Current Affairs

A Magazine of Politics and Culture

The Library of Books by Current Affairs Interview Guests

Dozens of great authors have been interviewed for Current Affairs. If you’re looking to read something new and insightful, check out one of these titles.

On the Current Affairs podcast, we frequently bring on authors to have deep, lively, fascinating conversations about their books. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with some of the most thoughtful and well-read people in in the world on topics of critical importance to the present and future of humanity. Here, I’d like to introduce you to some of the books they’ve written. Every one of these books educated me in some way, and together they form an extraordinary little library of some of the best contemporary political and social analysis. If you are looking for something to read that will challenge your thinking or give you fresh insight, pick up one of these writers’ works! Then, of course, subscribe to the Current Affairs podcast on Patreon and listen to the interview with them about their work. These books cover racism, climate change, healthcare, law, the military-industrial complex, and so much more.

Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, From Sustainable To Suicidal

Mark Bittman spent many years as a food columnist for the New York Times and is the author of some of the best-selling cookbooks in the world. (I used his How To Cook Everything Vegetarian to prepare a meal in one of our Current Affairs cooking videos.) But Mark hasn’t just thought about making food, but about the politics of food, the economic system that determines what stocks grocery store shelves and what

  • Listen to Mark Bittman
  • Buy Animal, Vegetable, Junk

Capitalism vs. Freedom

Rob Larson is , and in-house economist here at Current Affairs. Rob’s book Capitalism vs. Freedom (a play on the title of a “classic” free market manifesto by Milton Friedman) is one of the best introductions to how leftists think about capitalism. Rob shows,

Christopher Hitchens: What He Got Right, How He Went Wrong, and Why He Still Matters

Ben Burgis is a philosopher who has written for

Class Notes

Adolph Reed is one of the most

The Collapse of Constitutional Remedies

Aziz Huq

Consequences of Capitalism

Noam Chomsky is one of the most important thinkers in the world, having made important contributions to . At the time I interviewed Chomsky in 2018, he was co-teaching a course on politics at the University of Arizona with Marv Waterstone. The lectures from that course have since been turned into the book Consequences of Capitalism

Conspiracy to Riot: The Life and Times of One of the Chicago 7

Lee Weiner was a defendant in one of the most famous criminal court cases of the 20th century: the trial of the Chicago 7.

The Cult of We

Maureen Farrell is a business reporter with the New York Times.

Listen to Maureen Farrell. Buy The Cult of We.

Deadly Spin

Wendell Potter worked

The Debt Trap

Joshua Mitchell is a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, where

The Deficit Myth

Stephanie Kelton is one of the most

Dedicated: The Case for Commitment In an Age of Infinite Browsing

Pete Davis is the co-founder of the Democracy Policy Network (DPN), which aims to do for progressives what the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) did for the right, i.e. supply progressive lawmakers with . He is also the former producer and host of the Current Affairs podcast. Pete’s book Dedicated is very special, and a little deceptive. It begins as an argument that those of us who have become unfocused in an age of social media could benefit from attaching ourselves to big projects for the long haul. But the book

Democracy Without Journalism?

Victor Pickard is a Professor of Media Policy and Political Economy at the Annenberg School for Communication

Diaspora Boy: Comics on Crisis in America and Israel

Eli Valley is one of the most controversial (and talented) cartoonists in the United States today.

Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America

Chris Arnade spent two decades working on Wall Street, doing work that he came to find meaningless and indefensible. After leaving in 2012, Arnade bought a van and traveled tens of thousands of miles across the United States, speaking with and photographing ordinary people. Arnade documented the lives of those left behind by the 21st century capitalist economy. His writings for the Guardian, including one about how McDonald’s functions as a community center, showed the

  • Listen to Chris Arnade
  • Buy Dignity.

Divining Desire: Focus Groups and the Culture of Consultation

Liza Featherstone is a

Drawing Blood

Molly Crabapple is one of the most gifted and innovative artists of our time, as well as one of the most prolific.

The End: What Science and Religion Tell Us About The Apocalypse

Phil Torres is a scholar of global catastrophic risk who thinks deeply about

The Feminist War on Crime

Aya Gruber is a professor of law at the University of Colorado. In The Feminist War On Crime she makes a provocative case against what is known as “carceral feminism,” namely the attempt to guarantee women’s rights through the use of the criminal punishment system against those who violate those rights. Prof. Gruber argues that feminism’s

  • Listen to Aya Gruber
  • Buy The Feminist War on Crime.

Freedom From The Market

Listen to Mike Konczal

Health Justice Now

Timothy Faust is a healthcare policy expert and his book Health Justice Now is a clear, accessible, and engaging case for single-payer healthcare, explaining

The Hidden History of Monopolies

Hostile Takeover

David Sirota

How To Talk To A Science Denier

Lee McIntyre

Listen, Liberal

Thomas Frank has been one of the most

Lost Connections

Johann Hari writes beautiful books that tell compelling human stories that expose deep problems with contemporary society while also laying out paths to solutions. His book about the War on Drugs, Chasing the Scream,

Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors

Edward Niedermeyer is a journalist who specializes in coverage of the automotive industry, particularly the development of electric and self-driving cars.

