Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff (William Morrow, 2014)

Matt Kibbe is the President and CEO of FreedomWorks, a national grassroots organization that serves citizens in their fight for more individual freedom and less government control. An economist by training, Kibbe is a well-respected policy expert, bestselling author and political commentator, and a regular guest on CNN, Fox News, The Blaze TV and MSNBC. He also serves as Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Austrian Economic Center in Vienna, Austria. Dubbed “the scribe” by the New York Daily News, Kibbe is author of Hostile Takeover: Resisting Centralized Government’s Stranglehold on America, (2012) and coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto (2010). His most recent book, Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff was released on April 1, 2014.

In this essential manifesto of the new libertarian movement, New York Times bestselling author and president of FreedomWorks Matt Kibbe makes a stand for individual liberty and shows us what we must do to preserve our freedom.

Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff is a rational yet passionate argument that defends the principles upon which America was founded—principles shared by citizens across the political spectrum. The Constitution grants each American the right to self-determination, to be protected from others whose actions are destructive to their lives and property. Yet as Kibbe persuasively shows, the political and corporate establishment consolidates its power by infringing upon our independence—from taxes to regulations to spying—ultimately eroding the ideals, codified in law, that have made the United States unique in history.

Kibbe offers a surefire plan for reclaiming our inalienable rights and regaining control of our lives, grounded in six simple rules:

  1. Don’t hurt people: Free people just want to be left alone, not hassled or harmed by someone else with an agenda or designs over their life and property.
  2. Don’t take people’s stuff: America’s founders fought to ensure property rights and our individual right to the fruits of our labors.
  3. Take responsibility: Liberty takes responsibility. Don’t sit around waiting for someone else to solve your problems.
  4. Work for it: For every action there is an equal reaction. Work hard and you’ll be rewarded.
  5. Mind your own business: Free people live and let live.
  6. Fight the power: Thanks to the Internet and the decentralization of knowledge, there are more opportunities than ever to take a stand against corrupt authority.

Paradise Lost by John Milton (Penguin)

In Paradise Lost, Milton produced a poem of epic scale, conjuring up a vast, awe-inspiring cosmos and ranging across huge tracts of space and time. And yet, in putting a charismatic Satan and naked Adam and Eve at the center of this story, he also created an intensely human tragedy on the Fall of Man.

John Leonard’s revised edition of Paradise Lost contains full notes, elucidating Milton’s biblical, classical and historical allusions and discussing his vivid, highly original use of language and blank verse.

From the Publisher

This is the first fully-annotated, old-spelling edition of Paradise Lost to be published in this century. It surveys in its introduction and incorporates in its notes the large amount of criticism published between 1965 and the present–not to mention the criticism that began with Dryden, Addison, Samuel Johnson, and William Blake–and it reflects critical perspectives from New Criticism to Deconstruction, from Philology to New Historicism and Feminism. On the page, the book combines the look and feel of original editions with the convenience of wide margins and thorough annotation.

From AudioFile

Edith Hamilton retells the Greek, Roman, and Norse myths with a sure taste and scholarship that help to restore their quality as perennial and refreshing fables about human nature, including our own.

About the Author

John Milton was born in London on December 9, 1608, and studied at the University of Cambridge. He originally planned to become a clergyman, but abandoned those ambitions to become a poet. Political in his writings, he served a government post during the time of the Commonwealth. In 1651, he went completely blind but he continued to write, finishing Paradise Lost in 1667, and Paradise Regained in 1671. He died in 1674.

