I am going to do some actual reporting next year, especially with Iowa so close and the Republican Convention coming to the Twin Cities (and really: how fun would it be to hang out with the anarchists outside and the Republicans inside?), but also blogging heavily about some bigger-picture political themes as the 2008 race progresses. As a result, I'll be doing lots of reading this winter/next spring.
Specifically, I'll be going back over my short-list of classics of political reportage/defining books in American political life—while hoping I find a few new ones, too. Just got, today, my two-volume Library of America Debate on the Constitution (and really, where have Publius and Brutus and Cato and Agrippa and Centinel gone? A-blogging!), and am putting together my short-list (in no particular order):
Stuart Chase's A New Deal
A.M. Schlesinger's The Vital Center
Kevin Phillips The Emerging Republican Majority
Garry Wills' The Kennedy Imprisonment and Nixon Agonistes
Robert Caro's "LBJ-a-thon"
Rick Perlstein's Before the Storm
Timothy Crouse's The Boys on the Bus
Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72
Richard Ben Cramer's What it Takes
... that kind of stuff.
Question is: "What's missing?" I'm looking to generate a list of about 15-20 must-read classics to blog over the course of a month or so next spring/summer (and help me frame the thoughts behind my reporting). I'm looking for post-1896 books that are not specifically political theory or political philosophy (so: no Gramsci, no Rawls, etc.—but I suppose a book like Scott's Seeing Like a State might qualify, so what the hell: suggest what you will), but which have as their legacy either a) a defining importance in a U.S. election (we get the name of FDR's policies from Chase's book, which was a run-away best-seller during the 1932 election) or b) look back on a particular campaign or election and suss out its lasting impact (the outstanding example of which is Perlstein's Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus).