From the Nightstand of a Bookman . . .
University Bookman contributor Bruce Frohnen recommends the following biographies:
Robert A. Caro, The Years of Lyndon Johnson. With three volumes out and one more to come, this masterful dissection of the corruptions of power should be a warning to all fans of the imperial presidency, whether on the left or the right, and is a darn good read to boot.
David McCullough, John Adams. Despite his clear importance to America’s founding, and to conservatism (as Russell Kirk noted so well) Adams was a rather overlooked founder until McCullough brought out this gripping story of his life and how his brave heart helped shape our destiny.
Whittaker Chambers, Witness. One man’s deeply ruminative telling of his dark night of the soul in an era of ideology; not just a commentary on the problem of socialism, but a warning regarding the attractions of all forms of ideology, and a moving example of the frame of mind needed to hold onto faith amidst the tragedies of life.
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Not one of my favorites, actually, but rather an important work for those seeking to learn of the more utilitarian side of the American character, and how it became so oddly attractive in the modern era of false humility.
G. K. Chesterton, Saint Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox. Not just the best introduction to Aquinas, but really the best biography of any kind on this great theologian and philosopher.
Posted: April 18, 2008 in Essays.