The MSNBC host and former Republican congressman is the author of a new book, The Last Best Hope: Restoring Conservatism and America’s Promise. It will be published June 9.

The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright (Vintage, $16). Wright’s study of Osama bin Laden’s life from childhood through his escape from Tora Bora is a remarkable inside look at al Qaida. This Pulitzer Prize­–winning book is indispensable, especially for anyone hoping to understand the motivation behind Islamic radicalism.

What It Takes: The Way to the White House by Richard Ben Cramer (Vintage, $25). Cramer takes readers deep inside the 1988 campaigns of George H.W. Bush, Joe Biden, Bob Dole, and a dozen others. It is a fascinating look inside the bubble of presidential politics.

Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72 by Hunter S. Thompson (Grand Central, $16). Thompson’s wild ride through the Nixon-McGovern election is an acid-drenched look at American politics at its nadir. It is also the most entertaining political book I have
ever read.

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway (Scribner, $15). The book that made me fall in love with Paris even before I went there. I loved reading every page of Hemingway’s account of how he wrote, ate, and loved while a member of the expat literary community living in Paris in the 1920s.

How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization by Franklin Foer (Harper, $14). This love letter to the Beautiful Game from the editor of The New Republic is a must-read for American sports fans as we approach next summer’s World Cup. It’s the best available introduction to the world’s most popular sport.

Robert Kennedy and His Times by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. (Mariner, $18). Schlesinger’s biography of Bobby Kennedy is nothing short of epic. Though the author’s political worldview was far different than my own, his retelling of Kennedy’s life inspired me to enter public service.