In my opinion, a key book for understanding why liberals and conservatives think the way they do is Moral Politics by George Lakoff. Lakoff’s research shows that conservatives use a “strict father family” metaphor for thinking about government, and outlines the morality that follows from this. Obedience to authority, reward and punishment, things like that. The book explains why conservatives think it is immoral to help the poor. He says that liberals use a “nurturing parent” family metaphor, and follow a moral structure of helping each other. Lakoff’s book gives you a good insight into why right-wingers mocked Hillary Clinton for writing a book titled It Takes a Village.

A key book for understanding “movement conservatives” is Blinded by the Right, by David Brock.