When the very idea of society seems to change overnight, many people turn to books to explain what’s happened. The election of Donald Trump has left many Americans with questions about what comes next. Here are six books that offer analysis or fictional insight, and whose sales have spiked on Amazon since the election.
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George Orwell’s classic dystopian story of a society where Big Brother is watching and Newspeak is the propagandist language of choice hit the No. 1 slot on the Amazon best seller list after Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway defended falsehoods by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer as merely “alternative facts.”
Voters who were confused about how Trump managed to defy the odds and cobble together a victory in a handful of key states, despite losing the popular vote, have been turning to J.D. Vance’s memoir of life in the Rust Belt and Appalachia. The book provides insights on a white working class culture that feels left behind.
It Can’t Happen Here
Imagine if Franklin Delano Roosevelt had lost the election to a “populist” candidate willing to stoke fear over welfare, crime and decaying morals. That’s the premise of Sinclair Lewis’s classic novel, which imagines an autocratic president who brings fascism to America, denying rights to the marginalized and deftly suppressing any signs of opposition.
The Origins of Totalitarianism
In her classic sociological work, Hannah Arendt examines how historical conditions beginning in the 19th century led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. While their politics may have appeared different on the surface, she shows that Nazism and Stalinism were two manifestations of the same forces.
The Handmaid’s Tale
Margaret Atwood’s modern classic about a world where women are valued exclusively for their reproductive capabilities has struck a chord. Trump recently signed an executive action to withhold federal funds from groups that provide information about abortion abroad. An adaptation of Atwood’s 1985 novel will premiere on Hulu in April.
John Lewis’s award-winning graphic memoir about his work fighting for Civil Rights piqued readers’ interest anew when the Congressman decided to boycott the inauguration, calling Trump’s presidency illegitimate. Trump responded by saying Lewis was “all talk,” but the three-part memoir proves Lewis walked the walk when his country needed him.