The Best Books

Friday, January 27, 2006
As an old cavalryman the primary rule for action was to ride to the sound of the guns. In an earlier post our esteemed troll suggested we should be reading somebody who write a blog--

And this, of course suggested an even more fun activity: what books should we be reading? Yeah yeah--this is the old great books dodge; but it is fun. Forthwith my ideas about essential literature (religious tracts not included):

1 Thucydides. The Peloponnesian Wars

2.Tacitus. The Annals

3. Marsilio of Padua: Defensor Pacis

4. Hobbes: Leviathan and A Dialogue between a Philosopher and a Student of the Common Laws of England

5. Harrington: Oceana

6. Locke: The Second Treatise

7. Jefferson: The Declaration of Independence

8. Assorted Authors: The Federalist Papers (particularly Federalist 10 and 51)

9. Assorted Authors: The Constitution of the United States of America

10. JJ Rousseau: The Social Contract

11. Adam Smith: On the Wealth of Nations

12. John C Calhoun: A Disquisition on Government

13. John Stuart Mill: On Liberty

12. Karl Marx: The 18th Brumaire of Louis Napolean

And there you have it! Your thoughts?

10 comments:

MeaninglessHotAir said...

Boy do I have a lot of reading I need to get caught up on!

Rick Ballard said...

No Montesquieu, Burke or Oakeshott? Half the foundation is missing.

Oh well, I'll take counsel of Marcus Aurelius and watch quietly.

Seneca the Younger said...

Epictetus, Enchiridion, and of course The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.

Gödel's Proof, Nadel and Newman.

Plato.

Eric Blair said...

Add to that:
Confucius, The Analects. Sun Tzu, The Art of War. Machiavelli, The Prince, The Art of War.
U.S. Grant, Memoirs
Virginia Postrel, The Future and Its Enemies
Steven Levitt, Freakonomics
Edward Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier, Politics and the English Language

Seneca the Younger said...

I didn't know anyone but me read Machiavelli's Art of War.

Okay, I'll see you Sunzi and raise you Laozi, the Tao te ching.

The Vajracchedika Prajna paramita Sutra ... maybe. I'm undecided.

flenser said...

Irving Kristol - Two Cheers For Capitalism

James Fitzjames Stephen - Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

Russell Kirk - Prospects for Conservatives

Robert Nisbet - The Quest For Community

Some of these may be out of print. Liberty Fund might have some of them.

Buddy Larsen said...

Jeez--what a list. Churchill's six-volume "The Second World War" is a favorite, especially since he led into the writing by answering a question about how he saw history as treating him, with "History shall indeed be kind to me, for I intend to write it."

Words to be believed!

Eric Blair said...

Well Seneca, I was going to throw in Frederick the Great's Regulations for the Prussian Infantry, and De Saxe's Reveries, and even Vegetius, but I thought that would probably confuse people.

Eric Blair said...

Oh yes. I'll see your Tao Te Ching and raise you Mencius and Ibn Khaldun's THe Muqaddimah.

Buddy Larsen said...

"Hamlet" in Spanish:

"para ser, o no ser, que es la pregunta!"