What's Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse reading?

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s new book is “Captured: The Corporate Infiltration of American Democracy.”
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s new book is “Captured: The Corporate Infiltration of American Democracy.”
Published Mar. 1, 2017


Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse told us the idea for his new book, Captured: The Corporate Infiltration of American Democracy, stems from his time in politics from a variety of vantage points. He believes people have misplaced frustration and are "condemning government itself, when actually a lot of the dissatisfaction goes back to the corporate influence in the government.'' A staunch advocate of dealing with climate change who has served in the U.S. Senate since 2006, Whitehouse, 61, spoke to us by phone a day before traveling to the Munich Security Conference with a bipartisan delegation led by Sen. John McCain, where he participated in the panel discussion "Climate Security: Good COP, Bad Cops."

Whitehouse lives in Newport with his wife Sandra, a marine biologist. They have two children.

What's on your nightstand?

I've got three books. Thomas Friedman's Thank You for Being Late — I've been an admirer of Tom as a thinker. I admired the work he did on Syria, explaining the underlying conflict there and the severe drought, footed by climate change. I've got Steven Park's The Burning of His Majesty's Schooner Gaspee. It's a great piece of Rhode Island history. And I'm also re-reading Elizabeth Drew's Washington Journal: Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon's Downfall.

Can you explain why you decided to read Drew's book again?

I think there are a lot of lessons from the Watergate era in how Congress should address executive abuses of government power.

Your book details why corporations at times generate false information in order to profit. When it comes to one of your primary focuses, the environment, what books do you recommend for correct information?

The best books on that are Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, Poison Tea: How Big Oil and Big Tobacco Invented the Tea Party and Captured the GOP by Jeff Nesbit and Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power by Steve Coll.

Contact Piper Castillo at Follow @Florida_PBJC.