The Best Political Books of All Time

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Anyone interested in the best political books of all time is reading the right post. We collected the most recommended and influential political works ever written. You will find eight greatest books on politics reviewed below.

The books’ topics vary from Indian politics and communism theories to the life of one of the greatest American presidents and the reality of work of the American government.

Most of the books in this post are accessible to readers with any political knowledge level. But make sure you select a reading that you understand and feel comfortable w.

After the reviews, we have some advice that will help narrow down the variety of books.

If you want to just get back to studying, get our top choice for political books here.

Our Top Favorite
When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics
Our Top Runner Up
Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto
Our Top Value Pick
Achieving Our Country : Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America
Book Title
When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics
Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto
Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Favorite
When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics
Book Title
When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Runner Up
Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto
Book Title
Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Value Pick
Achieving Our Country : Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America
Book Title
Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America
Prime Eligible?

Last update: 2021-04-11

Our Favorites for Best Political Books of All Time

When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politicsby Milan Vaishnav

One of the best political books of all time about Indian politics. When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politicsdemonstrates how and why so many criminals thrive in the government of the world’s largest democracy.

In this book, Vaishnav answers questions like why candidates are reelected with pending criminal charges against them and how caste break-up influences elections.

Why Choose this Book:

  • Anyone interested in understanding Indian politics, its post-independence evolution, and criminals in politics in general, must read this work.
  • It brilliantly exposes campaign funding, opacity around it, why politics is still filled with dirt, and why despite all available information about the corrupt candidates, people still vote for them.

What Makes this Political Books of All Time Unique:

  • It is one of the first detailed studies of crime in Indian politics. The work is well-researched and includes many sources, interviews with voters and candidates, surveys, and politicians’ backgrounds.
  • The author traces the links between criminals, politicians, business, corruption, social division, weak law enforcement, and how politicians join crimes.
On Sale
When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics
When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics
  • Yale University Press
  • Hardcover Book
  • Vaishnav, Milan (Author)

Last update: 2021-04-11


Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the Worldby Anand Giridharadas

This work is the best modern political book that reveals how the rich and mighty fight injustice and inequality de facto.

Even though Giridharadasis among the influential elite, he exposes the truth and how and why politicians and people in business would never risk their position and privileges to help others.

Why Choose this Book:

  • It opens your eyes to real reasons for specific issues and events, such as why Hilary Clinton lost the election and whether charity organizations help more than harm.
  • If you think that business is the best way to improve society, this book will prove that business can be harmful in many ways and that there are other ways to solve people’s problems.

What Makes this Political Books of All Time Unique:

  • Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World content is quite challenging, but the text is very readable and even funny at times. It is the kind of book you keep bringing up in conversations.
  • The author doesn’t go into too much detail. But if you are interested in a particular concept, he provides readers with references to additional readings on many topics covered in the book.
On Sale
Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World
Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World
  • Giridharadas, Anand (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 10/01/2019 (Publication Date) - Vintage (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-04-12


The Power Game: How Washington Worksby Hedrick Smith

This work is among the best books to read to understand American government and politics.

The author reveals how the government really worked in the 1980s and what dirty secrets were hidden from people. He describes how some members of the U.S. Congress have built fortunes on the Political action committee’s money.

The author was a New York Times reporter from 1962 to 1988, and his team won the Pulitzer Prize for the work on the Pentagon Papers. The book is well-researched, and the author did many interviews himself.

Why Choose this Book:

  • As well as covering problems Smith explains what ensured stability and caused positive changes.
  • Unlike a textbook on government that teaches theory, this book describes how the American government and politics really work.

What Makes this Political Books of All Time Unique:

  • The book was written in the late 1980s and covers events of that time. While the people changed, most of the practices and principles remain basically the same.
  • It is one of the rare unbiased works on power politics at the national level.
The Power Game: How Washington Works
The Power Game: How Washington Works
  • Smith, Hedrick (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 793 Pages - 09/29/1996 (Publication Date) - Ballantine Books (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-04-11


Runner Ups for Best Political Books of All Time

Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifestoby Mark R. Levin

If you are looking for right-wing political books, check out this work. From it, you will learn who conservatives are, what they believe, and what their ideas of the government are.

