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10 Books Every Conservative Must Read: Plus Four Not to Miss and One Imposter Audio CD – Audiobook, 14 Jun 2010

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£55.42 £62.73
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; Unabridged edition (14 Jun. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441748776
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441748775
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 17.8 x 16.5 cm

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About the Author

Benjamin Wiker received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University, and has taught at Marquette University, St. Mary's University, Thomas Aquinas College, and Franciscan University. He now writes full time as a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. He has written several other well-received books, including most recently, 10 Books That Screwed Up the World, The Darwin Myth, and Answering the New Atheism (co-authored with Scott Hahn). He lives in rural Ohio with his beloved wife, seven children, and sundry goats, chickens, rabbits, dogs, cats, and whatever else happens to wander along. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Amazon.com: 66 reviews
163 of 183 people found the following review helpful
Conservative Cliff's Notes 7 July 2010
By Jordan M. Poss - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me start off by saying I'm in favor of anything that encourages people to read more C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton. If J.R.R. Tolkien, Shakespeare, and Jane Austen can benefit, too, then so much the better. 10 Books Every Conservative Must Read, as its author states at the beginning, is not a definitive list of conservative books or THE books conservatives should read, but it is a very good list.

The ten books are:
Aristotle's Politics
Orthodoxy, by G.K. Chesterton
The New Science of Politics, by Eric Voegelin
The Abolition of Man, by C.S. Lewis
Reflections on the Revolution in France, by Edmund Burke
Democracy in America, by Alexis de Tocqueville
The Federalist Papers
The Anti-Federalists
The Servile State, by Hilaire Belloc
The Road to Serfdom, by F.A. Hayek

And the four not to be missed (and one impostor) are:
The Tempest, by William Shakespeare
Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen
The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Jerusalem Bible
Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand

The thing that struck me most is the internal consistency of Wiker's selections. All of these books highlight some facet of the central conservative beliefs that 1) human beings are flawed and 2) all government should be structured accordingly. Wiker finds support for this thesis in Aristotle, who goes on to describe both good and bad kinds of government; in Lewis, who also writes about the wishy-washyness of the modern intelligentsia; in Belloc and Hayek, who describe the terrible consequences of assuming human perfectibility; in Shakespeare, whose Tempest is an illustration of Aristotle's different kinds of government and the tendencies of each toward either good or evil; in Austen, who affirms tradition and dramatizes the follow-your-heart tendencies of the left--and their inevitably catastrophic results; and in Tolkien, at the heart of whose story lies a local populace fighting for self-government over tyranny.

If there's a weak section of Wiker's book, it's in the chapters on the Federalist Papers and the writings of the Anti-Federalists. Despite a thorough reading and checking back repeatedly, I'm still unsure of what he was trying to argue. It seemed that, especially in the section on the Federalist, he spent more time contextualizing the centralizing tendencies of the Federalists than explaining what is distinctly conservative about their positions.

I think, for me, the best section of the book was that dethroning Ayn Rand as a conservative heroine. I've always found Rand creepy and not-quite-conservative, but could never entirely explain why. Wiker carefully takes apart Rand's personal beliefs--which she repeatedly asserted could not be separated from her philosophy and politics--and shows that, far from being a conservative or libertarian, she essentially aimed at an immoral oligarchy of Nietzschean supermen. Might made right, an un-conservative position if there ever was one. (Rand was also psychologically disturbed and indulged in rather icky relationships with her strapping young disciples.)

Overall, Wiker's book was not an earth-shattering read for me--I had already read many of these books--but it was worth reading to see ideas connecting great modern writers with the ancient past, and, in the case of those books I haven't read, to look forward to more reading in the future.

92 of 111 people found the following review helpful
All college-bound should read this book 14 Jun. 2010
By Catholic Dad - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is the first Wiker book I've read, and I'm hooked. Clarity, logic, and a refusal to be cowed by "conventional wisdom" from academia are the foundations of this book. I am giving copies to my own college-bound children, friends, and saving a few copies for myself. It is a great way to learn about some great thinkers, plus it helped remind me what I'd learned in college--and how I should re-apply this timeless wisdom in this hectic world of soundbites and emotionalism-as-thinking that is our modern media. I need to get his 10 Books that Screwed up the World to give me a quick overview of the bad ones, too. This is the 11th book every thinking person (conservative or not) must read.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Clever, Insightful, and Well-Written 1 Nov. 2011
By Larry Taunton - Published on Amazon.com
Walking through a bookstore a few years ago, a book titled "Ten Books That Screwed Up The World" caught my eye. I had never heard of the author, Dr. Benjamin Wiker, but decided to take a chance on him anyway. What I discovered was an academic who could write as few academics can--clearly, cleverly, and with no small measure of wit. "Ten Books That Screwed Up the World" was a romp through history's baddies, but with an eye toward the future and where such books and their philosophies have too often taken us.

