No Shortage of Great Right-Wing Books

Summer is coming. What should conservatives be reading at the pool or on the beach? The following list of recent and upcoming conservative books is organized according to a few rough categories. Each book is available at attractive discounts from the Conservative Book Club or the Human Events Book Service.

Ann Coulter

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In conservative publishing, June is “Ann Coulter Month” — pretty much everyone gets out of the way for her latest blockbuster. This year’s entry: “Godless: The Church of Liberalism,” scheduled for release on June 6 (6/6/06 — get it?). Coulter’s provocative thesis is that liberal hostility to traditional religion stems from the fact that liberalism is itself a religion — a godless one — which has its own sacraments (abortion), holy writ (Roe v. Wade), martyrs (e.g., Soviet spy Alger Hiss), clergy (public school teachers), churches (government schools), and even its own creation myth (Darwinian evolution). And, Coulter argues, thanks to the liberals who dominate our courts, our government bureaucracies, our schools and our media, liberalism is now the established religion of our country.

For the Democratic Party, which is desperate to win back the religious traditional-values voters who have been steadily abandoning it for decades, Coulter’s latest couldn’t come at a worse time. For conservatives, “Godless” is a godsend.

Islam and Terror

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To many liberals, the upsurge of Islamic jihad around the world is a response to America’s arrogant foreign policy. But, as Professor Efraim Karsh demonstrates conclusively in “Islamic Imperialism: A History,” the dream of a global Islamic empire has inspired every Muslim jihadist from Muhammad himself (“I was ordered to fight all men until they say, ‘There is no god but Allah.'”) to the 12th Century conqueror Saladin (“I shall cross the sea to their islands to pursue them until there remains no one on the face of the earth who does not acknowledge Allah.”) to Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (“We will export our revolution throughout the world … until the calls ‘There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah’ are echoed all over the world.”) to Osama bin Laden (“I was ordered to fight the people until they say there is no god but Allah and his prophet Muhammad.”).

September 11, Karsh demonstrates, must be seen as simply the latest expression of this dream, and such attacks have little to do with U.S. international behavior or policy in the Middle East.


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Four years after 9/11, the backbone of the Islamic terrorist network is far from broken. Al Qaeda and its offshoots are fielding a second generation of terrorists — many of them Muslim immigrants and their offspring in the West. In “Defeating Jihad,” Serge Trifkovic outlines a comprehensive new strategy to defend the West against an enemy that increasingly threatens us from within. The first step, says Trifkovic, is to stop misidentifying the struggle we are in as a “War on Terrorism” — a phrase that confuses the enemy’s preferred technique (terrorism) with the enemy himself (resurgent Islam). As Trifkovic shows, only Islamic terrorism — that used by Muslims in pursuit of objectives inspired by Islamic teaching, tradition and historical practice — is a global phenomenon requiring a coordinated global response. Yet Trifkovic, the longtime foreign affairs editor of Chronicles magazine, argues against more military interventions abroad in favor of measures designed to keep us safe at home. “The victory will come not by conquering Mecca for America but by disengaging America from Mecca and by excluding Mecca from America. Eliminating the risk is impossible. Managing it wisely, resolutely, and permanently is something attainable.”

Hillary

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In “Can She Be Stopped? Hillary Clinton Will Be the Next President of the United States, Unless…,” John Podhoretz shows that Hillary’s plan to capture the White House is much further along than her enemies fear. He also destroys numerous comfortable myths about Clinton that conservatives cling to, including: She’s saddled with too many “high negatives” … She’s too liberal to get elected … “Clinton fatigue” will keep her out of the Oval Office. Podhoretz shows that despite the popularity of these ideas, they’re wrong on every count.

But all is not lost. Podhoretz also details a precise, carefully calibrated 10-point plan of action that conservatives can and must use now in order to stop Hillary dead in her tracks. Lively, sobering and practical, “Can She Be Stopped?” not only shows why conservatives can’t afford to persist in their denial of the Hillary problem any longer — it also provides a detailed blueprint that will spare the country from what would certainly be one of the most disastrous presidencies in American history.

Economics

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Thomas Sowell has gained international renown for his easily understandable, compelling and conservative explorations of the history of economics and societal development. In his latest masterwork, “On Classical Economics,” he provides a brisk, readable survey of the classical era in the history of economics, showing why it is important not only for understanding the development of economic thought, but also the history of ideas in general.

