The Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith
First published in 1776, The Wealth of Nations remains the definitive book on the benefits of free market capitalism.
Diamond Jim Brady: Prince of the Gilded Age, by H. Paul Jeffers
The Diamond Jim Brady story is fascinating, enlightening, and loads of fun. Brady came out of poverty, like most of the nineteenth century’s movers and shakers, and his rags-to-riches story is like most of the others in may ways. But Brady’s larger than life personality, his charm, and his showmanship make his story more entertaining than any of the others.
Two Treatises of Government, by John Locke
This book, inspired by John Locke’s understanding of the Bible, was the source of most of the founding principles of the United States. It is where Thomas Jefferson got the idea of an “unalienable right” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, by Amity Schlaes
Learn the truth about the Great Depression, and how an activist federal government made it worse.
The Koran, by Muhammad
Don’t believe what politically correct non-Muslims say about the “Religion of Peace.” The Koran is nothing less than a declaration of war against the entire non-Islamic world.
Democracy in America, by Alexis de Tocqueville
In 1831 and ’32 Alexis de Tocqueville toured the United States on behalf of the Government of France. He recorded his observations in an 870 page book that is still widely viewed as the definitive work on American democracy and culture.
The Venona Secrets, Exposing Soviet Espionage and America’s Traitors, by Herbert Romerstein and Eric Breindel
In the 1990’s the US government de-classified a group of Soviet radio transmissions that had been intercepted and decrypted by the Army during the 1940’s. These “Venona documents” are transcripts of radio traffic between two Soviet intelligence agencies and the American Communists who spied for them. In this very readable book, Romerstein and Breindel tell the story of Soviet espionage and subversion during this period.
Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies, by M. Stanton Evans
Using the Venona decrypts and KGB records, Evans details the campaign of espionage, subversion, counterfeiting, and even murder conducted by the Communist Party USA on behalf of the Soviet Union. He describes Joseph McCarthy’s role in bringing the problem forcibly in front of the public, and the backlash against McCarthy.
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., by Ron Chernow
Ron Chernow’s books are always very well researched and well written,and this one is especially so. Chernow’s insights into the multi-layered conflict between Rockefeller and JP Morgan are especially interesting.
Thomas Mellon, in describing his rise from poverty and obscurity to wealth and prominence, said “I regard the reading of Franklin’s autobiography as the turning point in my life.”
John D. Rockefeller, who was was repeatedly abandoned by his father, and raised in poverty worse than Mellon’s, also credited Franklin’s autobiography with inspiring and informing him as he achieved great things. Read this book soon, while you’re still young.
Andrew Carnegie (Biography), by Joseph Frazier Wall
Carnegie was more or less the quintessential American success story. He came to this country at the age of twelve, and went to work in a sweatshop at thirteen. In a letter to his uncle back in Scotland he admitted that his prospects would be bleak in the Old World, but maintained that “here I can surely do something better, for anyone can get on in this country.”
Like Rockefeller, Carnegie had to overcome many obstacles to achieve his American dream. Joseph Wall gives us a detailed and balanced picture of the little Scottish kid who made good.
Thomas A. Edison: A Streak of Luck, by Robert Conot
Conot draws a compelling picture of Edison and the defining stubbornness that carried him past every obstacle. From Edison’s first US patent (a flop) through his one-thousand-ninety-third patent, from his humble origins to his high level dealings with the financial leaders of the era, this book shows the reader the real Edison.