One subject has overshadowed the nonfiction literary treatment of politics these last five years: the rise of illiberal populist movements here and around the globe. Our correspondent Gary Singh developed an expertise in the sociology of India under Narendra Modi, former Charlie Hebdo employee Jacob Hamburger reported from Paris in the wake of the terror attacks on that newspaper, while Katherine E. Young translated and profiled Azerbaijani author Akram Aylisli, who faces continued persecution in his own country. Mark Trecka wrote about populist movements in the Unites States and their effect on Indigenous peoples; Melanie Taylor Benson explained how activists misjudge reservation politics; while Christine DeLucia pointed to the glaring omission of Native Americans from a popular new history of the United States. Pastor Sam Washington wrote of the heartbreak of the evangelical embrace of Donald Trump and Erik D’Amato tried to unpack the conservative defenses of America’s most bellicose president. Robin Kaiser-Schatzlein specialized in the politics of inequality, while Charles Durst offered perceptive longform reporting from Southeast Asia.
Politics has never been an easy subject, and in the early 21st century, it has become downright maddening. But the urge to write about it and understand it has never slackened.
— Tom Zoellner
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