In "Ten Books Every Conservative Must Read", Wiker is back with another "Ten Books" installment and he does not disappoint. This time, we consider the opposite side of the question: what are the books that have positively influenced the public mind? Wiker's choices may surprise you, but he makes a compelling case for each; offering more than a summary of the books in question, he analyzes their ramifications and gives us something of the backstory. As is his gift, this is one of those books that makes us feel smarter for the experience. I highly recommend this and other Benjamin Wiker books.
70 of 92 people found the following review helpful
One Book EVERYONE Should Read! 13 Jun. 2010
By Mary S. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Sound the alarm! Ayn Rand has been removed from her pedestal!

Can I get an "alleluia," brothers?

Don't ya just love Ben Wiker? He doesn't just cut through the malarkey; he leads the way, cleaving through it with his literary machete, leaving all the overgrowth to the side.

"10 Books Every Conservative Must Read" is an important book on many levels, not the least of which is the frenzied need at this time in history for Wiker's crystal-clear logic, and flat-out wisdom. Nobody has the kind of insight Wiker has when it comes to history, literature and the political and cultural landscape of our day.

Beginning with his objective and authentic analysis of Aristotle's "The Politics;" Wiker brings us on a journey, in some cases familiar, in some cases delightfully surprising, through works and authors that - even if they're our long-time favorites (for me, Chesterton, Belloc, Austen, Tolkein) - end up beckoning us to pay them a visit sometime... sooner rather than later. Because, as Wiker says, "Conservatism is not blind acceptance, but careful consideration, and that includes reconsideration."

And, really, at the crux of his book, Wiker is calling on conservatives to connect the dots between these, and other, great works which have helped to influence and form what true conservatism is. To paraphrase Professor Wiker, as conservatives, we cannot and must not waiver from an insistence on concrete and objective truth. We must always defend life's immutable truths, and avoid the liberal tendency towards abstract theories, which are the underpinnings of moral ambiguity. Once again, with his current book, Ben Wiker proves himself a master at translating yesterday's wisdom into today's reality.

"10 Books Every Conservative Must Read?" This makes it 11.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
I Think! Therefore I AM --- a Conservative 8 Feb. 2012
By Marvin D. Pipher - Published on Amazon.com
This book made me realize just how few so-called "conservatives" have any real understanding of the concepts upon which their beliefs are founded. If that be so, this book is doubly important --- especially in these difficult and trying times when America is under assault by Liberal elitists (aka Progressives). For the book not only gives its readers a much greater appreciation for conservative thought as it has evolved down through the ages, it also explains why Liberalism in all its forms is such a threat to man's freedom and to man's ability to freely exercise his religious preferences.

I must say, however, that the book is not a particularly easy one to read, since most of those quoted in it were philosophers who, by their very natures, delved deeply into their subjects. As a result, I found that the editor/author, Mr. Wiker, was much more cogent in his interpretations of what these great "thinkers" had to say than they were in saying it themselves in "layman's" terms.

Many things struck me throughout the book. One being that what we call "Man's power over Nature" turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument. (Environmentalism, anyone?) Another was Aristotle's definitions of a Republic and a Democracy: rule by the people for the common good being "a Republic" and rule by the people each for his own private advantage being "a Democracy" --- the latter leading to anarchy and despotism. (Have the Liberals succeeded in turning our treasured Republic into a Democracy?)

The book also answered two important questions which have perplexed me for years. First: Why is there such a concerted effort on the part of America's Liberals to eliminate religion from all political discourse? And, secondly: Why are these same Liberals so intent on doing away with Christianity in America? The answers I found are that Christianity in general, and the Catholic Church in particular, has been the biggest impediment to Liberalism's takeover for hundreds of years; and, as noted on pages 284-85, Liberalism seeks to achieve omnipotent power by replacing God with the State, but to do so there can be no higher authority. Therefore, in the eyes of Liberals, God must go. (Now it all makes sense.)

You'll learn a lot by reading this book and find it most enlightening. You may also discover a few new paths to follow. I highly recommend it.
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