Whether you agree with conservatives or not, you will understand what they think. The Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto covers different aspects of politics, from the economy and healthcare to immigration and global warming.

The book was initially published during Obama's presidency. It quickly became a bestseller and found both eager conservative supports and liberal critiques

Why Choose this Book:

  • The book contains excellent historical references, is very insightful and thought-provoking. Yet it is highly comprehensive, readable, and well-written.
  • If you what to understand the U.S. constitution, this book will be helpful. It also explains why the American constitutional republic has been prosperous over centuries.

What Makes this Political Books of All Time Unique:

  • It is an excellent reading for non-conservatives as it carefully lays out important historical, constitutional, and philosophic relations between each citizen’s freedom and well-being and conservative principles.
  • The book explains conservative principles and describes the most basic concepts of the American political order.
On Sale
Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto
Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto
  • Threshold Editions
  • Levin, Mark R. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-04-11


What You Should Know about Politics... But Don't: A Nonpartisan Guide to the Issues That Matterby Jessamyn Conrad

If you want to read books about political parties, definitely go for this one. It doesn’t matter which party’s beliefs you support; the book is an excellent guide to modern politics for every American or anyone interested in American politics.

This book is a summary of the events in the late 20th century and up to this day. It explains all sides of the critical issues that the American government is trying to resolve.

This book is a must-read for every person intended to vote. Sometimes voters are confused by the information they get from the media before the elections. This book will make things clear for everyone.

Why Choose this Book:

  • The book discusses political parties and groups, where they stand, and why. It is unbiased and doesn’t say who is right or wrong.
  • It covers a wide range of political topics such as education, healthcare, economy, immigration, inequality, foreign policy, climate change, and more.

What Makes this Political Books of All Time Unique:

  • The author’s writing style is very conversational, and she chooses to use first-person narration in most cases.
  • There are many editions of the book, each updated with most recent political events. So, if you decide to read it, get the latest edition.
On Sale
What You Should Know About Politics . . . But Don't: A Nonpartisan Guide to the Issues That Matter
What You Should Know About Politics . . . But Don't: A Nonpartisan Guide to the Issues That Matter
  • Arcade Publishing
  • Conrad, Jessamyn (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-04-11


The Rise of Theodore Rooseveltby Edmund Morris

This work is not only among award-winning political books with the Pulitzer Prize. It is a classic of political literature and, according to the Modern Library, one of the 100 best non-fiction books of all time.

It is the most remarkable biography of the youngest U.S. president who also won a Nobel Peace Prize. The author in-depth explains each detail of Theodore Roosevelt’s personality and life. This man had such a diverse character, and we can call him a politician, a reformer, a soldier, a writer, a hunter, a naturalist, and so much more.

Why Choose this Book:

  • In this book, you see a transformation of a shy sickly child of an aristocratic family, then a teenager who is determined to become healthy and starts working on himself, into one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.
  • This scholarly work is well-researched, full of interesting facts, and at the same time, beautifully written. This combination makes reading effortless and exciting for a broad audience. There are even plenty of moments to laugh at.

What Makes this Political Books of All Time Unique:

  • Because Theodore Roosevelt was such an unordinary person, many biographers wrote about his life in series of episodes. Unlike other works, this book is the full story.
  • The book includes an excellent choice of photographs of events, people, buildings, quoted original diaries, letters, and newspapers.
On Sale
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (Modern Library (Paperback))
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (Modern Library (Paperback))
  • the life and times of Theodore Roosevelt
  • Edmund Morris (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-04-11


Value Picks for Best Political Books of All Time

Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century Americaby Richard M. Rorty

If you are looking for good books on left-wing politics, this reading will easily make things more transparent for you.

The book describes the split into the Reform and New Left during the Vietnam War period. He makes a clear distinction between both left and explains the advantages and disadvantages of their beliefs.

Rorty mentions the achievements of the left, such as stopping some discrimination and increasing respect towards minority groups. But he is sharply critical of other concepts that the left believe in.

Why Choose this Book:

  • Even the most complex ideas are put across in a way anyone can understand. The words are simple, and the writing style is persuasive and highly readable.
  • The author is critical of the New left, whom he considers overly theoretical. He offers advice on unifying the Reform Left and the New Left.

What Makes this Political Books of All Time Unique:

  • Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America was written in 1997, and Rorty warned that the Left stopped focusing on real politics and needed to rethink what they truly believed in. He even predicted a Trump-like president.
  • Rorty doesn’t write about abstract concepts such as power; he keeps everything around real-life problems like workers’ wages, economic disparity, and benefits for the wealthy elite.
On Sale
Achieving Our Country : Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America
Achieving Our Country : Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Rorty, Richard (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-04-11


The Communist Manifestoby Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

The Communist Manifestoone of the books that changed society. It affected not only communists but every political movement in a certain way.

This pamphlet was published in 1848 by German philosophers. Since then, it has been recognized as one of the most influential political, philosophical, and historical manuscripts. Marx and Engels tried to explain the goals of communism and the theory that underlies this movement.

This work contains theories about society's and politics' nature and suggests that capitalism will eventually be replaced with communism.

Why Choose this Book:

  • It is a short-read (40 pages). But it is highly influential. Some readers claimed they started loving capitalism even more; others said they realized why communism isn’t so absurd.
  • These 40 pages sum up Marxism, and everyone interested in Marx’s thoughts must read them.

What Makes this Political Books of All Time Unique:

  • No one should feel obligated to agree with the ideas in this polemic, but it is an essential reading if you want to understand the communist ideology and how politics came to where it is now.
  • Don’t expect this pamphlet to be dry. The language is rich with many metaphors, and you can value this for the writing style more than for the ideas.
The Communist Manifesto
The Communist Manifesto
  • Marx, Karl (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 40 Pages - 11/06/2018 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-04-11


How to Choose the Best Political Books of All Time for You

When you are choosing political books, there are a few questions that will need to be answered. We will help you find the right answers.

What Do You Already Know about Politics?

Consider your political knowledge level when you are picking a book. If you are new to the field, pick books on politics for beginners. How do you know if it is accessible to beginners?

Look through the book’s pages, table of contents, introduction, and index. If most of the words and terms, events, and concepts are familiar or comfortable to understand, then the book is appropriate for your knowledge level. Make sure you are comfortable with looking up some information.

If you know little about politics, pick a book that explains the basics such as The Power Game: How Washington Worksabout the work of the American government in detail.

What Political Topics are You Trying to Learn More About?

If you are an intermediate or advanced learner, choose books on narrower topics to your interest.

There are books on almost any topic you can imagine. If you are interested in a particular political party, international politics of a country, a political event, elections, constitution, or anything else, try to find a book that explains the issues you want to learn more about.

How do you pick a topic? Write down or try to remember political issues that catch your attention on the news, when you read articles, talk to your friends, watch documentaries.

Another way is simply to find any list of political books and write down titles of the books that seem interesting and then pick one of them. Every time you read a book, write down other books mentioned by the author, and try to create your own reading list.

What are Good Books to Learn About the Purpose of Politics?

To make your learning even more meaningful, we recommend reading one of these books to understand the purpose of governments and politicians’ motivations fully.

Wrapping Things Up: The Best Political Books of All Time

Putting everything together, in this guide we reviewed the following:

Our Top Favorite
When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics
Our Top Runner Up
Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto
Our Top Value Pick
Achieving Our Country : Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America
Book Title
When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics
Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto
Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Favorite
When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics
Book Title
When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Runner Up
Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto
Book Title
Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Value Pick
Achieving Our Country : Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America
Book Title
Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America
Prime Eligible?

Last update: 2021-04-11

In this post, we reviewed the most recommended political books of all time. Most of them are accessible to readers even without basic knowledge of politics. But please read our advice to pick books appropriate and comfortable for your level. Remember that a lot of times, political books can be more complicated than fiction or general non-fiction texts. If you read less of the book text and more of the internet resources to understand the book, it may be a sign that you may need to get a more accessible work.

Did you find this post helpful? Then you may also like our post on the best political science books here.

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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