On Goodreads.com

Paradise Lost
by John Milton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paradise-Lost-Kerrigan.jpgMilton is a brilliant genius. He does no injustice to the biblical text, but he does color it nicely. He draws in the reader who may not otherwise be drawn in to the sacred text and he inspired me to nurture the longing in my soul for God. I found Paradise Lost to be rich with imagery and imagination. I am challenged by his many references to Greek mythology, science, and his far-reaching view of the world. A couple of highlights for me: 1) scenes of the angels worshiping God in Book III, 2) the description of the Son volunteering to rescue the future, yet to be created race through his own sacrifice [Book VII], 3) Milton’s description of the Son descending to vanquish Satan from Heaven, and 4) descriptions of innocence. I appreciated Milton’s portrayal of Satan, but I don’t see Satan as a tragic hero, as that would aggrandize him more than Milton intended IMHO. I recommend Paradise Lost to any serious reader of literature.

Flat-Fleuron

You can find more reviews and discussions of this and many other books on Goodreads.com (including my own reviews and comments about this and other books). It’s one of my favorite sites to help me organize my own reading and keep up with others. When you’re on Goodreads, please visit my author page and “Like” The Soul of Atlas. Consider writing a review and sharing it with your friends on Goodreads and Facebook.com.

 

Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes (Little, Brown, and Company, 1942)

josephine-angelini-photo-edith-hamiltonSince its original publication by Little, Brown and Company in 1942, Edith Hamilton’s Mythology has sold millions of copies throughout the world and established itself as a perennial bestseller in its various available formats: hardcover, trade paperback, mass market paperback, and e-book. Mythology succeeds like no other book in bringing to life for the modern reader the Greek, Roman, and Norse myths and legends that are the keystone of Western culture – the stories of gods and heroes that have inspired human creativity from antiquity to the present.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Edith Hamilton loved the ancient Western myths with a passion–and this classic compendium is her tribute. “The tales of Greek mythology do not throw any clear light upon what early mankind was like,” Hamilton explains in her introduction. “They do throw an abundance of light upon what early Greeks were like–a matter, it would seem, of more importance to us, who are their descendents intellectually, artistically, and politically. Nothing we learn about them is alien to ourselves.” Fans of Greek mythology will find all the great stories and characters here–Perseus, Hercules, and Odysseus–each discussed in generous detail by the voice of an impressively knowledgeable and engaging (with occasional lapses) narrator. This is also an excellent primer for middle- and high-school students who are studying ancient Greek and Roman culture and literature. –Gail Hudson

The New Yorker

Edith Hamilton retells the Greek, Roman, and Norse myths with a sure taste and scholarship that help to restore their quality as perennial and refreshing fables about human nature, including our own.

The New York Times

No one in modern times has shown us more vividly than Edith Hamilton ‘the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome.’ Filtering the golden essence from the mass of classical literature, she proved how applicable to our daily lives are the humor and wisdom of more than 2,000 years ago.

About the Author

Edith Hamilton, an educator, writer and a historian, was born August 12, 1867 in Dresden, Germany, of American parents and grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Her father began teaching her Latin when she was seven years old and soon added Greek, French, and German to her curriculum. Hamilton’s education continued at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut, and at Bryn Mawr College near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from which she graduated in 1894 with an M.A. degree. The following year, she and her sister Alice went to Germany and were the first women students at the universities of Munich and Leipzich.
Hamilton returned to the United States in 1896 and accepted the position of headmistress of the Bryn Mawr Preparatory School in Baltimore, Maryland. For the next twenty-six years, she directed the education of about four hundred girls per year. After her retirement in 1922, she started writing and publishing scholarly articles on Greek drama. In 1930, when she was sixty-three years old, she published The Greek Way, in which she presented parallels between life in ancient Greece and in modern times. The book was a critical and popular success. In 1932, she published The Roman Way, which was also very successful. These were followed by The Prophets of Israel (1936), Witness to the Truth: Christ and His Interpreters (1949), Three Greek Plays, translations of Aeschylus and Euripides (1937), Mythology (1942), The Great Age of Greek Literature (1943), Spokesmen for God (1949) and Echo of Greece (1957). Hamilton traveled to Greece in 1957 to be made an honorary citizen of Athens and to see a performance in front of the Acropolis of one of her translations of Greek plays. She was ninety years old at the time. At home, Hamilton was a recipient of many honorary degrees and awards, including election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Edith Hamilton died on May 31, 1963 in Washington, D.C.

