Reading List

Universities largely no longer provide a solid grounding in the intellectual, philosophical or theological traditions or history of Western civilisation. Neither do they provide an honest portrayal of more modern history, viewed as it is through the distorted nightmare engendered by the ideological fun-house mirror of intersectionality. This reading list is a small way towards remedying that. Read what you want, as long as you get engaged with what is actually at the foundation of what Western culture is, rather than what the Alt-Right thinks forms the basis of “white Western culture”.

The Western Canon itself is vast, deep, complex and infinitely engaging. This is the main crime of the universities: they have reduced it to the smear of a load of “dead white males”, thus writing off with a snort of derision born of resentful ignorance the accumulation of thousands of years of thought that like it or not has made us who we are.

Some of the categories will overlap. Some books will be appropriate for more than one category. Yet, for ease of navigation, categorisation is necessary, however imperfect or restrictive it can be portrayed as being. I hope this list inspires rather than suppresses your interest. This list will mainly consist of secondary material, designed as an introduction that will enable you to view a world that made us through a window that presents the inheritance of the West with clarity and texture. Once you’ve read some of these books, you will hopefully feel fired to continue on to the texts that these works address and consider.

The rest of the books on the list will be on a variety of subjects that are of interest to today’s present and future world, which you can take or leave as you see fit.

Happy reading and learning.

 

Intellectual History

  • Larry Siedentop, Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism, (2014)
  • Anthony Gottlieb –
    • The Dream of Reason: A History of Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance, (2001)
    • The Dream of Enlightenment: The Rise of Modern Philosophy, (2017)
  • Richard Tarnas, The Passion Of The Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas That Have Shaped Our World View, (2010)
  • Vishal Mangalwadi, The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization, (2012)
  • Nick Spencer, The Evolution of the West: How Christianity has shaped our values, (2016)
  • Anthony Kenny, A New History of Western Philosophy, (2012)
  • Melissa Lane, Greek and Roman Political Ideas, (2014)
  • Nigel Warburton, A Little History of Philosophy, (2012)
  • Yuval Levin, The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine and the birth of Right and Left, (2014)
  • Pierre Manent, An Intellectual History of Liberalism, (1996)
  • Norman Hampson, The Enlightenment: An evaluation of its assumptions, attitudes and values, (1990)
  • Roger Scruton –
    • Philosophy, (2016)
    • An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Philosophy, (1999)
    • Italo Calvino, Why Read the Classics, (2009)

 

Religion

  • The Bible
  • The Qur’an
  • David M Gwynn, Christianity in the Later Roman Empire: A Sourcebook, (2014)
  • Peter Brown, The World of Late Antiquity: AD 150-750, (1989)
  • Diarmaid MacCulloch, A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, (2010)
  • Henry Chadwick et al, The Penguin History of the Church, all vols., (1990)
  • Bernard Lewis –
    • Islam and the West, (1994)
    • What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response, (2002)
    • The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror, (2004)
  • Alec Ryrie, Protestants: The radicals who made the modern world, (2017)
  • Kenan Malik, From Fatwa to Jihad: How the world changed from the Satanic Verses to Charlies Hebdo (2017)
  • Mircea Eliade –
    • A History of Religious Ideas, Volume 1: From The Stone Age To The Eleusinian Mysteries, (1981)
    • A History of Religious Ideas, Volume 2: From Gautama Buddha to the Triumph of Christianity, (1985)
    • A History of Religious Ideas, Volume 3: From Muhammad To The Age Of Reforms, (1988)
  • Robin Lane Fox, Augustine: Conversions and Confessions, (2016)
  • C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, (2016)
  • Rodney Stark –
    • Cities of God, (2007)
    • The Rise of Christianity, (1997)
  • Joseph B. Soloveitchik, The Lonely Man of Faith, (2009)
  • Richard Elliott Friedman –
    • Who Wrote the Bible? (2013)
    • The Disappearance of God: A Divine Mystery, (2014)
  • Thomas Woods Jr., How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilisation, (2005)
  • David Cook, Understanding Jihad, (2015)
  • Tamim Ansary, Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes, (2009)
  • Simon Ross Valentine, Force and Fanaticism: Wahhabism – History, Belief and Practice, (2010)

 

