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6 Books Victor Davis Hanson Suggests You Read in 2013

Join the Freedom Academy Book Club’s Beta launch to discover enlightening new titles to help you save the world.

Dave Swindle


August 19, 2013 - 3:20 pm


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?

David Swindle is the associate editor of PJ Media. He writes and edits articles and blog posts on politics, news, culture, religion, and entertainment. He edits the PJ Lifestyle section and the PJ columnists. Contact him at DaveSwindlePJM @ and follow him on Twitter @DaveSwindle. He has worked full-time as a writer, editor, blogger, and New Media troublemaker since 2009, at PJ Media since 2011. He graduated with a degree in English (creative writing emphasis) and political science from Ball State University in 2006. Previously he's also worked as a freelance writer for The Indianapolis Star and the film critic for He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their Siberian Husky puppy Maura.

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All Comments   (6)
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"My piles are always bursting,"

I hate it when that happens. A real pain in the butt. ;)

I've read 1984 and The Gathering Storm more than once, and The Face of Battle is on my shelf of books to read soon. I would be inclined to add a couple of Sowell's books to the list: The Vision of the Anointed and Knowledge and Decisions. Possibly also Government Failure: A Primer in Public Choice by Tullock, Selden, and Brady.

But if we're restricting book suggestions to books on history and warfare, there have been good ones by Max Hastings. I was also impressed by Lincoln's Code by John Fabian Witt; while I suspect Witt's political inclinations are very different from my own, he kept most of his biases out of the book and gave me a lot to think about.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A good list by VDH. I think he made the list before Mark Levin's "The Liberty Amendments" was published.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I read Paul Johnson's "History of the American People" shortly after it came out. I had long ago devoured Churchill's "History of the English-Speaking Peoples", which only goes down to the Boer War and the turn of the (previous) century, and his "The Second World War". Johnson is reminiscent of Churchill, but he doesn't write as well as Churchill. Of course, who does? It's high praise anyway.

One other book that is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to understanding the present dilemma of the United States is "Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America". If you don't understand the foundations of the current left and our leftist President, you'll be woefully unable to figure out how we can get out of this catastrophe. _IF_ we can get out of it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Gathering Storm and A History of the English-Speaking Peoples years ago. A pair of titles rest in my library unread, the New World and The Battle of Britain. Sir Winston certainly deserved the Nobel Prize he got, unlike others that I will mercifully leave unmentioned (Yeah, that one!) Some passages in The Gathering Storm will bring the contemporary reader a sense of déjà vu. A must read I must say.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Read ALL of WSC's History of WWII. I have been through it twice, most recently as a newly minted septuagenarian.

As the son of a WWII vet (and lots of kids had GI dads in my childhood) I had an abiding interest in history. Flunked every math course I ever took, but history taught me more than enough to overcome that minor impediment.

Who knows what I might have learned had school not gotten in the way...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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