In this feature of the Washington Watch, WW will primarily recommend books you may find interesting but may also mention a TV program or other things. I welcome your suggestions and your input. What have you been reading or watching that you think WW readers might like?
Cassidy Hutchinson’s desk was mere steps from the most controversial president in recent American history. Now, she provides a riveting account of her extraordinary experiences as an idealistic young woman thrust into the middle of a national crisis, where she risked everything to tell the truth about some of the most powerful people in Washington.
Ever since a childhood visit to Washington, DC, Cassidy Hutchinson aspired to serve her country in government. Raised in a working-class family with a military background, she was the first in her immediate family to graduate from college. Despite having no ties to Washington, Hutchinson landed a vital position at the center of the Trump White House.
Her life took a dramatic turn on January 6th, 2021, when, at twenty-four, she found herself in one of the most extraordinary and unprecedented calamities in modern political history.
Hutchinson was faced with a choice between loyalty to the Trump administration or loyalty to the country by revealing what she saw and heard in the attempt to overthrow a democratic election. She bravely came forward to become the pivotal witness in the House January 6 investigations, as her testimony transfixed and stunned the nation. In her memoir, Hutchinson reveals the struggle between the pressures she confronted to toe the party line and the demands of the oath she swore to defend American democracy.
Enough reaches far beyond the typical insider political account. It’s the saga of a woman whose fierce determination helped her overcome childhood challenges to get her dream job, only to face a crisis of conscience—one that more senior White House aides tried to evade—and, in the process, find her voice and herself. This is a portrait of how the courage of one person can change the course of history.
Hutchinson, says in a her new book she was groped by Rudy Giuliani, who was “like a wolf closing in on its prey”, on the day of the attack on the Capitol.
Describing meeting with Giuliani backstage at Donald Trump’s speech near the White House before his supporters marched on Congress in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election, Hutchinson says the former New York mayor turned Trump lawyer put his hand “under my blazer, then my skirt”.
“I feel his frozen fingers trail up my thigh,” she writes. “He tilts his chin up. The whites of his eyes look jaundiced. My eyes dart to [Trump adviser] John Eastman, who flashes a leering grin.
“I fight against the tension in my muscles and recoil from Rudy’s grip … filled with rage, I storm through the tent.”
Dream Town: Shaker Heights and the Quest for Racial Equality
Can a group of well-intentioned people fulfill the promise of racial integration in America
In this searing and intimate examination of the ideals and realities of racial integration, award-winning Washington Post journalist Laura Meckler tells the story of a decades-long pursuit in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and uncovers the roadblocks that have threatened progress time and again―in housing, in education, and in the promise of shared community.
In the late 1950s, Shaker Heights began groundbreaking work that would make it a national model for housing integration. And beginning in the seventies, it was known as a crown jewel in the national move to racially integrate schools. The school district built a reputation for academic excellence and diversity, serving as a model for how white and Black Americans can thrive together. Meckler―herself a product of Shaker Heights―takes a deeper look into the place that shaped her, investigating its complicated history and its ongoing challenges in order to untangle myth from truth. She confronts an enduring, and troubling, question―if Shaker Heights has worked so hard at racial equity, why does a racial academic achievement gap persist?
In telling the stories of the Shakerites who have built and lived in this community, Meckler asks: What will it take to fulfill the promise of racial integration in America? What compromises are people of all races willing to make? What does success look like, and has Shaker achieved it? The result is a complex and masterfully reported portrait of a place that, while never perfect, has achieved more than most and a road map for communities that seek to do the same.
Tech Lash: Who Makes the Rules in the Digital Gilded Age
Hailed by Publishers Weekly as “a potent primer on the need to rein in big tech” and Kirkus Reviews as “a rock-solid plan for controlling the tech giants,” readers will be energized by Tom Wheeler’s vision of digital governance.
An accessible and visionary book that connects the experiences of the late 19th century’s industrial Gilded Age with its echoes in the 21st century digital Gilded Age.
Hailed by Ken Burns as one of the foremost “explainers” of technology and its effect throughout history, Tom Wheeler now turns his gaze to the public impact of entrepreneurial innovation. In Techlash, he connects the experiences of the late 19th century’s industrial Gilded Age with its echoes in the 21st century digital Gilded Age. In both cases, technology innovation and the great wealth that it created ran up against the public interest and the rights of others. As with the industrial revolution and the Gilded Age that it created, new digital technology has changed commerce and culture, creating great wealth in the process, all while being essentially unsupervised.
Warning that today is not the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” some envision, Wheeler calls for a new era of public interest oversight that leaves behind industrial era regulatory ideas to embrace a new process of agile, supervised and enforced code setting that protects consumers and competition while encouraging continued innovation. Wheeler combines insights from his experience at the highest echelons of business and government to create a compelling portrait of the need to balance entrepreneurial innovation with the public good.
Collision of Power: Trump, Bezos, and the Washington Post
Martin Baron monumental work of nonfiction that gives a first-row seat to the epic power struggle between politics, money, media, and tech — for fans of Maggie Haberman’s Confidence Man and Jane Mayer’s Dark Money.
Marty Baron took charge of The Washington Post newsroom in 2013, after nearly a dozen years leading The Boston Globe. Just seven months into his new job, Baron received explosive news: Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, would buy the Post, marking a sudden end to control by the venerated family that had presided over the paper for 80 years. Just over two years later, Donald Trump won the presidency.
Now, the capital’s newspaper, owned by one of the world’s richest men, was tasked with reporting on a president who had campaigned against the press as the “lowest form of humanity.” Pressures on Baron and his colleagues were immense and unrelenting, having to meet the demands of their new owner while contending with a president who waged a war of unprecedented vitriol and vengeance against the media.
In the face of Trump’s unceasing attacks, Baron steadfastly managed the Post’s newsroom. Their groundbreaking and award-winning coverage included stories about Trump’s purported charitable giving, misconduct by the Secret Service, and Roy Moore’s troubling sexual history. At the same time, Baron managed a restive staff during a period of rapidly changing societal dynamics around gender and race.
In Collision of Power, Baron recounts this with the tenacity of a reporter and the sure hand of an experienced editor. The result is elegant and revelatory―an urgent exploration of the nature of power in the 21st century.