What we're about

This group is for dedicated readers and knowledge seekers who want to learn more about the world we live in. Knowledge is, after all, power, and having facts and figures to back up arguments is never a bad thing. Ideally this group will meet once a month to discuss a book of the month. We can read both fiction and non-fiction, and the literature we read need not be political. The overall aim of the group will be to enrich ourselves with knowledge and get together to share this knowledge.

Upcoming events (1)

The Right Plays a Long Game: Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America

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Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America, 2020
Kurt Anderson
430 pages
City Library: 9 copies available, e-book and audiobook available

Abortion banned. Mass shootings with lawmakers who won't brook the most modest gun restrictions. Bags of dirty tricks to constrain elections. Deep income inequality. Unaffordable health care, housing, and education.

Here is a book that explains it all. Readable, funny, and, yes, depressing, Andersen shows how America's current ills are the fruits of a successful long-term strategy crafted by traditionally rich and powerful interests, alarmed by their relative reduction in power and status amid the general embrace of Great Society economic policies and civil rights, in a society that had moved left culturally and economically since FDR. Our group will have a lot to talk about; this reads like a decoder for for understanding the times. You may know parts of this history, but this is an unusually well-synthesized compendium of how American politics and power went so wrong.

Publisher's summary:

During the twentieth century, America managed to make its economic and social systems both more and more fair and more and more prosperous. A huge, secure, and contented middle class emerged. All boats rose together. But then the New Deal gave way to the Raw Deal. Beginning in the early 1970s, by means of a long war conceived of and executed by a confederacy of big business CEOs, the superrich, and right-wing zealots, the rules and norms that made the American middle class possible were undermined and dismantled. The clock was turned back on a century of economic progress, making greed good, workers powerless, and the market all-powerful while weaponizing nostalgia, lifting up an oligarchy that served only its own interests, and leaving the huge majority of Americans with dwindling economic prospects and hope.

Why and how did America take such a wrong turn? In this deeply researched and brilliantly woven cultural, economic, and political chronicle, Kurt Andersen offers a fresh, provocative, and eye-opening history of America’s undoing, naming names, showing receipts, and unsparingly assigning blame—to the radical right in economics and the law, the high priests of high finance, a complacent and complicit Establishment, and liberal “useful idiots,” among whom he includes himself.

Only a writer with Andersen’s crackling energy, deep insight, and ability to connect disparate dots and see complex systems with clarity could make such a book both intellectually formidable and vastly entertaining. And only a writer of Andersen’s vision could reckon with our current high-stakes inflection point, and show the way out of this man-made disaster.

Past events (107)

A Long and Losing War: The Afghanistan Papers

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Photos (66)