Written between A.D. 413 and 426, The City of God is one of the great cornerstones in the history of Christian thought, a book which is vital to the understanding of modern Western society. Augustine originally intended it to be an apology for Christianity against the accusation that the Church was responsible for the decline of the Roman Empire, which had occurred just three years earlier. Indeed, Augustine produced a great amount of evidence to prove that paganism was responsible for this event. However, by the time the work was finished, the book had taken on a larger theme.
"Sharp thinker; profound topic; still relevant"
Challenged by an expert who said it couldn’t be done, Joshua Slocum, a fearless New England sea captain, set out in April 1895 to prove that a man could sail alone around the world. A little over three years and forty-six thousand miles later, the proof was complete. This is Slocum’s own account of his remarkable adventures during the historic voyage of the Spray.
In this important book, G.K. Chesterton offers a remarkably perceptive analysis of social and moral issues, even more relevant today than in his own time. With a light, humorous tone but a deadly serious philosophy, he comments on errors in education, on feminism vs. true womanhood, on the importance of the child, and other issues, using incisive arguments against the trendsetters’ assaults on the common man and the family.
Published in 1922 during those dark and dreary years of socialism’s near-complete triumph, Socialism stunned the socialist world. Mises has given us a profoundly important treatise that assaults socialism in all its guises, a work that discusses every major aspect of socialism and leaves no stone unturned. A few of the numerous topics discussed include the success of socialist ideas; life under socialism: art and literature, science and journalism; economic calculation under socialism; the ideal of equality; and Marx’s theory of monopolies.
"Difficult, but good!"
Graham Greene explores corruption and atonement in this penetrating novel set in 1930s Mexico during the era of Communist religious persecutions. As revolutionaries determine to stamp out the evils of the church through violence, the last Roman Catholic priest is on the lam, hunted by a police lieutenant. Despite his own sense of worthlessness—he is a heavy drinker and has fathered an illegitimate child—he is determined to continue to function as a priest until captured.
Having coined the phrase "the war that will end war," H. G. Wells was disillusioned by the World War I peace settlement. Convinced that humanity needed to awaken to the instability of the world order and remember lessons from the past, the author of science-fiction classics set out to write about history. Wells hoped to remind mankind of its common past, provide it with a basis for international patriotism, and guide it to renounce war.
This famous treatise began as a letter to a young French friend who asked Edmund Burke’s opinion on whether France’s new ruling class would succeed in creating a better order. Doubtless the friend expected a favorable reply, but Burke was suspicious of certain tendencies of the Revolution from the start and perceived that the revolutionaries were actually subverting the true "social order". Blending history with principle and graceful imagery with profound practical maxims, this book is one of the most influential political treatises in the history of the world.
"A good historical perspective"
Over two millennia after its compilation, the Politics still offers much to consider with regards to political science. Aristotle's succinct and thoughtful analysis is based on his study of over 150 city constitutions and covers the gamut of political issues in order to establish which types of constitution are best, ideally as well as for particular circumstances, and how they may be maintained.
"much more practical than the republic"
The time traveler first steps out of his magnificent time-transport machine in the year 802,700. He finds Earth populated by a race of slender pacifists and decides to study this lush land of flower people before returning to his own age. These pacifists, he discovers, have built their wealth on the backs of a slave class forced to live below ground. As the conflict between them surfaces, the time traveler finds that his only means of escape, his time machine, has been stolen.
Considered to be the first autobiographical work in history, this timeless book is completely applicable to everyone who has experienced the struggle between good and evil in his own soul. Saint Augustine, born in Constantine in 354 C.E., was raised by a devout Christian mother. He abandoned the Christianity of his upbringing and had an illegitimate son. After hearing the sermons of Ambrose, he began his great internal struggle which led to his conversion in 387 C.E. The Confessions describe his conversion, shedding light on the questions that had troubled him on his way to the Cross. Outside Scripture it is the most famous - and perhaps the most important - of all spiritual books.
"old English my foot!"
