Wow, thanks for your participation Sci! I've learned a lot from your posts, very appreciated!
If you're interested in Federation politics, I would recommend starting earlier than War/Peace. This would be my recommended reading list:
* A Time to Kill by David Mack
* A Time to Heal by David Mack
* A Time for War, A Time for Peace by Keith R.A. DeCandido
* Articles of the Federation by Keith R.A. DeCandido
I would recommend these four novels as a good jumping-on point for modern Trek novels.
And thank you for the reading list!