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  • Your Favorite Books, Movies, etc?

    Posted by Jonathan on January 14th, 2007 (All posts by )

    UPDATE (1/19/2007): Please keep your recommendations coming!

    I’m setting up an Amazon store for the blog, with the idea of providing one-stop shopping for canonical titles in Anglospheria, military history, political history etc. No reason why we can’t also list movies (Zulu!) and perhaps other stuff. I’m looking for suggestions, so if you have a top-ten (or top-whatever) list that you’re willing to share, please feel free to tell us in the comments.


    UPDATE (1/15/2007): I am going to leave this post on top for a while. Please scroll down to read newer posts.

    UPDATE (1/21/2007): The link to our new Amazon store is up. I haven’t added all of your recommended books and movies yet, and the organization of the store’s content needs work, but I will deal with these issues ASAP. Please keep your recommendations coming! I will leave this post up for a while longer. (And please feel free to leave suggestions for the organization of the store as well.) Thanks again.


    57 Responses to “Your Favorite Books, Movies, etc?”

    1. Lex Says:

      Top ten books. Hard to do, man. It varies. But at of today, something like this:

      F.W. Maitland, Constitutional History of England
      James C. Bennett, The Anlgosphere Challenge
      Alan Macfarlane, The Riddle of the Modern World / The Making of the Modern World (really one book)
      Michael Barone, Our Country
      F.A. Hayek, Individualism and Economic Order
      Ernst Junger, Storm of Steel
      David Hackett Fischer, Albion’s Seed
      Jonathan R.T. Hughes, The Vital Few
      Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
      Richard Overy, Why the Allies Won

      Order arbitrary.

    2. Dee G` Says:

      Can you include links to the original texts serving as foundations of US law, starting from Magna Carta up thru Declaration of Independence, Federalist Papers, US Constitution?

      Otherwise, a few random thoughts, some of which veer a bit towards Western Civ as opposed to just Anglosphere:

      David McCullough’s bio of John Adams, Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis.

      Victor Davis Hanson Cultures of War, Paul Davis 100 Decisive Battles: From Ancient Times to the Present.

      Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith; Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Locke; Road to Serfdom, Hayek. Democracy in America, de Toqueville.

      Self reliance and other Essays, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Never Give In! The Best of Winston Churchill’s Speeches, Winston S. Churchill. Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton. Anything and everything from Shakespeare, Aristotle, Plato. Don’t know if Atlas Shrugged is really “anglsophere,” but it still crystallizes for me some of the most clear statements re the value of men dealing with each other by trade and money vs. force. Introduction To Christianity by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict).

      Movies: Pride and Prejudice, the Patriot, Master and Commander, Elizabeth, Ghandi.

      Good luck…

    3. Jonathan Says:

      Lex: Thanks.

      Dee G: Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll include links to the basic texts that are not on Amazon.

    4. Lex Says:

      There are several sites that have various of the founding documents Dee G refers to, e.g. here. Not that linking to Amazon is a bad idea for them.

    5. david foster Says:

      This will take some thought. For starters: in the military history category, “Defeat Into Victory” by General William Slim, and “Quartered Safe Out Here” by George MacDonald Fraser. Both books are about the WWII campaign in Burma: the Slim book from the standpoint of the overall commander and the the GMF book from the standpoint of an individual soldier.

      I have a brief excerpt from the Slim book here.

    6. Jim MIller Says:

      Here’s a book that I just mentioned, Roberta Wohlstetter’s “Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision”. (Sadly, she just passed away.) Every one interested in military intelligence should read it.

    7. Lex Says:

      Dittos on Slim and Wohlstetter. Both classics. I want to read the Fraser. (I have yet to make the acquaintance of his Flashman, whom I understand is a rogue worth knowing.)

      On war memoirs, the classic English ones from World War I should be certainly be included: Robert Graves, Goodbye to All That; Siegfried Sassoon, the three volumes of Memoirs of George Sherston; Frederick Manning, Her Privates We (a/k/a The Middle Parts of Fortune). I have not yet read Max Plowman’s Subaltern on the Somme, which is usually included with this list.

    8. Jonathan Says:

      These are all great, thanks. Please keep them coming if you have more.

    9. david foster Says:

      On the Spanish Civil War: “The Forging of a Rebel,” a memoir by Arturo Barea. My review here.

    10. Lexington Green Says:

      Wow, that Barea book sounds great.

