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Posted at 2:30 PM ET, 01/ 4/2011

10 political books to watch in early 2011

By Stephen Lowman

From memoirs by possible presidential candidates to a weighty analysis of U.S.-China relations, a slew of books will be competing early this year to capture the political conversation. Here are ten that we have our eye on:

rumsfeld.JPGKnown and Unknown: A Memoir, by Donald Rumsfeld
At 832 pages, Rumsfeld takes a long look back at his time in public service in the administrations of George W. Bush, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, and at his tenure in Congress in the 1960s. The book, not surprisingly, defends the war in Iraq and, more suprisingly, contains reams of declassified documents that will be released to coincide with the book’s publication. Feb. 8

reagan.JPGMy Father at 100, by Ron Reagan
A bounty of Ronald Reagan-related books is also coming this year with the 100th anniversary of the Gipper's birth and with Republicans increasingly invoking his name. Here is an account of the man by someone who knew him as “dad.” Jan. 18

wiki.JPGInside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website, by Daniel Domscheit-Berg
The former spokesman for Wikileaks reveals the workings of the controversial organization and writes about its elusive founder Julian Assange. Domscheit-Berg became disenchanted with the organization and left in Sept. 2010.
Feb. 15

pawlenty.JPGCourage to Stand: An American Story, by Tim Pawlenty
There’s a lot of speculation the former Republican governor of Minnesota is considering a presidential run. Here he shares stories from his boyhood and his vision for America. Jan. 11

brown.JPGAgainst All Odds: My Life of Hardships, Fast Breaks, and Second Chances, by Scott Brown
“Scott Brown's greatest win did not occur on a cold January election night in 2010 when he came from behind to capture the U.S. Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy for nearly fifty years,” writes Brown’s publisher. “It began when he survived a savage beating at the drunken, dirty-fingernail hands of a stepfather when he was barely six years old, while trying to protect his mother.” This memoir recounts his troubled early life to his recent Senate campaign. Feb. 22

huckabee.JPGA Simple Government: Twelve Things We Need from Washington (and a Trillion We Don’t!), by Mike Huckabee
No newcomer to the literary scene, Huckabee has churned out several works of fiction and, like his latest entry, prescriptive texts on how to fix Washington. As Republicans vie for their party’s presidential nomination in 2012, this folksy conservative may be signaling his talking points for his own candidacy. Feb. 22

abdullah.JPGOur Last Best Chance: Peace in a Time of Peril, by King Abdullah II of Jordan
The King of Jordan writes about his childhood in America and Britain, his role in the Jordanian Special Forces and about his father, the late King Hussein. Other subjects include the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the Iraq War. Feb. 22

kissinger.JPGOn China, by Henry Kissinger
The foreign policy adviser looks at U.S.-China relations over the past 60 years. May 17

The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution, by Francis Fukuyama
The political philosopher and former State Department planner who famously declared “The End of History” two decades ago is back with an examination of how societies organize themselves and develop political institutions. April 12


Unfamiliar Fishes, by Sarah Vowell
In previous books, Vowell explored presidential assassinations and America’s Puritan roots. With "Unfamiliar Fishes," the witty essayist (who got her break on public radio’s “This American Life”) tackles the 50th state: Hawaii. March 22

By Stephen Lowman  | January 4, 2011; 2:30 PM ET
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