Ben

Ben Platt is an Associate Editor at The Penguin Press, where he began his career in 2010. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago.

 

 

 

Detroit, by Charlie LeDuff

Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff

The only book you will ever need about the Motor City, the American Dream, and the unforgettable LeDuff–who spends these exhilarating pages generally raising hell and asking The Powers That Be all the tough questions how the country’s richest city became the capital of foreclosures, unemployment, and much else. Muckraking like we need, gonzo journalism at its best.

 

 

 

 

Command and Control by Eric Schlosser

Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, by Eric Schlosser

Reading this terrific book, one quickly realizes that America’s nuclear arsenal is less DR. STRANGELOVE and more Marx Brothers. Launch levels are accidently pulled, bombs mistakenly dropped on American soil, missiles secured by little more than high-school combination locks. But by centering on one terrible accident–a fire in a nuclear missile silo, in 1980 Arkansas–Schlosser takes what could be a litany of woe and turns it into a page-turning, unforgettable read.

 

 

 

The Good Food Revolution By Will Allen with Charles Wilson

The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities, by Will Allen with Charles Wilson

Urban farming at its most extreme. Using old-school community activism and revolutionary aquaponics–a technology that grows plants and fish simultaneously, the life cycle of one feeding the other–Will Allen and his organization GROWING POWER are changing the way cities will feed themselves in the future. Based around Allen’s extraordinary life story–son of a sharecropper, star  in professional basketball, successful businessman, and finally farming entrepreneur–The Good Food Revolution is good stuff.

 

 

Thinking the Twentieth Century, by Tony Judt with Timothy Snyder

Thinking the Twentieth Century, by Tony Judt with Timothy Snyder

One of the last books of Tony Judt–the author of another personal favorite, Postwar–along with Timothy Snyder–the historian behind the harrowing Blood LandsThinking the Twentieth Century is truly a gift. Arranged as a free-wheeling dialogue between these two unorthodox experts of recent history, the book has all the makings of a masters-course-in-one-volume but reads as easy as can be. A wonderful experience.

 

 

 

Diaries of an Unfinished Revolution edited by Layla Al-Zubaidi & Matthew Cassel

Diaries of an Unfinished Revolution: Voices from Tunis to Damascus, edited by Layla Al-Zubaidi & Matthew Cassel

Finally, the story of the Arab Spring has lived and witnessed by its actual participants. Drawing on short accounts from different actors across the Middle East, Diaries of an Unfinished Revolution breaks many of our easy certainties and offers up many hard truths about this pivotal series of events, and reveals the true cost of making change today. It won’t give anything away to say that the book’s last line is, “And the demonstrations go on, into the unknown.”

 

 

 

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