Plutarch’s Lives remains one of the world’s most profoundly influential literary works. Written at the beginning of the second century, it forms a brilliant social history of the ancient world. second volume includes Alexander and Caesar, Demetrius and Antony, Dion and Marcus Brutus, the aforementioned Demosthenes and Cicero, as well as biographies of Alexander, Caesar, Cato the Younger, and others.
"Biographies to Adjust and Adorn our Lives"
Plutarch’s Lives remains one of the world’s most profoundly influential literary works. Written at the beginning of the second century, it forms a brilliant social history of the ancient world. His “parallel lives” were originally presented in a series of books that gave an account of one Greek and one Roman life, followed by a comparison of the two. Volume 1 compares Theseus and Romulus, Alcibiades and Coriolanus, and Aristides and Marcus Cato, among others.
"Plutarch -- Still Awesome"
Written in the late 18th century as a reply to Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man is unquestionably one of the great classics on the subject of democracy. A vindication of the French Revolution and a critique of the British system of government, it defended the dignity of the common man in all countries against those who would discard him as one of the “swinish multitude.”
James Boswell forever changed the genre of biography when he painstakingly transformed a scholarly profusion of detail into a perceptive, lifelike portrait of Dr. Samuel Johnson. James Boswell’s biography reveals a man of outsized appetites and private vulnerabilities and is the source of much of what we know about one of the towering figures of English literature. Boswell spent a great deal of time with Johnson in his final years and from his scrupulously accurate memory and copious journal was able to faithfully record the brilliance and wit of Dr. Johnson’s conversation.
"At least one huge gap"
Anthony Trollope is most famous for his portrait of the professional and landed classes of Victorian England, especially in his Palliser and Barsetshire novels. But he was also the author of one of the most fascinating autobiographies of the nineteenth century. Trollope was born in 1815, the product of a formidable mother and a tragically unsuccessful father who was socially ambitious for his sons. He was the victim of vicious bullying at Harrow and Winchester. But he had inherited his mother's determination, and managed later to carve out a successful career in the General Post Office while devoting every spare moment to writing. How he paid his groom to wake him every morning at 5:30 a.m. and disciplined himself to write 250 words every fifteen minutes has become part of literary legend. His efforts resulted in over sixty books, a sizable fortune, and fame, and his autobiography. Trollope looks back on his life with satisfaction. Perhaps as interesting as the facts he reveals and the opinions he records about Dickens and George Eliot, politics and the civil service are the judgments he passes on his own character.
"the meaning of work"
First published as a pamphlet in 1850 in response to the socialist-communist plans and ideas being adopted in France at that time, The Law remains equally relevant today, as the same ideas are now sweeping America.
"Essential Reading in Human Thought"
Drawing on a lifetime of military experience, Brigadier General S. L. A. Marshall, "one of our most distinguished military writers" (New York Times), delivers this unflinching history of the war that was supposed to end all wars. From the perspective of more than half a century, Marshall examines the blunders and complacency that turned what everyone thought would be a brief campaign and an easy victory into a relentless four-year slaughter that left 10 million dead and 20 million wounded.
"WW1 from American point of view"
Famous for its unflagging narrative power, fine organization, and irresistibly persuasive arguments, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire has earned a permanent place of honor in historical literature. Gibbon's elegantly detached erudition is seasoned with an ironic wit, and remarkably little of his work is outdated.
"Brilliant in parts, excellent in Most."
Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill, offers a complete history of World War II. It began with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. By the time it came to an end on V-Day - August 14, 1945 - it had involved every major power, and had become global in its reach. In the final accounting, it would turn out to be - in both human terms and material resources - the costliest war in history, taking the lives of forty-six million people.
"Should be required reading for all students."
Richard Henry Dana, a law student turned sailor for health reasons, sailed in 1834 aboard the brig Pilgrim on a voyage from Boston around Cape Horn to California. Drawing from his journals, Two Years Before the Mast gives a vivid and detailed account, shrewdly observed and beautifully described, of a common sailor's wretched treatment at sea, and of a way of life virtually unknown at that time.