Sunlight’s Reading Recommendations


One of my New Year’s resolutions is to read more; so I asked a few fellow Sunlighters for books to add to my list. The suggestions were excellent so, for you transparency lovers out there, here is what they gave me.

1) On Capitol Hill by Julian Zelizer — A political history book about Congress, that tracks reforms from 1948 to 2000. Paul says, “This is seriously essential reading for anyone who wants to know how change happens on Capitol Hill.”

2) The Creation of the Media by Paul Starr — Chronicles the political history of the media; from the founding to the present.

3) So Damn Much Money by Robert Kaiser — History of Gerald Cassidy, the essential Washington lobbyist, who helped create the earmark. This book tells that history and also how the Washington lobbying industry reached its current state of influence.

4) The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon WoodPaul‘s recommendation he writes:

This book informs my belief that open government is a bedrock of egalitarian republicanism and democracy. An informed citizenry is an egalitarian proposition meant to balance the lower and middle classes with the upper. Pamphleteering and dispersal of information was a way of breaking down the aristocracy and bringing the lower and middle classes up in society.

5) Congressional Committees and the Policy Process by Walter Oleszek — “The definitive work on how congressional rules, procedures, and traditions affect the course and content of legislation.”

6) Press Gallery: Congress and the Washington Correspondents by Donald Ritchie — This book covers the congressional press galleries through the 19th Century.  The book delves into the the development of current institutional standards regarding conflicts of interests and corruption in the press galleries.

7) Democracy by Disclosure by Mary Graham — This book explores the idea of techno-populism. The more information available, the more people can advocate on their own behalf and influence policy as well as industry.

8) Who Needs to Know? by Patrice McDermott — This book covers what disclosure currently looks like in American government and how the lack of disclosure hurts democracy.

9) Lobbying and Advocacy by Deanna Gelak — A manual for how to lobby government.  This book is packed with ways to advocate for public policy.

10) Advocacy, Activism, and the Internet: Community Organization and Social Policy by Steven Hick — This book is a great for background and ideas to use the Internet to influence public life and for advocacy in general.