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I want to start off by saying, I am so glad you are here reading this post.
If you have been reading these posts as I released them, some of this next bit will be a bit of a repeat, but please bear with me.
Today I am sharing the top seven books I believe every American should read at this point in history. The full list includes twenty-one books – a good mix of old and new, auto/biographies and non/fiction – that I believe everyone should read or re-read. I am sharing these because a little while ago I was looking over my bookshelves I realized, “That book warned us about what is happening right now! So does THAT one…and THAT one. THAT one too!”
I intended for this post to be that – one post.
However, when I finished writing it, I looked down and saw that a word count of 3529 made this look more like an academic dissertation than a blog post. For that reason, I have decided to break it into three parts (seven book recommendations in each).
I know there are only a few months left in 2021, so if you are not a fast or avid reader you may not get all 21 of these book recommendations read by December 31, 2021…that’s ok! You’ll have a To-Be-Read list started for 2022. Each of these books has an important message for us at this particular time in our country’s history.
Many of them have been made into movies, but Hollywood has a habit of omitting important bits in books that warn people against its agenda. Plus: the books are ALWAYS better.
“Life imitates art far more often than art imitates life.” – Oscar Wilde (in 1889 essay The Decay of Lying)
As a preface to this list, I would like to add:
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The Constitution of the United States of America (and its amendments)
Created: September 17, 1787; Ratified: June 21, 1788; Effective: 1789
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
I strongly recommend that every American have a hard/physical copy of the Constitution of The United States of America (and it’s amendments) in their possession. If you don’t mind if it is not bound, you can download and print a free copy here.
*The hardbound copy I linked above was proudly manufactured in the U.S.A.*
I hope you truly consider reading or re-reading all of these books, and that they give you food for thought. Never underestimate the virality of thinking-for-yourself and the elusive common-sense variant.
On to the top seven…
21 Books EVERY American
Should Read/Re-Read in 2021
– Part 1 –
7. Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)
Published in 1953
“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
The victor writes the history books. This book focuses on the historical role of book burning as a method for suppressing dissenting ideas for change. Sound familiar? In a 1956 Bradbury himself said he wrote this book because of his concerns about the threat of book burning in the United States, and later described the book as a commentary on how mass media reduces interest in reading literature. Why else do they turn books into movies?
Did you know Oregon recently declared that requiring graduates to prove they can read, write, and do math (with an exit level exam) is racist? Those skills will no longer be needed to graduate from high school. (Don’t believe me? Check out this article, or research it for yourself…)
If the populous can’t read and write, there is no need to burn the books – they just saved themselves a step…and the environment, I’m sure.
A NATION OF SHEEP
6. A Nation of Sheep (Judge Andrew P. Napolitano)
Published in 2007
“Why does the government continue to regulate private behavior? Why does Congress keep telling the States what to do? Why does every public office holder swear allegiance to the Constitution, yet very few follow it? Why are we afraid of the governments we have hired to protect our freedoms?”
In A Nation of Sheep Judge Napolitano documents the abuses that are being perpetrated on the American public on a daily basis, violations of the Constitution by those who swore to protect and defend it. This book presents the fact that many people have willingly permitted the federal government to undermine our God-given, inalienable rights all for the sake of “keeping us safe.” Though this book was written about George W. Bush’s administration, I think it is obvious the issues presented in this book have remained unquestioned, unfettered, and continue to run rampant. I think an updated version discussing the regulations of 1930s Germany (oops, Freudian slip there) I meant the US in 2020-2021 policies/mandates/restrictions would be very interesting.
Remember: “It’s just 15 days to flatten the curve…” Or as ex-governor of California, famous bodybuilder, actor, author, and immigrant Arnold Schwarzenegger said in an Instagram rant on August 11,2021: “Screw your freedom.”
Or more recently: “This is not about freedom or personal choice. It’s about protecting yourself and those around you.” (Joe Biden, September 9, 2021)
5. Night (Elie Wiesel)
Published in 1960
“I told him that I did not believe that they could burn people in our age, that humanity would never tolerate it…”
Elie Wiesel was a child of the holocaust. A child in the Holocaust. A Jewish child in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Night is the record of his first-hand experiences in the infamous concentration camps. What he saw, what he lost, a history that should never be forgotten – lest we repeat it.
This is a difficult read but it is a true story that needs to be remembered.
I read this one after my favorite professor at Texas A&M University (son of Hungarian immigrants) invited a friend of his, who was a concentration camp survivor, to speak to our history class. That Harrington lecture hall was probably never again as quiet as it was that day while he told us about his experiences through his tears. He too was a child who lost his family. He was saved by American forces. He was terrified of them, but they eventually communicated that they were the good guys and they gave that starving boy a Hershey’s Chocolate bar (“with almonds!”) and got him away from the source of his nightmares.
Over 75 years after the end of WWII and the liberation of those camps, we do not have many survivors left to tell us about their experiences, which makes Elie Wiesel’s written account that much more important.
4. The Wave (Todd Strasser)
Published in 1981
“Was it a weakness of man that made him want to ignore the darker side of his fellow human beings?”
This book is about a classroom experiment that goes too far. The initial experiment is meant to explain how Adolf Hitler and the Nazis could get ordinary people to go along with them. The understanding the students grasp is more real than any amount of philosophizing could ever touch.
When asked at the Nuremberg Trial in 1945, “How did you convince the German people to accept all this?” Hermann Goering himself admitted that, “The only thing a government needs to turn people into slaves is fear. If you can find something to scare them then you can make them do anything you want.”
3. Animal Farm (George Orwell)
Published in 1945
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
When this book was first published in 1945, Communist Russia was seen as its focus. However, today it is extraordinarily clear that wherever and whenever freedom is attacked, this book has a meaning and message beyond the bounds of any specific era and is still relevant seventy-six years later.
Read/re-read this one then take a look around. Think about last year’s lockdowns and the enforcement of them…think California. Then re-read that quote. “Rules for thee, and not for me…”
Is life imitating art or is history repeating?
2. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
Published in 1957
“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”
“If you don’t know, the thing to do is not to get scared, but to learn.”
“In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit. That transfusion of blood which drains the good to feed the evil…”
Let me warn you, this is a tome. But it is so worth reading. This book will not only pose and answer the question, “Who is John Galt?”, it will make you want to join or be like John Galt too. The whole book is based on the differences between the makers and the takers. There is a strike of the minds, and society is left without any of the thinkers or innovators…all that is left in their place is the takers, and politicians.
While Galt’s Gulch is the manifestation of Sir Thomas Moore’s “Utopia” if ever there was one – everyone doing what they do best, thinking for themselves and taking personal responsibility – we also see the flip side of that utopia in what is left behind.
1. 1984 (George Orwell)
Published in 1949
“Big Brother is Watching You.”
“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”
“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”
“War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.”
We. Are. There. Surveillance, mandates, censorship, “fact-checkers”.
I remember laughing when I had to read this one as a freshman in high school. “How silly, look at all the things he got wrong, and by how much! It’s 2006 and none of this has come true.” Oh, how naive I was. Read this one again. Don’t necessarily take it literally – the giant wall size screens (although some people do have massive TVs) what if in reality it means the phone screens and tablets we are all glued to? Screens that have our constant and full attention…
Read it again, think for yourself, and then do your part to make Orwell fiction again.