Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained by Arthur D. Robbins (Acropolis, $35). This is the sleeper book of 2012. Engaging, historical, eye-opening, agitating, and imaginative, it challenges us all to be included in "the true meaning of democracy" — shorn of myths and false history.
My 70 Years in the Labor Movement by Harry Kelber (Labor Educator Press, $25). Kelber is 98 years young and still this nation's most ardent champion of democratically run labor unions, a hair shirt to the AFL-CIO. His account of labor struggles in modern American history features stories that shock and inspire.
Government Is Good by Douglas J. Amy (Dog Ear, $20). Amy, who teaches at Mount Holyoke College, tells the compelling story of what government can be like at its best and what government can't be when anti-government propaganda campaigns take hold. He's the creator of the website GovernmentIsGood.com.
When the World Outlawed War by David Swanson (self-published, $15). Did you know that in the 1920s war was outlawed by the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which is still on the books? It was championed by Frank Kellogg, Calvin Coolidge's secretary of state, who received a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. Read Swanson's book and you'll be astounded and shamed by the peaceful vigor of some of our forebears.
Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion edited by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank (AK Press, $17). This collection of essays comes from the political Left, and its critiques are more accurate than what the Romneyites are hurling at the president. Hopeless indirectly asks, whatever happened to liberals/progressives as a demanding political force?
Billionaires & Ballot Bandits by Greg Palast (Seven Stories, $15). Amazing are the ways some people have to steal votes, block voters, cover up the tracks. Even as the Electoral College allows a few states to swing the results in our presidential elections, these travesties go uninvestigated and unprosecuted. It's as if they are just games the two parties play against one another. Read this and be alert.