On Goodreads.com

Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes
by Edith Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have never read, or even seen, a book quite so straightforward, compact, and simply written that brings together the mythology of the ancient Greeks and Romans (even a little Norse mythology thrown in).

I picked up this book for some beach reading. (I imagine that sounds strange, but I don’t read novels very often.) As I expected, it was dry in parts and entertaining in other parts. Overall, I can’t imagine getting a better introduction to the subject. I feel much better prepared to read the original writers, having some context and overall perspective.

My other goal was to become a better reader and writer. Hamilton’s style is simple and friendly without embellishment. I’m glad because this book could otherwise have been twice the size. I was interested in the content, to plant the seeds of myth and literary allusion that I hope to include in my own writing and to recognize in what I read.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in an overview of Greek and Roman mythology. It’s very well organized and easy to navigate. I read it straight through, but it would also be a great reference on the subject. The index is exhaustive and helpful.

Flat-Fleuron

You can find more reviews and discussions of this and many other books on Goodreads.com (including my own reviews and comments about this and other books). It’s one of my favorite sites to help me organize my own reading and keep up with others. When you’re on Goodreads, please visit my author page and “Like” The Soul of Atlas. Consider writing a review and sharing it with your friends on Goodreads and Facebook.com.

 

Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (New York: Plume, 1991)

Leonard PeikoffI first encountered this book in the early 90’s. It really is a well-organized and comprehensive look at Ayn Rand‘s philosophy. While Rand could have done this herself, I think she was just as pleased to oversee Peikoff’s work and listen to her philosophy presented in the classroom. I have never met Dr. Peikoff, but I have watched and listened to his lectures and read his work.
Peikoff refers to himself as “Ayn Rand‘s intellectual heir.”

Editorial Reviews

from the back cover…

This brilliantly conceived and organized book is based on a lecture course given by Dr. Leonard Peikoff in 1976, entitled “The Philosophy of Objectivism.” The lectures were attended by Ayn Rand, who helped prepare them and also joined Peikoff in answering questions. Ayn Rand said of these lectures: “Until or unless I write a comprehensive treatise on my philosophy, Dr. Peikoff’s course is the only authorized presentation of the entire theoretical structure of Objectivism–that is, the only one that I know of my own knowledge to be fully accurate.”
Dr. Peikoff, Rand’s designated heir and foremost interpreter, reveals the abstract fundamentals of Objectivism and its practical applications in the everyday world. He covers every branch of philosophy recognized by Rand and every philosophic topic she regarded as important–from certainty to money, from logic to art, from measurement to sex. Illustrated with quotes from her published works, complete with an abundance of new material that Ayn Rand offered only in private conversations with Peikoff, these clear, cogent chapters illuminate Objectivism–and its creator–with startling clarity. Now the millions of readers who have been transformed by Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead will discover the full philosophical system underlying Ayn Rand‘s stories about life “as it might be and ought to be.”

From Library Journal

Peikoff, Rand’s heir and authorized evangelist, tries to present the definitive apologetic for her individualist gospel. Libraries could certainly use a book explaining a writer whose works still sell half a million copies a year. But Rand’s success is rooted in the unsubtle but dramatic The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged , not in tracts like Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal . And this book mostly summarizes those tracts. There are sophisticated defenses like those in Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia ( LJ 1/15/75) for some Rand doctrines, but Peikoff, as official expositor, is bound to the received word. Odd claims like, “monopolies achieved under capitalism . . . depend on merit and do no harm” abound. In pursuit of Randian orthodoxy, he must denounce leftists, but he goes further and holds that “historically, from the Sherman Act to Herbert Hoover to the Bush Administration, it is the conservatives, not the leftists, who have always been the major destroyers of the United States.” — Leslie Armour, Univ. of Ottawa

About the Author

Leonard Peikoff is universally recognized as the pre-eminent Rand scholar writing today. He worked closely with Ayn Rand for 30 years and was designated by her as her intellectual heir and heir to her estate. He has taught philosophy at Hunter College, Long Island University, and New York University, and hosted the national radio talk show “Philosophy: Who Needs It.”

