What to Read in Light of Trump: Fighting Back

As inauguration day approaches, we here at Book Culture are thinking about the work that lies ahead of us. How can we fight back against a Trump administration? Here are some books to get us started.

This post is the second in a series of posts responding to Trump's election. Read the first post, "Understanding What Happened," here.


Killing Rage
by bell hooks

The last essay in this collection, "Beloved Community," begins, "Some days it is just hard to accept that racism can still be such a powerful dominating force in all our lives." We may be as far as we've ever been from "ending racism," (the subtitle of this book), but that only makes hooks's work all the more urgent.  The short essays here, from "Revolutionary Feminism: An Anti-Racist Agenda" to "Healing Our Wounds: Liberatory Mental Health Care," lay out a concrete, intersectional vision of the work we have to do. 





by Bertolt Brecht

While Brecht's play depicts intellectual efforts in the face of authority (here, Galileo's struggle is an analogy for writers and intellectuals living in Nazi Germany), I recommend this edition because it includes his essay "Writing the Truth: Five Difficulties." The essay offers an outline of problems faced by intellectuals as a result of harsh authority. Brecht explains how writers can not just tell the truth but tell the truth usefully. He realized that his own political problems were nothing new, so he looks to his own intellectual heritage (from Egyptian poets to Galileo) to explain how to fight fascism in his own lifetime. We might use his essay to do the same. --Adam





Freedom is a Constant Struggle
by Angela Davis

 If the outcome of the election made you feel disconnected from this country, or disconnected from (fellow?) Americans, this book is the book to read.  In every speech and interview in this collection, Angela Davis lifts action and activism out of the purely American context and reminds us of connections between struggles all around the world.  She draws not just historical connections and connections between domestic movements such as prison abolition, women's rights, Black Lives Matter, and immigration rights, but also draws connections to contemporary international struggles. As Davis says, "it is incumbent upon us to recognize [the] temporal continuities but also to recognize horizontal continuities, links with a whole range of movements and struggles today."




How to Survive a Plague
by David France

This is the story of how a grassroots movement effected real change in this country. Based on France's very moving 2012 documentary by the same name,  How to Survive a Plague describes how activists from ACT UP and TAG forced an indifferent government and medical community to do something about AIDS. Something to read for inspiration when you're wondering whether ordinary people can really make a difference.





Demand the Impossible
by Bill Ayers

A handbook and manifesto for bringing about change in our time, covering a wide range of topics, from the military-industrial complex, to environmental destruction, to economic inequality. Ayers is soberingly honest about the enormity of the problems we face, while at the same time optimistic about our ability to confront those problems. 





The Salt Eaters
by Toni Cade Bambara

Toni Cade Bambara’s The Salt Eaters is a novel about how to care for other people under an oppressive political climate. Set in the aftermath of feminist and civil rights movements in a small town in Georgia, it follows the miracles and struggles of a community of black faith healers. The Salt Eaters is a challenging book, but the reward of Bambara’s unusual narrative structure and experimental prose style is a vision of how to make it through hard times emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I can’t think of a book that’s more relevant to resisting and surviving a Trump presidency.--Margaret





Gay Propaganda
edited by Masha Gessen and Joseph Huff-Hannon

Masha Gessen has been writing one essential piece about Trump after another since the election: if you haven't read her guide to surviving in an autocracy yet, do that now. Once you're done with that, read this collection of first-hand narratives by LGBT Russians, co-edited by Gessen, for instruction on how to live in a country that has criminalized your existence. 





What We Do Now
edited by Dennis Johnson and Valerie Merians

Featuring the contributions of Gloria Steinem, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Dave Eggers, Linda Sarsour, Ilhan Omar, Mara Keisling, John R. McArthur, M. Dove Kent, Cristina Jimenez, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, and many others, this collection comes out January 17th, just in time for us all to read it before the inauguration. And don't miss the event at our Columbus store on January 19th, when panelists Dennis Johnson, John R. McArthur, and Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum will be discussing how we should move forward in the coming years. 








killing rage: Ending Racism By bell hooks Cover Image
ISBN: 9780805050271
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Holt Paperbacks - October 15th, 1996

Galileo By Bertolt Brecht Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802130594
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Grove Press - January 11th, 1994

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement By Angela Y. Davis, Frank Barat (Editor), Cornel West (Preface by) Cover Image
By Angela Y. Davis, Frank Barat (Editor), Cornel West (Preface by)
ISBN: 9781608465644
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Haymarket Books - February 9th, 2016

How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS By David France Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780307700636
Published: Knopf - November 29th, 2016

Demand the Impossible!: A Radical Manifesto By Bill Ayers Cover Image
ISBN: 9781608466702
Availability: Not In Stock - Usually ships in 3-5 Days
Published: Haymarket Books - September 20th, 2016

The Salt Eaters (Vintage Contemporaries) By Toni Cade Bambara Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679740766
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Vintage - June 30th, 1992

WHAT WE DO NOW: Standing Up for Your Values in Trump's America By Dennis Johnson (Editor), Valerie Merians (Editor) Cover Image
By Dennis Johnson (Editor), Valerie Merians (Editor)
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ISBN: 9781612196596
Published: Melville House - January 3rd, 2017