Civic Books

Civic Books

Feeling frustrated by the current state of affairs or just want to know more about how political systems work? These titles offer insight, stories, legalities, and strategies for effecting change.


Compiled by:
Morning W.
Becoming a Citizen Activist : Stories, Strategies, and Advice for Changing Our World

Nick Licata
Series: Adult Nonfiction - 324.2092 Lic

Becoming a Citizen Activist is a compilation of specific anecdotes of successful social justice struggles led by ordinary people, practical tips for fighting for your cause, and compelling insights into power, politics and the medley of strategies that make change happen. No matter who you are, you’ll finish the book and be inspired to head straight out to better your community and our world.


Blue in a Red State : A Survival Guide to Life in the Real America

Justin Krebs
Adult Nonfiction - 320.513 Kre

Most of us have to "talk across the aisle" once or twice a year, but millions of self-identified liberals live in places where they are regularly outnumbered and outvoted by conservatives. In this uplifting book, Justin Krebs speaks with and tells the stories of atheists, vegetarians, environmentalists, pacifists, and old-fashioned liberals. Krebs weaves these stories together to create a provocative and rollicking taxonomy of strategies for living in a diverse society, with lessons for every participant in our great democratic experiment.


Breaking Through Power : It's Easier Than We Think

Ralph Nader
Adult Nonfiction - 322.4097 Nad

A scathing wake-up call derailing the many ways that wealth manipulates American politics, labor, media, environment and the quality of national life today. By telling the success stories of average Americans, the iconic consumer advocate and big-business anti-hero makes the case about how the nation can--and must--be managed by communities, not corporations. Nader at his best--indignant and inspired.


The Everything American Government Book : From the Constitution to Present-Day Elections, All You Need to Understand Our Democratic System

Nick Ragone
Adult Nonfiction - 320.473 Rag
Series: The everything series

The average citizen knows precious little about the democratic system and the laws that affect their daily lives. This book unravels the complexities of our democracy and provides readers with the knowledge necessary to make the right decisions and take an active role in the management of their country. This book is specially designed to inform and empower the average citizen during this critical election year and provides the keys to understanding the ins and outs of the most powerful democracy in the world.


A Girl's Guide to Joining the Resistance : A Feminist Handbook on Fighting for Good

Emma Gray
Adult Nonfiction - 305.4209 Gra

So the presidential election of 2016 happened. You cried, you ranted, you marched. But how do you stay engaged for the long term? How do you keep fighting while also continuing your real life? How do you stay vigilant without being furious? Needing to take action after the election, Emma Gray, Executive Women's Editor at HuffPost, put on her journalist hat and set out to speak with some of the most prominent thought leaders and activists of our time. In all of her conversations, one theme came up again and again: young women are essential to the resistance. Interweaving these interviews with her own experiences covering resistance events in a time when the media has been under assault, Emma has created a down and dirty guide for women of all ages to roll up their sleeves and resist the forces that are a threat to our rights.


No Is Not Enough : Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need

Naomi Klein
Adult Nonfiction - 303.61 Kle

Remember when it all seemed to be getting better? Before Trump happened? What went wrong, and what can we do about it? Naomi Klein - scourge of brand bullies, disaster capitalists and climate liars - shows us how we got to this surreal and dangerous place, how to stop it getting worse and how, if we keep our heads, we can seize the opportunity to make it better. This book is the toolkit for shock resistance, giving all of us what we need to win the argument and right their wrongs.


A People's History of the United States : 1492-Present

Howard Zinn
Adult Nonfiction - 973 Zin

Chronicles United States history from a grassroots perspective and provides an analysis of important events from 1492 through the current war on terrorism.


Political Action : A Practical Guide to Movement Politics

Michael Walzer
Adult Nonfiction - 322.4 Wal

Michael Walzer draws on his extensive engagement in the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s to lay out the practical steps necessary to keep movement politics alive both in victory and in defeat. What do people need to do when out of outrage or fear of looming disaster they come together to demand change? Should they focus on one or several issues? Should they form coalitions? What can and can’t be accomplished through electoral politics? How can movements operate democratically? Walzer insists not only on the centrality of movement politics to the health of democratic societies but on the deep satisfaction that is to be found there. Political Action is both an indispensable resource for activists and a lasting and inspiring summons to arms.


