Tis' the season to relax, put your feet up, and dive into a new book. Not sure what book to pick up? Guy Benson and Marie Harf you covered. They each choose the top five books you need to add to your Christmas reading list.

Marie's Picks
"The Fighters" by CJ Chivers

CJ Chivers joined Benson and Harf on September 11th to remember those who have fought for our country and discuss the inspiration for his book. Listen to the interview here. 

"More than 2.7 million Americans have served in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001. C.J. Chivers reported from both wars from their beginnings. The Fightersvividly conveys the physical and emotional experience of war as lived by six combatants: a fighter pilot, a corpsman, a scout helicopter pilot, a grunt, an infantry officer, and a Special Forces sergeant.

Chivers captures their courage, commitment, sense of purpose, and ultimately their suffering, frustration, and moral confusion as new enemies arise and invasions give way to counterinsurgency duties for which American forces were often not prepared.

The Fighters is a tour de force, a portrait of modern warfare that parts from slogans to do for American troops what Stephen Ambrose did for the G.I.s of World War II and Michael Herr for the grunts in Vietnam. Told with the empathy and understanding of an author who is himself an infantry veteran, The Fighters presents the long arc of two wars."

"Every Day is Extra" by John Kerry

To learn more about his book check out Former Secretary of State John Kerry's interview with Marie Harf. 

"John Kerry tells the story of his remarkable American life--from son of a diplomat to decorated Vietnam veteran, five-term United States senator, 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, and Secretary of State for four years--a revealing memoir by a witness to some of the most important events of our recent history.

Every Day Is Extra is John Kerry's candid personal story. A Yale graduate, Kerry enlisted in the US Navy in 1966, and served in Vietnam. He returned home highly decorated but disillusioned, and testified powerfully before Congress as a young veteran opposed to the war."

 

"The Assault on Intelligence" by Mike Hayden

To learn more check out General Michael Hayden's interview with Benson and Harf.

In the face of a President who lobs accusations without facts, evidence, or logic, truth tellers are under attack. Meanwhile, the world order is teetering on the brink. North Korea is on the verge of having a nuclear weapon that could reach all of the United States, Russians have mastered a new form of information warfare that undercuts democracy, and the role of China in the global community remains unclear. There will always be value to experience and expertise, devotion to facts, humility in the face of complexity, and a respect for ideas, but in this moment they seem more important, and more endangered, than they've ever been. American Intelligence--the ultimate truth teller--has a responsibility in a post-truth world beyond merely warning of external dangers, and in The Assault on Intelligence, General Michael Hayden takes up that urgent work with profound passion, insight and authority."

 

"Of Mess and Moxie" by Jen Hatmaker

"Jen Hatmaker, beloved author, Big Sister Emeritus, and Chief BFF, offers another round of hilarious tales, frank honesty, and hope for the woman who has forgotten her moxie. Whether discussing the grapple with change("Everyone, be into this thing I'm into! Except when I'm not. Then everyone be cool.") or the time she drove to the wrong city for a fourth-grade field trip ("Why are we in San Antonio?"), Jen parlays her own triumphs and tragedies into a sigh of relief for all normal, fierce women everywhere who, like her, sometimes hide in the car eating crackers but also want to get back up and get back out, to live undaunted "in the moment" no matter what the moments hold."

"Educated" by Tara Westover

"Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home."

 

 

Guy's Picks
"The Point of It All" created by Charles Krauthammer and edited by Daniel Krauthammer

To learn more about 'The Point Of It All,' and Charles Kruathammer's legacy listen to Benson and Harf's interview with Daniel Krauthammer. 

"Created and compiled by Charles Krauthammer before his death, THE POINT OF IT ALL is a powerful collection of the influential columnist's most important works.

Spanning the personal, the political and the philosophical, it includes never-before-published speeches and a major new essay about the effect of today's populist movements on the future of global democracy. Edited and with an introduction narrated by the columnist's son, Daniel Krauthammer, it is the most intimate and profound book yet by the legendary writer and thinker.

For longtime readers and newcomers alike, THE POINT OF IT ALL is a timely demonstration of what it means to cut through the noise of petty politics with clarity, integrity and intellectual fortitude. It is a reminder of what made Charles Krauthammer the most celebrated American columnist and political thinker of his generation, a revealing look at the man behind the words and a lasting testament to his belief that anyone with an open and honest mind can grapple deeply with the most urgent questions in politics and in life."

"Spymaster" by Brad Thor

To learn more about Brad Thor's novels check out his interview with Benson and Harf. 

"The newest thriller in the #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and #1 Publishers Weekly bestselling series! Across Europe, a secret organization has begun attacking diplomats. Back in the United States, a foreign ally demands the identity of a highly placed covert asset. In the balance hang the ingredients for all-out war. With his mentor out of the game, counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath must take on the role he has spent his career avoiding. But, as with everything else he does, he intends to rewrite the rules--all of them. In Spymaster, Scot Harvath is more cunning, more dangerous, and deadlier than ever before. If you have never read a Brad Thor novel, "this is the place to start!"

"Every Man A King" by Chris Stirewalt

Listen to Chris Stirewalt's interview with Benson and Harf where he talks about his thought process for the book and why you should read it.

"Whatever the ideological fad of the moment, American populism has always been home to a fascinating assortment of charismatic leaders, characters, kooks, cranks, and sometimes charlatans who have - with widely varying degrees of success - led the charge of ordinary folks who have gotten wise to the ways of the swamp.
This attitude of skeptical resentment also makes populism a fertile field for the work of conspiracy theorists and other enthusiastic apostates from civic convention. After all, if the people in power are found to be rigging one part of the system, why not the rest?
EVERY MAN A KING tells the stories of America's populist leaders, from an elderly Andrew Jackson brutally caning his would-be-assassin, to William Jennings Bryan's pre-speech routine that combined equally prodigious quantities of prayer and food, to Ross Perot's military-style campaign that made even volunteers wear badges with stars to show rank. It is a rollicking history of an American attitude that has shaped not only our current moment, but also the long struggle over who gets to define the truths we hold to be self evident."
"Them: Why We Hate Each Other And How To Heal" by Ben Sasse

To learn more about Senator Ben Sasse's book and why he wrote it listen to his interview with Benson and Harf.

"Something is wrong. We all know it.

American life expectancy is declining for a third straight year. Birth rates are dropping. Nearly half of us think the other political party isn't just wrong; they're evil. We're the richest country in history, but we've never been more pessimistic.

What's causing the despair?

In Them, bestselling author and U.S. senator Ben Sasse argues that, contrary to conventional wisdom, our crisis isn't really about politics. It's that we're so lonely we can't see straight―and it bubbles out as anger."

 

"What The Hell Do You Have To Lose?" by Juan Williams

Listen to Juan Williams' interview with Benson and Harf to learn more about what motivated him to write his new book.

"In this powerful and timely book, civil rights historian and political analyst Juan Williams denounces Donald Trump for intentionally twisting history to fuel racial tensions for his political advantage. In Williams's lifetime, crusaders for civil rights have braved hatred, violence, and imprisonment, and in so doing made life immeasurably better for African Americans and other marginalized groups. Remarkably, all this progress suddenly seems to have been forgotten--or worse, undone. The stirring history of hard-fought and heroic battles for voting rights, integrated schools, and more is under direct threat from an administration dedicated to restricting these basic freedoms.

Williams pulls the fire alarm on the Trump administration's policies, which pose a threat to civil rights without precedent in modern America. What the Hell Do You Have to Lose? makes a searing case for the enduring value of our historic accomplishments and what happens if they are lost."