November 2022

Marc Andreesen's Reading List

— Marc Andreessen is an American entrepreneur, investor, and software engineer. He is the co-author of Mosaic, the first widely used web browser and co-founder of Netscape. He is also the general partner of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, co-founded with Ben Horowitz.
Marc Andreesen's Reading List
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Marc Andreessen is an American entrepreneur, investor, and software engineer. He is the co-author of Mosaic, the first widely used web browser and co-founder of Netscape. He is also the general partner of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, co-founded with Ben Horowitz.

Over 14 years, Marc and Ben have built one if the largest VC firms in the world. Some of their most notable investments include Airbnb, Facebook, and Coinbase among many others. Marc also serves on the board of Applied Intuition, Carta, Coinbase, Dialpad, Flow, Golden, Honor, OpenGov, Samsara and Mark Zuckerberg's Meta.

Recently Marc released an update on what he's been reading. Here are each of the latest books he's recommended ranging from literature on the Spanish Civil War to the deep history of American politics.

Our favourite quote from The Ancient City: A Study on the Religion, Laws, and Institutions of Greece and Rome

This outstanding work, which was first released in 1864 under the title La Cité Antique, covers society in both Rome and Greece during the reigns of Cicero and Pericles. Fustel de Coulanges created a thorough depiction of life in the ancient city using only a small portion of the data available to classical scholars today, producing a book that is still impressive today both for the richness of its portrait and the thesis it advances.

Fustel contends in The Ancient City that early religion served as the cornerstone of all civic activity. Fustel discusses topics including rites and festivals, marriage and the family, divorce, death, and burial, as well as political and legal systems as he develops his analogies between beliefs and laws. "The author asserts that religion "constituted the Greek and Roman family, established marriage and parental authority, regulated the order of relationship, consecrated the right of propriety, and right of inheritance. The city was built by the same religion after it had expanded and extended the family, and it ruled there as it had done in the family. All of the ancient institutions and private law were derived from it."

The Ancient City rightfully belongs with a number of groundbreaking books from the late nineteenth century that presented fundamentally fresh interpretations of ancient society and culture, as Arnaldo Momigliano and S. C. Humphreys write in their prologue. Fustel de Coulanges' early discoveries in The Ancient City are still relevant and thought-provoking today, and they are owed to both modern anthropology and classical literature.

Our favourite quote from The Machiavellians

The modern Machiavellians—Gaetano Mosca, Georges Sorel, Robert Michels, and Vilfredo Pareto—are a fascinating group who have been influential in Europe but virtually unknown in the United States. This book, a classic work of political theory and practise, provides a history of this remarkable group. A substantial portion of the book is devoted to Machiavelli.

According to James Burnham, these men's writings are the essential to understanding politics and preserving political freedom.

Our favourite quote from The Managerial Revolution: What Is Happening in the World

Burnham said that capitalism was dead, but that it was being replaced by a new economic system he called'managerialism' - control by managers.

This is the 1941 book that theorised how the world was shifting into the hands of the'managers.' Burnham explains how capitalism had almost lost control and would be displaced not by labour or socialism, but by the rule of administrators in business and government.

This change, he contended, is as vast as the earth and as extensive as human civilization, questioning, "Why is "totalitarianism" not the issue?" 'Can civilisation be annihilated?' And, 'Why is the New Deal something too enormous for Roosevelt to handle?'

James Burnham delves deeply into the implications of the managerial revolution in a book notable for its detached approach to these and other fundamental issues.

Our favourite quote from The Spanish Civil War

Hugh Thomas's The Spanish Civil War, a masterwork of the historian's craft, continues to be the greatest, most engaging account of one of the most famous and misunderstood wars of the twentieth century. This "definitive work on the subject" (Richard Bernstein, The New York Times) has been given a new look forty years after it was first published in 1961. It has been revised and updated with significant new material, including new revelations about atrocities committed against civilians by both sides in this epic conflict. Thomas examines a horrific fight in which the ambitions, dreams, and dogmas of a century erupted onto the battlefield in beautiful, emotional detail.

The Spanish Civil War dramatises the events that caused a European nation to split against itself in a continent on the verge of war, bringing into play the plots of Franco and Hitler, the carnage of Guernica, and the profoundly moving bravery of those who stood up for democracy. This account of the conflict is unlike any other. Communists, anarchists, monarchists, fascists, socialists, and democratic parties were just a few of the elements that made up the Spanish Civil War. Thomas expertly weaves these varied and fascinating strands into a cohesive whole that has made the book a true masterpiece of modern history.

Our favourite quote from Homage to Catalonia

All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.

In 1936, originally intending merely to report on the Spanish Civil War as a journalist, George Orwell found himself embroiled as a participant—as a member of the Workers’ Party of Marxist Unity. Fighting against the Fascists, he described in painfully vivid and occasionally comic detail life in the trenches—with a “democratic army” composed of men with no ranks, no titles, and often no weapons—and his near fatal wounding. As the politics became tangled, Orwell was pulled into a heartbreaking conflict between his own personal ideals and the complicated realities of political power struggles.

