Open Democracy Book Club: Unthinkable

The next book that has been chosen for the Open Democracy Book Club is Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy by Jamie Raskin.  

On April 11, Congressman Raskin will join us via Zoom for the first half hour for discussion and Q&A.

In this searing memoir, Congressman Jamie Raskin tells the story of the forty-five days at the start of 2021 that permanently changed his life—and his family’s—as he confronted the painful loss of his son to suicide, lived through the violent insurrection in our nation’s Capitol, and led the impeachment effort to hold President Trump accountable for inciting the political violence. 

On December 31, 2020, Tommy Raskin, the only son of Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin, tragically took his own life after a long struggle with depression. Seven days later on January 6, Congressman Raskin returned to Congress to help certify the 2020 Presidential election results, when violent insurrectionists led by right wing extremist groups stormed the U.S. Capitol hoping to hand four more years of power to President Donald Trump. As our reeling nation mourned the deaths of numerous people and lamented the injuries of more than 140 police officers hurt in the attack, Congressman Raskin, a Constitutional law professor, was called upon to put aside his overwhelming grief—both personal and professional—and lead the impeachment effort against President Trump for inciting the violence. Together this nine-member team of House impeachment managers riveted a nation still in anguish, putting on an unprecedented Senate trial that produced the most bipartisan Presidential impeachment vote in American history. 

Now for the first time, Congressman Raskin discusses this unimaginable convergence of personal and public trauma, detailing how the painful loss of his son and the power of Tommy’s convictions fueled the Congressman’s work in the aftermath of modern democracy’s darkest day. Going inside Congress on January 6, he recounts the horror of that day, a day that he and other Democrats had spent months preparing for under the correct assumption that they would encounter an attempted electoral coup—not against a President but for one. And yet, on January 6, he faced the one thing he had failed to anticipate: mass political violence designed to block Biden’s election. With an inside account of leading the team prosecuting President Trump in the Senate, Congressman Raskin shares never before told stories of just how close we came to losing our democracy that fateful day and lays out the methodical prosecution that convinced Democrats and Republicans alike of Trump’s responsibility for inciting insurrectionary violence against our government. 

Through it all, he reckons with the loss of his brilliant, remarkable son, a Harvard Law student whose values and memory continually inspired the Congressman to confront the dark impulses unleashed by Donald Trump. At turns, a moving story of a father coping with his pain and a revealing examination of holding President Trump accountable for the violence he fomented, this book is a vital reminder of the ongoing struggle for the soul of American democracy and the perseverance that our Constitution demands from us all. 

Purchasing information

Available at your local book store (Hardcover 18.99): 

Gibson's Bookstore, 45 South Main St., Concord, NH 03301  603-224-0562

Water Street Books, 125 Water St., Exeter, NH 03833   603-778-9731

Toadstool Bookstores, 12 Depot St., Peterborough, NH 03458   (603) 924-3543


  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Harper; First Edition (January 4, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 448 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0063209780
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0063209787
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.4 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
April 11, 2024 at 7:00pm -
Online via Zoom
Sue Nastasi Jane Roth Laura Lynch Ronald Gross Ken Barnes Susan Spademan Carol Perry Judy Mortner Cecile Juneau Steven Riley Deborah Opramolla Bob Perry Jodi Newell Sarah Thorne Dean Nyberg Julie Norcross James Wilson Pat Gibbons Thomas Oppel David Holt Elizabeth Lyons Betsy Small Susan Martin Peg Higgins Peggy Howard Portia McCracken Sally Simpson Peggy Van Valkenburgh Susanne Veal Jim Van Valkenburgh christine huntington Maude Odgers Marsha Livingston Teresa Reeves Sandra Vasko June Fabre Shana Potvin Karen Jackie Brenda Goudreau Joe Bagshaw Linda Bundy Anne Huberman Ellen Levy Jean Foster Peter Nerone Marcella Lambert Traci Tyo Colleen McGloughlin

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  • Sue Nastasi
    rsvped 2024-04-11 18:02:57 -0400
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  • Doreen Desmarais
    commented 2024-04-09 13:21:24 -0400
    From Bob Perry:
    Unthinkable is both a memoir of love of family, country, and loss, and detailed historical account of the confusion, fear and chaos that unfolded at our state capital on J6. The author was one of hundreds terrorized by insurrectionists on a mission to do great harm to whoever got in their way, including Speaker Pelosi, to hang the vice president of the United States, and to nullify the legitimate results of the November, 2020 election. Congressman Raskin will appear and take your questions. Time is short: RSVP today.
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