 

Flat-Fleuron

You can find more reviews and discussions of this and many other books on Goodreads.com (including my own reviews and comments about this and other books). It’s one of my favorite sites to help me organize my own reading and keep up with others. When you’re on Goodreads, please visit my author page and “Like” The Soul of Atlas. Consider writing a review and sharing it with your friends on Goodreads and Facebook.com.

 

The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis (1942)

C-S-Lewis-GoodreadsThe Screwtape Letters is C. S. Lewis‘s entertaining and clever dramatization of Christian conversion. A masterpiece of satire, this classic has entertained and enlightened readers the world over with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life from the vantage point of Screwtape, a senior tempter in the service of “Our Father Below.” At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C. S. Lewis gives us the correspondence of the worldly-wise old devil to his nephew Wormwood, a novice demon in charge of securing the damnation of an ordinary young man. The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging and humorous account of temptation—and triumph over it—ever written.

It has become a classic for good reason. C. S. Lewis takes common questions, misunderstandings, and his own objections to Christianity, and answers them using the same rational approach that resonated with him as he crossed the line from unbelief many years prior. Be persistent. When I picked up Mere Christianity the first time, it was like pulling teeth. I put it down after two chapters. A year later, a friend of mine (for whom I have tremendous respect) confided that he reads the book straight through once a year to keep perspective. I thought, “Perhaps I should give this another try.” I did, and I couldn’t put it down! What a difference. It was easy reading, compelling, winsome. Of course, the book hadn’t changed; I had. And then, it when on to radically change the way I approach all other books.

Editorial Reviews

Guardian

“This book is sparkling yet truly reverent, in fact a perfect joy, and should become a classic.”

Observer

“Excellent, hard-hitting, challenging, provoking.”

New York Times Book Review

“C.S. Lewis is the ideal persuader for the half-convinced, for the good man who would like to be a Christian but finds his intellect getting in the way.”

Christianity Today

“[The Screwtape Letters] show[s] his ability to dramatize: to set forth an attractive vision of the Christian life, proceeding by means of character and plot to narrate an engaging story, everything colorful, vibrant, and active.”
“C. S. Lewis understood, like few in the past century, just how deeply faith is both imaginative and rational.”

From the Back Cover

A milestone in the history of popular theology, The Screwtape Letters is an iconic classic on spiritual warfare and the dynamics of temptation.

This profound and striking narrative takes the form of a series of letters from Screwtape, a devil high in the Infernal Civil Service, to his nephew Wormwood, a junior colleague engaged in his first mission on earth, trying to secure the damnation of a young man who has just become a Christian. Although the young man initially looks to be a willing victim, he changes his ways and is “lost” to the young devil.

Dedicated to Lewis’s friend and colleague J. R. R. Tolkien, The Screwtape Letters is a timeless classic on spiritual conflict and the psychology of temptation which are part of our religious experience.

About the Author

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over one hundred million copies and have been transformed into three major motion pictures.

On Goodreads.com


The Screwtape Letters
The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed Lewis’s clever and creative approach to illustrating the theology of real life. I read The Screwtape Letters before I read Paradise Lost by John Milton. I was even more impressed with Lewis, seeing his inspiration. I highly recommend The Screwtape Letters to any thinking person who is up for an honest intellectual challenge.

TSOA Front Cover 150 x 150You can find more reviews and discussions of this and many other books on Goodreads.com (including my own reviews and comments about this and other books). It’s one of my favorite sites to help me organize my own reading and keep up with others. When you’re on Goodreads, please visit my author page and “Like” The Soul of Atlas. Consider writing a review and sharing it with your friends on Goodreads and Facebook.com.