Considered one of the finest works by a man V. S. Pritchett called “the wintry conscience of a generation,” Homage to Catalonia is both Orwell’s memoir of his experiences at the front and his tribute to those who died in what he called a fight for common decency. This edition features a new foreword by Adam Hochschild placing the war in greater context and discussing the evolution of Orwell’s views on the Spanish Civil War.

“No one except George Orwell . . . made the violence and self-dramatization of Spain so burning and terrible.”— Alfred Kazin, New York Times

“A wise book, one that once read will never be forgotten.”—Chicago Sunday Tribune

Our favourite quote from Spain In Our Hearts

The Spanish Civil War dominated news coverage in America and throughout the world for three key years in the 1930s as volunteers descended on Spain to assist its democratic government fend off a fascist revolt led by Francisco Franco and supported by Hitler and Mussolini.

Today, Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls and Robert Capa's images are the primary ways we remember the conflict. A fiery 19-year-old Kentucky woman who went to Spain during the war on her honeymoon, a Swarthmore College student who was the first American fatality in the battle for Madrid, two fiercely partisan, rivalrous New York Times reporters who covered the war from opposite sides, and a swashbuckling Texas oilman with Nazi sympathies are just a few of the less well-known but far more compelling characters Adam Hochschild has discovered.

We may still learn a lot from this fight, which served as the first major engagement of World War II. Adam Hochschild is at his absolute best in Spain in Our Hearts.

Our favourite quote from Mine Were Of Trouble

Spain, 1936. Political divisions on the right and left are becoming more violent as tensions rise. Military officers overthrow a democratically elected, supported by the Soviet Union, government. As long-buried passions resurface, the nation is plunged into anarchy. Spanish citizens choose sides and take part in the bloodiest fighting since the First World War. The struggle is perceived by Republic supporters as a battle for equality and their vision of advancement. For the rebels, the conflict represents a traditional preemptive attack against a communist takeover effort.

Numerous foreigners also participate in the conflict. Most fight alongside other militias allied with the obedient "Republicans" or the International Brigades, which are supported by the Soviet Union. Few people support the "Nationalists" in rebellion. Peter Kemp, a young British law student, was one of these uncommon Nationalist volunteers. Kemp was inspired by the Nationalist war against global Communism despite having little formal background or linguistic proficiency in Spanish.

He snuck into Spain using fraudulent credentials and joined the Requetés, a traditionalist militia with which he experienced fierce combat. Later, he offered to enlist in the infamous and brutal Spanish Foreign Legion, where he made a name for himself through valor. He was one of the few foreign volunteers who received a special audience with Generalissimo Francisco Franco as a result of his gallantry.

After a distinguished military career with the British Special Operations Executive during the Second World Conflict, Kemp wrote his story in 1957, one of the few English chronicles of the war from the perspective of the Nationalists.

Our favourite quote from Lindbergh

Charles Lindbergh is one of the few American idols who continues to fascinate people today. He is well-known for his solo transatlantic flight in 1927, lamented for the kidnapping and death of his eldest son in 1932, and despised by many for opposing America's involvement in World War II. According to the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Lindbergh's life is "a dramatic and disturbing American story," and this biography, the first to be written with open access to the Lindbergh archives and in-depth interviews of his friends, colleagues, and close family members, is "a thorough, level-headed evaluation of the glories, tragedies, and frequently infuriating complexities of this extraordinary life" (Newsday).

Our favourite quote from The Ambassador: Joseph P. Kennedy at the Court of St. James's 1938-1940

Joseph P. Kennedy was sworn in as the United States' ambassador to the Court of St. James on February 18, 1938. It would be an understatement to say that the establishment was shocked by his appointment to the most important and strategic diplomatic position in the world. Known for his strong Irish ancestry and steadfast Catholicism, as well as his "plain-spoken" opinions and womanizing, he was an odd choice as Europe descended into war.

In less than two years, Kennedy went from being embraced by the British to being despised by the White House, the State Department, and the British Government. He consistently misrepresented official US foreign policy abroad as well as specific directives from FDR himself because he truly believed that Fascism was the inevitable future wave. The British and the Nazis utilized Kennedy for their own purposes after the Americans were the first to denounce him.

Ronald proves in stunning detail what many have long believed: that Kennedy was a Fascist sympathizer and an anti-Semite whose only commitment was to his family's success. Ronald conducted thorough research and used numerous newly available sources. She also discusses the Kennedy family's aspirations during this time overseas, when they hoped to become part of London's high society and become the nation's first family. The Ambassador is a narrative that delves deeply into the Kennedy patriarch and is completely readable. It is certain to stir up discussion and interest.

