E-Book Nation | The Nation

Many of The Nation's most famous contributors were fierce critics of the status quo—people who refused to toe the official line, who believed that a healthy democracy always requires principled dissent.
  And now you can revisit (or perhaps discover for the first time) some of their very best work—whether it's a brand-new eBook by one of The Nation's current contributors or a selection compiled from The Nation Digital Archive, America's most complete history of progressive politics and culture.

Essays in The Nation on
Civil Rights, Vietnam,
and "The War on Terror"
Introduction by
Edited by

Millions of Americans have read and been galvanized by A People's History of the United States. But many years before Howard Zinn published that epic saga of exploitation and resistance, he was organizing civil-rights protests and agitating for an end to the Vietnam War—and writing about those efforts in the pages of The Nation. From the Atlanta campus of Spelman College (where Zinn taught in the early 1960s) to North Vietnam (where he facilitated the release of American POWs), Zinn was not only an astute observer of history. As Frances Fox Piven writes in the introduction to Some Truths Are Not Self-Evident, "These Nation essays remind us that for nearly fifty years Zinn himself was deeply involved in the major twentieth-century struggles for social justice in the United States."

The book also includes later Zinn articles on George W. Bush's wars—on terror, in Iraq, against the poor—as well as a selection of Nation articles about Zinn, concluding with Eric Foner's 2010 obituary for the historian who "was not afraid to speak out about the difference between right and wrong." Nowhere has Zinn's courage and commitment to speaking out been as evident as in Some Truths Are Not Self-Evident: Essays in The Nation on Civil Rights, Vietnam and the "War on Terror."

Smoking Gun
The Nation on Watergate
1952 – 2010
Introduction by
Edited by

Surveillance Nation
Critical Reflections on
Privacy and Its Threats
Articles from The Nation
Introduction by
Edited by

Four decades ago, Richard Nixon resigned as President of the United States when audiotapes confirmed what many had long suspected: a crook was living in the White House.

Few publications covered Nixon's dangerous career as diligently or as critically as The Nation. Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein have been justly acknowledged, but equally important was a national conversation about what Watergate said about American democracy. For that, The Nation was indispensable.

For the first time, that coverage has been collected in Smoking Gun, The Nation on Watergate, 1952 – 2010, with an introduction by former US Representative Elizabeth Holtzman, who served on the House Judiciary Committee and voted to impeach.

As she argues in her introduction: "Neither Congress nor the courts have taken the Watergate example to heart and stood firmly against presidential crimes or serious misconduct."

"Nixon's successors have been expanding the powers of the presidency for four decades now," editor Richard Kreitner writes in the preface, "Smoking Gun is a thrilling history, but it is also a user's manual for how a democratic society under threat can wake up and take those powers back."

We've been living in 1984 since 1941. That was the year the Justice Department first authorized the wiretapping of Americans. "We shudder to think of what its agents will do with this new authorization," The Nation warned in an editorial that year.

Ever since then, our writers have investigated, exposed and denounced gross violations of our most basic civil liberties.

Now these articles have been collected in Surveillance Nation, a fascinating and timeless alternative history on the rise of the surveillance state. As our legal affairs correspondent, David Cole, writes in his introduction: "Time and again, writers for The Nation identified threats to privacy and liberty long before they were acknowledged by the broader public and media."

Contributors to this important collection include Victor Navasky,  Diana Trilling, Christopher Hitchens, Eric Foner, Laura Flanders, Jonathan Schell, Naomi Klein, Christopher Hayes, Patricia Williams, Fred Cook, Frank Donner and Jaron Lanier.

Surveillance Nation is an intellectual and historical feast for anyone who wants to learn more about the kind of widespread abuses that Edward Snowden revealed in June 2013.

This Immigrant

Perspectives on an
American Dilemma

Articles from The Nation
1868-the Present
Edited by

Kurt Vonnegut
Vonnegut by the Dozen
Twelve Pieces by Kurt Vonnegut
Edited by

This unvarnished collection of articles traces evolving issues and provides a unique history of the long-running national immigration dilemma.