 

Hitch-22: A Memoir (Twelve, 2010)

220px-Christopher_Hitchens_crop_2Over the course of his 60 years, Christopher Hitchens has been a citizen of both the United States and the United Kingdom. He has been both a socialist opposed to the war in Vietnam and a supporter of the U.S. war against Islamic extremism in Iraq. He has been both a foreign correspondent in some of the world’s most dangerous places and a legendary bon vivant with an unquenchable thirst for alcohol and literature. He is a fervent atheist, raised as a Christian, by a mother whose Jewish heritage was not revealed to him until her suicide. In other words, Christopher Hitchens contains multitudes. He sees all sides of an argument. And he believes the personal is political.

This is the story of his life, lived large.

Christopher Hitchens had some things in common with Ayn Rand. They were both atheists, writers, and both publicly expressed distaste and disrespect for Mother Teresa. That said, Hitchens disliked Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism and publicly derided her character.

Editorial Reviews

Bookmarks Magazine Review

Christopher Hitchens stands alone among 20th- and 21st-century pundits for his enthusiastic enmity and political flip-flopping, but while he makes no apologies for his beliefs, he does acknowledge their intrinsic contradictions. Critics praised Hitchens’s frankness in sharing the details of his mother’s suicide and of his breezy bisexuality, but they simultaneously balked at his decision to omit significant people and events (i.e., his wives, his children, and his role in Bill Clinton’s impeachment). They also objected to his relentless name-dropping and some overly dense prose, and a few were appalled that Hitchens would continue to insist that Saddam Hussein did indeed possess WMDs. Despite these complaints, Hitch-22 is a sharp, rebellious, and sometimes bawdy account of the making of a modern mastermind.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Hitchens, who, in his earlier books, has expressed contempt for both God and Mother Teresa (although not in that order), is often described as a contrarian. In fact, in his book Letters to a Young Contrarian (2001), he himself noted that he “can appear insufferable and annoying,” albeit without intending to. This memoir, bracing, droll, and very revealing, gives him yet another description: storyteller. He writes with a voice you can hear clearly, warmed by smoke and whiskey, and draws readers into his story, which proves as personal as it is political. As with many memoirs, it is not the public moments that are so fascinating, though there are plenty of those. Hitchens takes readers with him to Havana and Prague, Afghanistan and Iraq; tests himself by being waterboarded (he was disappointed in his early capitulation); and hobnobs with politicians and poets. He almost gets himself beaten up by defacing a poster in Iraq with a Hitler mustache. But the most intriguing stories are the personal ones, both from his early days, at home and at boarding school, and from his later life, when he learns that his mother was Jewish, which, if only technically, makes him Jewish as well. This revelation leads Hitchens on a quest to learn the story of his family, many of whom died in the Holocaust. How this new identity squares with his oft-proclaimed atheism sheds a different light on the meaning of religious identity. (He struggles mightily with his political identity as well.) Few authors can rile as easily as Hitchens does, but even his detractors might find it difficult to put down a book so witty, so piercing, so spoiling for a fight. He makes you want to be as good a reader as he is a writer. –Ilene Cooper

About the Author

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was the author of Letters to a Young Contrarian, and the bestseller No One Left to Lie To: The Values of the Worst Family. A regular contributor to Vanity Fair, The Atlantic Monthly and Slate, Hitchens also wrote for The Weekly Standard, The National Review, and The Independent, and appeared on The Daily Show, Charlie Rose, The Chris Matthews Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, and C-Span’s Washington Journal. He was named one of the world’s “Top 100 Public Intellectuals” by Foreign Policy and Britain’s Prospect.

