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Peter Berkowitz's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Peter Berkowitz recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Peter Berkowitz's favorite book recommendations of all time.

Twenty years ago, Ayatollah Khomeini called for the assassination of Salman Rushdie—and writers around the world instinctively rallied to Rushdie’s defense. Today, according to writer Paul Berman, “Rushdie has metastasized into an entire social class”—an ever-growing group of sharp-tongued critics of Islamist extremism, especially critics from Muslim backgrounds, who survive only because of pseudonyms and police protection. And yet, instead of being applauded, the Rushdies of today (people like Ayan Hirsi Ali and Ibn Warraq) often find themselves dismissed as “strident” or as no better than... more
Recommended by Peter Berkowitz, and 1 others.

Peter BerkowitzNo, you’re right. (Source)

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God and Gold

A stunningly insightful account of the global political and economic system, sustained first by Britain and now by America, that has created the modern world.

The key to the two countries' predominance, Mead argues, lies in the individualistic ideology inherent in the Anglo-American religion. Over the years Britain and America's liberal democratic system has been repeatedly challeged—by Catholic Spain and Louis XIV, the Nazis, communists, and Al Qaeda—and for the most part, it has prevailed. But the current conflicts in the Middle East threaten to change that record unless we...
Recommended by Peter Berkowitz, and 1 others.

Peter BerkowitzDefinitely not because he’s a conservative, because you’re right, he’s not a conservative. I think it’s important for conservatives to read books that are not by conservatives. Non-conservatives have very important things to say about the world as well. Of course in some sense Mead is very difficult to categorise. I mainly think of Walter Russell Mead as just about our smartest and most lucid... (Source)

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After Virtue

Drawing on more than 500 years of history, this title explores the causes of the crisis in moral description and shows how attempts to formulate moral principles had grown progressively more difficult in the period after the Enlightenment. It explains what has driven moral philosophy into its quagmire and suggests ways out of it. less
Recommended by Peter Berkowitz, Edward Skidelsky, and 2 others.

Peter BerkowitzThis is a sweeping book that goes from Aristotle up to today. The argument is not just the collapse of communities, it’s also about the transformation in how we think about the moral life that has purged the language of virtue from our speech and from our sensibility. (Source)

Edward SkidelskyMacIntyre’s point is that we think we’re talking about morality, but actually we’re just left with the fragments of morality. Because what’s been lost is the central idea of human beings as creatures with an inherent end or purpose. (Source)

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I am Charlotte Simmons

Tom Wolfe, the master social novelist of our time, the spot-on chronicler of all things contemporary and cultural, presents a sensational new novel about life, love, and learning--or the lack of it--amid today's American colleges.

Our story unfolds at fictional Dupont University: those Olympian halls of scholarship housing the cream of America's youth, the roseate Gothic spires and manicured lawns suffused with tradition . . . Or so it appears to beautiful, brilliant Charlotte Simmons, a sheltered freshman from North Carolina. But Charlotte soon learns, to her mounting dismay, that...
Recommended by Peter Berkowitz, and 1 others.

Peter BerkowitzHe’s on my list as a book that conservatives should read and non-conservatives should read. Everybody with an interest in sex, soul and higher education should read I Am Charlotte Simmons. Those are the great themes of the book. (Source)

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Revered and reviled, Leo Strauss has left a rich legacy of work that continues to spark discussion and controversy. This volume of essays ranges over critical themes that define Strauss's thought: the tension between reason and revelation in the Western tradition, the philsophical roots of liberal democracy, and especially the conflicting yet complementary relationship between ancient and modern liberalism. For those seeking to become acquainted with this provocative thinker, one need look no further. less
Recommended by Peter Berkowitz, and 1 others.

Peter BerkowitzVery much so. Until 2003 or so that hatred was mostly confined to university professors who taught political science and philosophy. While I was immersed in the academy, I think it’s fair to say that he was the most hated academic. But in 2003, with the run-up to the Iraq War, he became more generally hated, because articles in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books and The Boston Globe... (Source)

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