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Congressman John Conyers

Representing the 13th District of Michigan

Conyers Curation (Review of Books)

The Conyers Curation

The Conyers Curation is a select collection of books that I find interesting and relevant to my work here in Congress shaping out Nation's policy.  This literature discusses some of the real problems facing our Nation, and provides some potential solutions to them. If you want to share your comments on my selected readings, or want to offer a selection to me, please contact me.  

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness is a book by Michelle Alexander, a civil rights litigator and legal scholar. Called the "secular  bible for a new social movement" by Cornel West, the book  discusses race-related issues specific to African-American males and mass incarceration in the United  States — though Alexander notes that the discrimination faced by African-American males is also prevalent among other  minorities and socio-economically  disadvantaged populations. Alexander's central premise, from which the book derives its title, is that "mass incarceration is, metaphorically, the New Jim Crow.



The Citizen's Share: Reducing Inequality in the 21st Century by Joseph R. Blasi, Richard B. Freeman, and Douglas L. Kruse

The idea of workers owning the businesses where they work is not new.  In America’s early years, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison believed that the best economic plan for the Republic was for citizens to have some ownership stake in the land, which was the main form of productive capital. This book traces the development of that share idea in American history and brings its message to today's economy, where business capital has replaced land as the source of wealth creation.   Based on a ten-year study of profit sharing and employee ownership at small and large corporations, this important and insightful work makes the case that the Founders’ original vision of sharing ownership and profits offers a viable path toward restoring the middle class. Blasi, Freeman, and Kruse show that an ownership stake in a corporation inspires and increases worker loyalty, productivity, and innovation. Their book offers history-, economics-, and evidence-based policy ideas at their best.



Not Working: People Talk About Losing a Job and Finding Their Way in Today’s Changing Economy by  DW Gibson

Inspired by Studs Terkel’s Working and by James Agee and Walker Evans’ Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, DW Gibson sets off on a journey across the United States to interview Americans who have lost their jobs. Here is the mortgage broker who arrived at work to find the door to his office building padlocked, the human resources executive who laid off a couple hundred people before being laid off herself, the husband who was laid off two weeks after his wife learned she was pregnant, the wife who was forced to lay off her husband.

In telling the stories of people who could be our neighbors, our friends, our relatives, Not Workingholds up a mirror to our times, showing us the individuals behind the unemployment statistics—their fears and hopes—and offering a map for navigating our changing economy. With an extraordinary mix of pathos, anger, solidarity, and humor, it brings clarity—and humanity—to the national conversation.

Return to Sender: Unanswered Letters to the President, 2001-2015 by Ralph Nader

In letters addressed to Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama, Ralph Nader provides incisive critiques of more than a decade of American policy decision and  indecision. Each letter offers frank advice and shines light on  government mishaps and missed opportunities for progress. With his signature dry wit, Nader holds  these Presidents to their campaign promises. He also boldly points to the ignoble and sometimes heinous decisions made in pursuit of  party platforms and  misguided ideals. Covering a range of still-current topics--including the Iraq war, torture, the Crimean annexation, the minimum wage, worker's health legislation, and  corporatism--these letters were wholesale ignored  on receipt. Here they are reproduced to refute that fate in the spirit of true and healthy democracy.



All the Presidents' Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power by Nomi Prins

All the Presidents’ Bankers is a groundbreaking narrative of how an elite group of men transformed the American economy and government, dictated foreign and domestic policy, and shaped world history.
Culled from original presidential archival documents, All the Presidents’ Bankers delivers an explosive account of the hundred-year interdependence between the White House and Wall Street that transcends a simple analysis of money driving politics—or greed driving bankers.




Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction by Barry C. Lynn

Regular Harper’s and Financial Times contributor Barry C. Lynn paints a genuinely alarming picture: most of our public debates about globalization,  competitiveness, creative destruction, and risky finance are nothing more than a  cover for the widespread consolidation of power in nearly every imaginable  sector of the American economy. Complete with an entirely fresh set of solutions based on the traditional American approach of empowering the individual  citizen, Cornered is both a wake-up call and a call to arms for anyone who believes in democracy, competition, and liberty for all.



Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State by Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader has fought for over fifty years on behalf of American citizens against the reckless influence of corporations and their government patrons on our society. Now he ramps up the fight and makes a persuasive case that  Americans are not powerless. In Unstoppable, he explores the emerging political alignment of the Left and the Right against converging corporate-government tyranny.