Magazine November 19, 2015, Issue

Books That Shaped Our Minds

The reading of good books is an essential component of soulcraft. They don’t just build the intellect and provide ammunition for arguments; they help shape our hearts and form our worldview. We asked some prominent conservative thinkers which books influenced them most.


William Kristol

The Republic of Plato, translated with notes and an interpretive essay by Allan Bloom (Basic, 512 pp., $22)

In the fall of 1970, a freshman at Harvard with “sophomore standing” (easy to get in those days), I showed up for the first meeting of my sophomore tutorial in the government department. The teacher was a first-year assistant professor, Mark Blitz, and the six of us in the group were to spend the entire term reading Plato’s Republic. Blitz told us to buy the Bloom translation and start reading Book One.

I remember opening the book in my dorm room the night

To Read the Full Story

In This Issue


Politics & Policy

Fusionism, Then and Now

‘Who lost the libertarians?” It’s a question you hear a lot from conservatives of late. The reason should be obvious to anyone who has followed the conservative movement’s internecine intellectual ...
Politics & Policy

The Apology Policy

President Barack Obama strutted into the Oval Office utterly convinced of his moral rectitude. Unlike his predecessors, Obama would make policy based on an exquisitely calibrated conscience, sensitivity to constitutional ...
Politics & Policy

Climate Coercion

Predicting catastrophe is a lucrative business. By doing so, the big environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Sierra Club, have grown ...
Politics & Policy

The Twitter Trap

Stop me if you’ve heard this story: A die-hard progressive living in a liberal enclave (usually when this story is told, it’s about the late New Yorker film critic Pauline ...

Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


Sixty years ago, WFB said of this brand-new journal that it “stands athwart history, yelling Stop” — in the spirit not of a bearded zealot carrying a hand-lettered sign, but ...


The Latest