Some people like to read; others don’t. Some people read for entertainment; others only read when they can’t avoid it. But in my opinion there is a short list of books that every patriotic, capitalistic, freedom-loving American Christian should read. I’ll list them, along with a brief description of why they’re important.
Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand.
Ayn Rand was born in Russia. She was twelve years old when the Communists overthrew the Tsarist Government in 1917, and over the next nine years she saw what socialism did to Russia.
When she immigrated to the U.S. in 1926, she thought she was leaving socialism behind and coming to a place of freedom and opportunity. But during the Nineteen Thirties she was horrified to see the U.S. begin to drift toward the kind of socialist state she thought she had left behind.
In Atlas Shrugged, she shows how easily a society can slide from capitalism into socialism, and how many in the society can be duped into thinking the change is for the better.
Be warned, though. Atlas Shrugged is one of two books that left me feeling depressed after I finished it. The other book is John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.
An Alternate Suggestion: Despite being the best-selling novel in history, Atlas Shrugged is a difficult read. It’s more than 1,100 pages long. If you’d prefer, you can get the same message about the slide into socialism by watching the movie Doctor Zhivago, which can be done in less than three hours. Strictly personal opinion: Doctor Zhivago is the third-best movie ever made, after Casablanca and The Godfather, Part Two.
Nineteen Eighty-four, by George Orwell.
In Orwell’s dystopian novel set in the year 1984, the entire world is under socialist rule. The world is divided into three empires, and at any given moment two of the empires are at war with the third. The people live in a state of perpetual war.
The novel paints a vivid picture of what it would be like to live in a socialist state, with the constant surveillance by the government, the regimentation of daily life, the total lack of civil liberties, and the pervasive fear of straying too far from the approved collective thought.
The novel is set in London and was published in 1949, when the year 1984 was a distant 35 years in the future. One has to wonder if Orwell’s inspiration was Europe’s move toward socialism, which had already begun.
The Iron Heel, by Jack London
Many of us have heard the conspiracy theory that the world is being run by a cabal of the super-rich—the Rothchilds, the Rockefellers, and others. This group supposedly starts and stops wars, creates booms and busts, raises up governments and brings governments down, all to add to their wealth and power.
Jack London was one of the most popular writers of the early Twentieth Century. He was probably best known for his novels Call of the Wild and White Fang. Less well known is the fact that he was a devout socialist. To paraphrase the lyrics of the country-western song, he was a socialist before socialism was cool.
Published in 1908, The Iron Heel is a dystopian novel, similar to Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four. But in London’s telling, the socialist revolution (which he sets in 1912, four years after the book was published) fails. The socialists are defeated by the cabal of the super-wealthy, whom he calls the Oligarchy. The Oligarchy destroys all who resist them–the Middle Class, the labor unions, even the church leaders who refuse to preach their message. For a period of three hundred years the general population is reduced to little more than slaves, living and dying at the whim of the Oligarchy.
The value of The Iron Heel is (in my opinion) that it contains in one place the entire economic and political philosophy of socialism, presented in clear, easy-to-understand terms. Of course, it’s presented as irrefutable truth, but it’s easy to get past that.
The Iron Heel was out of print for many years. It’s now being reprinted (because of the renewed interest in socialism, perhaps?) and is available from Amazon. It’s even available in an e-book format for those of you who have a Kindle, a Nook, or some other e-reader.
It’s also available in many public libraries.
The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution, by Kevin R. C. Gutzman
There are several dozen Politically Incorrect Guide books, and I highly recommend all of them. But the one on the Constitution is absolutely essential reading (and reference) for anyone who believes we should be living by what the Constitution says, not by what politicians or the courts think it should say.
As an added bonus, the book contains the complete text of the Constitution, the complete text of the Articles of Confederation (which was the predecessor to the Constitution), and the complete text of all the Amendments to the Constitution.
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades, by Robert Spencer
In my opinion, Islam is the greatest danger the world faces today. The proof of that, I believe, is the terrorism being committed all over the world by Muslim jihadists. The terrorism is being directed at all nations and all religions. Muslims sincerely believe their god has instructed them to conquer the world and convert all the world’s inhabitants to Islam—or kill them.
The first military genius recorded by history, the Chinese warlord Sun Tzu, wrote in his military text The Art of War that to defeat an enemy, it is first necessary to know him. By understanding his beliefs, his objectives, and his thought processes, it is then possible to devise a plan to defeat him.
This book is an excellent way to start knowing our enemy.