I’m a super fan of Crooked Media’s Pod Save America, the witty and wise podcast featuring former aides to President Barack Obama. I never miss an episode. I appreciate the pod hosts’ unapologetic, uncensored take on American politics. Through listening to the pod, my passion for politics has only deepened. In this article, I’ve compiled nine books like Pod Save America for fans. We published a version of this post several years ago, but this list is updated with fresh new, must-read books.
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics by Donna Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, Minyon Moore, and Veronica Chambers
In the 2020 election, Pod Save America helped mobilize support for community organizing. One of the big takeaways from that effort is encouraging people to get involved in politics at the local and national level. In For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics, an all-star lineup of Black female politicians offer a roadmap for how women of color can get started on a career in politics.
Good Talk by Mira Jacob
In Good Talk, much like the talks on Pod Save America, Mira Jacob works through difficult conversations about race, polarization, and social justice with her son. Children naturally seek to understand their world through questioning it. Good Talk is Jacob’s reckoning with the complicated process of actually answering those questions while balancing hope and the honest truth. Anyone parenting in America today can appreciate Jacob’s smart, often quite funny graphic memoir.
The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer
Crooked Media’s podcast This Land, hosted by Rebecca Nagle, explored social and racial justice in Native communities. Take it further with The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, a National Book Award finalist, in which author David Treuer grapples with his Native identity as part of a larger exploration of Native history from 1890 to present day. This essential work is deeply personal yet also profoundly urgent and necessary.
The Hill to Die On by Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer
Presidential politics have dominated the conversations we’ve had over the past few years, but what’s really striking is how another branch of government plays into it. The Pod Save America hosts are relentless in dissecting the rotting core at the heart of American politics: Congress. In The Hill to Die on, Politico reporters Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer have written a riveting play-by-play about the fight to control Congress. The presidency is one thing, but the chaos of Congress is a poison even more dangerous. Read The Hill to Die On for the inside scoop.
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
Pod Save America frequently covers the intersection of politics and race in America. For listeners wanting to deepen their understanding of racial justice, pick up Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist, a bestseller about learning the concept of “Antiracism.” Kendi help readers recognize racism that permeates Western society and culture, offering essential advice on how to fight systemic racism. This book is perfect for anyone who wants to know how to be a better ally and get started with the antiracist movement.
On the Other Side of Freedom by DeRay Mckesson
The co-host of Crooked Media’s Pod Save the People, activist and organizer DeRay McKesson here offers On the Other Side of Freedom, which has the inspiring subtitle: “The Case for Hope.” Rather than focusing on the negative, McKesson argues for restoring and trusting the power of hope. This uplifting book is a refreshing dose of positivity that anyone looking to move past jaded, cynical politics will appreciate.
Our Time is Now by Stacey Abrams
Stacey Abrams is a leading figure in social justice known especially for her expertise with voter mobilization. After her gubernatorial campaign loss, Abrams didn’t give up. Instead, she doubled down on organizing for democrats to take back Georgia, her home state, through efforts to end voter suppression. And it worked! Joe Biden won Georgia handily, thanks to Abrams’s leadership. A frequent guest on Pod Save America, Abrams is also the author of Our Time Is Now, a stirring manifesto on how to move forward.
So Here’s the Thing… by Alyssa Mastromonaco
One of my favorite guests on Pod Save America is the hilarious Alyssa Mastromonaco. In our previous article on books for fans of Pod Save America, we plugged Mastromonaco’s memoir, Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? The good news is Mastromonaco’s back with another tell-all book that shoots straight from the hip: So Here’s the Thing…, which combines politics, feminism, and pop culture in a mixer of fun moments and practical advice.
Un-Trumping America by Dan Pfeiffer
From Dan Pfeiffer, co-host of the pod and a communications specialist, comes a strategic blueprint to restore American democracy. Pfeiffer outlines how to “un-Trump” America, a process that extends beyond the 2020 election and Trump’s loss. Trump has pierced and permeated the political scene and worked his way into our everyday lives. Un-Trumping America argues that undoing Trump’s damage could take a while, but together we’ll get through it.
Through these books like Pod Save America, listeners can deepen their knowledge and understanding of today’s political climate. Get up to speed with the issues discussed on the pod with these choice recommendations.