  • Listen to Edward Niedermeyer
  • Watch the interview on YouTube
  • Buy Ludicrous.

Medicare For All: A Citizen’s Guide

Abdul El-Sayed is the former head of the Detroit Public Health Department, where he rebuilt an agency that had been devastated by budget cuts. He ran an insurgent progressive campaign for governor of Michigan in 2018, which I covered for New York magazine. Since then, he has been a contributor to CNN and has also written several times for Current Affairs. Early

  • Listen to Abdul El-Sayed
  • Read my review of Medicare For All
  • Buy Medicare For All

Money and Class In America

Lewis Lapham served for decades as the editor of Harper’s magazine.

Obstacle Course: The Everyday Struggle to Get an Abortion in America

Carol Joffe is one of the foremost experts on reproductive rights in the United States.

On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal

Naomi Klein is a legendary

Out of the Wreckage

George Monbiot has spent over three decades as a journalist and environmental activist. A columnist for the Guardian, he wrote a moving article about the

People’s Republic of Walmart

Leigh Phillips and Michal Rozworski have written a book that may change the way you think about the economy. A common argument in favor of free markets is that centralized bureaucratic institutions like the government simply cannot operate efficiently. A “centrally planned” economy directed from above, this argument says, is doomed to fail. But Phillips and Rozworski show that in many ways, modern American mega-corporations have already exposed that this argument is wrong. While companies like Amazon and Walmart may have horrible labor practices, they also show much of the kind of “central planning” that is supposedly impossible. Phillips and Rozworski invite us to imagine what it would be like if the impressively efficient coordinating done by Amazon could be conducted in the interests of the public.

The Pivotal Generation

Henry Shue is a moral philosopher at Oxford University. Originally focused on human rights and U.S. foreign policy, Shue began to see that the consequences of global warming raise urgent questions for moral philosophy. Moral philosophers, after all, deal with questions about what our obligations and duties are—what must we do in order to act consistently with our basic instincts about what is right? When it comes to climate change, that means confronting questions like: What duty does this generation owe future generations? Is it morally acceptable to bequeath a world of climate chaos? What are we obligated to hand down to those not yet born? There are also matters of distributive justice: What do those who caused climate change owe to those who will experience its consequences? Should countries that contributed more to the crisis compensate those who contributed less but suffer from it more? Prof. Shue has thought deeply about these questions, and his book The Pivotal Generation makes a strong case that our obligation to deal with climate change is moral obligation comparable to the obligation of the World War II generation to stop Nazism. Each generation has a duty to deal with the crises it is born into, and when it comes to climate, we are the pivotal ones.

  • Listen to Henry Shue.
  • Buy The Pivotal Generation.

The Prince: Andrew Cuomo, Coronavirus, and the Fall of New York

Ross Barkan is an investigative journalist at New York magazine who knows as much about the intricacies of the state’s grubby politics as anyone.

Race For Profit

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is a contributing writer to the New Yorker and professor of African American Studies at Princeton University.

  • Listen to Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
  • Buy Race for Profit

The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth

Kristin Henning leads the Juvenile Justice Clinic at Georgetown Law School and worked for years as a public defender for young people in Washington, D.C. She

The Reactionary Mind

Corey Robin

Listen to to Corey Robin

Rich Thanks To Racism

Jim Freeman

Say It Loud!

Randall Kennedy is a professor at Harvard Law School. He is al

Silicon Values

Jillian C. York

The Spoils of War

Andrew Cockburn is a journalist who serves as Washington, D.C. editor for Harper’s magazine. He has long b. His book The Spoils of War collects essays he has written on how what is called the “military-industrial complex” sustains itself.

Strange Rites: New Religions For A Godless World

Tara Isabella Burton is a novelist and religious studies scholar whose debut work of fiction,

Strangers In Their Own Land

Arlie Russell Hochschild is a legendary sociologist credited with developing the concept of “emotional labor,”

Thomas Paine and the Promise of America

Harvey Kaye is Professor Emeritus of Democracy and Justice Studies at the University of Wisconsin. Prof. Kaye has

  • Listen to Harvey Kaye

The Trial of Julian Assange

Nils Melzer is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and when he was first asked to investigate the case of Julian Assange, he didn’t think it would hold

The Turnaway Study

Wall Street: How It Works and For Whom

Doug Henwood has spent decades observing the

Whipping Girl

Julia Serano is a PhD biologist, activist, and author who

White Space, Black Hood: Opportunity Hoarding and Segregation in the Age of Inequality

The Web of Meaning

Jeremy Lent is, to my mind, one of the most interesting thinkers in the world today. His book The Web of Meaning offers a profound challenge to prevailing neoliberal economic assumptions, but more importantly it begins to sketch out what an alternative worldview 

Yesterday’s Man: The Case Against Joe Biden

Branko Marcetic is

More In: Interviews

Cover of latest issue of print magazine

Announcing Our Newest Issue

Featuring

Loaded with treats to brighten up your holidays: Bullshit & Crap, Muskian Tyranny and Neoliberal Libraries, writing on Godard films, "fapstronauts," medical folklore, and more!

The Latest From Current Affairs