Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Christmas Books

The Claremont Institute recommends some books to read during Christmas. The recommenders are: John Eastman (typical boring law professor stuff); Scott W. Johnson (hears America singing, good for him and us); Ken Masugi (unsurprisingly learned and relevant); Daniel C. Palm (very thoughtful, especially the Arkangel Shakespeare and The End of Illusions); Bruce Sanborn (tries to hoodwink us by recommending a book by an unknown college president); Thomas G. West (how perfect, four of the five books he recommends are published before 1750, note The Religion of Protestants especially).

Instead of recommending any, here are a few I am currently reading:
Joseph J. Ellis, His Excellency: George Washington, a bit too much contemporary psychology. George Friedman, America’s Secret War, thoughtful and disagreeable.

Xenophon, The Education of Cyrus is a great story that explains why men are not hard to rule (I need to be reassured). Tom Wolfe, I Am Charlotte Simmons, although I don’t recognize any of my students in it. Dannielle S. Allen, Talking to Strangers, as serious as it is unsatisfying.

And am just about to start Henryk Sienkiewicz’s On the Field of Glory, a great novel about the second siege of Vienna in 1683, and The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language by Melvyn Bragg.

Do note that in recommending Don Quixote, Tom West notes that this was John Locke’s favorite novel. Locke: "There is another use of reading, which is for diversion, and delight. Such are poetical writings, especially dramatic, if they be free from profaneness, obscenity, and what corrupts good manners; for such pitch should not be handled. Of all the books of fiction, I know none that equals Cervantes’s History of Don Quixote in usefulness, pleasantry, and a constant decorum; and indeed no writings can be pleasant which have not nature at the bottom, and are not drawn after her copy."

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