Our favourite quote from The Guarded Gate

The Guarded Gate relates the tale of the scientists who claimed that some nationalities were fundamentally inferior, providing the rationale for the strictest immigration legislation in American history. It is a neglected, tragic chapter of American history with repercussions for the present. The eugenic arguments, popularised by the upper class New Yorkers and Bostonians who spearheaded the anti-immigration drive and included many progressives, helped keep hundreds of thousands of Jews, Italians, and other undesirable groups out of the US for more than 40 years.

The Guarded Gate, which took more than five years to write, chronicles the entire tale starting in 1895 when Henry Cabot Lodge and other Boston Brahmins started their anti-immigrant crusade. The limiting rule was passed three years after vice president Calvin Coolidge said that "biological laws" had demonstrated the inferiority of people from southern and eastern Europe. Theodore Roosevelt, Lodge's closest friend; Francis Galton, Charles Darwin's first cousin and the eccentric polymath who founded eugenics; Madison Grant, who was immensely wealthy and deeply bigoted; and others are all brought to life by Okrent in his signature style, which is both lively and authoritative; Maxwell Perkins, the renowned editor of Hemingway and Fitzgerald; Margaret Sanger, who regarded eugenics as a logical adjunct to her birth control campaign; and H. Fairfield Osborn, director of the American Museum of Natural History; founder of the Bronx Zoo; and their close friend, H. Fairfield Osborn. The Guarded Gate is a historical work that is still relevant today. It methodically ties American eugenicists to the emergence of Nazism and demonstrates how their ideas found fertile ground in the minds of people both at home and abroad.

Our favourite quote from The Second Coming of the KKK

The release of the distressing and remarkably contemporary history of the reconstituted Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s by award-winning historian Linda Gordon was met with extraordinary national praise. This "second Klan" spread primarily in states above the Mason-Dixon line by appealing to xenophobic fears surrounding the flood of immigrant "hordes" arriving on American shores, dramatically challenging our preconceptions of the hooded Klansmen responsible for establishing a Jim Crow racial hierarchy in the 1870s South.

Our favourite quote from War For Eternity

Steve Bannon was dubbed "the most dangerous political operative in America" by Bloomberg News in 2015. He has gained enormous authority since then, and not just in the United States. Award-winning extreme right scholar Benjamin Teitelbaum brings readers behind-the-scenes of Bannon's global assault against modernity in this ground-breaking and urgent analysis.

Bannon and a small group of right-wing power brokers are preparing new political mobilizations on a global scale, which are being discussed and debated in secret meetings Bannon has arranged in hotel suites and private apartments in DC, Europe, and South America. These meetings are inspired by a radical twentieth-century ideology known as Traditionalism. Their aim is to overthrow the existing world order and restructure geopolitics around outdated ideas of democracy, freedom, social advancement, and human rights. Their tireless efforts are already bearing fruit, from the strengthening of international borders and the targeting of immigration to the destabilisation of the governments of the European Union and the United States and the growth of Russian influence.

Teitelbaum reveals the radical right's significant influence on the world and their radical outlook on the future by drawing on exclusive interviews with Bannon's hidden network of far-right thinkers, years of academic research into the radical right, and with never-before-obtained access to the occult salons where they congregate.

Our favourite quote from The New Right

What do Alex Jones, white nationalists, economic populists, techno-anarchists, and online trolls have in common? Nothing aside from a never-ending hate of evangelical progressivism and the purported "Cathedral" from whence it emanates.

Contrary to the deceptive explanations provided by the corporate press, neither did this movement suddenly appear, nor are any of its numerous subgroups comparable to one another. The members of the New Right are purposefully wary of anyone in the mainstream who would attempt to tell their story because they are as unified by their antagonism as they are divided by their ambitions. Fortunately, Michael Malice, author of The New Right, was there from the beginning and tells their story in detail.

Malice paints a convincing and objective picture of the New Right as a movement for ideas, ideas that he links to a startling variety of ideological sources. The New Right is a thorough first-person account of the ideas, figures, and timeline of this widely misunderstood sociopolitical phenomenon, covering everything from the heterodox right wing of the 1940s to the Buchanan/Rothbard alliance of 1992 and all the way up to what he personally witnessed in Charlottesville.

The fringe of today becomes mainstream tomorrow. The New Right is compulsory reading for all Americans, regardless of their political views, who want to understand more about the past, present, and future of our divided political culture. It is as fun as it is educational.

Our favourite quote from Hitler: Ascent: 1889-1939

Hitler by Volker Ullrich, the first volume in a two-volume biography, has altered how experts and common people alike view the man who has come to represent evil. Ullrich traces Hitler's biography from his early years through his experiences in the First World War and his later ascent as a far-right leader, drawing on previously unpublished writings and fresh scholarly research. Ullrich paints a realistic portrayal of a man with his megalomania, political savvy, and horrific worldview by focusing on the person behind the ideas. Hitler is a crucial historical figure with disturbing echoes in the present.