Road Map for Revolutionaries : Resistance, Activism, and Advocacy for All

Elisa Camahort Page, Carolyn Gerin, Jamia Wilson
Adult Nonfiction - 322.4209 Cam

A simple-to-follow, boots-on-the-ground, open-anywhere guidebook that delivers practical tactics for navigating, affecting, and protecting your own personal democracy in a gridlocked, heavily surveilled, and politically volatile United States. With infographics, links to resources and communities, and words of wisdom from people already fighting the good fight, this guidebook is meant to be used and abused. It's designed to move you from idea to action to part-time revolution in a quick, efficient, and effective manner.


Rules For Radicals : A Practical Primer For Realistic Radicals

Saul Alinsky
Adult Nonfiction - 303.484 Ali

Rules for Radicals is Saul Alinsky's impassioned counsel to young radicals on how to effect constructive social change and know "the difference between being a realistic radical and being a rhetorical one." Written in the midst of radical political developments whose direction Alinsky was one of the first to question, this volume exhibits his style at its best. Like Thomas Paine before him, Alinsky was able to combine, both in his person and his writing, the intensity of political engagement with an absolute insistence on rational political discourse and adherence to the American democratic tradition.


Shut It Down : Stories from a Fierce, Loving Resistance

Lisa Fithian
Adult Nonfiction - 303.61 Fit

For decades, Lisa Fithian's work as an advocate for civil disobedience and nonviolent direct action has put her on the frontlines of change. For anyone who wants to become more active in resistance or is just feeling overwhelmed or hopeless, her book shows how movements that embrace direct action have always been, and continue to be, the most radical and rapid means for transforming the ills of our society. While recognizing that electoral politics, legislation, and policy are all important pathways to change, Shut It Down argues that civil disobedience is not just the only action that remains when all else fails, but a spiritual pursuit that protects our deepest selves and allows us to reclaim our humanity.


Steal This Country : A Handbook for Resistance, Persistence, and Fixing Almost Anything

Alexandra Styron
Adult Nonfiction - 320.0835 Sty

Essays, profiles, and interviews about issues in social and political action, including climate change, immigration, gender and sexual orientation, racism, women's rights, religious freedom, and intersectionality. Also includes practical information about tools for effecting change.


Uninformed : Why People Know So Little About Politics and What We Can Do About It

Arthur Lupia
Adult Nonfiction - 320 Lup

Citizens sometimes lack the knowledge that they need to make competent political choices, and it is undeniable that greater knowledge can improve decision making. But we need to understand that voters either don't care about or pay attention to much of the information that experts think is important. Uninformed provides the keys to improving political knowledge and civic competence: understanding what information is important to others and knowing how to best convey it to them.


We the People : Stories from the Community Rights Movement in the United States

Thomas Linzey, Anneke Campbell
Adult Nonfiction 363.7052 Lin

We the People offers powerful portraits of communities across the United States that have faced threats from environmentally destructive corporate projects and responded by successfully banning those projects at a local level. Their method is an answer for the frustrations of untold numbers of activists who have been defeated time and again by corporate political power and legal entitlement. This book can teach us to create from the ground up what we want, basing our vision in local control and law. This work is about giving up the illusion of democracy, forging a system of true self-governance, and recognizing in law, that nature possesses legally enforceable rights of its own.


Women, Spirituality, and Transformative Leadership : Where Grace Meets Power

Kathe Schaaf
- Editor
Adult Nonfiction - 204.082 Wom

The world is in crisis and it seems that many are looking to women to heal the planet and our human family. Before women can step into our full potential as leaders and guides in this moment, we must individually reconnect with our deepest wisdom and with our spiritual roots; collectively heal the many dimensions of separation that keep us fragmented and ineffective as agents of social change; and globally reclaim our rightful place as spiritual leaders in service of a balanced and compassionate new paradigm. Through the voices of North American women this book will inspire women to new expressions of their own personal leadership and invite them into powerful collaborative action.