    11. Mrs. Davis Says:

      Not too surprisingly, Lex made quick work of the books, though Queen Victoria’s Little Wars by Byron Farwell deserves mention. So, I’ll take a stab at the movies:

      Bridge on the River Kwai
      In Which We Serve/The Cruel Sea
      Henry V
      Edge of the World
      The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
      The Young Mr. Pitt
      Good Bye Mr. Chips
      A Man for All Seasons
      Four Feathers
      Great Expectations

    12. Lex Says:

      Wow Mrs. Davis, that is a darn fine list.

      Which Henry V — Olivier or Branagh?

      Blimp is my favorite movie of all time.

      I must see Young Mr. Pitt. Did you see the recent review of it on the Conservative History Blog?

      Also, I take it that is the old version of Four Feathers?

      Never seen Mr. Chips. I suppose I must do so.

    13. John J. Coupal Says:

      My top-one non-fiction book:

      Lawrence Wright: “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11”

      All we need to know about what we face.

    14. AYY Says:

      As for movies, the Victory at Sea series (not the two hour movie, but the individual episodes) ought to be on your list. My personal preference would also be for anything with Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall in it, or something that has the old Lone Ranger (Clayton Moore version) episodes.
      Might also want to include filmed versions of some of Shakespeare’s plays.

      Mrs. Davis mentioned Good Bye Mr. Chips. I don’t recall the movie too well, but the author,James Hilton, wrote some pretty good melodramas, so you might also want to look at some of his other books or movie offshoots.

      As for military history, there’s so many that it’s hard to limit them but off the top of my head would suggest: Mud A Military History by G. Wood. Short, interesting work on the role of mud in campaigns. Agree with DF about Slim and Fraser, also see The Marauders (also about WW2 Burma theater, not sure who the author is). Several of HJ Poole’s books, such as The Tiger’s Way, deserve to be considered for the list.

      Others include The River War by Winston Churchill, William Manchester’s biog of MacArthur and his The Arms of Krupp, HP Willmott’s Empires in the Balance and the Javelin and the Barrier (not sure if they’re still in print), Long Gray Line by Rick Atkinson, Nightingale’s Song (don’t recall the author), Marine by B. Davis (biog of Chesty Puller), Fortunate Son by Lewis Puller, Three Corvettes by N. Monsaratt (author of The Cruel Sea), Take Her Deep by R. O’Kane, any sub story by Edward Beach (or his autobiog), Rogue Warrior by R. Marcinko and maybe his first two or three fiction books (but not anything after those), Gates of Fire by S. Pressfield (tens of thousands of Persians who’d conquered everything in their path, are on their way to conquer Greece. All they have to do is get past 300 Spartans [and some others] at Thermopylae. Can’t imagine they’d have much trouble doing that.)

      Political history: Witness by Whittaker Chambers

    15. david foster Says:

      Jonathan–don’t know if you want to have a business section, but if so, here are a couple of ideas:

      *”Father, Son, & Co” by Tom Watson Jr–the story of IBM’s growth and of Watson Jr’s relationship with his father. By far the best business autobiography I have read.

      *”The Innovator’s Solution” by Christensen & Raynor–a book on strategy that goes beyond platitudes. My review here.

    16. Jonathan Says:

      These are all great suggestions! Please keep them coming if you have more.

      David: There will be a business/finance/econ section to which I’ll add the books you listed.

    17. Jay Reding Says:

      I think everyone needs to read Sayid Qutb’s “Milestones” if only because it’s as close to a founding document (besides the Qu’ran) that the Islamist movement has.

      For military history, Michael Oren’s “Six Days of War” is one of my personal favorites.

    18. Angie Schultz Says:

      Never seen Mr. Chips. I suppose I must do so.

      I suggest the 1939 version with Robert Donat and Greer Garson, rather than the 1969 version with Peter O’Toole and Petula Clark.

      I’ll try to scare up some Kipling links.

    19. Phil Fraering Says:

      While not necessarily about “the anglosphere” per se, I’d suggest the works of Eric Hoffer, in particular _The True Beliver_, _The Passionate State of Mind_, _The Ordeal of Change_, and _First Things, Last Things_.

      For movies, what about John Huston’s _The Man Who Would Be King_, with Sean Connery and Michael Caine? (At least for “Detriments you call us? Detriments? Well I want to remind you that it was detriments like us that built this bloody Empire AND the Izzat of the bloody Raj.”)

      Also the original written version… maybe _Kim_ too?

