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Sam Tanenhaus's Top Book Recommendations

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

Recommended by Sam Tanenhaus, and 1 others.

Sam TanenhausThis book was published in 1979. It’s a very small, slender book and I recommend it to people all the time because it’s so easy to read. It’s broken into two parts. The first is a series of very winning profiles of Buckley, of Kendall, and of Frank Meyer – another intellectual ideologue on the right. Then, in the second half of the book, he makes a series of arguments about conservatism. (Source)

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From one of America's most distinguished historians comes this classic analysis of Richard Nixon. By considering some of the president's opinions, Wills comes to the controversial conclusion that Nixon was actually a liberal. Both entertaining and essential, Nixon Agonistes captures a troubled leader and a struggling nation mired in a foolish Asian war, forfeiting the loyalty of its youth, puzzled by its own power, and looking to its cautious president for confidence. In the end, Nixon Agonistes reaches far beyond its assessment of the thirty-seventh president to become an incisive and... more
Recommended by Sam Tanenhaus, and 1 others.

Sam TanenhausWills was the writer who made me want to write about politics. It’s so creative and imaginative, just in the prose, that it has the power of the novel. At the same time, Wills asks these enormous questions. He’s really looking at the market, and our idea of liberty, and what it really means. (Source)

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Rabbit Redux

In this sequel to Rabbit, Run, John Updike resumes the spiritual quest of his anxious Everyman, Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom. Ten years have passed; the impulsive former athlete has become a paunchy thirty-six-year-old conservative, and Eisenhower’s becalmed America has become 1969’s lurid turmoil of technology, fantasy, drugs, and violence. Rabbit is abandoned by his family, his home invaded by a runaway and a radical, his past reduced to a ruined inner landscape; still he clings to semblances of decency and responsibility, and yearns to belong and to believe. less
Recommended by Sam Tanenhaus, and 1 others.

Sam TanenhausI happen to believe that the peak period of conservatism as an intellectual force in American life came in the years 1967 to 1973. That’s when figures who were not identified in any way with conservative ideology or politics began making arguments that sounded classically conservative. (Source)

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Mr Sammler's Planet

Mr. Artur Sammler, Holocaust survivor, intellectual, and occasional lecturer at Columbia University in 1960s New York City, is a "registrar of madness," a refined and civilized being caught among people crazy with the promises of the future (moon landings, endless possibilities). His Cyclopean gaze reflects on the degradations of city life while looking deep into the sufferings of the human soul. "Sorry for all and sore at heart," he observes how greater luxury and leisure have only led to more human suffering. To Mr. Sammler-who by the end of this ferociously unsentimental novel has found... more
Recommended by Sam Tanenhaus, and 1 others.

Sam TanenhausI do think in America in particular politics, sociology and culture are inextricable. The party we belong to, the candidates we support, the ideas we espouse in the political realm, overlap with our cultural tastes and our perception of where we fit in – or where we don’t fit in – among the other members of this huge society. (Source)

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In 1951, a twenty-five-year old Yale graduate published his first book, which exposed the extraordinarily irresponsible educational attitude that prevailed at his alma mater. This book rocked the academic world and catapulted its young author, William F. Buckley Jr., into the public spotlight. less
Recommended by Sam Tanenhaus, and 1 others.

Sam TanenhausWhat is important about God and Man at Yale is that, although it’s not the best argued or even the most serious of modern conservative books, it changed the argument. It made the conservative argument about culture. What Buckley is saying is that if you want to identify your adversary, he’s in the ivory tower of the Ivy League, and not only there, but in the most conservative of the Ivy League... (Source)

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