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10 Books for the November 2019 #WotNReadingChallenge

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The November 2019 #WotNReadingChallenge Prompt Is…

Let’s start with the prompt before we get to the semi-apology. This month’s #WotNReadingChallenge prompt is “a book by or about a presidential candidate.” When I first came up with this year’s list, I did not think that so many people would want to run for president. I thought that maybe the political class had learned a lesson from the 2015-6 Republican clown car of a primary. Foolish of me. Since this time around, the initial clown car (and the current one!) is too big to include everyone currently running, we’re including no one. It’s only fair. Both sets of clown cars have written plenty of books, and make it very clear where to find them if you want to do so. Until the clown cars stop running, here is this month’s list.

10 Books for your November 2019 #WotNReadingChallenge Prompt

All the News is Out by Matt Bai

November 2019 #WotNReadingChallengeEarly in the 1988 election, Colorado senator Gary Hart dropped out of the Democratic primary due to a notorious scandal. Bai details the events leading up to this scandal, and argues that this particular event changed electoral politics forever. Made into a movie with Hugh Jackman, titled The Front Runner.

The Hornet’s Nest by Jimmy Carter

This is the first fictional book ever written by a president. It’s not particularly edgy; it’s a historical fiction novel about the Southern effort in the Revolutionary War. Written by and for grandfathers.

Unbought and Unbossed by Shirley Chisholm

November 2019 #WotNReadingChallengeShirley Chisholm was a progressive icon in the late 20th century. She was the first black woman to be elected to the House and the first to run for president. This is one of her memoirs (the later one is out of print).

The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

In this book, the president of the United States works to solve a plot that would ruin the nation’s cybersecurity. Probably the only book on this list that could fairly be described as silly.

Other Powers by Barbara Goldsmith

November 2019 #WotNReadingChallengeVictoria Woodhull is often credited as the first woman to run for the United States presidency. She was embroiled in some of the major movements and scandals of the day, and telling their story ties into telling her own.

The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant by Ulysses S. Grant

The original presidential memoir, many times imitated (have you seen how many the clown car collections have?), never replicated. He finished it just a few days before he died. It was recently re-released with annotations in a 700+ page tome.

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

November 2019 #WotNReadingChallengeSpeaking of books that you could probably kill someone with, Goodwin wrote a 945-page examination of Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet. Part of this book was eventually adapted into the Lincoln film that came out a few years ago.

Bully! By Rick Marschall

Many, many people have written about Theodore Roosevelt. There are Serious Historians who have opinions on which TR biographies can count as definitive. I think this book could serve as an introduction to both Teddy Roosevelt and the historical importance of political cartoons.

Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard

November 2019 #WotNReadingChallengeJames Garfield is probably one of the top five presidents you know practically nothing about. That’s because he was assassinated within a year of his inauguration. This book follows that saga.

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 by Hunter S Thompson

This is one of the best-beloved campaign books by campaign reporters. It was one of the first books to look behind the scenes at political campaigns. Not only that, it was written by one of the most notable journalists of the late 20th century.

What do you think about political nonfiction? Has there ever been a good political memoir? Talk about those opinions with us on social media, and not your political ones. No one here wants to see those.

For more Word of the Nerd book reviews, news, and reading lists, including past #WotNReadingChallenge articles, click here.


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About the author

Siobhan Dempsey

Siobhan is a 25 year old library professional with an MS in search of her library.

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