This is the list.
Best in what way? For what, and for whom?
If the question is, name the top five classic, canonical work of American Conservatism, my list would overlap with this list:
Frederick Hayek, The Road to Serfdom
Milton Friedman, Free to Choose
Barry Goldwater, The Conscience of a Conservative
Whittaker Chambers, Witness
George H. Nash, The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America
These are very mainstream picks. Four of the books are written for a popular audience, and Nash is the best historian of the movement, but he ends before Reagan. They are genuine classics that everyone should read. But they are all old, and don’t directly address the world of today.
The peak moment for American Conservatism was Reagan’s election in 1980.
My list, and the list at the link, inadvertently show that American Conservatism is currently under-theorized.
There have been lots of good books since Reagan. But a synthesizing and overarching book is needed. If it exists, I don’t know it. Do you?
What does it mean to be an American conservative? What are we conserving? Why are we conserving it?