Books

As avid readers we’ve come across the great and terrible alike.  This page is devoted to the books that stuck out as worthwhile reads,  enjoy.

Politics:

The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order – Samuel P. Huntington

A groundbreaking and controversial work on the different civilizations in the world and their ability to work together for a common goal. A must-read for any serious student of geopolitics.

Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada’s Oil Sands – Ezra Levant

A stellar argument both moral and economic for Canadian Oil. Covering everything from environmental impact, human impact and financial impact, this book will convince you why the Oil Sands are not what you’ve heard.

America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It – Mark Steyn

  and  After America: Get Ready for Armageddon – Mark Steyn

Never will you be so angry and fearful for the future…while laughing your head off. Mark Steyn is a perpetual pessimist, but his arguments are well defended. These two books take the reader on a journey through the ‘theatre of the absurd,’ discussing what he beleives are the self-destructive tendancies of Western society.

Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate’s Defence of Liberal Democracy – Ibn Warraq

See my book review here.

The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century – George Friedman

  and  The Next Decade: Where We’ve Been…and Where We’re Going – George Friedman

Very interesting book(s) chronicling what Friedman believes are cyclical geopolitical patterns, and using those patterns to predict what will happen to the world over the next century (or decade in the case of the follow up book). Every reader will likely disagree with certain assumptions made, but that does not take away the value of many of the points he brings up, or the fun of reading an educated prediction. 

Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning – Jonah Goldberg

This book chronicles the history, and original meaning of many words commonly used and misused in politics, two specifically being ‘liberal’ and ‘fascism.’ He argues that the political left-wing has not come to terms with the historical foundations of what they believe, that being fascism, which is usually believed to be a right-wing phenomena. He describes the difference between what fascism was, and what liberalism is now, and the progression from one to the other, labelling modern liberalism “smiley-face fascism.” This book is extremely fact heavy, and provides a worthwhile look at the foundations of modern politics. 

Politics at the Airport – Mark B. Salter et al

The Tragedy of American Compassion – Marvin Olasky and Amy L. Sherman

History:

Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies – Jared Diamond

At the top of any must read list, this book reigns supreme. Quoted, debated and analyzed by more books than I can mention, ‘GGS’ is a book that will change your perception of the world. It is essentially the story of how human society became what it is today. It covers everything from human evolution, to linguistic histories, to cultural diffusion, to domestication of plants and animals. For anyone whose even mildly interested in anything from science to history to politics to geography will find much to love about this one.

Power, Faith and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present – Michael B. Oren

As a comprehensive guide to US-Middle East relations since they began, there is no rival. Oren’s writing is surprisingly even handed, given his own political positions, and manages to do so by really focusing on the effects the relationship had on the Middle-East and the US only. He did not wade heavily into area’s that were related, which was really no loss as there is more than enough content to fill this massive book. Oren compares and contrasts the relationship since America’s birth, and provides insightful analysis concerning how it has changed or stayed the same during various era’s of its history. 

The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World – Niall Ferguson

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt – Edmund Morris

  and  Theodore Rex – Edmund Morris

These two volumes (along with “Colonel Roosevelt”, the last of the three), chronicle the life and times of the most interesting man to ever live (Dos Equis should be using him in their ads). Teddy was a botanist, a rancher, a boxer, an author, a soldier, a police commissioner, a mayor, and a President. That only scratches the surface of the amazing story that is his life. Morris, using quotes from Teddy’s personal journal, has done a fantastic job bringing this most amazing person back to life in the mind of the reader. See our KRAXFACTS on Teddy here.

Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome’s Greatest Politician – Anthony Everitt

This book chronicles the life of one of the most influential orators in the history of the world. Cicero lived through one of the most interesting and influential periods of history, and made his mark as one of the leading voices and minds of the ailing Roman Republic as it slid into Empire. 

Hannibal: The Military Biography of Rome’s Greatest Enemy – Richard A. Gabriel

An in-depth look at the infamous Hannibal Barca with a large focus on military strategy and tactics, while detailing his 15 year invasion of Italy and the eventual destruction of his homeland by Rome. This book is most recommended for those interested in ancient warfare and weaponry, but will also help the reader to understand the enormous power behind the Roman society that was soon to be unleashed upon the entire Mediterranean World. 

The American Political Tradition: And the Men Who Made It – Richard Hofstadter

The Modern American Presidency – Lewis L. Gould and Richard Norton Smith

The Presidential Game: The Origins of American Presidential Politics – Richard P. McCormick

Science and Technology:

The Age of Spiritual Machines – Ray Kurzweil

  and  The Singularity is Near – Ray Kurzweil

See our review of The Age of Spiritual Machines here.

Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory – Sullivan, Ball, Schreuder, et al

This is a very technical analysis of the greenhouse gay theory, climate science and the political controversy surrounding them. Written by a number of top climate experts, it is filled with technical evaluation that many times was above and beyond the ability of someone without a science background to comprehend. Their anecdotes regarding recent legal proceedings were especially enlightening. Though clearly written by technical experts whose strengths are not writing, the arguments made are quite convincing and have certainly turned my skepticism up a notch.

The Google Story – David A. Vise

Philosophy:

The Republic – Plato

The Prince – Niccolo Machiavelli

Leviathan – Thomas Hobbes

Second Treatise of Government – John Locke

On Liberty – John Stuart Mill

The Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx and Frederich Engels

The Virtue of Selfish: A New Concept of Egoism – Ayn Rand

Miscellaneous Non-Fiction:

Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl

In this short volume Frankl, a Holocaust survivor and also a psychologist by profession, tries to use his personal experiences while combined with his professional insight to determine what it is that pushed both the Jews of the Holocaust to survive, and the Nazi’s to commit their evil doings. Many books have been written about the events of the Holocaust, but this is very different its a psychological understanding, if not explanation, for how people react to extreme situations. The level of honesty and insight is quite mind boggling from someone who personally experienced some of the worst humanity has to offer.

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson – Mitch Albom

The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom

Howling at the Moon: Star-Maker, Rule-Breaker, Drug Taker. The True Story of the Mad Genius of the Music World – Walter Yetnikoff and David Ritz

Fiction:

Enders Game – Orson Scott Card

The Physician – Noah Gordon

As a historical fiction, this novel ranks near the top of my list. Chronicling the life of an Englishman at the turn of the millennium (the last millennium that is), whose goal is to become a physician, the story weaves through all of medieval Europe and the Middle East, and provides a lively tale with a large influx of historical context.

State of Fear – Michael Crichton

No one needs to speak up the reputation of this author, but this novel is one that is commonly overlooked. ‘State of Fear’ is a thrilling novel filled with facts and figures thoroughly cited regarding climate change and eco-extremism. Crichton attempts not to ‘take sides’ on the debate by using characters who are on either side, but the facts and figures generally spoke for themselves. Even if environmental politics is not your interest, the story is a fun one.

Lord of the Rings Saga – J.R.R. Tolkien

One of the epics of story telling history, the Lord of the Rings needs no introduction, only really a reminder that it is an fantastic as it always was. Aside from the Hobbit, and the three volumes of “Lord of the Rings,” this series includes many other novels and additions to the fantastically imagined world of Middle-Earth. TIP: Read the book before seeing the movies (if you haven’t already).

Animal Farm – George Orwell

Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

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