Fleuron

On Goodreads.com

Hitch-22: A MemoirHitch-22: A Memoir by Christopher Hitchens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Christopher Hitchens is a smart writer and his phlegmatic reading is entertaining with his dry sense of humor. The cultural and political references are somewhat lost on me as I don’t appear to have paid attention during the sixties and seventies. (I was very small then and I haven’t made up for it since.)
Hitchens is a master of language, but so brilliantly conversational. I listened to the author’s own reading of the book and read along at the same time. His recorded voice has a conversational tone that matches both his speaking and writing style. Yet, he drops so many cultural and literary references just outside of my range. The visible words help me put them in context should I encounter them again.
I recommend Hitch-22 to anyone who likes Hitchens’s style and wants more. I plan to pursue more Hitchens titles. I’m sad he’s not around to write more.

Flat-Fleuron

TSOA Front Cover 150 x 150You can find more reviews and discussions of this and many other books on Goodreads.com (including my own reviews and comments about this and other books). It’s one of my favorite sites to help me organize my own reading and keep up with others. When you’re on Goodreads, please visit my author page and “Like” The Soul of Atlas. Consider writing a review and sharing it with your friends on Goodreads and Facebook.com.

 

 

Mere Christianity (San Francisco: HarperCollins Publishers, 1952)

C-S-Lewis-GoodreadsMere Christianity is C. S. Lewis‘s forceful and accessible doctrine of Christian belief. First heard as informal radio broadcasts and then published as three separate books – The Case for Christianity, Christian Behavior, and Beyond PersonalityMere Christianity brings together what Lewis saw as the fundamental truths of the religion. Rejecting the boundaries that divide Christianity’s many denominations, C. S. Lewis finds a common ground on which all those who have Christian faith can stand together, proving that “at the centre of each there is something, or a Someone, who against all divergences of belief, all differences of temperament, all memories of mutual persecution, speaks the same voice.”

It has become a classic for good reason. C. S. Lewis takes common questions, misunderstandings, and his own objections to Christianity, and answers them using the same rational approach that resonated with him as he crossed the line from unbelief many years prior. Be persistent. When I picked up Mere Christianity the first time, it was like pulling teeth. I put it down after two chapters. A year later, a friend of mine (for whom I have tremendous respect) confided that he reads the book straight through once a year to keep perspective. I thought, “Perhaps I should give this another try.” I did, and I couldn’t put it down! What a difference. It was easy reading, compelling, winsome. Of course, the book hadn’t changed; I had. And then, it when on to radically change the way I approach all other books.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In 1943 Great Britain, when hope and the moral fabric of society were threatened by the relentless inhumanity of global war, an Oxford don was invited to give a series of radio lectures addressing the central issues of Christianity. Over half a century after the original lectures, the topic retains it urgency. Expanded into book form, Mere Christianity never flinches as it sets out a rational basis for Christianity and builds an edifice of compassionate morality atop this foundation. As Mr. Lewis clearly demonstrates, Christianity is not a religion of flitting angels and blind faith, but of free will, an innate sense of justice and the grace of God. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The late Lewis, Oxford professor, scholar, author, and Christian apologist, presents the listener with a case for orthodox Christianity. This is definitely not the shouting, stomping, sweating, spitting televangelist fare so often parodied; Lewis employs logical arguments that are eloquently expressed. He describes those doctrines that the four major denominations in Britain (Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic) would have in common, e.g., original sin, the transcendent Creator God, and the divinity of Jesus as well as his atonement and bodily resurrection. Geoffrey Howard reads both works, and his performance is superb; he is clear and unhurried, giving just the right emphasis and/or inflection. The volume on the Blackstone edition is recorded at a higher level than HarperAudio’s. Otherwise there were no perceived differences in the recordings. If your institution can afford it, the Blackstone production would be preferred because of its sturdy case and the announcement of side changes. Whether or not one agrees with Lewis’s arguments, it is a pleasure to hear such a skillful reading of an eloquent work. Public libraries as well as institutions that teach religion/theology or speech should consider. –Michael T. Fein, Central Virginia Community Coll., Lynchburg

About the Author

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over one hundred million copies and have been transformed into three major motion pictures.

