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Josh's Top Recommended Books

We often discuss books on Crossroads. Here you'll find books that I recommend. Some of them are political history, others philosophy, and some are just good stories worth reading. Books are more than just words on paper. They are lifetimes of wisdom collected and passed down. They are lessons and warnings that help inform our own choices. And they are a way for us to inform the present with the wisdom of the past. I hope you enjoy this list and the conversations they spark. Please check back as more books are added. 

- Joshua Philipp

01

Anarchy and Anarchists: A History of the Red Terror and Social Revolution In America and Europe; Communism; Socialism, and Nihilism In Doctrine and In Deed,

by Michael J. Schaack (1889)


by Michael J. Schaack (1889)


by Michael J. Schaack (1889)


by Michael J. Schaack (1889)


There was an attempted communist revolution in the United States that saw mass protests on the streets and included terrorist attacks on Wall Street, and this dates back to the late 1800s. Anarchy and Anarchists is a surprising book, since its descriptions of the anarcho-communist movements in the United States sound almost identical to what's happening today.

02

History of The United States: To Which is Prefixed a Brief Historical Account of our English Ancestors, from the Dispersion at Babel, to Their Migration to America, and of the Conquest of South America, by the Spaniards,

by Noah Webster (1838)

This is a short history book of the United States, written at a time when people were still alive who had lived through the American Revolutionary War. The book explains the nature of Americans, and has incredibly deep insights on how the character of Americans and the Pilgrims were different from those of the "Kings of Europe" who tried to control the continent. This book should be required reading in schools. In my opinion, it's one of the best history books available on early America.

03

The American Story: The Beginnings,

by David Barton and Tim Barton (2020)

This is a great book that shows the early history of the United States, and also thoroughly debunks many common misconceptions about the history of America and its founding fathers.

04

Debunking the 1619 Project: Exposing the Plan to Divide America,

by Mary Grabar (2021)

I've found this book to do an incredible job of debunking many commonly held lies about the United States, the history of slavery, and the legacy of our Founding Fathers. I believe this book is essential in being able to debate and debunk the lies now spreading under the New York Times' 1619 Project, Critical Race Theory, and the warped forms of education being pushed in American schools.

05

The Reign of Tiberius,

by Tacitus (14-68 A.D.)

When France saw its reign of terror during the French Revolution, writers compared the tyrannical policies of Maximilien Robespierre (including restrictions on free speech) to the policies of the Roman Emperor Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus. This began the history of the tyrannical Rome we know of and was followed by the reigns of Caligula and Nero. The book is interesting, since with the spread of Democracies and Republics in the modern world, we can look to history to see the results of policies we now face today.

06

Pharsalia,

by Lucan (60 A.D.)

This epic poem tells of the civil wars of Julius Caesar against the Roman Senate, and has been compared to "The Iliad" in its style and historical significance. Unfortunately, it's not well known. The book has a lively and intense tone that highlights the ancient Roman character. As a poet, I personally very much enjoy this book.

07

Outlaws of the Marsh,

by Shi Naian (14th Century)

This is one of the four great novels of ancient China (all of which I highly recommend, and plan to include in the future). It's the story of a band of 108 outlaws during the Northern Song dynasty (around 1120 A.D.) who were believed to be sent by heaven to purge China of corruption. The book is regarded as displaying the virtue of justice. The writing style withstands the test of time, and with this being one of my favorite books, I can't recommend it enough.

08

The Rebel,

by Albert Camus (1951)

This is a deeply insightful book on the problems we have with socialist and communist movements, and the deeper movements that inspired them. It discusses these as a type of ontological rebellion, and Camus explores the nature of rebellion, from both a religious and social standpoint.

09

Utopia, the Perennial Heresy,

by Thomas Steven Molnar (1967)

This is a deeply insightful book about the nature of utopian political movements, and why they are fundamentally flawed. It discusses the strange coincidence we keep seeing throughout history, that it's often the people who try to eliminate what they see as evil and injustice from a society, who themselves become the forces of evil and injustice.

10

The Enchiridion,

by Epictetus (145 A.D.)

Many people are familiar with "The Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius, but the other classic stoic works aren't nearly as well known. "The Enchiridion" is among my favorites of these works. Its reflections on how to take life as it comes, and how to differentiate between what is under our control and what is not, helps to keep things in perspective when we face hardships.

11

The Six Secret Teachings,

by T'ai Kung (Roughly 475–221 B.C.)

This is a guide both for military leaders and for kings, and has deep insights on the virtues that a good leader should have. It's similar to "The Art of War" by Sun Tsu, but I personally like this one more. I recommend the version of this book included in "The Seven Military Classics Of Ancient China" by Ralph D. Sawyer.

12

The Way of the Knight,

by Yamaga Soko (17th Century)

This is one of the best books I've read on the qualities of a good man. It was written as a guide for men of the Samurai class in Japan, and goes against some of the modern tropes we have of the cold and expressionless man. It argues men should be warm and calm, while still keeping their strength. I recommend the version included in the collection, "Samurai Wisdom: Lessons from Japan's Warrior Culture - Five Classic Texts on Bushido" by Thomas Cleary.

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