The Best Books to Read Right Now: Current Events

    The best books on current affairs to keep you in the know

    It’s no secret that we’re living in a pivotal moment in history. One of Europe’s most important countries is leaving the European Union, power has changed hands in the United States, and the western world is being swept with a nationalistic fervor as it wrestles with a refugee crisis sparked by conflicts in the Middle East. We’re at key moments in conflict between privacy and security, money and politics, and terror and civilization. Even for avid news hounds and political junkies, tracking all of the moving parts can be exhausting.

    And understanding the bigger trends can be even tougher, because big ideas require big stages–and that means big, thick books. For dedicated readers, today’s top non-fiction books fill in the gaps between the headlines and highlight the social and political implications of the trends and news events we see day after day. Big big books take time to read, and when it comes to current affairs, time is of the essence.

    In the interests of saving time and of keeping that stack of unread issues of The Economist from growing any larger, you can always turn to a reliable summary instead of a full-length book. Either way, you’ll get the key ideas and essential knowledge you’ll need to understand how today’s news fits into yesterday’s history—and tomorrow’s future. And whether you choose a summary or a full book, these are the titles you’ll want to start with.


     

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    No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, by Glenn Greenwald

    In the debate over surveillance and security, no single figure is as iconic as Edward Snowden. After working as an NSA contractor, Snowden leaked information to Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald. The leaks revealed shocking new information about the extent of the United States’ surveillance activities and turned Edward Snowden into the world’s most famous fugitive. Greenwald’s book is the definitive account of Snowden’s saga and the information he revealed. The history of Snowden and his leaks provides essential context for the privacy and security debates of today, and the key points are summarized for busy readers in the one-hour Worth Books summary—saving a good nine hours that can be used to read the most recent coverage of surveillance and privacy.

    Reading time: 10 hours

    Summary Reading Time: 1 hour

    Download No Place to Hide on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.

    Download the summary on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Worth Ebookstore.

     

    best books read right now current events world dark money

    Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, by Jane Mayer

    In Dark Money, investigative journalist Jane Mayer turns her sharp eye on America’s conservative movement and the big-money donors that have helped to shape it. In Mayer’s view, so-called “dark money”—a term that refers to unlimited political contributions made through non-profits and bankrolled by billionaires like the infamous Koch brothers—is responsible for the modern far right. Dark Money is a smart and interesting book, but it’s also one of the longer books on this list. While the full-length book is certainly worth the effort, busy readers may want to opt for the summary and save themselves about 18 hours.

    Reading time: 19.2 hours

    Summary Reading Time: 1 hour

    Download Dark Money on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.

    Download the summary on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Worth Ebookstore.

     

    best books read right now current events world black flags rise of isis

    Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS, by Joby Warrick

    No danger seems to weigh on modern citizens and voters more than that of terrorism. And when we talk about terrorism in 2017, we’re talking primarily about ISIS, the group that began in Iraq and Syria but has since recruited devotees and claimed credit for attacks in places as distant as Orlando and Paris. Black Flags is the essential history of the world’s most famous terrorist group, and it earned its author the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction. Warrick’s book is indispensable—though, with an ever-changing subject like international terrorism, it makes more sense for some readers to read the one-hour book summary and used the time saved to catch up on the latest news developments.

    Reading time: 12.8 hours

    Summary Reading Time: 1 hour

    Download Black Flags on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.

    Download the summary on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Worth Ebookstore.

    Photo: Slava Bowman



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