Classic on Race and American Politics,
This review is from: Issue Evolution: Race and the Transformation of American Politics (Paperback)
C&S drive home the central place of race in twentieth century politics. It's an excellent political history, and also an important pioneering work on punctuated equilibrium models of political change (see Baumgartner and Jones 2009 for the fruits of this approach).
If the work has a drawback, it's that the model is developed from a single case that is by selection exceptional. That is, race is an "issue evolution" in that as it developed it changed the American political landscape. The book does not give as clear a picture of how the vast majority of issues move through the political system. Again, try pairing it with B&J 2009.