Human Events has enlisted a panel of twenty-one prominent authorities (including our friends Steve Hayward and Ben Boychuk) to determine the top ten American biographies that everyone should read.
Topping the list is The Education of Henry Adams, a masterpiece of American and autobiographical literature. When I first encountered it as a college student I was struck by Adams’ brilliance, his irony, his cultural anti-Semitism, and by his idiosyncratic sense of humor. The book is really an experience.
Two of the remaining nine are books on the political thought of Abraham Lincoln by Professor Harry Jaffa, books that I have read and recommend unreservedly. Just about everything I think I know about politics derives from reading Professor Jaffa’s classic book on the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Crisis of the House Divided. In the bibliographical essay appended to Allen Guelzo’s new biography of Lincoln, Guelzo states that Crisis is “incontestably the Lincoln book of the century.”
Reading Professor Jaffa’s books long ago brought me to another book on the list, the autobiography of Frederick Douglass. I am less familiar with the other books that round out the list, but I know that they belong on my list of required reading. (Courtesy of The Remedy and No Left Turns.)
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“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill
“Proclaim Liberty throughout All the land unto All the Inhabitants Thereof.” Inscription on the Liberty Bell