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Top 10 Nonfiction Books for Conservatives

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These books are great places to start for the novice conservative hoping to become more involved in the movement. They're frank, honest portrayals of how the conservative agenda has been forwarded and by whom. If you're looking for books to help you understand what conservatives are all about, look no further!

1. The Conscience of a Conservative, by Barry Goldwater

Princeton Press

The definitive book on the genesis of the conservative movement from the man who many say started it all. "If there hadn't been a Barry Goldwater, there wouldn't have been a Ronald Reagan," according to the popular conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly. Includes a foreward by conservative columnist George F. Will and an afterward by Goldwater's political adversary, Robert F. Kennedy.

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2. The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot by Russell Kirk

Amazon.com

The Conservative Mind is the definitive work by Russell Kirk and a book no conservative's collection should be without. Kirk is perhaps the most widely respected writer on conservative politics and this book analyzes the disparity between the social conservatives and the tradtional conservatives who are now considered liberatarians. Besides Edmund Burke, no other intellectual has so accurately captured the mind-set of the conservative movement and defined the movement in such lucid terms.

3. Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News, by Bernard Goldberg

Amazon.com

Bias by 35-year CBS executive Bernard Goldberg exposes the liberal bias in American media, and how television news networks actively undermine conservative and traditional values. Among the many revelations Goldberg notes is how the media consciously fails to omit positive and uplifting stories about African-Americans and how network anchors and reporters will identify conservatives using the term "conservative," but won't identify liberals using the term "liberal." For those conservatives who believe there is a liberal conspiracy in the media, Goldberg's book puts it on display.

4. American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia

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Perhaps the single best reference work on the market for conservatives. It offers history, profiles and concepts without preaching a particular ideology. American Conservatism is the quintessential starting point for developing conservative ideas on everything from abortion and Roe v. Wade to the War on Terror and 9/11. No conservative library should be without it.

The encyclopedia includes a comprehensive index of terms, concepts and people, as well as an impressive list of editorial contributors, including noted philosopher and author Russell Kirk, and Humanities professor Paul Gottfried.
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5. Tea Party Revival, by Dr. B. Leland Baker

Dr. B. Leland Baker

Tea Party Revival: The Conscience of a Conservative Reborn by Dr. B. Leland Baker offers a glimpse inside the ideology of the Tea Party phenomenon, which emerged in 2009 and was a political force by 2010. Baker's book provides easy-to-read descriptions of the individual tenets of the movement (small government, Constitutional compliance, deference to states' rights, decreased spending and taxes and the restoration of individual rights, responsibility and integrity), a list of demands on lawmakers and a clear breakdown of the Tea Party agenda. The subtitle of the book, "The Tea Party Revolt Against Unconstrained Spending and Growth of the Federal Government," is an excellent synopsis of what readers will find inside its pages.

6. The Burden of Bad Ideas by Heather MacDonald

Amazon.com

The Burden of Bad Ideas is a collection of essays that explores the darker side of the welfare state and how it operates. From the sometimes humorous to the universally sad, the stories unearthed by Heather MacDonald show how poor judgment permeates American culture and, specifically, its government. For example, at a Brooklyn high school, MacDonald writes that students perfect their graffiti skills for academic credit. Another story is about an Ivy League law professor who urges African Americans to steal from their employers because Washington bureaucrats regard theft by drug addicts as evidence of disability, thereby justifying benefits. While the stories represent the most "out-there" cases, the themes discussed are all-too common.

7. Conservatism in America Since 1930 : A Reader, by Gregory L. Schneider

Amazon.com
A collection of essays from high-profile conservatives like William F. Buckley Jr., Ronald Reagan and Pat Buchanan, this book is an open discussion of conservative ideas and helps tell how the movement has taken shape since its political inception at the beginning of World War II.
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8. The Conservative Revolution : The Movement That Remade America, by Lee Evans

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A look at the men who put the conservative movement on the political map: Ohio Sen. Robert Taft, Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, President Ronald Reagan and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich. This book isn't merely historical recap; it is conservative ideology from a rock-ribbed conservative.
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9. The Right Nation, by John Micklethwait & Adrian Wooldridge

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The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America offers an intellectual look at the conservative movement, but from an objective viewpoint. The authors, who also write for the The Economist, claim to have written the book without subjective invective. This book is a reliable source for those looking for an analytical dialogue of the American political "conservative establishment."
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10. A Time for Choosing, by Jonathan M. Schoenwald

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A Time for Choosing: The Rise of Modern American Conservatism tells the story of the rise of conservatism with a fresh, compelling approach. Schoenwald's book is masterful in its unique theme: conservatism rose from the ashes of the counterculture movement of the 1960s. This dynamic look at American conservative politics compares the two most notable leaders of the movement within the context of their respective times. Schoenwald's book also looks at how conservatives have organized their movement, perhaps the most overlooked components of their success.
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