Happy Holidays, nerds: Books for political science nerds

At the MIT Press, we know nerdy

Our authors, loyal readers, and staff are all unapologetically enthusiastic about their niche interests. If that makes us nerds, we’ll wear the honorific proudly. 

We’ve put together book recommendations for every type of nerd, from the peer-reviewers and scholars to the armchair intellectuals and budding aficionados. Explore books for the political science nerds in your life below. Happy holidays and happy reading.

Use code NERD20 online and in person at the MIT Press Bookstore for 20% off the below books until January 31, 2024. Terms and conditions apply.

On Disinformation

On Disinformation: How to Fight for Truth and Protect Democracy by Lee McIntyre

The effort to destroy facts and make America ungovernable didn’t come out of nowhere. It is the culmination of seventy years of strategic denialism. In On Disinformation, Lee McIntyre shows how the war on facts began, and how ordinary citizens can fight back against the scourge of disinformation that is now threatening the very fabric of our society. Drawing on his twenty years of experience as a scholar of science denial, McIntyre explains how autocrats wield disinformation to manipulate a populace and deny obvious realities, why the best way to combat disinformation is to disrupt its spread, and most importantly, how we can win the war on truth.

“This brief but impactful book offers trenchant commentary on the current war on truth and workable solutions to protect democracy in an increasingly chaotic world…thoughtful and illuminating.” —Kirkus Reviews

Democracy in a Hotter Time

Democracy in a Hotter Time: Climate Change and Democratic Transformation edited by David W. Orr

Democracy in a Hotter Time calls for reforming democratic institutions as a prerequisite for avoiding climate chaos and adapting governance to how Earth works as a physical system. To survive in the “long emergency” ahead, we must reform and strengthen democratic institutions, making them assets rather than liabilities. Edited by David W. Orr, this vital collection of essays proposes a new political order that will not only help humanity survive but also enable us to thrive in the transition to a post–fossil fuel world.

“Everyone who cares about either saving democracy or saving the planet should read this book to understand why we need to do both at once—and then join a movement.” —Craig Calhoun, Arizona State University

Times Square Remade: The Dynamics of Urban Change by Lynne B. Sagalyn

What is it about Times Square that has inspired such attention for well over a century? And how is it that, despite its many changes of character, the place has maintained a unique hold on our collective imagination? In this book, which comes twenty years after her widely acclaimed Times Square Roulette, Lynne Sagalyn masterfully tells the story of profound urban change over decades in the symbolic space that is New York City’s Times Square. Drawing on the history, sociology, and political economy of the place, Times Square Remade examines how the public-private transformation of 42nd Street at Times Square impacted the entertainment district and adjacent neighborhoods, particularly Hell’s Kitchen.

“A rare look into the intrigue of local politics and powerful business interests behind the complexity of urban real estate markets, Times Square Remade reads like a thriller that all urbanists need to put on their list.” —Alicia Glen, Gateway Commission; founding manager and principal, MSquared; Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, City of New York (2014–19)

The New Fire: War, Peace, and Democracy in the Age of AI by Ben Buchanan and Andrew Imbrie

Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the modern world. It is ubiquitous—in our homes and offices, in the present and most certainly in the future. Today, we encounter AI as our distant ancestors once encountered fire. If we manage AI well, it will become a force for good, lighting the way to many transformative inventions. If we deploy it thoughtlessly, it will advance beyond our control. If we wield it for destruction, it will fan the flames of a new kind of war, one that holds democracy in the balance. As AI policy experts Ben Buchanan and Andrew Imbrie show in The New Fire, few choices are more urgent—or more fascinating—than how we harness this technology and for what purpose.

“An authoritative, coruscating analysis of AI’s current and future significance.” —Nature

Women and Leadership: Real Lives, Real Lessons by Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Women make up fewer than ten percent of national leaders worldwide, and behind this eye-opening statistic lies a pattern of unequal access to power. Through conversations with some of the world’s most powerful and interesting women—including Jacinda Ardern, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Christine Lagarde, Michelle Bachelet, and Theresa May—Women and Leadership explores gender bias and asks why there aren’t more women in leadership roles.

“This remarkable exploration into women leaders—and why there aren’t more of them—is an indispensable guide to addressing sexism and overcoming inequities.” —Ms.

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