(’76 Editor) Hearing from Greg Schaller, my CCU professor pal, about an online book club starting up at Redstate.com, I compared their list with mine as compiled a few years back at the suggestion of Kevin Teasley, my school-voucher activist pal. The overlap is interesting, and either list is a needed reminder that we’re well repaid by devoting more time to the writings that endure, and less to the ephema of journalism, TV-radio, or blogs (this one included).
So first, here’s the read-and-respond shelf recommended by Redstate:
1. A Message to Garcia by Elbert Hubbard
2. Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg
3. Economics in One Lesson by Hazlitt
4. Liberty & Tyranny by Mark Levin
5. The Road to Serfdom by F. A. Hayek
6. The Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk
7. Free to Choose by Milton Friedman
8. Conscience of a Conservative by Barry Goldwater
9. The Federalist Papers
10. Democracy in America by Tocqueville
11. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
12. God and Man at Yale by W.F. Buckley
13. Witness by Whittaker Chambers
14. The Political Writings of St. Augustine
Then here’s my list as put together for Teasley back in 2003. He asked for my “ten best” in terms of books that had the greatest impact on my life. The order in which they are listed is a combination of chronology and categories, not necessarily the most impactful from 1 thru 10.
1. Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy
It taught me to love the Bible.
2. The Bible
It engaged me with Jesus Christ.
3. The Everlasting Man, G. K. Chesterton
It grounded me in Christian tradition.
4. Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis
It showed me the beauty of truth.
5. The Conscience of a Conservative, Barry Goldwater
It awakened me politically.
6. The Law, Frederic Bastiat
It was my primer in political economy.
7. The Road to Serfdom, F. A. Hayek
It set me against collectivism.
8. Ideas Have Consequences, Richard Weaver
It bonded me to the permanent things.
9. The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien
It convinced me that life is a sacred quest.
10. A Man for All Seasons, Robert Bolt
It inspired me with the possibility of heroic integrity.
In looking over the authors on both lists, I’m gratified to have met, or seen in person, Bill Buckley, Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Russell Kirk, Jonah Goldberg, and Barry Goldwater. This is said not to name-drop, but rather to record my sense of obligation for helping to hand on our heritage of faith and freedom to the rising generation of the 21st century, in return for having known—if only slightly—some of the giants who handed on that heritage in the 20th century.