politics after we just went through an election??! HOW DARE YOU.” But I promise you, these books have nothing to do with the electoral process. Instead, they are rich, detailed, and often fascinating looks at different parts of the government, such as a political biography about a former president’s family, the work of presidential communications directors, and the memoir of a top CIA officer.
There are not a lot of other industries that contain so many different types of jobs or enormous number of employees as the government. That makes for a lot of unique stories. This list of excellent books are for any reader, whether you are curious about how the government operates behind the scenes, or are fascinated by the lives of presidents, or just like taking a trip down memory lane.
With Lauren Oyler
Even when you're the deputy chief of staff to the most powerful politician in the world, snafus happen. Alyssa Mastromonaco spent over a decade working at Barack Obama's side, having started before he was even the President of the United States. Who Thought This Was a Good Idea is a gem of a book, filled with behind-the-scenes stories about the glories and mishaps that occurred while she was on the job. She also has sage advice to impart for people looking to work in politics and even in the role she once filled (plus a couple of cute cat stories).
With Bill Harlow
The CIA is known for its secrecy, but in The Great War of Our Time, former top CIA officer Michael Morell blows the lid off the most important counterterrorism events of the past two decades. As an intelligence analyst and briefer, Morell provides expert insight into the London subway bombings, the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, the attacks on 9/11, and the killing of Osama Bin Laden. He also talks of past spy operations and secret deals and highlights the new, most dangerous growing threats that could affect the United States.
Jennifer Palmieri worked as a communications director for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, so she has a lot of valuable insight into how the White House works. In Dear Madam President, she imparts advice to whomever will be the first woman president of the United States, and to all women determined to seize control of their lives and get ahead. This inspirational book is a perfect gift for graduates, future female leaders, and anyone who wants to be in charge of their destiny.
by Dan Pfeiffer
And here's another great book by another of Barack Obama's former communications directors! Dan Pfeiffer is the current co-host of Pod Save America, a podcast in which he discusses the state of politics today. In Yes We (Still) Can, he analyzes how politics, the media, and the Internet changed during the Obama presidency, and shares behind-the-scenes stories about how Obama worked to fight the politicians that eventually gave rise to Donald Trump, and how Obama fought back against the haters and the trolls.
In his bestselling book, Jackie, Ethel, Joan, J. Randy Taraborrelli delivered an in-depth look at the matriarchs of the Kennedy family. In his follow-up, After Camelot, Taraborrelli continues his examination of one of the most captivating American families of all time, detailing the lives of the children of John and Robert as they grew up without their fathers; Jackie's life after the sudden loss of her husband and her marriage to Aristotle Onassis; the tragic airplane accident involving JFK JR. and his wife, Carolyn; and the life of the remaining member of JFK's immediate family, his daughter, Caroline.
What to Read Next
Liberty Hardy is a Book Riot senior contributing editor, co-host of All the Books, and above all else, a ravenous reader. She resides in Maine with her cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon, who hate to read.