Sowell introduces you to the colorful personalities who have shaped how we think about economic matters to this day — including Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels; the forgotten pioneer J.C.L. Simonde de Sismondi, who originated more fundamental economic concepts and theories than many economists of wider and more enduring fame; and the boy genius John Stuart Mill, who played a key, if seldom well-understood, role in the development of economics. With his usual lucidity and ability to distill complex ideas to their pure and simple essence, Sowell explains classical microeconomics and macroeconomics, and plumbs the mysteries of price theory, monetary theory, and international trade. He shows how common economic concepts and tools of analysis arose and details how the implications of these concepts became clear in the controversies that followed.

Electoral Politics

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Disaster looms on the horizon: The elections of November 2006 are shaping up to be as ruinous for the GOP as the elections of 1994 were for the Democrats. Yet, most GOP insiders seem unaware of the party’s political peril — or they’re resigned to the prospect of a catastrophic defeat. But Hugh Hewitt isn’t ready to give up. “In Painting the Map Red,” he provides a detailed strategy for how the GOP can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat this fall, and explains why victory this year — and again in 2008 — is more urgent than ever.

Hewitt shows how the GOP can learn how to fight as hard for its political advantage as the Democrats do, how to use television and the control of the calendar to maneuver for advantage, how to nationalize the election and how to get the base back into the game. He even outlines the values that motivate majorities in various regions across the United States, and shows how Republicans can prove that they will best defend those values.


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Republicans control the U.S. government’s executive and legislative branches and are well on the way to gaining control of the judicial branch as well. Yet government spending is out of control, waves of illegal immigration endanger our security and our American identity, and American businesses are fleeing overseas. What went wrong? In “Getting America Right: The True Conservative Values Our Nation Needs Today,” Ed Feulner and Doug Wilson argue that Republicans only have themselves to blame — and provide a practical plan to hold our leaders accountable and put America back on the “right” track.

As conservative leaders — Feulner as president of the Heritage Foundation, Wilson as chairman of the conservative website Townhall.com — the authors know that the core conservative principles that will rescue us now are the ones that have always made this nation great: free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, a strong national defense and the rule of law. They show how too many GOP leaders pay lip service to these principles, while actually promoting big government and even bigger spending. As a practical technique for holding our government accountable, “Getting America Right” has a chapter on each of six key questions that each citizen and every policymaker should be asking about every government action or policy that comes up for discussion.

Foreign Affairs

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Will the U.S. go to war with China? Yes, say Ed Timperlake and Jed Babbin. Timperlake (a veteran defense analyst) and Babbin (former deputy undersecretary of Defense) show in their new book, “Showdown: Why China Wants War with the United States,” that the Chinese want that war and think they can win it — and will keep pushing the United States until it begins. It’s shaping up to be a huge struggle for democracy and freedom. Given America’s commitment to defend Taiwan at any cost and China’s increasingly bellicose attempts to expand its commercial and military reach at American expense, war between the U.S. and China is now virtually inevitable. But in Showdown, Babbin and Timperlake offer indispensable strategies and tactics for how the U.S. can and must respond to the Chinese military threat.

But Babbin and Timperlake, both of whom are military veterans, do much more than just offer expert analysis. In a dramatic style worthy of Tom Clancy, they take you into the field with Navy SEALs and Air Force bomber pilots, invite you inside the war councils at the White House and the Pentagon, and peer within China’s own Politburo in an exciting — and all too likely — series of war scenarios stretching from a Chinese invasion of Taiwan in 2008 to its extension of total control over the Pacific region within a few years. This is by no means an exercise in fiction: These disturbing, gripping scenarios are based on the latest and most reliable intelligence — and they make clear that China is an immense, immediate threat to America’s national security.

Feminism

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For the past 40 years, feminists have sought aggressively to remake the role of women in society — badgering women to steer clear of traditional marriages, to work full-time while striving to become CEOs and to put off having children. To further this agenda, feminists and their allies in government, media and our educational system have put forth a number of dangerous myths about women — while successfully suppressing evidence of the inborn differences between the sexes. “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism” exposes the most common and destructive of these myths and takes on taboo areas of research not discussed in the politically correct world of academia and popular culture.

