I have been asked to suggest some of the writings that have influenced me (positively) and that I recommend. Here are some.
The Nature and Destiny of Man, Reinhold Niebuhr (I list this first for a reason. Start here, then take the others in any order.)
Terror and Liberalism, Paul Berman (A liberal’s reflections on 9/11 and the terror threat faced by the West. Berman places jihad in its fascist context. If he underplays its roots in Islamic doctrine, he still provides a valuable corrective to much leftist wishful thinking about the “anti-imperialism” of the jihadis. If this were more widely read, fewer on the Left would be seduced by these murderous thugs.)
Modernity Without Restraint, Eric Voegelin ( a collection of three short works regarding gnostic politics, i.e. ideologies. EV has a reputation as a thick writer, but these are his clearest works.)
After Virtue, Alasdair MacIntyre (This is justly well-regarded.)
Modernity on Endless Trial, Leszek Kolakowski (This is unjustly little-known.)
I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, Rene Girard (Who would have thought there was something entirely new to say about Christianity in the 21st century?)
Confessions, St. Augustine (Maybe the clearest analysis of sin and human nature.)
Blood, Sweat and Tears, Winston Churchill’s speeches (Including the monumental speech on Munich, which ought to be read and studied in every history class.)
Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky (The best fictional insight into sin and human nature – and much easier to read than Crime & Punishment.)
The Drama of Atheist Humanism, Henri de Lubac (Outstanding insight into modernism.)
The End of the Modern World, Romano Guardini (More about this later.)
Camelot and the Cultural Revolution, James Pierson (Outstanding!)
CATEGORY: Books of Witness (These are all first-hand accounts of the brutal realities of the 20th century.)
Witness, Whittaker Chambers A fascinating spy story that never flinches from the truth about communism and the West. If you are in a hurry, at least read the “Foreword in the Form of a Letter to My Children”.
I Chose Freedom, Victor Kravchenko A Soviet engineer-bureaucrat’s compelling autobiography of Stalinism.
The Gulag Archipelago, Alexander Solzhenitsyn A suitably famous work, but we often forget that it is largely autobiographical.
Against All Hope, Armando Valladares “A Memoir of Life in Castro’s Gulag”, by a democratic dissident who reminds us of the daily reality of Cuba.
We Wish To Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With our Families, Philip Gourevitch Though not first-hand, a journalist reviews our most recent non-ideological tribal genocide.
Night, Elie Wiesel Even Oprah recognizes it as a true classic.