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MTP Summer Reading List

Ben Jealous

Grover Norquist

Bob Woodward

Hilary Rosen

Mike Murphy

MTP Staff Picks

Betsy Fischer - Executive Producer

  • Barack Obama: The Story by David Maraniss 
  • More than a biography, it’s an incredibly detailed look at the President’s ancestors from Kansas and Kenya whose own personal struggles shaped his upbringing.  I have a strong interest in genealogy so for me, this book was a great combination of family historical research and politics.  I loved it so much, it came with me on my honeymoon last month.  In 1996, David wrote the acclaimed biography of Bill Clinton “First in his Class”  - he is a terrific reporter (now an associate editor) with the Washington Post and all around great guy.  You can watch our TakeTwo interview with David Maraniss about the book here.

  • Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan by Rajiv Chandrasekaran
  • An intriguing and revealing account of the dysfunction that plagued the war effort in Afghanistan.  Admittedly,  I am mid-way through this and while I read the first half at the beach last week, it’s not exactly a “beach-read.”  Rajiv is now the National Editor at the Washington Post but did incredible reporting from both Afghanistan and Baghdad as a correspondent. He also wrote an excellent book on the war in Iraq in 2006  “Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone.

  • Bliss, Remembered by Frank DeFord
  • I read this last summer – it’s an excellent “beach-read” and perfectly pegged to the upcoming Olympics. The book is a fictional account of a young female swimmer from the Eastern Shore of Maryland who makes it to the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin. Romance, political intrigue and a mystery of sorts follows. Frank DeFord is a novelist, sportswriter and does frequent commentaries on NPR – I’ve always loved listening to his voice, and now I am a fan of his writing.

  • The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
  • This is a selfish plug because the author is a close friend of mine who I first met when she was a Meet the Press intern over 15 years ago.  She is also one of the most talented journalists I know – traveling all over the world reporting and speaking about women and entrepreneurship.  This book is about a young woman in Afghanistan during the Taliban years who started a business and created jobs and hope for other women.  It’s a real-life story that Gayle spent many years (and trips to Afghanistan) reporting on. More on Gayle and her book here: http://www.gaylelemmon.com/

Adam Verdugo - Senior Producer

  • Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever by Jack McCallum
  • Looking forward to reading this one. As a kid growing up, I remember watching them crush the competition in Barcelona with awe. I remember going to McDonalds and seeing the players plastered on my fries and soda cups. They were everywhere. The players and the team seemed larger than life, which is saying something because this was before cable news (as we know it today), twitter and facebook.  It was a remarkable feat. Jordan, Magic, Barkley, Bird, Drexler, Ewing, Malone, Laettner, Mullin, Pippen, Robinson, Stockten – a group of extremely talented, fiercely competitive players at the top of their games. They had big egos but they came together and played as a team.  It’s hard to imagine that there will ever be a team like it again

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • This is one of my all-time favorites.  And the movie is coming out later this year. It’s always worth another read. 

 

  • Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales
  • For a TV producer like me, it’s a fascinating, and at-times racy, look at the shaky beginnings of ESPN as told from the men and women on the front lines who worked for the network, competed against them, and the athletes they covered. It’s amazing to think, looking at ESPN now, that it almost folded several times.

 

Chris Donovan - Producer

  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • I somehow never read this classic by the late Ray Bradbury, but inspired by a recent commencement speaker I picked it up the other day and will read this summer.

 

Ilana Drimmer - Contributing Producer

  • Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson
  • I chose this book because Ben Franklin was the original innovator. He was an American hero and an unsung Founding Father. 

Abigail Williams - Associate Producer

  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
  • I’m a little behind the curve on this one but hey, this summer’s big screen is full of comic book heroes brought to life so “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” couldn’t be more prescient.  Set in New York City during WWII, this is the story of two young men who unable to correct the evils of the time, fight their battles in pen and ink with masked avengers like The Escapist. I can’t put it down.

  • Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
  • As a girl from the Minnesota living on the East Coast, Franzen and the characters he creates hold a special place in my heart. Full of witty reflections on the most intimate of life’s day to day struggles, this tragic farce is a unique look at the sometimes paralyzing price of modern choices.

 

Joe Toohey - Researcher

  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  • As a follower of all-things Apple, I couldn’t wait to read this. It’s the first biography ever written with Steve Jobs’ permission and is based on over 40 interviews with Jobs himself as well as family, friends and rivals. It doesn’t always paint him in the most positive light, however, it is a fascinating look in to the life of one of the men who played a giant role in shaping our generation’s technology.

 

Kristian Monroe - Production Assistant

  • Bossypants by Tina Fey
  • I chose this book because I am a huge fan of Tina Fey and love memoirs; Bossypants combines the best of both worlds for me including many laugh-out-loud moments.

Grace Lamb-Atkinson - Research Assistant

  • George F Kennan: An American Life by John Lewis Gaddis
  • I studied his book The Cold War and loved it. This one won the Pulitzer and is a really interesting look at why Kennan is such an influential figure even today.