This past Sunday The Washington Post published the list of best books of 2013. Four of the 50 notable works of nonfiction for 2013 were written by Wilson Center scholars and were based on the projects they had been working on while in residence at the Center. Additionally, alumnus David Finkel’s book Thank You for Your Service was one of five nonfiction books listed in the year’s top 10 books. Finkel was a public policy scholar in 2008.
The books and authors are detailed below:
Act of Congress: How America’s Essential Institution Works, and How it Doesn’t (Knopf, 2013) was written by Robert G. Kaiser, an expert on U.S. politics and a Public Policy Scholar in 2010-2011. The book details the inner workings in the House and Senate and the fundamental flaws that have caused low approval ratings of Congress. He argues that the flaws in Congress also cause challenges to the efficacy of democracy. Kaiser follows the responses to the economic crash in 2008, mainly in response to the signing of the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010.
Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House (Doubleday, 2013) was authored by Peter Baker, Public Policy Scholar from 2010-2011 and Chief White House Correspondent for the New York Times. During his time at the Center, Baker studied George W. Bush’s second term of presidency. His book examines the historic relationship between the President and Vice President over the course of a tumultuous eight years that were defined by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Hurricane Katrina, and the financial crisis.
This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral – Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking! – in America’s Gilded Capital (Blue Ridder Press, 2013) gives an account of the nation’s capital that is informative and humorous for all those who are a part of the Washington culture, and those trying to be a part of it. Author Mark Leibovich is The New York Times Chief National Correspondent based in Washington, DC. He is a former Public Policy Scholar (2011) and during his time at the Center studied the changes and effects of media and technology on politics in DC.
The Way of the Knife: the CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth (Penguin, 2013) is Mark Mazzetti’s work on the transition of CIA activities post 9/11 describing America’s hidden pursuits in the shadows of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Mazzetti is the National Security Correspondent for the New York Times as well as a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter. He was a Public Policy Scholar in 2011-2012.
David Finkel, an alumnus of the Wilson Center and former Public Policy Scholar in the Middle East Program (2008), wrote a book that was chosen among the top 10 books of the year. The book Thank You for Your Service, is a sequel to his work The Good Soldiers which he wrote while in Baghdad depicting the front lines of the surge in Iraq in 2007. His new book was written in the United States and details the recovery of soldiers returning from their deployment.