Yesterday I complained about how few people would learn about the repeated debunking of Thomas Frank's empirical claims. I want to make a more constructive point and recommend the two most important political science books of the year for general readers, both of which debunk claims promoted by pundits like Frank.
1. Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do. Andrew Gelman, David Park, Boris Shor, Joseph Bafumi, and Jeronimo Cortina use graphics and clever statistical analysis (hidden from the reader) to resolve the paradox of rich states voting Democratic and rich people voting Republican. You'll never read David Brooks or Michael Barone the same way again.
2. Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age. Larry Bartels has compiled a thorough analysis of various aspects of the politics of inequality. In particular, he undercuts the widely held perception that Republicans are better managers of the economy, showing that economic performance has been better under Democratic presidents since World War II.
Many people have complained that political science has forgotten about politics. These authors have not -- their work deserves your attention.