Books that Introduce Critical Thinking and Support Liberty

  • [T]=Link to free text
  • [A]=Link to free audio recording

Young adult/children

  • The Little Prince by Antoine Saint-Exupery
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
  • Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
  • The Great Good Thing by Roderick Townley
  • The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling [T][A]
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  • The Westing Game by Ellen Rasking
  • Lillies of the Field by William Barrett
  • Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  • The Wrinkle in Time Series(Wrinkle In Time, Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet)  by Madeleine L’Engle
  • The Dark is Rising Series by Susan Cooper
  • The Tripod Trilogy by John Christopher
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Coraline, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
  • The Original Shanara Trilogy (Sword, Elfstones, Wishsong) and Landover (Magic Kingdom for Sale, SOLD!, The Black Unicorn, Wizard at Large, The Tangle Box) by Terry Brooks
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
  • Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain [A][T]
  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
  • Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter [A][T]


  • Complete works of Mark Helprin (esp. Winter’s Tale, A Soldier of the Great War, Freddy & Fredericka,In Sunlight and Shadow)
  • Complete works of William Shakespeare (Especially Othello, King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, Tempest, Henry IV parts 1 & 2, Henry V, sonnets) [T][A]
  • The Iliad [T][AThe Odyssey [T][A]  by Homer (I like the Fagles translation)
  • Sophocles–Oedipus Trilogy , [T][A] [A][A], Philoctetes [T][A], Women of Trachis [T][A]
  • Oresteia by Aeschylus  [T][A]
  • Medea by Euripides [T][A]
  • Les Miserables [T][A], The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo [T][A]
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens [T][A]
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte [T][A]
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte [T][A]
  • Complete works of William Faulkner ( esp. The Sound and the Fury, Light in August) by Faulkner
  • Howard’s End by E.M. Forster [T][A]
  • Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne [T][A]
  • Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley [T][A]
  • The Portrait of Dorian Gray [T][A], The Importance of Being Earnest[T][A] , An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde[T][A]
  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells [T][A]
  • A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
  • Night by Elie Wiesel
  • The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
  • The Devil’s Disciple [T], Pygmalion [T][A], Major Barbara [T][A] by George Bernard Shaw
  • A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt
  • Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmund Ronstad (unless you speak French, only the Hooker translation)
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker [T][A]
  • Inherit the Wind by Lawrence and Lee
  • Magnificent Obsession by Lloyd C. Douglas
  • Silas Marner by George Eliot [T][A]
  • The Decameron –Giovanni Boccaccio [T][A]
  • Mystic RiverLive by Night--Dennis Lehane
  • The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
  • The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck


  • How to Read A Book by Mortimer J. Adler
  • A Mind for Numbers by Barbara Oakley


  • A History of Knowledge by Charles Van Doren
  • The Cave and the Light by Arthur Herman
  • Plato (Euthyphro [T][A],  Apology [T][A], Gorgias [T][A], Crito[A], Phaedo [A], Symposium [T][A], Republic [T][A])
  • Aristotle (Metaphysics [T][A], Nicomachean Ethics [T][A], Eudemian Ethics [T][A], Politics [T][A], Rhetoric [T][A],  Poetics [T][A])
  • A History of Philosophy Series by F. Copleston
  • Discourses on Livy by Machiavelli [T]
  • Ethical and Political Writings of St. Thomas Aquinas
  • Aristotle for Everybody, 10 Philosophical Mistakes, The Great Ideas, by Mortimer J. Adler
  • Cicero (On the Gods [T][A], On Duties [T][A], 1st and 2nd Philippics [T][A]
  • Superheroes and Philosophy edited by Morris
  • Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Philosophy edited by South
  • Vindication of the Rights of WomenVindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft [T][A]


  • History of the Ancient World, Medieval World, Renaissance World, The Story of Western Science by Susan Wise Bauer
  • The Forgotten Man, Coolidge by Amnity Shlaes
  • History of the Peloponnesian Wars by Thucydides [T][A]
  • John Adams by David McCullough
  • From Dawn to Decadence by Barzun
  • Plutarch’s Lives [T][A]
  • Cicero, Augustus by Everitt
  • Letters of John and Abigail Adams [T]
  • Washington, Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  • The Glorious Cause by Robert Middlekauff
  • Lost Enlightenment by S. Frederick Starr
  • Reagan’s War by Peter Schweizer
  • Patriot’s History of the United States by Schweikart and Allen
  • The Closing of the Muslim Mind by Robert R. Reilly
  • The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer
  • 1775 by Kevin Phillips
  • Empire of Libery, Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different by Gordon S. Wood
  • The Last Lion by William Manchester and Paul Reid
  • The Storm Before the Storm by Mike Duncan
  • Coming Apart by Charles Murray
  • Occult America by Mitch Horowitz


