Books Your Kids Should Read, According to U.S. Senator Ben Sasse

Books Your Kids Should Read, According to U.S. Senator Ben Sasse June 7, 2018

Since he’s become President, Donald Trump has tweeted book recommendations for Americans, a virtual book club of sorts.  However, in Ben Sasse’s “The Vanishing American Adult,” the Nebraska Senator has his own list of books for any well-read person.  (No, “The Art of the Deal” didn’t make the list.)

Category One: God

First eleven chapters of Genesis

Matthew is the grittiest gospel

Romans is a systematic theology of the whole Bible

Martin Luther’s Commentary on Galatians

John Calvin’s The Institutes of Christian Religion


Category Two: Greek Roots

Aristotle’s Ethics

Plato’s Crito

Homer’s the Odysset

Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War

Sophicles’s Three Theben Plays


Category Three: Homesick Souls (or Fundamental Anthropology)

Augustine’s Confessions

Anselm of Canterbury’s Why God Became Man

Martin Luther’s In Bondage with the Will

Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica

Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Emile


Category Four: Shakespeare

Romeo and Julie


King Lear

Julius Caesar



Category Five: The American Idea

Lincoln’s Declaration of Independence

The Federalist Papers

Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America

Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

The Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858


Category Six: Markets

Aristotle’s Politics

Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations

Charles Sellers’s The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815-1846

Milton and Rose Friedman’s Free to Choose

Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel


Category Seven: Tyrants

Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels’s Communist Manifesto

Hannah Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism

F.A. Hayek’s This Road to Serfdom

George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984

Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World


Category Eight: The Nature of Things

Lucretius’s On the Nature of Things

Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Euclid’s Elements of Geometry


Category Nine: American Fiction

Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn

Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop

John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath

James Baldwin’s Go Tell It On the Mountain

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man


Image Credit: Gage Skidmore on Flickr

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