    20. Ginny Says:

      Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy; Essays in Criticism, Literature and Dogma.
      George Eliot’s Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda
      Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, In Memoriam
      Thomas Hughes Tom Brown’s School Days

      James’s “The Bostonians” deals (in a way at least) with the cultural clashes that The Cousins’ Wars argues ran within England, between England and America, and, finally, in America.
      Whitman’s “Preface” to The Leaves of Grass and Emerson’s Nature both obliquely discuss our mutual language & its importance.

      On the other hand, if you want to look at how we differ in what we want to talk about, compare Melville’s Billy Budd (set on a British ship) with Britten’s operatic interpretation. (The contrast is quite interesting and demonstrates, it seems to me, how much more Germanic and idealistic we tend to be; they do delight in examining the social and we the theological.)

      Kipling’s book as well as the movie mentioned above “The Man Who Would be King.”

      The movies: Mrs. Miniver & Since You Went Away if you want two homefront movies.

    21. david foster Says:

      Another movie: K-19, about an ill-starred Soviet submarine, told entirely from the perspective of its crew.

    22. Tyouth Says:

      Nonfiction: William Shrier’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
      It’s been 30+ years but this book remains the most influential book I’ve read.

      Fiction: James Dickey’s Deliverance is a masterpiece. A short novel that looks at middle aged angst, the social contract, the double edged nature of material progress, and people in nature.

      Everyone should have a volume of Hemingway’s best short stories and samples of his best fiction. At his best, his is the best that ever was.

      Film: A lot easier to choose in this category. All errors can be forgiven if the thing entertains.

      #1 Rocky. Inspirational, gritty slice of working class life, humor, fight, and a neat little love story!
      Deliverance: A bit different in emphasis than the novel but it doesn’t stray too far. Great NE Georgia scenery (I notice that my top picks except Rocky have the scenic cinematography and great sound). BTW, if you see it, the sheriff is played by James Dickey.

      Lawrence of Arabia, Zulu, 2001 Space Oddysey (technically/visually showing its age, but still ….), Bridge Over the River Kwai, The Godfather, The Third Man, The 39 Steps, Maltese Falcon, Treasure of Sierra Madre.

    23. ElGaboGringo Says:

      Wow. Lots of material for the wish-list here; especially the Barea book. For an easy read that touches on that topic try “The breaking point” by Stephen Koch on the rise and demise of the relationship between Dos Passos and Hemingway, centered around Spain’s civil War.

      Only thing I’d add to the list would be Whitaker Chamber’s “Witness.” Auto-biography covering his role in the American Communist party and the Hiss trials. With the Gulag Archipelago as a defining book on 20th century communism. A thick book, but goes fast since it’s hard to put down.

    24. AYY Says:

      Here’s a few more:

      Anglospheria–Monty Python, of course. Also Wodehouse and Waugh. Orwell’s essays. Thomas Macaulay (speeches and essays– the old speeches are hardly ever read today, but they should be, they get you caught up in the issues of his day). Life at the Bottom –T. Dalrymple; Mr. Standfast–J. Buchan (thought it was better than the 39 Steps, or his other Richard Hanna novels); Moonfleet– J. Meade Falkner; Confessions of a Justified Sinner –J. Hogg. Life and Times of Augustus J.Carp by Himself; Chrestomathy– H.L. Mencken;

      Military- Stalingrad — A. Beevor; With the Old Breed and China Marine –E. Sledge; Inside Delta Force– E. Haney; James Jones’s fiction including The Thin Red Line, and From Here to Eternity. Grant and Lee–JFC Fuller; Military Misfortunes and Supreme Comnand –E. Cohen; David Hackworth’s books.

      Political History — Reflections on a Ravaged Century– R. Conquest

      Misc. Death Ship- B. Traven

    25. Johnathan Pearce Says:

      Some brilliant suggestions here already (as I did not have enough books to catch up on), here are some books, many with Anglosphere themes, some just because they are rattling good yarns:
      Orwell: The complete essays.
      Sherlock Holmes stories by Conan Doyle.
      Expanded Universe, by Robert A. Heinlein (a collection of short SF stories). Also, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
      The Constitution of Liberty, by FA Hayek.
      Capitalism and Freedom, by Milton Friedman.
      Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand.
      Memoirs, by W.S. Churchill.
      The Happy Return, by CS Forester
      The Ship, by CS Forester
      Casino Royale, From Russia With Love, by Ian Fleming. Can also recommend Andrew Lycett’s biography of Fleming.
      PG Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Blandlings novels
      Scoop, by E.Waugh, and Vile Bodies.
      The Right Stuff, and a Man in Full, by Tom Wolfe
      The Toilers of the Sea, 93, and the Laughing Man, by V.Hugo
      The Count of Monte Cristo, by A. Dumas
      Fighter, by Len Deighton (non-fiction account of the Battle of Britain).
      The History of the Second World War, by John Keegan.
      Peel, by Norman Gash (biography of Sir Robert Peel).
      Eminent Churchillians, by Andrew Roberts.