On Goodreads.com


Mere Christianity
Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I highly recommend  Mere Christianity. It has become a classic for good reason. C. S. Lewis takes common questions, misunderstandings, and his own objections to Christianity, and answers them using the same rational approach that resonated with him as he crossed the line from unbelief many years prior. Be persistent. When I picked up Mere Christianity the first time, it was like pulling teeth. I put it down after two chapters. A year later, a friend of mine (for whom I have tremendous respect) confided that he reads the book straight through once a year to keep perspective. I thought, “Perhaps I should give this another try.” I did, and I couldn’t put it down! What a difference. It was easy reading, compelling, winsome. Of course, the book hadn’t changed; I had. And then, it when on to radically change the way I approach all other books.

TSOA Front Cover 150 x 150You can find more reviews and discussions of this and many other books on Goodreads.com (including my own reviews and comments about this and other books). It’s one of my favorite sites to help me organize my own reading and keep up with others. When you’re on Goodreads, please visit my author page and “Like” The Soul of Atlas. Consider writing a review and sharing it with your friends on Goodreads and Facebook.com.

 

For the New Intellectual (New York: Signet, 1963)

This is one of my favorite Ayn Rand books to recommend to people unfamiliar with her writing. It’s short and it contains her hand-picked excerpts from her fiction that illustrate aspects of her philosophy, Objectivism. Her introductory essay is equally representative.

Description

This is Ayn Rand‘s challenge to the prevalent philosophical doctrines of our time and the “atmosphere of guilt, of panic, of despair, of boredom, and of all-pervasive evasion” that they create. One of the most controversial figures on the intellectual scene, Ayn Rand was the proponent of a moral philosophy–and ethic of rational self-interest–that stands in sharp opposition to the ethics of altruism and self-sacrifice. The fundamentals of this morality–“a philosophy for living on Earth”–are here vibrantly set forth by the spokesman for a new class, For the New Intellectual.

 

From AynRand.org

Following the publication of Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand transitioned to writing nonfiction philosophical works. The first book she published was For the New Intellectual, a collection of the philosophic speeches from her novels. The book begins with a lengthy essay in which Rand argues that America and Western civilization are in desperate need of a new philosophy and new intellectuals.

Rand viewed the book as a “cultural commercial” for her novels, which would stimulate sales of the newly released paperback editions of Atlas Shrugged and her first novel, We the Living. For the New Intellectual has sold over 1 million copies.

Random Amazon Reviewer

After I had read For the the Intellectual, I found myself craving to find more knowledge of her philosophy, I saw in a wonderfully flowing style the actual points of Ayn Rand’s philosophy. Unlike many of those who read this book (probably only the portions they needed to convince themselves of this author’s psychosis) and posted their reviews, I was not revolted by these words. I have seen these things around me all my life, and if Ayn Rand had not published her philosophy, I surely would have published something very similar eventually. It seems to me that the people who are turned away by this book are the people that take the most benefit from the current moral scheme. The people who are the fanatic crazy types about this philosophy are the one’s who have been drained of their entire essence and wish to unlock their inner capabilities. If you wish to simply be able to live fully, fully for yourself, and wish to use YOUR potential to the fullest extent, then I suggest you read this stunning piece of work. And please take not that it is philosophy, and not an exact account of history

Fleuron

On Goodreads.com

For the New Intellectual: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Ayn Rand
My rating: 5 of 5 starsFor the New Intellectual: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

Rand has carefully chosen passages in her fiction which illustrate key concepts in her philosophy. In this short collection, Rand introduces passages from We The Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged. The opening chapter is a compelling essay outlining the philosophical struggle between those who support her philosophical conclusions and forces in our culture which contradict the truths she resolutely defends.
I recommend this work for readers who are unfamiliar with Rand’s writing and would like to understand her better before committing to her larger works.

TSOA Front Cover 150 x 150You can find more reviews and discussions of this and many other books on Goodreads.com (including my own reviews and comments about this and other books). It’s one of my favorite sites to help me organize my own reading and keep up with others. When you’re on Goodreads, please visit my author page and “Like” The Soul of Atlas. Consider writing a review and sharing it with your friends on Goodreads and Facebook.com.