The Future and Technology

  • Erik Brynjolfson and Adnrew McAfee, The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, (2014)
  • Tyler Cowen –
    • The Great Stagnation, (2011)
    • Average is Over, (2013)
  • Nicholas Carr –
    • The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the way we Think, Read and Remember, (2010)
    • The Glass Cage: Who Needs Humans Anyway? (2015)
  • Evgeny Morozov –
    • The Net Delusion, (2011)
    • To Save Everything Click Here, (2013)
  • David Kirkpatrick, The Facebook Effect: The Real Inside Story of Mark Zuckerberg and the World’s Fastest Growing Company, (2012)
  • Robert Levine, Free Ride: How the Internet is Destroying the Culture Business and How it Can Fight Back, (2012)
  • Aleks Krotoski, Untangling the Web, (2013)
  • Clive Thompson, Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better, (2013)
  • Brigid Schulte, Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has The Time, (2014)
  • Adrian Wooldridge & John Micklethwait, The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State, (2014)
  • Andrew Keen, The Internet is not the Answer, (2015)
  • Martin Ford, Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, (2015)
  • Robert Colville, The Great Acceleration: How the World is Getting Faster, Faster, (2016)
  • John Palfrey & Urs Gasser, Born Digital: How Children Grow Up in a Digital Age, (2016)
  • Cathy O’Neil, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, (2016)
  • Ryan Avent, The Wealth of Humans: Work and Its Absence in the Twenty-first Century, (2016)
  • Adam Alter, Irresistible: Why We Can’t Stop Checking, Scrolling, Clicking and Watching, (2017)
  • Jean M. Twenge, iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood–and What That Means for the Rest of Us, (2017)
  • Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, Everybody Lies: What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are, (2017)
  • Franklin Foer, World Without Mind, (2017)

 

The Tragedy and Catastrophe of History

  • Barbara Tuchman –
    • A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, (2017)
    • The Guns of August, (2014)
    • The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World before the War, 1890-1914, (2014)
  • Margaret MacMillan, The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War, (2013)
  • Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914, (2013)
  • Max Hastings, Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War, (2013)
  • Niall Ferguson, The Pity of War 191 4-1918, (2012)
  • Adam Tooze, The Deluge: The Great War and the Remaking of Global Order 1916-1931, (2015)
  • William L. Shirer, The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich, (1991)
  • Richard J. Evans –
    • The Coming of the Third Reich: How the Nazis Destroyed Democracy and Seized Power in Germany, (2004)
    • The Third Reich in Power, 1933 – 1939: How the Nazis Won Over the Hearts and Minds of a Nation, (2006)
    • The Third Reich at War: How the Nazis Led Germany from Conquest to Disaster, (2009)
  • Ian Kershaw,
    • Hitler, (2010)
    • The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler’s Germany, 1944-1945, (2011)
    • To Hell and Back: Europe, 1914-1949, (2015)
  • Andrew Roberts, The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War, (2010)
  • Antony Beevor, Stalingrad, (2007)
  • Patrick Cockburn, The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution, (2015)
  • David Kilcullen, Blood Year: Islamic State and the Failures of the War on Terror, (2015)
  • Jessica Stern & J. M. Berger, ISIS: The State of Terror, (2015)
  • Graeme Wood, The Way of the Strangers: Encounters with the Islamic State, (2016)
  • Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, (2017)
  • Primo Levi, If This Is A Man/The Truce, (2014)
  • Julia Boyd, Travellers in the Third Reich: The Rise of Fascism Through the Eyes of Everyday People, (2017)
  • Orlando Figes, Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991, (2014)
  • Christopher R. Browning, Ordinary Men, (2013)
  • Jerzy Kosinski, The Painted Bird, (2007)
  • Iris Chang, The Rape Of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust Of World War II, (2012)
  • John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War, (2007)
  • Alexander Solzhenitsyn –
    • The Gulag Archipelago Volume 1: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, (2007)
    • The Gulag Archipelago Volume 2: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, (2007)
    • The Gulag Archipelago Volume 3: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, (2007)
  • Anne Applebaum –
    • Gulag: A History of the Soviet Camps, (2012)
    • Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-56, (2013)
    • Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine, (2017)
  • Stephen Kotkin, Stalin, Vol. I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928, (2015)
  • Timothy Snyder –
    • Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin, (2011)
    • Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, (2016)
    • On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, (2017)
  • David Cesarani, Final Solution: The Fate of the Jews 1933-1949, (2017)
  • Laurence Rees –
    • The Nazis: A Warning From History, (2006)
    • The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler, (2013)
    • The Holocaust: A New History, (2017)
    • Horror in the East: The Brutal Struggle in Asia and the Pacific in WWII, (2011)

 