    26. Lexington Green Says:

      This post elicited 40 comments and many, many suggestions from our readers of favorite military history books. It is worth revisiting and scrolling through.

    27. Dan from Madison Says:

      I have a few additions:
      Eric Bergerud: Fire in the Sky, The air war in the South Pacific – for great descriptions of the planes and tactics there.
      Eric Bergerud: Touched with Fire, the land war in the South Pacific – gives you a sense of the unbelivable conditions there.

      Samuel Morrison – History of US Naval Operations in World War 2 – this 15 volume set is very easy reading with lots of maps. Gives great detail of the famous battles, as well as things not so famous like the landings of operation Torch and the submarine war in the Atlantic

      Beans, Bullets and Black Oil by W.R. Carter – the definitive book about supply by the US Pacific forces in WW2.

      Mike Magnuson – Lummox, The evolution of a man – funny novel about the trials of a man living in the Midwest – partially a true story.

      Ted Roosevelt – The Naval War of 1812 – wonderful descriptions of the ships, tactics, and strategy used on the water in this understudied war.

      Antony Beevor – Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege – Great descriptive history of one of the most awful battles of history.

      George Orwell – Homage to Catalonia – Orewell actually fought against the fascists in the Spanish Civil War and this account tells the tale.

      William Shirer – Berlin Diary: The journal of a foreign correspondent 1934-1941 – Shirer was a journalist stationed in Berlin during this time and has some amazing first person accounts about that scary time.

      There are more, of course, but these stick out off the top of my head.

    28. Jonathan Says:

      These are great. Thanks to all, and please keep them coming. I am adding almost every one of these recommendations to the list.

    29. Randomscrub Says:

      I’d like to see Locke’s Two Treatises on Government, Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Sir Thomas Mallory’s Le Morte D’Arthur (we can’t leave out the Arthurian legends!), John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Lycidas, Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, Shakespeare’s Complete Works, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Beowulf, Jack London’s The Call of the Wild and White Fang, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. And maybe a collection of Ray Bradbury’s short stories.

      I didn’t see anything by Burke above, but I’m not sure what I’d include.

      You may want to consider a poetry section, though it had more currency in the olden days than now. I’d consider Frost, Whitman, Blake, Donne, Tennyson, Byron, along with Milton and Shakespeare as mentioned above.

    30. Lex Says:

      Of course, All of the Books James McCormick has reviewed should be on the list as well.

    31. AYY Says:

      Well you said you wanted more, so here goes:

      Goodbye Darkness by Wm Manchester; Fable of the Bees by B. Mandeville (oldie but goodie); Jungle Lore, Temple Tiger, Maneaters of Kumaon (and others) by Jim Corbett (Corbett is an addicting writer. Once you’ve read one of his books you just might want to read them all)

      Murder of My Aunt by R. Hull (You didn’t ask for mysteries but this one is a classic in the field and can fit into the Anglospheria category); To Rule the Waves by A. Herman (history of Britsh Navy); The Collapse of British Power by C. Barnett; The Good Shepherd by C.S. Forester (re: convoy escort in the Atlantic in WW2). John Keegan (almost anything). Barney’s Version by Mordecai Richler (I’m not a big fan of Richler, but on this one he outdid himself –it’s classic non-pc fiction)

      Would also put in a plug for the ISI College Guide (Choosing the Right College) It has things that you won’t find in most college guides.

    32. AYY Says:

      Oops, right after I pushed the button I remembered another one: In Deadly Combat by (Bidermann(?)) (Memoir of WW2 on the Eastern Front).

      That in turn somehow reminded me of the Charlie Chaplin silent movies like The Kid, and The Gold Rush. You might also want to think about adding them to your list. Also in the movie dept. how about The Best Years of Our Lives.