Fleuron

The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America (Washington, DC: PublicAffairs, 2013)

The Great Deformation is a searing look at Washington’s craven response to the recent myriad of financial crises and fiscal cliffs. It counters conventional wisdom with an eighty-year revisionist history of how the American state—especially the Federal Reserve—has fallen prey to the politics of crony capitalism and the ideologies of fiscal stimulus, monetary central planning, and financial bailouts. These forces have left the public sector teetering on the edge of political dysfunction and fiscal collapse and have caused America’s private enterprise foundation to morph into a speculative casino that swindles the masses and enriches the few.

Defying right- and left-wing boxes, David Stockman provides a catalogue of corrupters and defenders of sound money, fiscal rectitude, and free markets. The former includes Franklin Roosevelt, who fathered crony capitalism; Richard Nixon, who destroyed national financial discipline and the Bretton Woods gold-backed dollar; Fed chairmen Greenspan and Bernanke, who fostered our present scourge of bubble finance and addiction to debt and speculation; George W. Bush, who repudiated fiscal rectitude and ballooned the warfare state via senseless wars; and Barack Obama, who revived failed Keynesian “borrow and spend” policies that have driven the national debt to perilous heights. By contrast, the book also traces a parade of statesmen who championed balanced budgets and financial market discipline including Carter Glass, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Bill Simon, Paul Volcker, Bill Clinton, and Sheila Bair.

DavidStockmanStockman’s analysis skewers Keynesian spenders and GOP tax-cutters alike, showing how they converged to bloat the welfare state, perpetuate the military-industrial complex, and deplete the revenue base—even as the Fed’s massive money printing allowed politicians to enjoy “deficits without tears.” But these policies have also fueled new financial bubbles and favored Wall Street with cheap money and rigged stock and bond markets, while crushing Main Street savers and punishing family budgets with soaring food and energy costs. The Great Deformation explains how we got here and why these warped, crony capitalist policies are an epochal threat to free market prosperity and American political democracy.

Flat-Fleuron

TSOA Front Cover 150 x 150You can find more reviews and discussions of this and many other books on Goodreads.com (including my own reviews and comments about this and other books). It’s one of my favorite sites to help me organize my own reading and keep up with others. When you’re on Goodreads, please visit my author page and “Like” The Soul of Atlas. Consider writing a review and sharing it with your friends on Goodreads and Facebook.com.

 

 
Fleuron

To Change the World (Oxford University Press, 2010)

The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World

The call to make the world a better place is inherent in the Christian belief and practice. But why have efforts to change the world by Christians so often failed or gone tragically awry? And how might Christians in the 21st century live in ways that have integrity with their traditions and are more truly transformative? In To Change the World, James Davison Hunter offers persuasive–and provocative–answers to these questions.
Hunter begins with a penetrating appraisal of the most popular models of world-changing among Christians today, highlighting the ways they are inherently flawed and therefore incapable of generating the change to which they aspire. Because change implies power, all Christian eventually embrace strategies of political engagement. Hunter offers a trenchant critique of the political theologies of the Christian Right and Left and the Neo-Anabaptists, taking on many respected leaders, from Charles Colson to Jim Wallis and Stanley Hauerwas. Hunter argues that all too often these political theologies worsen the very problems they are designed to solve. What is really needed is a different paradigm of Christian engagement with the world, one that Hunter calls “faithful presence”–an ideal of Christian practice that is not only individual but institutional; a model that plays out not only in all relationships but in our work and all spheres of social life. He offers real-life examples, large and small, of what can be accomplished through the practice of “faithful presence.” Such practices will be more fruitful, Hunter argues, more exemplary, and more deeply transfiguring than any more overtly ambitious attempts can ever be.
Written with keen insight, deep faith, and profound historical grasp, To Change the World will forever change the way Christians view and talk about their role in the modern world.