  • Who Really Cares, The Conservative Heart.  and The Road to Freedom by Arthur Brooks
  • The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman
  • Dave Barry Hits Below the Beltway by Dave Barry
  • Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville  [T][A]
  • The Law by Bastiat [T][A]
  • The Upside of Down by McArdle
  • Spirit of the Laws [T][A]
  • The Federalist Papers [T][A]
  • Adam Smith (Theory of Moral Development [T][A], Wealth of Nations [T][A])
  • Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration–Bryan Caplan, Zach Weinersmith

  • My Journey by Tony Blair
  • The Conscience of a Conservative Barry Goldwater
  • Second Treatise of Government [T][A], A Letter Concerning Tolerance [T][A] by John Locke
  • Parliament of Whores, Eat the Rich, On Wealth, Peace Kills by O’Rourke
  • In Defense of Globalization by Bhagwati
  • Novus Ordo Seclorum by McDonald
  • Basic Economics, Civil Rights by Sowell
  • The Next 100 Years by Friedman
  • The Mystery of Capital by de Soto
  • The Road to Serfdom by Hayek
  • Capitalism and Freedom and Free to Choose by Friedman
  • New Threats To Freedom edited by Bellow
  • A Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful; Reflections on the Revolution in France [T][A] by Burke
  • The General Theory by Keynes
  • The Origins of Political Order, Political Order and Decay by Fukuyama
  • Bourgeois Virtues, Bourgeois Equality, Bourgeois Dignity by Deirdre McCloskey
  • Capital by Marx [T][A]
  • The Conservative Mind by Russel Kirk
  • Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Steven Kotler

Other nonfiction

  • Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell
  • The Universe in a Nutshell by Hawking
  • Freakanomics. Super Freakanomics, Think Like a Freak, When to Rob a Bank by Levitt & Dubner
  • The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  • Scratch Beginnings by Shepard
  • The Tao of Physics by Capra
  • Shadowplay by Asquith
  • Human Excellence., In Our Hands by Murray
  • The Better Angels of Our Nature by Pinker
  • 48 Laws of Power by Greene
  • Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson

Pleasure reading

  • Man in the High Castle by Dick
  • Beat to Quarters, Ship of the Line, Flying Colours by Forester
  • The Road to Gandolfo, Bourne Trilogy by Robrt Ludlum
  • Big Trouble by Dave Barry
  • Eaters of the Dead, State of Fear by Michael Crichton
  • Red Storm Rising, The Hunt for Red October, Sum of All Fears, Executive Orders by Tom Clancy
  • I, Claudius by Graves
  • The Walking Drum by L’Amour
  • The Alienist by Caleb Carr
  • A Study in Scarlet Women (and other Lady Sherlock novel) by Sherry Thomas
  • Gates of Fire by Pressfield
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel by Ozcry [T][A]
  • It, The Stand, The Green Mile by Stephen King
  • The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone
  • Pillars of the Earth, Column of Fire by Ken Follett
  • The Historian by Kostova
  • Grail Quest, The Last Kingdom series by Bernard Cornwall
  • The Thirteenth Tale by Setterfield
  • Lamb, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, Vampire Trilogy, The Stupidest Angel, and Fool by Christopher Moore
  • Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope [T][A]
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
  • Murder on Black Swan Lane by Andrea Penrose
  • The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel
  • The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston

Sci fi/Fantasy 

  • Mists of Avalon, The Forest House by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Eye of the World and all of the The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (et. al)
  • Dune Series by Frank Herbert (et. al)
  • The Sword of Truth Series (stop at Confessor) by Terry Goodkind
  • Stranger in a Strange Land, Puppet Master, Starship Troopers, Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Beyond this Horizon, and Double Star by Robert Heinlein
  • Good Omens by Gaiman and Pratchett
  • The Princess Bride by William Golding
  • Watership Down by Adams
  • Rhapsody—Symphony of Ages series  by Elizabeth Haydon
  • Ender’s Game, Enchantment by Card
  • The Last Wish, The Sword of Destiny (Witcher Series) by Andrezej Saplowski
  • American Gods, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  • Anthem, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • 2001–Clarke
  • World War Z by Brooks
  • The Emperor’s Soul, A Perfect State, Legion, Elantris, Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Stars my Destination by Alfred Bester
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood


  • The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
  • Lost Horizon by Hilton
  • God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita by Yogananada
  • The Second Coming of Christ by Yogananda
  • The Tao Te Ching (best to read at least two translations)
  • The Alchemist, Veronica Decides to Die, Warrior of Light, Brida, The Pilgrimage by Coelho
  • Autobiography of a Yogi by Yogananda
  • Evidence of the Afterlife by Long
  • A Course in Miracles
  • The Messengers by Ingram
  • The Celestine Prophecy by Redfield
  • Life before Life by Tucker
  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Illusions by Bach
  • Siddhartha by Hesse
  • Koran
  • The Book of Certitude
  • Holy Bible
  • Book of Mormon
  • The Miracle Club by Mitch Horowitz
  • The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
  • As a Man Thinketh, Eight Pillars of Porsperity by James Allen
  • Varieties of Religious Experience by William James [T][A]


Short Stories

  • Stories of Your Life and Other Stories by Ted Chiang
  • Wilde (The Carterville Ghost [T][A], The Model Millionaire [T][A], The Nightingale and the Rose  [T][A], The Selfish Giant, The Happy Prince
  • Goodbye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton
  • Poe (Masque of the Red Death [T][A]. Telltale Heart [T][A], Cask of Amontillado [T][A], Fall of the House if of Usher [T][A], The Purloined Letter [T][A],The Thousand and Second Tale of Scheherazade  [T][A], Pit and the Pendulum [T][A], Mertzengerstein [T], The Duc De L’omlette [T][A], The Black Cat [T][A], The Murders of the Rue Morgue [T][A], Van Kempelen and his Discovery [T], Mesmeric Revelation [T][A]
  • Hawthorne (My Kinsman Major Molineux [T][A], Young Goodman Brown [T][A],  Rappacini’s Daughter [T][A], Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment [T][A], The Snow Image [T][A], The Minister’s Black Veil [T], The Maypole of Merry Mount [T][A], The Celestial Railroad [T][A], Sister Years  [T][A], The New Adam and Eve [T][A], The Artist of the Beautiful [T][A]
  • O. Henry ( Lickpenny Lover [T][A], The Gift of the Magi [T][A],After Twenty Years [T][A], The Last Leaf [T][A], The Cop and the Anthem  [T], The Clarion Call [T], The Skylight Room [T][A], The Buyer from Cactus City [T][A], The Duplicity of the Hargraves [T][A], The Furnished Room [T][A], Witches loaves [T][A], The Third Ingredient  [T][A], Spring time a la Carte  [T][A], The Green Door [T][A], By Courier, The Romance of the Busy Broker, One Thousand Dollars, Tobin’s Pal, Fourth in Salvador, A Retrieved Reformation, The enchanted kiss
  • Lovecraft—(The Cats of Ultar [T][A], The Outsider [T], Beyond the wall of sleep [T][A], Hypnos [T][A], The call of Cthuthulu  [T], Dunwich horror [T][A], Dagon)
  • EM Forrester (The Other side of the Hedge [T][A], The Machine Stops [T][A])
  • Edith Wharton –The fullness of life [T][A]
  • Collins–Mr. Lismore and the Widow [T][A]
  • Bradbury—Exiles, Sound of Thunder
  • Hans Christian Anderson –( In a thousand years  [T][A], Little mermaid [T][A])
  • Ambrose Bierce–Occurrence at owl creek bridge[T][A]
  • Connell–The most dangerous game [T]
  • Thousand and One nights–Aladdin and his magic lamp [T][A]
  • The necklace by Maupassant [T][A]
  • Anthony Hope–The Philosophy in the Apple Orchard [T][A]
  • Doyle (The Red-Headed League [T][A], Scandal in Bohemia[T][A])
  • Gilman–The Yellow Wallpaper [T][A]
  • Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut
  • The story of an hour by Kate Chopin [T][A]
  • The Lottery by Shirley Jackson [T]
  • Rikki-tiki-tavi by Kipling
  • The ones who walk away from Omelas by Le Guin  [T]
  • Bartley the Scrivener by Melville[T][A]
  • The lady or the tiger by Frank Stockton [T][A]
  • Abbot–Flatland[T][A]
  • Afterward by Edith Wharton
  • Goodbye, Mr. Chips–James Hilton
  • Jericho Road by Henry van dyke [T][A]
  • Heinlein– (The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag, Magic INC.,  All you zombies, By his bootstraps, Waldo, Beyond this horizon)
  • Philip K. Dick (We can remember it for you wholesale, Paycheck, Second Variety, The Minority Report, The Golden Man, Variable Man, James P. Crow, Human is, The Hood Maker, War Veteran, The Hanging Stranger, The Mold of Yancy, If There Were No Cemoli, Waterspider)
  • William Faulkner (A Rose for Emily, The Tall Men, Shingles for the Lord, Shall not Perish, Elly, Uncle Willy, That will be Fine, That Evening Sun, Red Leaves, A Justice, A Courtship, Lo!, Ad Astra, All the Dead Pilots, Wash, Mountain Victory,  Beyond)
  • Mark Twain (The celebrated jumping frog of Calaveras County[T][A],  Diary of Adam and Eve[TT][A])
  • Washington Irving (Sleepy Hollow, [T][A],  The Devil and Tom Walker  [T][A])
  • Gelett Burgess–The number Thirteen [A], The MacDougal street affair  [A]
  • Lord Dunsany– The bureau d’exchange de Maux [T][A], The Exiles club [T][A], The Sword of Walleran  [T][A]
  • The mortal immortal  by Mary Shelly [T][A]
  • The Adventure of the Snowing Globe By F. Anstey[A]
  • The Sleeper and Spindle by Gaiman
  • I am Legend, Steel, What Dreams May Come–Richard Matheson
  • Mark Helprin (Katherine comes to yellow sky, Monday, Ellis Island,  Tamar[T])