    33. david still Says:

      (the film dissapoin ting)
      Story of O
      Cover of a French edition of Histoire d’O featuring Corinne Clery
      Cover of a French edition of Histoire d’O featuring Corinne Clery
      One version of the Roissy triskelion ring
      One version of the Roissy triskelion ring

      Histoire d’O (English title: Story of O ) is an erotic novel about sadomasochism by French author Anne Desclos (1907-1998) under the pen name Pauline Réage. Desclos only revealed her identity as the author forty years after publication and shortly before her death. Desclos said that she had written the novel as a series of love letters to her lover Jean Paulhan who admired the work of the Marquis de Sade. Desclos also wrote under the name of Dominique Aury.

      Published 1954 in French, by Jean-Jacques Pauvert, editeur, it is a story of female submission about a beautiful Parisian fashion photographer who is blindfolded, chained, whipped, branded, pierced, made to wear a mask, and taught to be “constantly available” for oral, vaginal, and/or anal intercourse. In February 1955, it won the French literature prize Prix des Deux Magots, although this did not prevent the French authorities bringing obscenity charges against the publisher. The charges were rejected by the courts, but a publicity ban was imposed for a number of years.

      The first English edition was published by Grove Press, Inc. in 1965. Eliot Fremont-Smith (of the New York Times) called its publishing “a significant event.”

      A sequel, was published 1969 in French, again with Jean-Jacques Pauvert, editeur, Retour à Roissy (Return to Roissy, but often translated as Return to the Chateau, Continuing the Story of O), was published again by Grove Press, Inc., in 1971.

    34. david foster Says:

      Historical novels: “The Year of the French,” which despite its name is about Ireland and an attempted rebellion against the British circa 1798 (supported by a detachment of French troops, whence the name.) Ralph Peters called this “the finest historical novel written in English, at least in the twentieth century.”

    35. Ginny Says:

      William Goetzmann:

      Exploration and Empire, The Explorer and the Scientist in the Winning of the West, which I haven’t read since I took his course in my youth. However, his emphasis upon the different ways people looked at the land emphasizes our shared heritage.

      Army Exploration of the West – 1803-1863 I haven’t read but would appear to be pertinent.

      When the Eagle Screamed: the Romantic Horizon in American Expansionism, 1800-1860. That I did read last fall. Given that his dedication quotes Kipling and his conclusion Wordsworth, it concerns itself with the Anglosphere. He’s not, of course, the most politically correct of Pulitzer winners. He ends his introduction:

      Expansion, yes. Destiny, yes. Republican and democratic settlement, yes. Limits, no. It was an age of ambition–of grand symbols and dreams and portents and destiny. Young America, appropriately tutored, stood ready to test itself against the powers and mysteries of the earth.”

      Here are his last paragraphs:

      And so America came to assume its destiny across the romantic world horizon. Full of youthful enthusiasm, it nonetheless learned as it shouldered its way to a prominent place in the world family of nations. The underlying assumption in its long adventure was contained in the dictum of the gentle English romantic poet, William Wordsworth, who once wrote

      The good old rule / Sufficeth them, the simple plan, / That they should take, who have the power, / And they should keep who can.

      A philosophy such a this was what made the eagle scream.

      Another one I haven’t read (or at least gotten very far in) takes its title from Emerson: New Lands, New Men: America and the Second Great Age of Discovery.

      He loves the West, the world of John Ford (whose films should probably be included if you are having an American west section). But he also emphasized another perspective, writing a biography of Alexander von Humboldt and noting the influence of German philosophy in his The American Hegelians: An Intellectual Episode in the History of Western America.

      A book that seems to touch on Anglosphere interests: Autobiography of an English Soldier in the U.S. Army.

    36. Lex Says:

      Ginny, that sounds cool. I have never heard of this guy.

    37. Ginny Says:

      Totally irrelevant: I think he and Tom Wolfe were either office mates or roommates in college. Both take that American Studies approach which can be wonderful – looking at culture in a way that includes literature and art (he’s got another book on Western art and that’s what he’s been doing work on in the last few years). Of course, most of those departments have disintegrated with post-modernism and post-colonialism, etc. If I’d taken his course at the beginning rather than the end of my grad coursework, I’d have majored in Am Stud. But it was also an incredibly eccentric dept.
      (Looking at the Pulitzer list – he got his in 67 – shows some real changes in what history scholars venerate. Still it remains a marker of a pretty good book.)

