When something is on people’s minds, publishers notice. In the past year, there has been a surge of books about politics. That means there will be a plethora of conversations about politics at the Festival of Books. Here are a few favorites.
For an in-depth conversation about our president, don’t miss the panel “Trump: The First Year” (Sat. April 21, 1:30 p.m.). It will feature Sarah Kendzior, a journalist in St. Louis who is a regular on MSNBC’s “AM Joy” and author of the “The View from Flyover Country”; David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author the deeply researched book “The Making of Donald Trump”; and Steve Almond, co-host of the New York Times podcast “Dear Sugars,” whose upcoming book is “Bad Stories: What the Hell Just Happened to Our Country.” Their moderator is The Times’ Christina Bellantoni, who has a voracious appetite for political news and dialogue.
Listen to experts in history and the law discuss today’s challenges in the panel “Our Endangered Constitution” (Sat. April 21, 3:30 p.m.). Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the Berkeley Law School, who co-authored two books in 2017, “Closing the Courthouse Doors: How Your Constitutional Rights Became Unenforceable” and “Free Speech on Campus,” will be one of four panelists. He’s joined by legal scholar Adam Winkler, whose new book is “We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights”; activist and historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of “Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment”; and Richard Rothstein, one of the finalists for the L.A. Times Book Prize in history for his book “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.” Their moderator is Barry Glassner, author of the bestselling book “The Culture of Fear.”
On the panel “Immigrants: We Get the Job Done” (Sun. Apr. 22, 12:00 p.m.) the three panelists will discuss the power and perils of immigration in our current moment, in America and around the world. University professor Alberto Ledesma, whose graphic memoir is “Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer,” will be joined by two journalists: Sasha Polakow-Suransky, author of the big-picture, reported book “Go Back to Where You Came From: The Backlash Against Immigration and the Fate of Western Democracy” and Lauren Markham, who tells the story of twins from El Salvador in her book “The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life,” a finalist for the L.A. Times Current Interest Book Prize. The conversation will be moderated by journalist Frances Dinkelspiel, author of “Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California.”
Three authors will discuss the attraction and impact of extremist ideologies on the panel “The Rise of Extremism” (Sun. Apr. 22, 12:30 p.m.), moderated by The Times’ Matt Pearce. Professor Khaled A. Beydoun, author of “American Islamophobia: Understanding the Roots and Rise of Fear” will be joined by sociologist Michael Kimmel, whose new book “Healing from Hate” looks at what causes young men to join — and also leave — American neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups. The third author on their panel is Norwegian journalist Åsne Seierstad, among those traveling farthest to attend the festival, whose riveting new book examines how two generations flee from and return to extremism: “Two Sisters: A Father, His Daughters, and Their Journey into the Syrian Jihad.”