The Paranoid Style in American Politics | by Richard Hofstadter
Written during the rise of Barry Goldwater, Hofstadter’s book is the definitive account of how fringe groups—or, in his memorable phrase, “movements of suspicious discontent”—can influence American politics.
The Politics of Rage | by Dan T. Carter
Carter’s definitive, authorized biography of the late Alabama governor and third-party presidential candidate George Wallace locates the roots of conservative populism in the racial conflict of the American South—and shows that the danger of demagoguery is nothing new.
Voices of Protest | by Alan Brinkley
When Louisiana Gov. Huey Long was shot in 1936, he was preparing a third-party challenge to FDR that would have rivaled Ross Perot’s run more than 50 years later. Brinkley’s book explains how Long and radio personality Father Coughlin amassed huge followings by combining populist rhetoric with radical economic appeals—an apt lesson in the age of Beck and Palin.
Others | by Darcy G. Richardson
Richardson’s four-volume history of third parties in America tells you everything you want to know—and more—about the early history of the subject, from the Anti-Masonic Party of the 1820s to Norman Thomas’s 1928 presidential run.
Why Americans Hate Politics | by E. J. Dionne
By analyzing the major ideological currents in American politics over the last 30 years—and explaining how they present the public with nothing but false choices—Dionne accurately diagnoses why Americans hate politics and tend to be attracted to (if not ultimately supportive of) third-party candidates.