    38. Phil Fraering Says:

      BTW, did anyone remember to mention _Five Years A Dragoon_ yet?

      What about the folktales of J. Frank Dobie?

    39. Jonathan Says:

      Excellent! More, please.

    40. david foster Says:

      Historical novels: Herman Wouk’s “The Caine Mutiny,” which also became a film. I saw a leftie somewhere blaming “Caine” for the bith of neo-conservatism!

    41. Carl Hollywood Says:

      Churchill’s four-volume “History of the English Speaking Peoples” and his six-volume “The Second World War”. Also, some books on the Anglosphere’s possible futures: Neal Stephenson’s “The Diamond Age” and Ray Kurzweil’s “The Age of Spiritual Machines” (Kurzweil’s “The Singularity Is Near” is a good but considerably longer alternative).

    42. Randomscrub Says:

      Movies: Lawrence of Arabia, Spartacus, Beckett

    43. Ginny Says:

      You didn’t include television, but I figure, what the hey. Lex doesn’t have to watch.

      A)Series: Magnum, P.I., with Tom Selleck. This series emphasizes the brotherhood of men in the three Viet vets loyalty, welded in battle; it demonstrates the similar vision of the British and the Americans, as Higgins joins them. Higgins’ role as a quite British mentor reinforces the relationship we have as the “younger” nation. The series also demonstrates that an unusually high level of patriotism delineates the differences between the British and Americans, but also that strong feelings increase rather than decrease the understanding of and therefore sympathy for the other.

      Made for t.v. movie: Tom Selleck again. Ike: Countdown to D-Day. The comments on both Netflix and Amazon emphasize the focus on leadership, on the difficulties of leading in what was both battle and politics, as the French, English & Americans prepare for D-Day. Selleck plays a restrained & tense Eisenhower; his interview with Churchill is, again, a meeting of the two cultures. The film was shot in New Zealand – so we have Anglosphere culture in that way, too. This is not a war movie but a psychological, character-driven work; it clearly tried to be as accurate and historical as it could within the constraints of such a film.

      Band of Brothers is a series that I’ve never seen, but I’ve heard many quite different veterans praise.

    44. Samuel Pry Says:

      The movie KHARTOUM about General Gordon’s heroic stand against the Mahdi. It’s accurate in its broad sweep, if not its details. Charleston Heston plays Gordon, while Laurence Oliver plays the Mahdi. Ralph Richardson plays Gladstone. The move is quite relevant for today, for only the “fanatical” Gordon realized the threat the Mahdi posed, while Gladstone and the other Liberals of the day wanted to stick their heads in the sand.

    45. Samuel Pry Says:

      BTW, I know its Charlton, not Charleston. Typing too fast.

    46. meep Says:

      I’m somewhat aghast that some of my favorite authors are not mentioned: Austen and Dickens. Okay, so everybody should know about Austen after all of her books have been adapted to movie or miniseries form (some multiple times), but there are many books by Dickens that don’t get as much attention as they should.

      Trying to go with the themes I see above, I will limit my recommendations to two (I think people should read all his (finished) novels, but people may think that a bit much): Hard Times and Martin Chuzzlewit. Hard Times is Dickens’ most modern novel and extremely short. I think some who think they know Dickens may be a little surprised by the book.

      Martin Chuzzlewit is full of comic genius, though it ultimately is extremely dark (there was an excellent adaptation for Masterpiece Theater, but there’s a crucial bit missing). However, to get a good idea of British attitudes on America in the 1840s/1850s, one should read the bit of youn Martin’s excursion into America. There’s a huge backstory from Dickens’ own life, and underlying this is a huge international copyright dispute (i.e., international copyright did not exist at the time) – one should read the bit he added as preface after he visited the U.S. a second time after the Civil War.

      Anyway, Hard Times and Martin Chuzzlewit. Plenty to chew on in both. Hard Times for the lazy, and Martin Chuzzlewit for the avid reader. ;)

    47. Brentano Says:

      Movies: Breaker Morant, Paths of Glory, Sergeant York, Master and Commander, Horatio Hornblower w/Gregory Peck, Brideshead Revisited, 1984, Anne of the Thousand Days, The Longest Day, The Desert Rats, A Bridge Too Far, Battle of Britain, David Copperfield, The Devil’s Disciple, Richard III, Pride and Prejudice (Olivier), Fire Over England, That Hamilton Woman, Khartoum, Major Barbara, Sink the Bismarck!, A Yank in the RAF, Oliver Twist (David Lean), A Passage to India, Pygmalion, Kind Hearts and Coronets, Barry Lyndon, Tom Jones, Hope and Glory, The Dam Busters, A Christmas Carol (Alastair Sim), The Ruling Class, The Lion in Winter, Oh! What A Lovely War.