Our favourite quote from Hitler: Downfall: 1939-1945

Hitler was at his most powerful in the summer of 1939. Having established political dominance in Germany, he was now in a position to accomplish his lifetime goal of assisting the German people in thriving and eliminating those who stood in their way. He was now in charge of a recently restored significant world power. Hitler was able to carry out the mass murder of millions of people with the full knowledge of the German government and the assistance of the SS once a war had been declared, allowing him to pursue his ideological obsessions to inconceivable lengths. Nevertheless, despite a string of incredible early victories, Hitler's fatal decision to invade the Soviet Union in 1941 changed the course of the war in the Allies' favor.

Hitler: Ascent 1889-1939 author Volker Ullrich now provides fascinating fresh insight into Hitler's psychology and behavior. He illustrates with great detail Hitler's insecurity, fixation with details, and narcissistic propensity for gambling, which caused him to overrule his subordinates and then impute failure to them. Hitler began the devastation of Germany itself after realizing the war could not be won in order to punish the people he believed had failed to bring him victory. Ullrich's portrayal of Hitler's final years is a crucial contribution to our knowledge of the dictator and the direction of the Second World War. It is a superb and captivating narrative of a dramatic fall.

Our favourite quote from The God That Failed

Six of the most significant writers of the 20th century contributed articles to the Cold War classic The God That Failed, which explores how they became communists and then became disillusioned with the system. The authors use their personal experiences to demonstrate what happens to leftism all across the world. A number of authors, including André Gide (France), Richard Wright (the United States), Ignazio Silone (Italy), Stephen Spender (England), Arthur Koestler (Germany), and American foreign correspondent Louis Fischer, describe how their quest for human progress brought them to communism and the personal suffering and disgust that led them to reject it.

The updated prologue to this important book of our time by David Engerman provides background information by recalling the turbulent events of the time. Additionally, it discusses the history and significance of the book, the influence of communism on American intellectual life, and how the events in The God That Failed are still felt in contemporary public conversation.

Our favourite quote from The Romance of American Communism

Vivian Gornick's investigation into how socialists, communists, and progressives in the 1940s and 1950s produced a rich, diverse environment where common men and women believed their lives were related to a greater human mission begins with this statement.

The Romance of American Communism, which was first published in 1977 and is now back in print with a new introduction by the author, is a groundbreaking work of new journalism that profiles American Communist Party members and associates as they joined the Party, lived within its sphere, and left in disillusionment and disappointment as Stalin's atrocities came to light.

Our favourite quote from Witness

The actual account of Soviet spies in America and the trial that enthralled a nation is told in Witness, which was first published in 1952. This fascinating autobiography, which is equal parts literary endeavour and philosophical discourse, recalls the well-known Alger Hiss case and exposes a lot more. Chambers' outlook on life and his conviction that "man without mysticism is a monster" later contributed to the rise of political conservatism as a major force in American politics.

The most thorough publication of Witness is the Cold War Classics edition by Regnery History, which includes forewords compiled from all earlier printings and contributions by notables like Milton Hindus, Robert D. Novak, William F. Buckley Jr., and Alfred S. Regnery.

Our favourite quote from Joseph McCarthy

Was Joe McCarthy a vindictive witch-hunter who incited frenzy, damaged the reputations of innocent people, and unleashed a catastrophic carnival of slander and guilt-by-association charges? Were McCarthy and McCarthyism the worst developments in postwar American politics?

Or was McCarthy only a politician with good intentions who embraced a valid topic with the zeal of a true believer?

Maybe something in the middle. Here is a biography of Joe McCarthy that, for the first time, dispels the myths and stereotypes surrounding this key figure in the 1950s "red scare" and reconsiders his life and legacy in light of recently declassified archival sources from the FBI, the National Security Agency, the U.S. Congress, the Pentagon, and the former Soviet Union. Here is the untold tale of America's most despised politician after more than 40 years, free of the hyperbole and prejudice of the past.

Joseph McCarthy tells how this Wisconsin farm lad emerged from a postwar America that had grown more self-assured, and how he represented the hopes and concerns of a generation caught up in the hardships of the Cold War. It demonstrates how McCarthy opposed the Washington political elite and propelled himself into the public eye by using the hot-button topic of Communist espionage in the 1930s and 1940s. The red scare is presented to us in a way that is both far different from and more true than how it is often depicted in the news and in movies.

We now know that the Communist spying McCarthy battled against was incredibly pervasive, reaching the highest echelons of the White House and the top-secret Manhattan Project. Herman has the evidence to clearly demonstrate which of McCarthy's well-known anti-Communist inquiries were accurate (such as the notorious cases of Owen Lattimore and Irving Peress, the Army's "pink dentist") and which were not (including the investigation that resulted in McCarthy's final break with Whittaker Chambers). McCarthy was highly vilified, but he was correct when he claimed that two American UN personnel were Communists. McCarthy came under fire once more when he referred to Owen Lattimore as "Moscow's top spy," yet today we know Lattimore was a willing accomplice in Soviet spy networks. McCarthy frequently went over his means.