  • Blood, Sweat and Tears; Their Finest Hour, We shall fight on the beaches, Iron Curtain –Churchill
  • The Third Philippic—Demosthenes
  • First Inaugural, Decision to go to the moon—Kennedy
  • Abolition Speech—William Wilberforce
  • First Oration against Catiline—Cicero
  • First Inaugural, Fifth State of the Union, 40th Anniversary D-Day, Brandenburg Gate, A Time for Choosing,Crisis of Communism—Reagan
  • Funeral Oration—Pericles
  • What to the slave is the fourth of July—Fredrick Douglas
  • I have a dream—MLK
  • Perils of Indifference—Wiesel
  • “Doctrine of the International Community”, Speech to US Congress–Blair
  • The Need to Expand speech—Hitler (obviously for historical purposes not because it’s good)
  • Thatcher first speech as PM, ‘Orwellian nightmare’ if Tories fail, claims Margaret Thatcher
  • Fire Sermon—Buddha
  • Empress Theodora’s refusal to run
  • Sermon on the Birds—St. Francis
  • Thomas Moore on Charges of Treason
  • Queen Elizabeth on the Spanish Armada
  • Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God—Johnathan Edwards
  • Give me Liberty or Give me Death!—Patrick Henry
  • Washington to Troops on Insurrection
  • Washington’s Farewell Address
  • First and Second Inaugural, Gettysburg—Lincoln
  • Barry Goldwater Convention Speech
  • William Faulkner Nobel Speech
  • Age of Liberty—George W. Bush

Short Non-Fiction

  • A Letter for Garcia by Elbert Hubbard
  • A Modest Proposal—Jonathan Swift [T][A]
  • Self-Reliance [A][T], The American Scholar[A], Experience[A]—Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Up from Slavery[A][T], Character Building [A]—Booker T. Washington


  • The History of Rome, Revolutions–Mike Duncan
  • Econtalk
  • Conversations with Bill Kristol
  • WTF History
  • Welcome to Nightvale


  • Redefining Reality—Great Courses
  • The Odyssey of Homer–Great Courses
  • Practicing Mindfulness–Great Courses
  • The Conservative Tradition–Great Courses
  • Machiavelli in Context–Great Courses
  • Masters of Mindfulness—Great Courses
  • Shakespeare and Politics—Paul Cantor


3 responses to “Books that Introduce Critical Thinking and Support Liberty

  1. Pingback: Reflections on the Election: Why I was wrong, Why Obama Won, and what the GOP needs to do. Part III | The Conservative New Ager

  2. Yeshaya Rotbard

    I just came upon this site now – and thank you. It’s good to know you’re out there. I just had this thought regarding books and movies that have conservative values. I am a film buff and there are films out there that can also clearly show what happens to people or to a society when Leftist or Liberal ideas take over, and it may be of value to utilize those in the discussion and sharing of ideas as well. For me, some examples of these are Invasion of the Body Snatchers (but only the original 1956 film). There is also a made for TV film called Harrison Bergeron (it’s on youtube) based on a story by Kurt Vonnegut. And move recently, a film like V for Vendetta. These are just a few. I’m sure there are more, but they do depict what happens when the opposite of conservative values take over. Just a thought, and thanks again.

  3. Yeshaya Rotbard

    I just posted a comment listing some film titles. I would be remiss if I did not add one more title to that comment by mentioning the great German film – The Lives of Others.

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