“What’s Populism?” by the German political scientist Jan-Werner Müller, has been widely recommended; so has Mark Lilla’s anatomy of reactionary idea, “The Shipwrecked Mind”; thus has Richard Rorty’s “Achieving Our Country,” from back in 1998, mainly for a prescient few paragraphs on “the nonsuburban electorate” and its particular possible kinship for strongmen. Trumpism’s racial element has sent people back to W.E.B. Du Bois on “Black Reconstruction” — once they’ve ended, of course, with the latest from Ta-Nehisi Coates.
But for your last minute Christmas shopping, I ‘ve some slightly different recommendations to create. The Trump-age reading lists I’ve seen contain many worthy titles, however, in addition, they have a tendency to focus heavily on the dark forces lurking out there, somewhere outside illuminated groups — in the Appalachia hills for example, in the postindustrial country, in the souls of racists and chauvinists and crypto-fascists. They’re blueprints for blunting revanchism’s allure, anthropologies of populism, cautionary tales from history. However, they don’t usually subject Western liberalism to extensive critique.