With a career spanning two decades, Ezra Klein has established himself as a leading voice in America’s media landscape, providing vital commentary on public policy. The progressive journalist, political analyst, and podcast host is admired not only for his in-depth analyses of complex issues, but his ability to relay them in clear and accessible terms.

Klein rose to prominence as co-founder of Vox, a news and opinion website he launched alongside fellow journalists Matt Yglesias and Melissa Bell in 2014. As editor-at-large, Klein helped shape the site’s signature approach to explanatory journalism, quickly making it a go-to source for analysis of current events.

Beyond his work at Vox, Klein has also made a name for himself as a blogger, columnist, and commentator, contributing to a variety of publications including The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. In 2020 he released his first book, Why We’re Polarized, an exploration of America’s deepening political divide that offers solutions to bridge the gap. The following year, he launched The Ezra Klein Show, a conversational podcast series dedicated to uncovering the complex forces shaping American society today.

A voracious reader, Klein shared six of his favorite books for understanding our current political climate in a reading list for The Week. From an incisive primer on America’s history of structural racism to an examination of the ideologies behind our treatment of animals, explore his recommendations below. Check out the reading lists of other celebrated journalists right here.

Ezra Klein’s Reading List

Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity by Lilliana Mason

“This is the academic book on identity polarization. It’s a touchstone for understanding politics in this era, and one of the works that have done the most to shape my thinking.” -EK

Drift Into Failure: From Hunting Broken Components to Understanding Complex Systems by Sidney Dekker

“For the most part, the way we think about problems afflicting complex ecosystems is reductive and wrong. Neither this book nor any other has all the answers, but this one offers a better frame.” -EK

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson

“Anderson’s book compellingly recenters America’s racial narrative on the propulsive power of white fury. The sentiments she traces, and the force they carry, don’t just explain our political past; they also reveal our political present.” -EK

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows by Melanie Joy

“Over the past few years, I’ve become convinced that the way we treat animals is a signal moral horror of our age. But then why is it so easy to ignore? Why do so many of us ignore it? This book is about how we think about how we treat animals, and it’s a powerful lesson in how dominant ideologies protect and hide themselves in all areas of life.” -EK

The Final Days by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein

All the President’s Men is Woodward and Bernstein’s best-known book, but The Final Days is, for my money, more revelatory. It’s particularly good on the way Nixon’s circle justified what they had done, and what they were protecting. Why is it relevant now? Well…” -EK

On Press: The Liberal Values That Shaped the News by Matthew Pressman

“The media want to be a mirror held up to reality. In truth, we shape reality in what we choose to highlight and how we choose to report on it. What Pressman shows is that the decisions we make are, in turn, shaped by broader forces around us, and that different technological and social eras create very different forms of media.” -EK

(via The Week; photo by George Chinsee)

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