American immigration has been debated in the pages of The Nation almost since its founding in 1865. The magazine has generally come down on the inclusive or "liberal" side of the great debate, but the editors were not immune from the prejudices of their times—an 1891 editorial called for the exclusion of "lunatics, paupers and cripples."

In our own time, the post-9/11 anti-terrorism mania prompted a crackdown on those with Muslim ties, however innocent.

Editor Richard Lingeman's sentiment: "We hope this perspective will inform and inspire readers to support the reforms appropriate for America in the twenty-first century."

America owes Kurt Vonnegut a debt of gratitude for infusing its culture with the brilliant insight found in books like Mother Night, Player Piano and Slaughterhouse—5—and for the mordantly funny writings assembled in this collection.

The Nation was one of Vonnegut's outlets for his political writings. He contributed to the magazine once or twice a year from 1978 to 1998, like a regular donation to the United Way. His politics were consistently on the left, and after fighting in World War II—which, for all its horrors, he considered just—he angrily condemned all of the United States' subsequent wars of choice.

He wrote in a kind of faux-simpleminded style. He avoided the high seriousness demanded by some critics, who dismissed his body of work as a product of the 1960s counterculture, popular only among shaggy-haired youths with callow taste.

But his best work, as you'll see, deals with ultimate questions.

Molly Ivins
Letters to
The Nation
Edited by

Gore Vidal's
State of the Union
Nation Essays
Edited by

Writing in her native "Texlish," Molly Ivins planted herself squarely in the tradition of plain-spoken and earthy American humor, the big river that runs from Mark Twain straight through to Will Rogers, Ring Lardner and George Carlin.

Between 1982 and 2007, Ivins contributed seventeen consistently sharp and funny articles to The Nation, starting with what might be described as her "Letters From Texas," in which she discussed political developments in the Lone Star State, whose zany politics were full of exotic people dubbed "The Gibber," "The Breck Girl" and "Governor Goodhair."

Despite their humor, however, Ivins's pieces always delivered trenchant political commentary. And she could also write highly accomplished and fascinating cultural essays and book reviews (such as "Ezra Pound in East Texas," included in this eBook).

Gore Vidal was the pre-eminent essayist of his generation—a writer known for his switchblade wit, elegant style, deep erudition and passionate devotion to progressive politics. The essays collected here all appeared in The Nation from 1958 to 2005 and cover a wide range of subjects—from politics and society to religion, manners and morals.

Vidal's "golden era" at The Nation commenced in 1981 with his explosive first essay for editor Victor Navasky, "Some Jews and the Gays," included here. This collection also exemplifies the best of his critical vision with other great essays like "Requiem for the American Empire," "Monotheism and Its Discontents," "Notes on Our Patriarchal State," "The Birds and the Bees" and its Monica Lewinsky-era sequel, "The Birds and the Bees and Clinton."

Prepare to have your preconceptions thoroughly skewered, even as you're laughing out loud.

Lived History
Lived History: Lives We've Lost, 2012-13

Edited by


Lived History: Lives We've Lost, 2012-13, celebrates the memory of thirty remarkable people.    

These tributes each embrace the personal as well as the political. Loving, intimate recollections offer the kind of telling biographical detail often left out of conventional obituaries.

Read William Greider's tale of being shouted down while guest-lecturing at his friend Larry Goodwyn's history class; Rick Perlstein's account of Aaron Swartz building him his first website; Jessica Valenti watching Adam Yauch's acceptance speech at the MTV Music Videos Awards and then crying with relief; Greg Grandin's description of his first meeting with Hugo Chavez; and many more.  

This eBookNation collection of stories celebrates life. And by focusing on often unsung passion for social justice that animated these extraordinary people, the pieces collected here illuminate the history of important struggles that continue to this day.   


The Art of Controversy


Dirty Wars


Twilight of the Elites


Game Over


The Change I Believe In


Herding Donkeys


Sister Citizen


The Mind-Body Problem: Poems


The Shock Doctrine


The Cause




Come Home America