Politics and Political Philosophy

  • Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, (2004)
  • John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, Utilitarianism and Other Essays, (2015)
  • Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy, (2009)
  • Roger Scruton –
    • How to be a Conservative, (2014)
    • Conservatism, (2017)
    • Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left, (2015)
    • Green Philosophy: How to think seriously about the planet, (2013)
    • The Uses of Pessimism & the Danger of False Hope, (2012)
    • A Political Philosophy: Arguments for Conservatism, (2007)
    • The Meaning of Conservatism, (2001)
    • The West and the Rest: Globalisation and the Terrorist Threat, (2003)
  • George Orwell –
    • Essays, (2000)
    • Down and Out in Paris and London, (2001)
    • Homage to Catalonia, (2000)
    • The Road to Wigan Pier, (2001)
  • Owen Jones, The Establishment: And How They Got Away With It, (2014)
  • Danny Dorling, Inequality and the 1%, (2014)
  • Daniel Hannan, How We Invented Freedom and Why It Matters, (2013)
  • Ryszard Legutko, The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies, (2016)
  • James Burnham –
    • Suicide of the West, (2014)
    • The Managerial Revolution, (1972)
  • Pascal Bruckner, The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism, (2010)
  • Whittaker Chambers, Witness, (2014)
  • Thomas C. Leonard, Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era, (2016)
  • Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, (2007)
  • Ed West, The Diversity Illusion: What We Got Wrong About Immigration & How to Set It Right, (2013)
  • David Goodhart –
    • The British Dream: Successes and Failures of Post-war Immigration, (2013)
    • The Road to Somewhere: The New Tribes Shaping British Politics, (2017)
  • Nick Cohen, What’s Left? (2007)
  • Thomas Sowell –
    • Conquests and Cultures: An International History, (1999)
    • The Quest for Cosmic Justice, (2002)
    • Black Rednecks & White Liberals, (2009)
    • Dismantling America: and other controversial essays, (2010)
    • Economic Facts and Fallacies: Second Edition, (2011)
    • The Thomas Sowell Reader, (2011)
    • Intellectuals and Society, (2012)
    • “Trickle Down Theory” and “Tax Cuts for the Rich”, (2012)
    • Intellectuals and Race, (2013)
    • Basic Economics, (2014)
    • Wealth, Poverty and Politics, (2016)
  • Shelby Steele, Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country, (2015)
  • Mark Lilla –
    • The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics: Revised Edition, (2016)
    • The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics, (2017)
  • Jan-Werner Muller, What Is Populism? (2016)
  • James Bartholomew, The Welfare of Nations, (2015)
  • Edward Luce, The Retreat of Western Liberalism, (2017)
  • Bill Emmott, The Fate of the West: The Battle to Save the World’s Most Successful Political Idea, (2017)
  • Yuval Levin, The Fractured Republic: Renewing America’s Social Contract in the Age of Individualism, (2017)

 

Free Speech and Political Correctness

  • Flemming Rose, The Tyranny of Silence: How One Cartoon Ignited a Global Debate on Free Speech, (2016)
  • Kirsten Powers, The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech, (2015)
  • Mick Hume, Trigger Warning: Is the Fear of Being Offensive Killing Free Speech? (2015)
  • Greg Lukianoff –
    • Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate, (2012)
    • Freedom From Speech, (2014)
  • Claire Fox, ‘I Find That Offensive!’, (2016)
  • Frank Furedi, What’s Happened To The University?: A sociological exploration of its infantilisation, (2016)
  • Tom Slater et al., Unsafe Space: The Crisis of Free Speech on Campus, (2016)
  • Stephen R. C. Hicks, Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault,

 

Europe, Immigration and Islam (not at all controversial or anything)

  • Mark Steyn, America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, (2006)
  • Bruce Bawer –
    • While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within, (2006)
    • Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom, (2009)
  • Walter Laqueur –
    • The Last Days of Europe: Epitaph for an Old Continent, (2006)
    • After the Fall: The End of the European Dream and the Decline of a Continent, (2011)
  • Christopher Caldwell, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West, (2010)
  • Innes Bowen, Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent: Inside British Islam, (2014)
  • Douglas Murray, The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam, (2017)

 

Literature: How We Got Here and Where We Could Go

  • Fyodor Dostoevsky –
    • Crime and Punishment, (2014)
    • The Idiot, (2016)
    • Devils, (2008)
    • The Karamazov Brothers, (2014)
  • Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, (2008)
  • George Orwell, 1984, (2004)
  • Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, (1999)
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse 5, or The Children’s Crusade – A Duty-dance with Death, (1991)
  • Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa, The Leopard, (2007)
  • Joseph Roth, The Radetsky March, (2013)
  • Robert Musil, The Man Without Qualities, (2017)
  • Stefan Zweig –
    • The World of Yesterday: Memoirs of a European, (2011)
    • Beware of Pity, (2013)
    • Messages from a Lost World: Europe on the Brink, (2017)
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther, (2012)
  • Voltaire, Candide, (2008)

 

 

 

 

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