Election overload? Go read a book.

You can’t turn on your television or radio without seeing and hearing political ads. Your phone is ringing off the hook with political robocalls. Your mailbox is stuffed with political mailers. Maybe some political precinct-walker is knocking at your door even now.

Ah, election season. What better time to get away from it all with a book?

A political book, of course. Here are a few that’ve crossed my desk recently:

JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters” by James W. Douglass (Touchstone, $16.99)

JFK and the UnspeakableNow in paperback with a new afterword by the author, this book asserts that Kennedy’s turn away from Cold War dogma led the military and intelligence communities to mark him as a threat to their power and influence, and to mark him for death. “Did this suspicion and rage lead directly to his murder by agents of those institutions, as Douglass concludes?” asks Berkeley’s Daniel Ellsberg, famed for leaking the Pentagon Papers on decision-making in the Vietnam War in 1971. “Many readers who are not yet convinced of this ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ by Douglass’ prosecutorial indictment will find themselves, perhaps – like myself – for the first time, compelled to call for an authoritative criminal investigation.”

She’s the Boss: The Disturbing Truth About Nancy Pelosi” by Rochelle Schweizer (Sentinel, $25.95)

She's the BossRepublicans from coast to coast have no more favorite punching bag in these midterm elections than the House Speaker from San Francisco. This book purports to pull together “the extensive evidence of the Speaker’s ruthlessness, patronage, and hypocrisy … thereby thoroughly debunking Pelosi’s carefully cultivated image as a caring, maternal champion of the public good,” according to the publicity notes. “Pelosi has instilled within Congress a tyrannical system predicated upon pretense, corruption, and uninhibited behavior that will inevitably have devastating effects on our country if she isn’t stopped.”

Restoring the American Dream: The Defining Voice in the Movement for Liberty” by Robert Ringer (Wiley, $27.95)

Restoring the American DreamA revised and updated edition of his 1979 bestseller, Ringer’s book takes aim at what he says are unconstitutional government polices that are wrecking our economy and liberty. “With Washington growing bigger and bigger by the day and distancing itself further and further from our precious Constitution and founding principles, the timing could not be better for Robert Ringer’s classic ‘Restoring the American Dream,’” says Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn. “What a gift this important work is to a nation yearning for liberty and freedom.”

California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It” by Joe Mathews and Mark Paul (University of California Press, $19.95)

California CrackupMathews – a freelance journalist, Daily Beast columnist and New America Foundation senior fellow – and Paul – a former deputy state treasurer and Sacramento Bee deputy editorial page editor now also at the New America Foundation – trace the Golden State’s governance woes and offer up solutions to let Californians debate their choices, hold elected officials accountable and choose again if something doesn’t work. “It cuts through the familiar tangle of diagnoses and quick-fix solutions to provide a comprehensive and persuasive analysis of California’s dysfunctional governmental system,” says former Sac Bee columnist and author Peter Schrag. “It is the best discussion of the issue I’ve seen in over three decades.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    “JFK” is endorsed by nearly forgotten Daniel Ellsberg. Was Oliver Stone too busy to read the book? He reached the same conclusion in the 1990s.

  • Josh Richman

    In fact, RR, Oliver Stone has been an outspoken fan of this book, and he’ll be joining the author for a panel discussion on Nov. 8 in Beverly Hills.