In Joseph McCarthy, Arthur Herman reveals the human drama of a fascinating, troubled, and self-destructive man who was often more right than wrong, and yet in the end did more harm than good.

Our favourite quote from Days of Rage

People have completely forgotten that in 1972 we had over nineteen hundred domestic bombings in the United States,” notes a retired FBI agent, Max Noel. “People don’t want to listen to that. They can’t believe it. One bombing now and everyone gets excited. In 1972? It was every day. Buildings getting bombed, policemen getting killed. It was commonplace

From the bestselling author of Public Enemies and The Big Rich, an explosive account of the decade-long battle between the FBI and the homegrown revolutionary movements of the 1970s

The Weathermen. The Symbionese Liberation Army. The FALN. The Black Liberation Army. The names seem quaint now, when not forgotten altogether. But there was a time in America, during the 1970s, when bombings by domestic underground groups were a daily occurrence. The FBI combated these and other groups as nodes in a single revolutionary underground, dedicated to the violent overthrow of the American government.

In Days of Rage, Bryan Burrough re-creates an atmosphere that seems almost unbelievable just forty years later, conjuring a time of native-born radicals, most of them “nice middle-class kids,” smuggling bombs into skyscrapers and detonating them inside the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol, at a Boston courthouse and a Wall Street restaurant packed with lunchtime diners. The FBI’s fevered response included the formation of a secret task force called Squad 47, dedicated to hunting the groups down and rolling them up. But Squad 47 itself broke many laws in its attempts to bring the revolutionaries to justice, and its efforts ultimately ended in fiasco.

Drawing on revelatory interviews with members of the underground and the FBI who speak about their experiences for the first time, Days of Rage is a mesmerizing book that takes us into the hearts and minds of homegrown terrorists and federal agents alike and weaves their stories into a spellbinding secret history of the 1970s.

Our favourite quote from Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers by Tom Wolfe

In two hysterically amusing articles addressing political viewpoints and social styles in a status-minded world, the white liberal establishment runs against the newly emergent art of confrontation.

Our favourite quote from Lenin

Within two years of Lenin’s edict more than thirty bishops and 1,200 priests had been killed and thousands more jailed.

Shortlisted for the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography.

Victor Sebestyen's intimate biography is the first major work in English for nearly two decades on one of the most significant figures of the twentieth century. In Russia to this day Lenin inspires adulation. Everywhere, he continues to fascinate as a man who made history, and who created a new kind of state that would later be imitated by nearly half the countries in the world.

Lenin believed that the 'the political is the personal', and while in no way ignoring his political life, Sebestyen focuses on Lenin the man - a man who loved nature almost as much as he loved making revolution, and whose closest ties and friendships were with women. The long-suppressed story of his ménage a trois with his wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya, and his mistress and comrade, Inessa Armand, reveals a different character to the coldly one-dimensional figure of legend.

Told through the prism of Lenin's key relationships, Sebestyen's lively biography casts a new light on the Russian Revolution, one of the great turning points of modern history.

Our favourite quote from Lenin On The Train

A compelling narrative of Lenin's disastrous 1917 train voyage from Zurich to Petrograd, where he started the Russian Revolution and irrevocably altered the course of history.

Vladimir Lenin, the future leader of the Bolshevik revolution, was exiled in Zurich in April 1917, when the abdication of the Russian Tsar Nicholas II shocked a war-torn Europe. Lenin decided right away to head back to Petrograd and lead the uprising after learning about it. But in order to get there, he would have to cross Germany, which required enlisting the aid of Russia's worst foe. Accepting German assistance—or even safe passage—would be betraying his motherland because the German assault had caused millions of Russians to suffer at home. By permitting Lenin and his tiny band of revolutionaries to return, Germany saw a chance to further destabilize Russia.

Now, in Lenin on the Train, renowned historian Catherine Merridale offers a gripping, nuanced account of this enormously significant journey—the train ride that changed the world—as well as the covert conspiracy and deceit that helped make it happen. Merridale draws on a bewildering array of sources and never-before-seen archival material. She creates a world of counter-espionage and intrigue, wartime desperation, illicit money, and misplaced utopianism in her writing with the same insight and tremendous brilliance that set her earlier works apart.

Lenin gave an explosive speech to the fervent masses when he arrived in Petrograd's now-famous Finland Station. The content of this speech has been likened to important writings like Martin Luther's ninety-five theses and Constantine's decree of Milan because it is straightforward and extreme. It was the turning point in the Russian revolution's transformation into the Soviet Union, the beginning of a tyrannical and religious order that altered the course of Russian history irrevocably and altered the global political landscape.

