The Corner

Looking for a Book to Read? A Movie to Watch?

One of our traditions here on NRO is summer reading recommendations. We did it a little differently this year. Let me know what you think. Here’s some of what Mona Charen had to say:

What’s the best political novel you’ve ever read? Why is it the best?

I confess that the political novel is not a genre I’ve sampled much. Read Advice and Consent in high school. It was okay. If I’m going to read fluff, I usually choose a thriller or historical fiction. Still, I’ll give you one I did enjoy: Full Disclosure by William Safire. It features a president who is blinded by an assassination attempt. Very entertaining and Safiresque, though no doubt quite dated now — it was published in 1977.

If there were only one book on conservatism you could recommend to a newcomer, what would it be and why?

Impossible to name just one! Modern conservatism, that wisest of sensibilities, is composed of many elements: realism about human nature particularly with regard to sex differences, skepticism of state power, appreciation for the American heritage of ordered liberty, hostility to collectivism in all its forms, and impatience with liberals who fail to recognize and confront evil. There is no one book that encapsulates all of that. So here’s a partial reading list taking each of those elements in turn: Men and Marriage by George Gilder; Losing Ground by Charles Murray and anything by Thomas Sowell; John Adams by David McCullough and Free to Choose by Milton and Rose Friedman; The Black Book of Communism by Stephane Courtois et al; and um, with all due modesty, cough, cough, Useful Idiots by yours truly.

Is there one book that you’d recommend to uplift and inspire depressed conservatives this summer?

America Alone by Mark Steyn. It’s the wittiest and funniest book on a dead serious subject I’ve ever read.

What’s your favorite WFB book and why?

Cruising Speed. It was Bill in his prime. His life was outsized in every way — and in this book, he allows the reader to share it for one exhilarating week.

What’s your favorite political movie and why?

In the early 1960s, Billy Wilder made perhaps the only Cold War comedy, One, Two, Three. It starred Jimmy Cagney as a Coca Cola executive working in Berlin just before the wall was built. Hilarious, with plenty of digs at the Soviets and excellent use of The Saber Dance by Aram Khachaturian.

Rick Brookhiser, Dinesh D’Souza, Jay Nordlinger, and a whole lot more here.


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