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Bill Moyers Book Picks of 2009
Nemisis by Chalmers Johnson
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December 18, 2009

Bill Moyers lists his must-reads of the year — along with NEMESIS by Chalmers Johnson, published three years ago.

STRENGTH IN WHAT REMAINS, by Tracy Kidder. I read it last summer and hardly a day passes that I don't think of Deo, the young medical student who escaped genocide in Burundi — and lives his life as if he can heal the world.

LESSONS IN DISASTER: MCGEORGE BUNDY AND THE PATH TO WAR IN VIETNAM, by Gordon Goldstein. One of my own colleagues from my White House years grapples with our failure and his own responsibility. I've not read a more important book about the uses and misuses of American power since my 2008 favorite by Andrew Bacevich, THE LIMITS OF POWER.

WHY SCHOOL? RECLAMING EDUCATION FOR ALL OF US, by Mike Rose. I interviewed Mike Rose 20 years ago for my series WORLD OF IDEAS. He was already on the path to becoming one of our most exciting thinkers about education in the lives of marginalized people. He lives in the real world, and this new book — slim and vividly written — is an inspiration for how to cope with it in our classrooms.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE BUDDHIST TO KNOW NOTHING. This little book was conceived and edited by Joan Konner, the former dean of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism (and my longtime friend and collaborator). It will surprise you with insights into absolutely Nothing. Read it — and if Nothing happens, you will have discovered Something important.

REBEL GIANT: THE REVOLUTIONARY LIVES OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN AND CHARLES DARWIN, by David R. Contosta. You'll never think of February l2, 1809 the same way again.

THE HEALING OF AMERICA: A GLOBAL QUEST FOR BETTER, CHEAPER, AND FAIRER HEALTH CARE, by T. R. Reid. Stop the health care debate in its tracks. Allow no Member of Congress to go home for the holidays until everyone has read this book by the long-time WASHINGTON POST reporter who shows us how it could be done. Then throw out the current script written by the insurance companies and Big Pharma and start over, with Reid's book as the blueprint.

FORD COUNTY, by John Grisham. If you like Grisham (and I do), you'll love him short. Go home again — to Ford County, Mississippi — with one of the best good ol' boys ever to spin yarns below the Mason Dixon line.

Happy New Year, under the circumstances.

Bill Moyers

Tell us what your must-reads of 2009 are on The Blog.
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References and Reading:

Lincoln in Literature
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The Great Darwin Debate
Bicentennial reflections on why evolution remains a religious and political flash point in contemporary America.

"Tomgram: Chalmers Johnson, Dismantling the Empire"
By Tom Engelhardt, TOMDISPATCH, July 30, 2009.

Also This Week:
Amidst fading hopes for real reform on issues ranging from high finance to health care, economist Robert Kuttner and journalist Matt Taibbi join Bill Moyers to discuss Wall Street's power over the federal government.

The JOURNAL profiles Steve Meacham, a Massachusetts community organizer fighting to keep working people in their homes.

Bill Moyers lists his pick of the best books of 2009.

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