Summer Reading Recommendations, Volume Two
Here's what our contributors are reading this season.


Hitting the beach? Traveling on a plane? You’ll need some reading material! National Review Online asked Denis Boyles, Orson Scott Card, John Derbyshire, Nancy French, David Gelernter, Jonah Goldberg, Allen Guelzo, C. R. Hardy, Arthur Herman, Hugh Hewitt, Carrie Lukas, William McGurn, Eric Metaxas, Joseph Pearce, John J. Pitney, Father George W. Rutler, Hans von Spakovsky, and John Yoo for their recommendations. Here’s the second installment of their suggestions. (The first can be found here.)

In the McGurn house, most of our summer-reading questions revolve around which books we intend to inflict on our children, not infrequently occasioning great complaints about summers ruined and so forth. For friends, I’d recommend a few:

Empire of Lies by Andrew Klavan: I’m not normally a thriller type of guy, but this is different. Terrorists are planning an attack on New York; a man discovers a daughter he hadn’t known about; and — in contrast to prevailing orthodoxy, the hero is . . . drumroll . . . a conservative. And the bad guys are really bad guys: Islamic terrorists, professors, Hollywood. One warning: a little more ribald than mom might be used to.

Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President by Allen Guelzo: I recommend this on any list. It’s not long, but it’s a great biography that also gives context to the rise of the GOP and its roots in evangelicalism and small business. Guelzo also discusses Lincoln’s faith, if that is the right word, without going too far in either direction — resisting the temptation to claim him as either a Christian or an unbeliever. At some point in their lives, while they are still living under my roof, all my daughters will read this book.

Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Disaster, by Marc Thiessen: Marc is a colleague from the White House days, but I don’t think I’m being biased here. Though waterboarding may be a little bit heavy for a beach read, it’s a must for anyone who wants to know what really happened with the CIA interrogation program. It’s not a subject most people want to engage, lest they find themselves accused — as Marc has been — of being “pro-torture.” Read the book and make up your own mind.

William McGurn, formerly the chief speechwriter for Pres. George W. Bush, is an editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal.