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Father’s Day Reads: The Revolutionary

These five picks are for all those dads packed to the brim with lively, political opinions. The dads who stand strong in the face of absurdity and injustice and never shy away from important topics and tough conversations.

The Accusation / Bandi
A collection of searing and heart-wrenching stories by an anonymous North Korean writer who is still living in North Korea and whose manuscript was smuggled out to be published abroad—the first piece of dissident fiction to ever come out of the country. Set during the period of Kim Jong-Il’s leadership, the seven vivid and frightening stories that make up The Accusation throw light on different aspects of life in this most bizarre of dictatorships.

Che Guevara / Jon Lee Anderson
Acclaimed around the world and a national best seller with over 250,000 copies sold, this is the definitive work on Che Guevara. This revised and updated edition of Jon Lee Anderson’s biography, which includes new material, traces Che’s extraordinary life, from his comfortable Argentina upbringing to the battlefields of the Cuban revolution, from the halls of power in Castro’s government to his failed campaign in the Congo and assassination in the Bolivian jungle.

The Master and Margarita / Mikhail Bulgakov
Suppressed in the Soviet Union for twenty-six years, Mikhail Bulgakov’s masterpiece is an ironic parable of power and its corruption, good and evil, and human frailty and the strength of love. Featuring Satan, accompanied by a retinue that includes the large, fast-talking, vodka drinking black tom cat Behemoth, and Pontius Pilate, The Master and Margarita combines fable, fantasy, political satire, and slapstick comedy into a wildly entertaining and unforgettable tale that is commonly considered one of the greatest novels ever to come out of the Soviet Union.

Serve the People! / Yan Lianke
When it was written in 2005, Serve the People! was deemed unpublishable by China’s state-run publishing houses. Despite the ban, the sexy, satirical novel found an underground audience on the Internet, where commentators praised its subversive critique of the Cultural Revolution. The book chronicles a love affair between the wife of a powerful Communist army commander and her household’s servant—a remarkable, profound, and deliciously comic satire on Mao’s famous slogan and the political and sexual taboos of his regime.

The Sympathizer / Viet Thanh Nguyen
This profound, startling, and beautifully crafted debut tells the story of a man of two minds, someone whose political beliefs clash with his individual loyalties. In dialogue with but diametrically opposed to the narratives of the Vietnam War that have preceded it, The Sympathizer offers an important and unfamiliar new perspective on the war: that of a conflicted communist sympathizer. A gripping spy novel, an astute exploration of extreme politics, and a moving love story, The Sympathizer explores a life between two worlds.

The Wretched of the Earth / Frantz Fanon
A distinguished psychiatrist from Martinique who took part in the Algerian Nationalist Movement, Frantz Fanon was one of the most important theorists of revolutionary struggle, colonialism, and racial difference in history. Fanon’s masterwork The Wretched of the Earth is a classic alongside Edward Said’s Orientalism or The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and here is available in a new translation that updates its language for a new generation of readers. A brilliant analysis of the psychology of the colonized and their path to liberation, this book bears singular insight into the rage and frustration of colonized peoples, and the role of violence in effecting historical change.