Summer Reading

In my final column of the year, I thought it might be a good idea to suggest some books that will make great reading material over the summer. Regardless of whether or not you agree with their points, these books certainly can expand your mind.

“Atlas Shrugged” – First of all, there is this Ayn Rand’s classic novel. What would happen if the creative minds of the world went on strike? What happens when collectivism completely overrules individualism? And who is John Galt? You will find the answers in this book, first written in 1957. Though over 1,000 pages long, it has the ability to hold the reader’s attention from start to finish. This work (particularly Galt’s speech) is considered the basis of Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism.

“1984″ – Probably George Orwell’s most famous work, “1984″ is a nightmarish vision of a future in which the state has taken total control. Originally published in 1948, it’s difficult to read this novel and not notice that some of Orwell’s fears are becoming reality.

“Animal Farm” – Another great work from Orwell, this novel is the story of a group of barnyard animals who overthrow their abusive, corrupt farmer and institute a government in which they are all equals. Of course, this utopian state does not last very long, and the society quickly devolves into yet another tyranny. Representing the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, the symbolism is amazingly easy to pick up, and the story itself is engrossing.

“Modern Times” – This outstanding history of the world from the 1920s until the 1990s is a must read for anyone interested in history. Written by British historian Paul Johnson (who also wrote the equally outstanding “A History of the American People”), this book also cuts through much of the politically correct garbage that clouds history, and also gives one a good idea of what is needed to confront the future.

“The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror” – Former political prisoner and Israeli statesman Natan Sharansky explains why freedom is the natural longing of all mankind, and why promoting democracy abroad is in the best interests of all Americans. As a former prisoner in the Soviet Union, Sharansky knows a thing or two about oppression. Even though the book is critical of President Bush at times, Bush has embraced it. And so will anyone who reads it with an open mind.

“Intellectual Morons” – Another good recent book by Daniel J. Flynn. Here, Flynn takes on sacred cows of both the left and the right and exposes how, when one blindly adheres to a single ideological bent, they can be manipulated into believing or doing almost anything. If you know someone who seems to have a fanatical streak, pick up this book for them.

“Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth” – Recent UCLA graduate Ben Shapiro takes on the modern politically correct American campus in this brilliant expose on academic bias. Drawing on his own personal experiences in addition to many well-documented cases, Shapiro will convince all but the most zealous leftist that academic bias is a serious problem that must be addressed. If you are undecided on the Academic Bill of Rights, you owe it to yourself to read this book.

“The New Dealers’ War: FDR and the War Within WWII” – Historian Thomas Flemming is something of a radical. This book takes on the Roosevelt Administration with a ferocity few ever have. Well researched and easy to read, Flemming exposes FDR as a leader far short of what his legions of admirers would have us believe. Though I can’t say I agree with Flemming on everything, this is definitely an eye-opening book that presents a look at history that you won’t often hear, especially in the university.

“How I Accidentally Joined the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (And Found Inner Peace)” – Reformed leftist Harry Stein comes out of the closet as a conservative, and looks back on his days as a radical, and explains his gradual realization that he was a conservative – whether he liked or not. Hilarious from start to finish, this book is easy to read and will leave you smiling.

Before I sign off, I want to wish everyone a wonderful summer, and thank you for reading my columns. I encourage everyone to visit my blog at http://johnnorrisbrown.com/blog (one last shameless plug) for continuing wisdom!

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