    48. dilys Says:

      The Elements of Justice by David Schmidtz, Director of the Program of Philosophy of Freedom at the University of Arizona, is a readable 2006 book that counters the flaws of Rawls and offers a rational and spacious way to think of how humans live together. I think it’s going to be very important. Keys are the value of avoiding a rigid Theory of Everything, and the necessary expectations citizens have of themselves (duty) and others (rights). I think the readers here who have not yet discovered it would enjoy it and find it irreplaceable for its purpose.

    49. Lexington Green Says:

      Dickens: Bleak House. A wonderful book. Great depictions of lawyers: Malicious, unfair, overstated, but containing permanent elements of truth.

    50. AYY Says:

      Just started the Shattered Sword by Parshal and Tully (re: Battle of Midway) It’s been favorably reviewed. (So I far I’ve gotten only about 30 pages into it.)
      Re: WWI, would add the Price of Glory: Verdun 1916 by A. Horne.
      In the miscellaneous column would add all of the Dark and Stormy Night series edited by Scott Rice. (They’re the “best?” of the entries in the worst first sentence writing contest.)

    51. david foster Says:

      Arthur Koestler, “Darkness at Noon,” a philosophical novel about totalitarianism.

    52. Lexington Green Says:

      What follows is the books on the bookshelves next to the desk where my computer is (law, ecomomics, Russian history, German history, etc.), basically the ones I can see from where I am sitting. These are not all the books on the shelf, just those which I have already read, either completely or in sufficient part to know it is good, and which are good enough to recommend.

      Bellomo, The Common Legal Past of Europe, 1000-1800
      Rene David, Major Legal Systems in the World Today
      Patrick Devlin, The Enforcement of Morals
      Patrick Devlin, The Judge,
      Patrick Devlin, Trial by Jury
      Richard Ducann, The Art of the Advocate
      Lawrence M. Friedman, A History of American Law
      S.E. Forman, Esentials in Civil Government (1904)
      Stephen P. Halbrook, That Every Man be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutinal Right
      Learned Hand, The Spirit of Liberty
      Ron Harris, Industrializing English Law: Entrepreneurship and Business Organization, 1720-1844
      Arthur R. Hogue, Origins of the Common Law
      Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Collected Legal Papers
      Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., The Common Law
      John W. Johnson, American Legal Culture, 1908-1940
      Stanley I. Kutler, Privilege and Creative Destruction: The Charles River Bridge Case
      F.W. Maitland, The Constitutional History of England
      F.W. Maitland, Selected Essays
      F.W. Maitland, Historical Essays
      F.W. Maitland, Cecil Fifoot, ed., The Letters of Frederic William Maitland
      James Oldham, Engish Common Law in the Age of Mansfield
      Roscoe Pound, The Formative Era of American Law

      Reuven Brenner, The Force of Finance
      Amy Chua, World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability
      Ronald H. Coase, The Firm, the Market and the Law
      Hernando de Soto, The Other Path: The Invisible Revolution in the Third World
      Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else
      Milton & Rose Friedman, Free to Choose
      Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
      Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man
      Francis Fukuyama, Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity
      Francis Fukuyama, State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century
      Francis Fukuyama, America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power and the Neoconservative Legacy
      Joel Garreau, Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing our Minds, Our Bodies — And What it Means to be Human
      Ernest Gellner, Conditions of Liberty: Civil Society and Its Rivals
      Friedrich A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom
      Friedrich A. Hayek, Individualism and Economic Order
      Friedrich A. Hayek, Capitalism and the Historians
      Friedrich A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
      Joel Kotkin, Tribes: How Race, Religion and Identity Determine Success in the New Global Economy
      Alan Macfarlane, The Savage Wars of Peace: England, Japan and the Malthusian Trap
      Alan Macfarlane, The Riddle of the Modern World: Of Liberty, Wealth and Equality
      Alan Macfarlane, The Making of the Modern World: Visions From East and West
      Alan Macfarlane, Glass: A World History
      Alan Macfarlane, Letters to Lily: On How the World Works
      Ludwig von Mises, Bureaucracy
      Ludwig von Mises, Socialism
      Mancur Olson, The Logic of Collective Action
      Mancur Olson, The Rise and Decline of Nations
      Madsen Pirie, Dismantling the State: The Theory and Practice of Privatization
      Gustav Schmoller, The Mercantile System and its Historical Significance
      Douglass C. North, Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance
      Joseph Schumpeter, History of Economic Analysis
      Joseph Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy
      Thomas Sowell, Knowledge and Decisions
      Thomas Sowell, A Conflict of Visions
      Thomas Sowell, Education: Assumptions Versus History
      Thomas Sowell, The Economics and Politics of Race
      Thomas Sowell, Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality?
      Thomas Sowell, Compassion v. Guilt and Other Essays
      Thomas Sowell, Ethnic America: A History
      Thomas Sowell, Marxism: Philosophy and Economics
      Thomas Sowell, Preferential Policies: An International Perspective
      Thomas Sowell, Classical Economics Reconsidered
      Thomas Sowell, Race and Culture
      Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals
      George J. Stigler, The Economist as Preacher and Other Essays
      George J. Stigler, The Orgnanization of Industry
      George J. Stigler, The Citizen and the State: Essays on Regulation
      George J. Stigler, Essays in the History of Economics
      Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

