The conservative tradition embodies centuries of accumulated wisdom from some of the brightest and most inspiring thinkers you’ll find. Yet for the young conservative eager to learn more about this tradition, choosing which books to read can be a daunting task.
Most online lists of top conservative books contain familiar titles of classic tomes that inspire and challenge readers to this day. Yet far too often such lists also include authors such as Charlie Kirk, Ann Coulter, Sebastian Gorka, Dinesh D’Souza, Dan Bongino, and Mike Lindell who, while they may be gifted at inflicting liberal tears, have nothing of value to say on behalf of their supposed conservative convictions. There is so much more to conservatism than owning the libs and brandishing firearms in your social media profile picture. What’s more, many lists are inflated with works on libertarian, patriotic, religious, or cultural topics that, important though they may be, are only tangential to conservatism.
It is particularly challenging for us younger conservatives to cut through the noise on the Right today to explore the deeper, auspicious truths of our rich heritage. As such, I’ve compiled a list of 40 must-read conservative books worth your time and attention for this episode. Whether you read all, some, or only one below, you will be getting a healthy dose of conservative thought that cuts through the banality of most political discourse and gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a conservative.
It would be an impossibility to rank these books in order of importance, relevance, insightfulness, readability, etc. As such, I have opted to list the titles alphabetically. There is no perfect place to start; just find a book that strikes your interest and dive in!
In this episode I cover the first twenty books in the list:
A Conflict of Visions – Thomas Sowell
A Time to Build – Yuval Levin
The Abolition of Man – C. S Lewis
Basic Economics – Thomas Sowell
Black Rednecks and White Liberals – Thomas Sowell
Coming Apart – Charles Murray
The Conscience of a Conservative – Barry Goldwater
The Conservative Affirmation – Willmoore Kendall
The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945 – George H. Nash
The Conservative Mind – Russell Kirk
The Constitution of Liberty – F. A. Hayek
Democracy in America – Alexis de Tocqueville
Edmund Burke: A Genius Reconsidered – Russell Kirk
The Fatal Conceit – F.A. Hayek
The Federalist Papers – Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay
Fools, Frauds and Firebrands – Roger Scruton
Free to Choose – Milton Friedman and Rose Friedman
God and Man at Yale – William F. Buckley Jr.
The Great Debate – Yuval Levin
The Gulag Archipelago – Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn