What the GOP presidential candidates are reading

Tevi Troy, author of What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted, takes a look at what the 2016 GOP contenders are reading. One seldom knows for sure what anyone is reading, but Tevi’s discussion is revealing nonetheless.

Here are some highlights:

Donald Trump says he will “read anything about Lincoln” and his “whole era.” This is one of our very favorite eras too.

Jeb Bush reportedly told Dan Senor, when he gave Jeb a copy of Bret Stephens’ America in Retreat, “Oh, I’ve already read this book.” America in Retreat is one of our very favorite books about contemporary American foreign policy.

Marco Rubio reportedly is partial to the work of Yuval Levin, who edits the policy-heavy journal National Affairs. Yuval Levin is one of our very favorite public intellectuals and analysts of domestic policy.

Tevi doesn’t discuss Ben Carson’s current taste in reading. However, he presents a moving discussion of the role of books in Carson’s development as a child:

In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Mr. Carson spoke of the importance of reading to him as a child, noting that his poor family “Never had money for anything” but they did have books. Mr. Carson’s mother Sonya, who had only a third grade education, would make young Ben read two library books a week and write reports on them.

The books expanded his world. As Mr. Carson described it, “Between the covers of those books I could go anyplace, I could be anybody, I could do anything.”

The reading he did as a child had a great influence on his subsequent endeavors. As he put it in the interview, as a result of his reading “about people of great accomplishment, I began to realize that the person who has the most to do what happens to you in life is you. Not somebody else and not the environment.”

Carson, by the way, has a very important takedown of the Black Lives Matter movement in USA Today. I consider it must reading for everyone, including members of the 2016 presidential field.