In this quintessential Washington vacation season, here’s hoping many of you are reading this from a comfortable, relaxing spot far from the muggy D.C. streets ...

This time around, a batch of new titles hit the list — all of which ponder the state of American influence both today and projected into the near future. Professor Nye’s book has been on and off the list in the past, while the newbies (Mark Steyn and Gideon Rachman) examine the issue from somewhat different perspectives. All, though, make the case that conflict, be it political or economic, seems to lay ahead ... and what to to about it.


Political Bestsellers — August 21, 2011

[click on author’s name to be routed to Book World’s review]

1. After America: Get Ready for Armageddon

A nearly full moon rises beyond an American flag at a shopping center in Overland Park, Kan., Wednesday, July 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) (Charlie Riedel/AP)

2. Zero-Sum Future: American Power in an Age of Anxiety

(Simon & Schuster, $27)

By Gideon Rachman

3. The Future of Power

(PublicAffairs, $27.99)

By Joseph S. Nye Jr.

4. The Secrets of the FBI (Crown, $26)

By Ronald Kessler

5. The Triple Agent: The al-Qaeda Mole Who Infiltrated the CIA

An American flag is seen at Bicentennial Park in Troy, Ala., Friday, July 1, 2011. (AP Photo/The (Troy) Messenger, Thomas Graning) MANDATORY CREDIT (Thomas Graning/AP)

6. Of Thee I Zing: America’s Cultural Decline from Muffin Tops to Body Shots

(Threshold, $25)

By Laura Ingraham with Raymond Arroyo

7. SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper

(St. Martin’s, $26.99)

By Howard E. Wasdin & Stephen Templin

8. The Technical Collection of Intelligence

(CQ, $94.95). By Robert M. Clark

9. Decision Points (Crown, $35)

By George W. Bush

10. Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon

(Times, $30). By Gretchen Morgenson & Joshua Rosner

11. On China (Penguin Press, $36)

By Henry Kissinger

Drawn from Book World’s bestseller data supplied by Nielsen BookScan for the week ending August 14, 2011 (culled from the top 50 titles sold). The chart may not be reproduced without permission from Nielsen BookScan. Copyright © 2011