Below are a list of great books, recommended by my father (Ron Mann), and me that will help you discover your American heritage and how to protect it. They are organized by category.
Some of these books can be downloaded or viewed online. I've added links to connect you to the appropriate sites. For most books I've linked the title to its entry in books.google.com which has links to where the book can be purchased and often has a description and reviews. While working for President Reagan Ron helped formulate the legislation to create a The Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution and was later named Deputy Director of the Commission. In his Challenge to the readers of The 5,000 Year Leap he says:
“It was Patrick Henry that said: ‘I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.’ Recent experience should be a serious warning that we have lost our way and need to drink from the well of knowledge provided by our Founders. Unless the people of this nation take seriously the storm flags waving, we are doomed to repeat the past mistakes of those who refused to pay attention to history and end up in the graveyard of fallen nations. We have the knowledge and time to make a course correction if we will.”
We need to start by becoming familiar with the Constitution and the principles contained therein. We need to understand its words as the founders intended them to be understood. The list of books below can point you in the right direction. Those with bold titles are highly recommended and easy to read and understand..
Foundations for Liberty
- Admiral Of The Ocean Sea – A Life of Christopher Columbus, Samuel Eliot Morison, 1942.
- Christopher Columbus, His Life and Discovery in the Light of his Prophecies, Kay Brigham, 1990.
- Christopher Columbus, The Voyage of Discovery 1492", Samuel Eliot Morison, 1991.
- Saints and Strangers, George F. Wilson, Kingsport Press, 1945
- The Bradford History of Plimoth Plantation, 1899, original history of Plymouth Colony, written by Governor Bradford. More recent copies are available.
- Timothy Hatherly and the Plymouth Colony Pilgrims, Stephen R. Valdespino, Scituate Historical Society, 1987
- The Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth in New England, in 1620., William Bradford and Edward Winslow, various copies available.
The French & Indian Wars
- The French and Indian War 1754-1763, Seymour I. Schwartz, Simon & Schuster, 1994.
The Revolutionary War
- 1776, David McCullough, Simon Schuster, 2006
- Saratoga, Richard M. Ketchum, Henry Holt & Company, LLC, 1997
- The Day is Ours, William M. Dwyer, The Viking Press, 1983.
- The Winter Soldiers, Richard M. Ketchum, Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1973.
The Constitution & Declaration of Independence
- Four Days in July, Cornel Lengyel, Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1958 - A must!
- Journal of Constitutional Convention, James Madison, any unabridged version.
- Miracle at Philadelphia, Catherine Drinker Bowen, Atlantic Monthly Press Book, 1966.
- The 5,000 Year Leap, Cleon Skousen – A must read for anyone who wants to understand the principles behind the Constitution.
- The Federalist Papers, any unabridged copy
- The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution, Brion McClanahan, 2012 – A very well written book with excellent sources that provides insight into the perspective of the founders on the Constitution. Another must read.
- The Making of America, W. Cleon Skousen, 1985
- We Hold These Truths: A Reverent Review of the U.S. Constitution, Lawrence Patton McDonald, ‘76 Press., 1979. Larry McDonald, a member of the US Congress, was killed in 1983 when Soviet Interceptors shot down KAL 007.
The Founding Fathers
- Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow
- Greatness To Spare, T. R. Fehrenbacb, D. Van Nostrand Co., 1968.
- John Adams, David McCullough, Simon & Schuster, 2005
- The Life of George Washington, Washington Irving, G P Putnam (Either the 3 or 5 volume sets)
- The Bulletproof George Washington, David Barton, 1990.
- The Real Benjamin Franklin: The True Story of America's Greatest Diplomat Andrew M. Allison, Willard Cleon Skousen, M. Richard Maxfield, Benjamin Franklin, 1982
- The Real George Washington, Jay A. Perry and Andrew M. Allison, NCCS, 1991.