“For too long, the feminist movement has dictated what’s appropriate to talk about — and what’s off-limits — when it comes to issues affecting women’s lives,” writes author Carrie Lukas. “An ethic of silence has surrounded issues such as the negative sides of casual sex, the relationship between age and infertility, and the effects of daycare and divorce on kids. This silence has real consequences for women, their families, and our society. This book fills the knowledge gap by highlighting research in areas of critical importance to women’s lives–from sex, love, and marriage to work, daycare, and divorce. It exposes how the feminist vision of what women should want their lives to be often runs counter to the hopes and desires of actual women.”

Life vs. ‘Choice’

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They celebrate abortion-on-demand as a fundamental human right. They advocate euthanasia, and work energetically for embryo-killing research. They explicitly deny that all human beings are equal in having a right to life, and unblushingly propose the creation of a category of “human non-persons” who can be treated as expendable. In line with that, some of them have already begun calling for the killing of sick infants — for their own good, of course. They are the party of death, and they are becoming increasingly powerful in America today, as well as in the world at large.

Now, in “The Party of Death,” National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru provides an unflinching exposé of their past successes, present activities, and future plans, showing why their principles are so harmful — and how they can be defeated before they destroy our society altogether.

The Constitution

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The Constitution was written and ratified to secure liberty through limited government. Central to its design were two principles: federalism and economic liberty. But at the beginning of the 20th Century, Progressives (ancestors of modern liberals) began a frontal assault on those principles. Drawing on the new social sciences and a primitive understanding of economic relationships, their efforts reached fruition during the New Deal when the Constitution was essentially rewritten, without benefit of amendment.

In “How Progressives Rewrote the Constitution,” University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein traces this history, demonstrating that our modern “constitutional law” was fashioned largely by the New Deal court in the late 1930s, not in our country’s founding principles. He also shows how so many of those “progressive” ideas — however discredited by more recent economic thought — still shape the court’s decisions.

History

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National tests repeatedly show that a staggeringly high number of high school and college students know little and care even less about their country’s past. Some Americans are all too ready to believe the worst about our country — present and past. The consequences for our future could be very grave. But here, at last, is an antidote: William J. Bennett’s monumental “America: The Last Best Hope (Volume I).

” Enormous (512 pages) and sweeping in scope, this first volume begins before the founding of the United States and ends as World War I looms in Europe. Unlike modern-day leftist-influenced histories that treat the American story largely as a series of missteps and injustices, this book is filled with the glory, romance and uniqueness of the American experience. Bennett (compiler of the best-selling Book of Virtues) tells the truth, gets the facts out, corrects the record and puts forward a reasoned, balanced presentation of the American story. This book is one of the few American histories that give us the opportunity to enjoy the story of our country and to take pleasure and pride in what we have done and become.


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The church-state struggle has been raging for centuries — and has generally resulted in victories for secularism that expanded state power at the expense of religion. But as Michael Burleigh proves in “Earthly Powers,” secularism has always led inexorably to the establishment of totalitarian political religions.

In this masterful, authoritative book, he gives us an epic history of the battles over religion in modern Europe. He also sheds new light on the momentous struggles between church and state, from the French Revolution to the totalitarian movements of the 20th Century, showing how the state advances whenever religion retreats — and that religion is the only force that can keep the all-encompassing power of the state in check.


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In “America’s Victories: Why the U.S. Wins Wars and Will Win the War on Terror,” Professor Larry Schweikart proves that the critics of our armed forces simply fail to understand the real nature of the American military. By seeing everything through the distorted lens of Vietnam (a war shrouded in harmful myths), the leftist establishment has lost sight both of our country’s real military record and of the factors that have enabled us to win wars with remarkable consistency — even in situations more dire than Iraq.

Schweikart shows how, far from being the bloodthirsty, imperialist nation of leftist fantasy and propaganda, we value the sanctity of life more than any military culture in history. He explains how this has led to more humane treatment of prisoners and more effective operations than any comparable power. He further details how the American military has also benefited from a combination of other virtues: the ability to learn from losses and mistakes; the unique autonomy entrusted to our troops; our free-market economy; and, ironically, the constant improvements forced by anti-war protestors. It all adds up, he says, to an enduring culture of victory.


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If the Founding Fathers were alive today, what would they do about terrorism? What would they say about public expressions off religion? Would they be for or against gun control? The death penalty? “Gay rights”? In “What Would the Founders Do? Our Questions, Their Answers,” acclaimed author and National Review Senior Editor Richard Brookhiser examines the founders’ own words in their historical context to theorize what they would think of today’s most controversial and important issues.

“Americans have been asking what the founders would do since the founders died,” writes Brookhiser, author of several best-selling biographies of the founders. “Their specialness comes from being human creators of a human thing, America. We, their successor Americans, feel simultaneously awed by them and like them. They built the country, they wrote the user’s manuals — Declaration, Constitution, Federalist Papers — and then ran it while it could still be returned to the manufacturer. We assume that if anyone knows how the U.S.A. should work, it must be them. In that spirit, we ask WWFD — What Would the Founders Do?”

The Arts

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What makes the difference between a great artist and a mediocre one? How much of what we call “talent” or “creativity” is inborn — and how much is determined by our upbringing, training, and personal habits? Anyone who has ever tried to write a story, compose a song or draw a picture (and who hasn’t?) has probably asked such questions. Now, they can find some intriguing answers in Paul Johnson’s “Creators: From Chaucer and Dürer to Picasso and Disney” — together with some refreshingly “un-PC” judgments about which reputedly “great” artists truly deserve our admiration, and which ones don’t.

Creators” is a kind of “sequel” to Johnson’s 1988 book “Intellectuals,” which explored the interplay between the personal lives of history’s most influential thinkers and their ideas. Here, he explores what it means to be a creative innovator and leave an indelible mark on the stage of world culture. “How to define this level of creativity, or explain it?” Johnson asks. “We cannot define it any more than we can define genius. But we can illustrate it. … Creation is a marvelous business, and people who create at the highest level lead a privileged life, however arduous and difficult it may be. An interesting life, too, full of peculiar aspects and strange satisfactions.”

Fiction

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Books that offer nothing but escape or diversion bore me. It’s not that I don’t like entertainment. I love it. It’s just that I’m not entertained by novels that don’t give me something to think about. Which brings us to Robert Ferrigno’s “Prayers for the Assassin,” a thriller with a bit more on its mind that most other entries in that genre. Specifically, the novel’s concern is the renewed onslaught of Islam in our time and our society’s vulnerability (more cultural than military) to that threat. Ferrigno posits a kind of worst-case scenario in which, through a confluence of catastrophic events and social factors, most of the United States has come under Islamic rule by the middle of this century. There are, however, large areas of resistance — mainly the South, which after a bloody civil war has, by the time of the story, achieved an uneasy truce with what is now known as the Islamic Republic of America. But within that “republic” another battle rages, secretly and at the highest levels of power, between the Islamic “moderates” who presently hold most of the public offices, and the hard-charging fundamentalists — or “Black Robes” — intent on bringing the nation into full “submission” to Allah. It is that tension that drives the plot.

One of the strengths of this novel is how Ferrigno blends satire and suspense so that each reinforces the other. There is, for instance, a certain scary-funny plausibility to the notion that ‘Dutch fundamentalists” are known as the strictest of Muslims, and that one of the Black Robes’ strongholds is San Francisco — now the worst place to live if you’re gay. (One of the novel’s weaknesses is its explicit sex scenes, which I’m guessing is some sort of genre requirement.)

But the minute particulars of exactly where, when, and how such a future could come about matter less than the broad social and cultural trends that are making it all too possible. And there, it seems to me, Ferrigno is spot on — as in this internal monologue by the chief architect of the worldwide Islamic takeover, a mysterious character whose life has been artificially extended by medical technology:

“The Old One reminded himself not to dwell on the past. … There had been a time he had been able to see 50 or 60 years ahead … and act accordingly. Barely 40 years old, already wealthy beyond measure, he had seen the fallacy in the European welfare state before any demographer. A cradle-to-the-grave system requires children to keep the wheels spinning, and the Europeans were godless libertines, fornicators without fatherhood. Starting in the early 1970s, he had begun making donations to politicians and journalists. Men who shaped the debate on immigration. Hardworking Muslims were deemed the answer, and the floodgates opened wide. Young Muslims from North Africa and Turkey, fertile and faithful poured in … The slow-motion conquest of Europe, the nearly bloodless transformation into an Islamic continent, had been perhaps his greatest victory. The 50 years had passed like an afternoon.”

Something to think about, indeed.


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