Grove Press: Elements of Fiction by Walter Mosley

When at Times the Mob Is Swayed: A Citizen's Guide to Defending Our Republic

In When at Times the Mob Is Swayed, Burt Neuborne draws on his extensive experience as a civil liberties lawyer to consider threats to American democracy and the Constitution. Neuborne was the national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union and is now the founding legal director of the Brennan Center for Justice. He uses his knowledge of the Constitution, the electoral system and the judicial system to probe not only the state of the union under the 45th president of the United States, but how the structure of the country's founding documents, the Supreme Court and people's civil involvement may have ushered in this time.

"A well-functioning democracy mirrors a society. It does not cure it. That we must do ourselves," Neuborne writes, describing not only major corrections that need to happen on the Constitutional level via the Supreme Court, but also actions that citizens can take, such as prioritizing voting, judicial reform and advocating against runaway campaign finance spending and gerrymandering. He is neither hopeful nor hopeless; rather, his pragmatic tone and realistic approach to what needs to change, and why, makes for a nuanced discussion of civic minutiae, current affairs and historical context that is approachable. While some of the details he mentions have already come to the public forefront (e.g., the Mueller Report and a gerrymandering suit taken before the Supreme Court), this book nevertheless proves itself a prescient how-to for those who, looking at current affairs, feel helpless to effect change. --Michelle Anya Anjirbag, freelance reviewer