- The Real James Madison, Joe Wolverton, II, Heritage Academy, 2018
- The Real Thomas Jefferson, Andrew M Allison, 1983
- Mao: The Unknown Story, Jung Chang & Jon Halliday, 2007 – This is the story of an individual with unbridled self-interest and will show the absolute horror that such an individual can wreak on a society and the world. Makes you wonder about anyone who looks up to Mao in any way. Perhaps Hilter had he lived would have ruined or destroyed more lives. However, Mao is in my view the reigning poster boy of evil. No sacrifice was too great for anyone to make for Mao’s sake.
- The Candy Bombers, Andrei Cherny, G.P. Putnam’s Son, 2008 – This is an interesting read in general but pay special attention to the sacrifices the Berliners were willing to make to keep their freedom as the cold war began. Would we be willing to do the same today? I wonder.
- When Nations Die, Jim Nelson Black, Tyndale House Publishers, 1995
- Christianity and the State, Rousas John Rushdoony, 1986
- Slouching Towards Gomorrah, Robert H. Bork, Harper Collins, 1996
- The Nature of the American System, Rousas John Rushdoony, 2002
- The Law, Frederick Bastiat, 1850 – PDF This is an absolute must read for everyone.
George Washington said the following:
Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion, and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens.
Daniel Webster made this remark in a speech at an event celebrating the life of Washington:
But, gentlemen, let us hope for better things. Let us trust in that gracious Being who has hitherto held our country as in the hollow of his hand. Let us trust to the virtue and the intelligence of the people, and to the efficacy of religious obligation. Let us trust to the influence of Washington's example. Let us hope that that fear of Heaven which expels all other fear, and that regard to duty which transcends all other regard, may influence public men and private citizens, and lead our country still onward in her happy career.
Dr. Benjamin Rush made the following statement:
Patriotism is as much a virtue as justice, and is as necessary for the support of societies as natural affection is for the support of families. The Amor Patriae [love of one's country] is both a moral and a religious duty. It comprehends not only the love of our neighbors but of millions of our fellow creatures, not only of the present but of future generations. This virtue we find constitutes a part of the first characters of history.
Many of the founders expressed similar sentiments regarding morality and religion and their indispensible role in maintaining a free society. As William George Jordan said in 1907,
We need in our country today less politics and more statesmanship, less party and more patriotism. We need an awakening to higher ideals. We need a higher conception of America's place and destiny in the evolution of the world. We need something nobler as a purpose than our self-satisfied complacency at the material prosperity of the nation, for there is a moral and ethical success that is never rung up on a cash-register. We need the scourging of the money changers out of the temple of legislation ― State and national. We need purifying and ennobling of the body politic. We need the clear clarion voice of a great inspiration to rouse the States to their duty ― not the gilded phrases of mere rhetoric, but the honest eloquence of a high and exalted purpose
With this in mind below are several of what I think are the best books on morality, human nature and overcoming the “natural man”. Coupling a strong moral base with an understanding of the principles of liberty we may become a people who can re-establish and maintain the freedom our Constitution intended to provide.
- Burgess books for children. Refer to my post on Thornton W. Burgess.
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach, 1970
- The Kingship of Self-Control, The Majesty of Calmness, The Power of Truth, The Crownship of Individuality, The Trusteeship of Life, William George Jordan, 1898 to 1921 – Please refer to my post entitled Books by William George Jordan for links to HTML and PDF versions of each of these.
- The Greatest Thing in the World, Roger J. Williams, 1890
- The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupery, 1942
- The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale, 1952
- The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis, 1942
- The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven R. Covey, Simon & Schuster, 1992
- Prophets, Principles, and National Survival, Jerry Newquist, 1964
- Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen, H. Verlan Andersen, 1967
Organizations Dedicated to Promoting Liberty
- Foundation for Economic Education
- Ludwig Von Misis Institute
- National Center for Constitutional Studies
Please let me know if you have additional suggestions.