      Nicholas V. Riasanovksy, A History of Russia
      Richard Hellie, Enserfment and Military Change in Muscovy
      Richard Pipes, Russia Under the Old Regime
      Hans Kohn, Pan-Slavism: Its History and Ideology
      Leon Trotsky, The Russian Revolution
      Robert Conquest, Stalin, Breaker of Nations
      Robert Conquest, The Great Terror: A Reassessment
      Anne Applebaum, Gulag: A History
      Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago: An Experiment in Literary Investigation (Vol. 1)
      Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago: The Destructive Labor Camps, The Soul and Barbed Wire (Vol. 2)
      Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago: Katorga, Exile, Stalin is no More (Vol. 3)
      Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, KGB: The Untold Story
      V.M. Molotov, Felix Chuev ed., Molotov Remembers: Inside Kremlin Politics, Conversations with Felix Chuev
      Milovan Djilas, Conversations With Stalin
      Andrei Sakharov, Memoirs
      Boris Yeltsin, Against the Grain: An Autobiography
      Anatol Lieven, Chechnya: Tombstone of Russian Power
      Eugenia Ginsberg, Journey Into the Whirlwind

      Arden Bucholz, Hans Delbruck and the German Miitary Establishment
      Ludwig Dehio, Germany and World Politics in the Twentieth Century
      Gordon A. Craig, From Bismarck to Adenauer, Aspects of German Statecraft
      Gordon A. Craig, The Politics of the Prussian Army
      Dennis Showalter, Railroads and Rifles: Soldiers, Technology and the Unification of Germany
      Holger Herwig, The Politics of Frustration: The United States in German Naval Planning, 1889-1941
      Fritz Fischer, Germany’s Aims in the First World War
      Fritz Stern, The Politics of Cultural Despair:: A Study in the Rise of the Germanic Ideology
      Fritz Stern, Einstein’s German World
      Fritz Stern, Dreams and Delusions: National Socialism in the Drama of the German Past
      Marion Countess Donhoff, Before the Storm: Memories of My Youth in Old Prussia
      Marie Vassiltchikov, Berlin Diaries, 1940-1945

      Edward Banfield, The Moral Basis of a Backward Society

      W.J.F. Jenner, The Tyranny of History: The Roots of China’s Crisis

      C.V. Wedgewood, William the Silent

      D.K. Palit, War in High Himalaya

      Stanley Jaki, The Road to Science and the Ways to God

      Steven Ambrose, Eisenhower: The President, 1952-1969

    53. Lexington Green Says:

      A critical Anglosphere book: Brian M. Downing, The Military Revolution and Political Change

      I don’t know how this got left off.

    54. Lisa Strabala Says:

      Swap by Sam Moffie would make a terrific movie.

    55. spock Says:


      This may not be the proper forum for this, but I will state my ‘idea’/’proposal’ anyway, and see if anyone is intrigued by my reasoning.

      [Moved to the forum – admin.]

    56. Anonymous Says:

      Because they hate: A survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America by Brigitte Gabriel

      Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond

      Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage by Stephanie Coontz

      On the lighter side for movies Harvey with James Stewart is always a good classic.

    57. Jonathan Says:

      Thanks, Anonymous.