7 Books You Should Read to Understand Trump's Presidency

Feeling lost facing the reality of Trump's America? Here's how to stay informed and cope. 

Getty Images / Mark Wilson

The results of the 2016 American presidential election will change the world in a dramatic way.

Donald Trump will be the first president with no prior experience in government or the military, and if he follows through on even one of his campaign promises — building the wall between America and Mexico; banning Muslims from entering America; punishing women for having abortions, jailing his opponent, limiting free press — many American lives will be permanently impacted. Not to mention, many are wondering what a president-elect who is supported by white supremacists means for people of color in American society.

On a wider level, economists have predicted a Trump presidency will hit the global economy and future markets hard, and world leaders are just as uncertain as their citizens. There’s a lot to make sense of in this surreal new reality, so here are some books to help you begin.

1. The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008 by Paul Krugman

Many economists have predicted the global economy will plummet as a result of a Trump presidency. This nonfiction book by the Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman talks about how to contain an economic crisis and respond to it. Sure, the example he uses are 2008 and the Great Depression, but the past is the best area of study for the future. Besides, the last time the GOP controlled the House, the Senate, and the Presidency was during the Great Depression. Instead of panicking at the prospect, this book will help you stay informed.

Availability: Amazon, Barnes & Noble.

2. Transgender 101: A Simple Guide To Complex Issues by Nicholas M. Teich

A GOP controlled government presents a rocky future for LBGTQ issues. Remember that proposed law banning trans individuals from using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity? It’s safe to say we’ll be seeing more where that came from. Even if you do not have a trans person in your life, this is an informative, useful introduction to the issues at hand.

Availability: Amazon.

3. From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: Disruptive Innovation in the Age of the Internet by John Naughton

We are about to have a President who knows about as much about technology as your grandfather does. We know this from his comments in the first Presidential debate, when he said, “We have so many things that we have to do better. And certainly cyber is one of them.” Unfortunately, “cyber” really does need to improve, because it enabled Russia and Wikileaks to put their hands in the American election in the first place. Even if your leader is uninformed about “cyber,” you still can be by reading up on it.

Availability: Amazon.

4. Abortion & Life by Jennifer Baumgardner

Vice President elect Mike Pence is one of the most anti-abortion politicians in Washington — he has signed a law mandating funerals for fetuses — and Trump has promised to defund Planned Parenthood, which would affect every American woman’s life and health. This book not only dives into the history of Roe v. Wade, but it also puts a face on an abstract issue by presenting into a diverse range of women’s stories. Whether you’re a woman who wants to know more about what is at stake or you’re not a woman but want to better understand their feelings right now, this book will help.

Availability: Amazon.

5. The Nine: Inside The Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin

Trump will appoint a Supreme Court justice to fill Antonin Scalia’s vacated seat. This is a big deal and will almost certainly mean the court will lean conservative for an entire generation. To stay informed about exactly how it works and what this will mean for the future, read this nonfiction book profiling several justices and former clerks.

Availability: Amazon, Barnes & Noble.

6. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Prison reform is one of our most pressing domestic issues — and private prison stocks are already soaring after Trump’s win. We have known for a long time that America’s prison system disproportionately incarcerates men of color. If you’re vaguely aware of the problem but want to know more about it, Alexander writes, “I have a specific audience in mind — people who care deeply about racial justice but who, for any number of reasons, do not yet appreciate the magnitude of the crisis faced by communities of color as a result of mass incarceration.” Considering the fact that Trump is supported by the KKK, the civil liberties of Black men will certainly be an issue for the next four years.

Availability: Amazon, Powell’s books, the book’s website.

7. The Age of Sustainable Development by Jeffrey D. Sachs

Trump does’t believe that climate change is a fact, and wants to undo the Paris climate agreement and Obama’s Clean Power Plan. You can therefore expect to see more rising sea levels, powerful storms, and unusual weather events. But even if our government doesn’t do its part to combat the problem, you don’t have to feel powerless. This book will help educate you about how to be a responsible citizen of the earth on an individual level.

Availability: Amazon, Barnes & Noble.

Take a deep breath, everyone. The future looms ahead dark and full of uncertainties, but arm yourself with a support system and information.