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  • Josh Lewis

Episode 36 - Books Every Conservative Should Read

Updated: May 11, 2020

Saving Elephants has got your summer reading list covered! In this episode Josh walks through classic, foundational books that every conservative should read, as well as some great books that speak to Millennials in particular. Ranging from pithy and digestible to massive, complex, and dry, Josh gives a brief outline of the book and shares why it’s important to understanding conservatism.

While summer is traditionally reserved for light reading, it can also be the perfect time of year to tear into something quite challenging. Reading hard books—if they’re good books—can sharpen our minds and develop our character. Even reading of people with strong character can develop our character. As Russell Kirk put it, “Reading of great lives does something to make decent lives.”

Here is the list of the books and authors referenced throughout the episode.

Edmund Burke, British statesman and the “Father of Conservatism”:

Reflections on the Revolution in France

Russell Kirk, political theorist, moralist, historian, social critic, and literary critic:

The Conservative Mind

Concise Guide to Conservatism

Ten Conservative Principles

Barry Goldwater, Senator and 1964 Republican nominee for president:

Conscience of a Conservative

Roger Scruton, English philosopher:

How to be a Conservative

Irving Kristol, journalist and the “Godfather of Neoconservatism”:


Patrick Deneen, political theorist:

Why Liberalism Failed

Thomas Sowell, economist and social theorist:

Black Rednecks and White Liberals

A Conflict of Visions

Basic Economics

Jonah Goldberg, columnist, author, commentator, podcaster:

Suicide of the West

Timothy Carney, journalist and editor:

Alienated America

Ben Sasse, Senator:


Joseph Sternberg, journalist:

The Theft of a Decade

C. S. Lewis, author, theologian, professor:

The Abolition of Man

And here are some other great books that I didn’t have time to get through in the podcast but are still worth a read:

The Essential Russell Kirk arranged by George Panichas

The Great Debate by Yuval Levin

The Price of Greatness by Jay Cost

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

John Adams by David McCullough

The Selfie Vote by Kristen Soltis Anderson


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