October 16, 2020

Gen Z Conservative

The thoughts of a young conservative on political issues relevant to all ages

books to read during quarantine

5 Books to Read During Quarantine

Introduction

As you can probably guess from my dozens of book reviews, I love reading. Military history, political philosophy, investing and finance books, and books about habit are some of my favorites. However, I love reading just about anything as long as the topic is interesting. So, since we’re all stuck at home, I thought it would be a good idea to pick out a few of my favorites as suggestions of books to read during quarantine. Who knows how long it will last, you might as well pick up a good book!

Suggestion #1: The Federalist Papers

In my opinion, every American who votes or expresses political viewpoints should have a basic idea of how to interpret the Constitution. Of course, everyone will have a slightly different view, but before we can discuss political issues related to the Constitution, such as gun control and abortion, we must first have a basic understanding of the document itself and how its writers intended for it to be read.

The best way to gain that understanding is by reading The Federalist Papers. Yes, you should probably also read The Anti-Federalist Papers so you know what the Anti-Federalists were for, but, at the end of the day, the Federalists are the ones who won the argument over the Constitution. Their ideas are the ones our government is based on, so if you want to understand our government, you need to read The Federalist Papers.

Enjoy reading it! Despite being many years old, it is quite interesting and well-worth reading.

Suggestion #2: The Wealth of Nations

Capitalism, for some reason, has gotten a bad rap recently. Perhaps people just don’t understand the distinction between capitalism and corporatism, or maybe they actually don’t want to unleash the free market. In any case, they’re wrong; capitalism is what has delivered almost unimaginably levels of prosperity for the West. To understand what made capitalism the economic system of most of Western Civilization, and how capitalism is supposed to work, you need to read The Wealth of Nations.

Yes, it’s a very long book and is, at times, very dense. Adam Smith, while an economic genius, was not a particularly concise writer. But, what better things do you have to do while stuck at home for the China flu quarantine? Try reading The Wealth of Nations. Even if you only finish part of it, you’ll put it down with a better understanding of how capitalism is supposed to work and why free trade with like-minded nations benefits everyone.

Suggestion #3: Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand is one of my favorite books of all time. Yes, Ayn Rand was an atheist who would have done well to read books like The Abolition of Man by CS Lewis. But, she certainly understood capitalism, freedom, and why Big Government is terrible for a nation.

All of her books are worth reading; The Virtue of Selfishness, We the Living, and The Fountainhead are also excellent. But, in my opinion, Atlas Shrugged is by far the best of all of them. It’s a novel that weaves together political philosophy, economic philosophy, and entertainment masterfully. Reading it will leave you imbued with a sense of purpose and make you want to go out and be a great industrialist like those during the Gilded Age that built this nation.

Suggestion #4: Reminiscences by Douglas MacArthur

Douglas MacArthur is one of the most controversial American generals, and almost certainly the most controversial political-military figure that managed to be successful and remain in power from the Great Depression to the Korean War. So, reading his autobiography, which is entitled Reminiscences, is a great way to both understand that era and the man himself.

There are other generals’ memoirs that I’ve read and reviewed. Lost Victories by Field Marshal von Manstein, is another excellent one. But, like Ulysses Grant’s Memoirs, its content is mainly about one war and is more about that war than the man writing it. Reminiscences, however, is completely different. It gives you a unique insight into both Douglas MacArthur and how he saw his roles in World War I, putting down the Veteran’s Revolt during the Great Depression, fighting in the Pacific during World War II, and leading troops against the Chinese and North Korean communists during the Korean War. It’s incredibly interesting and certainly worth reading.

Suggestion #5: When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air, as I discuss in my review of it, is a book I would never had heard of, much less read, had a good friend not introduced it to me. In short, it’s about a brilliant medical student who is diagnosed with cancer and deals with that in a stoic, honorable manner.

That might seem like an odd choice, the others of my suggestions of books to read during quarantine are about either politics, economics, or the military. But think about the reason we’re all stuck at home right now; people are filled with fear and unwilling to face the challenge of the Chinese flu stoically. Rather than go out and face the disease, people demanded we all live lives of fear, stuck at home. So, here we are, reading.

To combat that mindset, you need to read When Breath Becomes Air. Well, perhaps you don’t. Reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius or subscribing to The Daily Stoic, one of my favorite newsletters, would also do the job. But for people not particularly interested in philosophy that want to live stoically, When Breath Becomes Air is a great choice. If you read it, you’ll be imbued with a sense of hope and courage, especially when facing a deadly disease. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

By: Gen Z Conservative

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