Read FeedSouthwest Library


What it all means and its history

Impeachment. It’s a word increasingly present in our news cycles and everyday discussions. Regardless of where your feelings on current events fall, you may be wondering what, exactly, “impeachment” means and what the process looks like. We’re here to help you navigate the goings-on on the Hill, starting with this list of books on the impeachment process and its history in the United States.

Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide by Cass Sunstein
Harvard Law professor Cass Sunstein brings his expertise to the process of impeachment in what is described as an “essential guide.” Sunstein spells out the steps of impeachment, drawing from historical precedent and the written law. With a pulse on the current situation, Sunstein helps to clarify common public misconceptions around impeachment and applies his knowledge to the current administration’s conflict.

Impeachment: A Handbook by Charles L. Black, Jr.
Originally published during the Watergate scandal, Impeachment: A Handbook delivers a new edition to help describe and explain the grounds for impeachment and other details of the proceedings. Here, the text has been updated, as new chapters
by Columbia Law School professor Philip Bobbit augment the original material by late author (and former professor at Yale Law School) Black. 

A Citizen’s Guide to Impeachment by Barbara Ann Radnofsky
Politician Barbara Ann Radnofsky explains the process of impeachment with a non-partisan touch along with an explanation of the concept’s history in British law and various examples of its invocation at numerous levels of government. Intended for the layperson, A Citizen’s Guide to Impeachment is a quick, no-nonsense read for those looking to understand the basics.

Impeachment: An American History by Jeffrey Engel, Jon Meacham, Timothy Naftali and Peter Baker
Four presidential experts gather to review the history of the three presidential impeachments in United States history, noting how none of the impeachments have led to Senate conviction. With a focus on historical context, Impeachment allows the authors to explore how the process plays out practically, leaving the reader to draw conclusions about the potential outcomes of current events.

Impeaching the President: Past, Present, and Future by Alan Hirsch
Lauded as a balanced look at the impeachment process, Impeaching the President by constitutional scholar Alan Hirsch applies past impeachment proceedings to current events alongside historical illustrations. Coming in under 200 pages, this book explains not only the process itself, but also the consequences and potential responses to impeachment.

Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy by David O. Stewart
To get a sense of how impeachment has played out in the past, try Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy. Stewart, a well-known historical nonfiction author and attorney, directs the reader through the events of President Andrew Johnson’s impeachment and the mistakes the president made along the way. Described as an engaging read, this narrative can help impart context and understanding for the country’s modern conflict and leave readers with guidance on what to expect.

The Impeachment Diary: Eyewitness to the Removal of a President by James Reston, Jr.
With a witness’s perspective, The Impeachment Diary brings readers to the floor of Congress with Reston’s observations of the Senate Watergate Committee hearings and later trials. As with Stewart’s book, readers can once again see the practical outcomes of the impeachment process and their applications in a real-life event. Readers familiar with the Nixon impeachment proceedings will gain new insight to the historical event and consider how those events may influence those of modern times.

Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation by Kenneth Starr
Once at the center of the Clinton investigation and impeachment proceedings, Kenneth Starr shares about his experience of the historical event in Contempt. With retrospect, Starr addresses public concerns about the handling of the Clinton investigation and explains the various aspects of the results and consequences. Another piece to help inform what the public may expect, this is a unique perspective to include in reading about the impeachment process in United States history.