Last week I published an article explaining why over the past three years Victor Davis Hanson has become one of my most important influences for making sense of our chaotic planet and collapsing culture. I featured an excerpt from his essay collection The Father of Us All: War and History – Ancient and Modern that summarized the challenge Hanson’s scholarship presents:
A public that’s illiterate about the conflicts of the past can easily find itself confused during wartime. Without standards of historical comparison, people prove ill-quipped to make informed judgments when the dogs of war are unleashed.
Throughout human history, most peoples and civilizations have faced hostile rivals who sought to conquer them. Almost all eventually fell to one tyrannical force or another, whole cultures and languages forgotten, either wiped off the map or assimilated into the imperial cult swallowing them, their greatest monuments remaining only for tourists’ graffiti. But Hanson’s historical writings demonstrate that oblivion is not inevitable. Tried-and-true military strategies and cultural values lead nations to survive the perpetual barbarian assaults. Methods for triumphing in war and maintaining a civil society that values freedom are timeless.
And now with the Freedom Academy Book Club’s Literary Panel offering their suggestions, it’s time to dig in.
Click here to see Hanson’s six 2013 book recommendations, and sign up for the beta test of the Freedom Academy Book Club (free!) to see his and other literary panel members’ bookshelves. After joining you can add the books you want to remember to your want-to-read list and also keep track of the books you’ve started. If you’re anything like me, then a program specifically to help you keep track of the books you want to read is like a life preserver thrown to a drowning man. Behold the whirlpool on one half of my desk:
My piles are always bursting, but one of Hanson’s recommendations, a 750-page history book written by Sir Winston Churchill, will definitely increase the height of the history stack even more soon enough. Which of Hanson’s other recommendations should I read after it? Which looks like a good starting point to you?