Our favourite quote from A New World Begins

Even though they are more contentious than ever now, the ideals of the French Revolution continue to be the sole foundation for a just society. Jeremy D. Popkin provides a gripping narrative of the revolution in A New World Begins that immerses the reader in the arguments and the bloodshed that resulted in the overthrow of the monarchy and the creation of a new civilization.

We get to know Mirabeau, Robespierre, and Danton in all of their brilliance and vengeance; we see Louis XVI's attempted escape and execution; we see black slaves gaining freedom from white revolutionaries who were reluctant to act on their own principles; and we watch as Napoleon emerges from the Reign of Terror's ashes.

A New World Begins will be regarded as the authoritative analysis of the French Revolution, drawing on decades of scholarly research.

Our favourite quote from Fascism

What does calling someone a fascist really mean? Today, it is the equivalent of calling him or her a Nazi. But as intellectual historian Paul E. Gottfried points out in this thought-provoking yet fair study, the meaning of the phrase has changed over time. In his analysis of the term's semantic evolution since the 1930s, Gottfried finds its polemical role within the framework of current ideological conflicts.

Progressives, multiculturalists, and libertarians oppose fascism even though they do not provide a single, cogent explanation for the historical evil it represents. This is similar to how "conservatism," "liberalism," and other words whose meanings have changed over time have been used arbitrarily over the years. The rise of a post-Marxist left that expresses primarily cultural opposition to bourgeois society and its Christian and/or national components, as well as the equating of all fascisms with Nazism and Hitler, are some factors that have contributed to the term's imprecise usage, according to Gottfried. He argues that those who oppose social change are labelled "fascist," a term that is no longer associated with state corporatism and other fascist characteristics that were previously crucial but are now largely disregarded. Gottfried explains the term's precise historical connotation and makes the case that it shouldn't be applied arbitrarily against people who have controversial beliefs. Political scientists, intellectual historians, and readers interested in politics and history will find his important study to be of interest.

Our favourite quote from Anti-Fascism

An antifascist movement perspective from the right.

Antifascism contends that the Left, which claims to be opposed to fascism, shares little with any prior Left, with the exception of minor commonality with Frankfurt School critical thinkers, and that modern antifascists are not fighting against a resurgence of interwar fascism. Paul Gottfried examines antifascism from its early 20th-century European origins through its contemporary American form. He contends that the transformation of the Marxist Left into an intersectional one has been a key milestone in defining the current political spectrum. This new Left, which has emerged as the dominant force throughout the Western world, has become the focal point of political and ideological conflicts.

Gottfried discusses nationalism versus globalism, the antifascism of the American conservative establishment, and Antifa in the United States. He also touches on the significant changes that antifascist ideology has undergone since the 1960s as well as fascist and antifascist models of the state and assumptions about human nature. An introduction to Thomas Hobbes' notion of knowledge from Leviathan is also offered.

Gottfried reaches the conclusion in Antifascism that fostering a fear of fascism now serves the interests of the powerful, particularly those in positions of political, journalistic, and educational power who aim to intimidate and isolate their opponents. He highlights how multinational capitalists have generously supported the intersectional Left and looks at how the white working class in Europe, including former members of Communist parties, is moving toward the populist Right, arguing that this demonstrates a political dynamic that is distinct from the more traditional dialectic between Marxists and anti-Marxists.

Our favourite quote from The True Believer

Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all the unifying agents. Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a god, but never without a belief in a devil.

A stevedore on the San Francisco docks in the 1940s, Eric Hoffer wrote philosophical treatises in his spare time while living in the railroad yards. The True Believer - the first and most famous of his books - was made into a bestseller when President Eisenhower cited it during one of the earliest television press conferences.Completely relevant and essential for understanding the world today, The True Believer is a visionary, highly provocative look into the mind of the fanatic and a penetrating study of how an individual becomes one.

Our favourite quote from The Captive Mind

The examination of Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz's work Insatiability and the Murti-Bing pill plot device that serves as a metaphor for both dialectical materialism and the intellectual deadening brought on by consumerism in Western culture opens The Captive Mind. The second chapter examines how people in Central and Eastern Europe at the time viewed the West, and the third chapter describes the seven different ways that Ketman was used in the people's democracies of mid-20th-century Europe. Ketman is the practice of lip service to authority while hiding personal opposition.

The book's central four chapters then proceed, each of which presents a talented Polish guy who ultimately gave in to the demands of the Communist regime. Alpha, the Moralist, Beta, The Disappointed Lover, Gamma, The Slave of History, and Delta, The Troubadour are all that are known about them. However, it was simple to identify each of the four portraits: Jerzy Andrzejewski is represented by Alpha, Tadeusz Borowski by Beta, Jerzy Putrament by Gamma, and Konstanty Ildefons Gaczyski by Delta.

The concluding chapter of the book elaborates on "enslavement through consciousness," and it concludes with a painful and intimate appraisal of what happened to the Baltic countries in particular.

Our favourite quote from The Power of the Powerless

A greengrocer, intimidated by life under Communist Party rule, posts a sign in their shop window that reads, "Workers of the globe, unite!" Does this reflect the grocer's unwavering political views? Or is it a representation of the lies we tell to keep ourselves safe?

Written in 1978, Václav Havel's reflection on political dissent—the rituals that put it down and the sparks that light it again—would serve as the organizing principle for Solidarity movements throughout the Soviet Union. The Power of the Powerless remains a stirring warning against the attraction of complacency while painting an image of activity in the face of deceit and intimidation.

Our favourite quote from No Offense: Civil Religion and Protestant Taste

The writing style of the book reads more like it belongs in the middle of the 19th century than it does in the middle of the 20th, with its untranslated French, Latin, German, and Yiddish quotes and words, as well as those recently coined by the pseudo-scientists and deconstructionists that currently infest every university department of English. There are several references to numerous obscure works, thus familiarity with the intellectual oddities of the early 20th century is necessary.

Our favourite quote from Ordeal of Civility: Freud, Marx, Levi-Strauss, and the Jewish Struggle With Modernity

The struggle, according to Cuddihy, is between the Gentile "host culture/etiquette" that the Jew tries to integrate and his tough, loving community (Yiddishkeit), which is the subject of their "unconsummated social courtship of Gentile and Jew." Cuddihy refers to it as a decolonized people's trauma of culture shock.

Our favourite quote from The WEIRDest People In The World

A daring, epic narrative of how psychology and culture co-evolved to produce the peculiar Western mentality that significantly influenced modern society.

You may be WEIRD if you were reared in a Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic society. If so, your psychological makeup is pretty odd.

Contrary to the majority of people who have ever lived and a large portion of the population today, WEIRD persons are highly individualistic, self-obsessed, control-oriented, nonconformist, and analytical. They prioritize their own characteristics, successes, and goals over those of their connections and social positions. How did WEIRD populations develop such a unique psychological makeup? What part did these psychological disparities play in the industrial revolution and the recent globalisation of Europe?

In The WEIRDest People in the World, Joseph Henrich examines these issues and others using the most recent findings in anthropology, psychology, economics, and evolutionary biology. He sheds light on the beginnings and development of marriage, family, and religion, as well as the enormous effects these cultural shifts had on psychology. Henrich charts these changes across ancient history and late antiquity and finds that the Roman Catholic Church exerted significant pressure on the most fundamental institutions of kinship and marriage, which underwent significant transformation. These changes laid the groundwork for the modern world by giving rise to the WEIRD mentality that would coevolve with impersonal markets, occupational specialisation, and free competition.

The WEIRDest People in the World explores how culture, institutions, and psychology shape one another and explains what this means for both our most intimate sense of who we are as individuals and the significant social, political, and economic forces that shape human history. It is provocative and engaging in both its broad scope and its surprising details.

Our favourite quote from Who We Are and How We Got Here

There was never a single trunk population in the human past. It has been mixtures all the way down.

A groundbreaking book about how technological advances in genomics and the extraction of ancient DNA have profoundly changed our understanding of human prehistory while resolving many long-standing controversies.

Massive technological innovations now allow scientists to extract and analyze ancient DNA as never before, and it has become clear--in part from David Reich's own contributions to the field--that genomics is as important a means of understanding the human past as archeology, linguistics, and the written word. Now, in The New Science of the Human Past, Reich describes with unprecedented clarity just how the human genome provides not only all the information that a fertilized human egg needs to develop but also contains within it the history of our species. He delineates how the Genomic Revolution and ancient DNA are transforming our understanding of our own lineage as modern humans; how genomics deconstructs the idea that there are no biologically meaningful differences among human populations (though without adherence to pernicious racist hierarchies); and how DNA studies reveal the deep history of human inequality--among different populations, between the sexes, and among individuals within a population.

Our favourite quote from A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles

Politics has numerous causes of contention, but the fights that last for generations or centuries follow a strikingly regular pattern. Thomas Sowell examines this tendency in this famous study. He describes the two competing visions that shape our debates about the nature of reason, justice, equality, and power: the "constrained" vision, which sees human nature as unchanging and selfish, and the "unconstrained" vision, in which human nature is malleable and perfectible. A Conflict of Visions makes a compelling case that ethical and policy disagreements revolve from the discrepancy between both perspectives.

Our favourite quote from The Vision of the Anointed

One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce, and canonized those who complain.

Thomas Sowell's provocative critique of liberalism's failures.

The Vision of the Anointed is a devastating critique of the mind-set behind the failed social policies of the past thirty years. Thomas Sowell sees what has happened not as a series of isolated mistakes but as a logical consequence of a vision whose defects have led to disasters in education, crime, family disintegration, and other social pathology. In this book, "politically correct" theory is repeatedly confronted with facts -- and sharp contradictions between the two are explained in terms of a whole set of self-congratulatory assumptions held by political and intellectual elites. These elites -- the anointed -- often consider themselves "thinking people," but much of what they call thinking turns out, on examination, to be rhetorical assertion, followed by evasions of mounting evidence against those assertions.

Our favourite quote from Public Choice Theory and the Illusion of Grand Strategy

This book makes the case that while the US president generally bases his foreign policy choices on political factors, concentrated interests actually influence the incentive structures that senior officials like him and other presidents must work under.

Government contractors, the national security apparatus, and foreign governments are the three entities the author names as being most likely to exert influence. This book demonstrates that, in understanding the most crucial facets of US foreign policy, such as the global war on terror, US policy toward China, and the deployment of US military abroad, the public choice viewpoint is superior to a theory of grand strategy.

The author argues that American leaders are chosen based on public opinion, not necessarily on their capacity to create and carry out long-term plans, and demonstrates how public attitudes are easily swayed in the area of foreign affairs due to lack of knowledge about the subject, the secrecy surrounding national security issues, the inherent complexity of the issues at hand, and most importantly, instances of concentrated interests.

Our favourite quote from The End of History and the Last Man

Francis Fukuyama's insightful examination of politics, science, morality, and conflict is as crucial to the struggle against Islamist terrorism as it was to the conclusion of the Cold War. The End of History and the Last Man is a contemporary classic that has been revised with a new afterword.

Our favourite quote from Alexandre Kojève: Wisdom at the End of History

Nichols analyses Alexandre Kojeve's most significant writings, elucidates the personality, and highlights the significance of his political thought. Nichols discusses all of Kojeve's significant published publications and demonstrates how the notably different components of Kojeve's intellectual endeavour fit together while highlighting the political dimension of Kojeve's philosophy. This crucial evaluation of Kojeve takes into account the writings that came before his conversion to Hegel, tries to describe the essence of his Hegelianism, and elaborates on the two meanings that the end of history took on in his mind at two separate times.

Our favourite quote from Beyond Good & Evil

One must shed the bad taste of wanting to agree with many. "Good" is no longer good when one's neighbor mouths it. And how should there be a "common good"! The term contradicts itself: whatever can be common always has little value. In the end it must be as it is and always has been: great things remain for the great, abysses for the profound, nuances and shudders for the refined, and, in brief, all that is rare for the rare.

Represents Nietzsche's attempt to sum up his philosophy. In nine parts the book is designed to give the reader a comprehensive idea of Nietzsche's thought and style: they span "The Prejudices of Philsophers," "The Free Spirit," religion, morals, scholarship, "Our Virtues," "Peoples and Fatherlands," and "What Is Noble," as well as epigrams and a concluding poem. Beyond Good and Evil is one of the most remarkable and influential books of the nineteenth century.

This translation by Walter Kaufmann has become the standard one, for accuracy and fidelity to the eccentricities and grace of the style of the original. The translation is based on the only edition Nietzsche himself published, and all variant reading in later editions. This volume offers an inclusive index of subjects and persons, as well as a running footnote commentary on the text.

Our favourite quote from Intellectuals

Rousseau, Shelley, Karl Marx, James Baldwin, and other prominent intellectuals' lives are examined in light of the "heartlessness of ideas" that the author thinks to be endemic to much of intellectualism.

Our favourite quote from Intellectuals and Society

Intellectual influence is not only greater than in previous eras, but it also takes a very different form than that envisioned by those like Machiavelli and others who wanted to directly influence rulers. It has not been by shaping the opinions or directing the actions of the holders of power that modern intellectuals have most influenced the course of events, but by shaping public opinion in ways that affect the actions of power holders in democratic societies, whether or not those power holders accept the general vision or the particular policies favoured by intellectuals. Even government officials who dislike or despise academics have been forced to adapt to the environment of thought created by those intellectuals.

Intellectuals and Society examines not only the track record of intellectuals in the things they have advocated, but also the incentives and constraints that have shaped their views and visions. One of the most surprising aspects of this study is how often intellectuals have been proved not only wrong, but grossly and disastrously wrong in their prescriptions for the ills of society—and how little their views have changed in response to empirical evidence of the disasters entailed by those views.

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Marc is an avid reader and lifetime learner always looking for new ideas. A good example from this list is the overwhelming political literature. In Marc's statement we understand why he has been so interested in studying politics.

The political events of 2014-2016 made clear to me that I didn’t understand politics at all, so I deliberately withdrew from political engagement and fundraising and instead read my way back in history and as far to the political left and political right as I could.

Marc currently resides in sunny California with his wife Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen.

Books allowed me to see a world beyond the front porch of my grandmother’s shotgun house…[and] the power to see possibilities beyond what was allowed at the time.