National Review's 100 best non-fiction books of the century

Since people seem to love book lists, I thought I would post on another humbling list that further illustrates my lack of education. In competition with, and in contrast to, Random House’s list of 100 best non-fiction books of the century (here is Modern Library’s version) National Review decided to publish their own. See the link for a list of the panelists that composed the list. As I have done with previous lists, I will not below those I have read (Bold) and those I own but have not yet read (Italics). I have only read 14 if memory serves. Not too impressive, but I do own a number of the unread volumes so I can improve my score. It is a daunting task however . . . List is below.


1. Churchill, Winston S.. The Second World War.
2. Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr I.. The Gulag Archipelago.
3. Orwell, George. Homage to Catalonia.
4. Hayek, F. A. von. The Road to Serfdom.
5. Orwell, George. Collected Essays.
6. Popper, Karl. The Open Society and Its Enemies.
7. Lewis, C. S.. The Abolition of Man.
8. Gasset, José Ortega y. Revolt of the Masses.
9. Hayek, F. A. von. The Constitution of Liberty.
10. Friedman, Milton. Capitalism and Freedom.
11. Johnson, Paul. Modern Times.
12. Oakeshott, Michael. Rationalism in Politics
13. Schumpeter, Joseph A.. Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy.
14. Weber, Max. Economy and Society.
15. Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism.
16. West, Rebecca. Black Lamb and Grey Falcon
17. Wilson, Edward O.. Sociobiology.
18. II, Pope John Paul. Centissimus Annus.
19. Cohn, Norman. The Pursuit of the Millennium.
20. Frank, Anne. The Diary of a Young Girl.
21. Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror.
22. Muggeridge, Malcolm. Chronicles of Wasted Time.
23. Einstein, Albert. Relativity.
24. Chambers, Whittaker. Witness.
25. Kuhn, Thomas S.. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
26. Lewis, C. S.. Mere Christianity.
27. Nisbet, Robert. The Quest for Community.
28. ed., 11th. Encyclopedia Britannica.
29. Mitchell, Joseph. Up in the Old Hotel.
30. Chesterton, G. K.. The Everlasting Man.
31. Chesterton, G. K.. Orthodoxy.

32. Trilling, Lionel. The Liberal Imagination.
33. Watson, James D.. The Double Helix.
34. Feynman, Richard Phillips. The Feynman Lectures on Physics.
35. Wolfe, Tom. Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers.
36. Camus, Albert. The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays.
37. Banfield, Edward C.. The Unheavenly City.
38. Freud, Sigmund. The Interpretation of Dreams.
39. Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities.
40. Fukuyama, Francis. The End of History and the Last Man.
41. Becker, and Ethan. Joy of Cooking, Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker.
42. Hofstadter, Richard. The Age of Reform.
43. Keynes, John Maynard. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.
44. Jr., William F. Buckley. God & Man at Yale.
45. Eliot, T. S.. Selected Essays.
46. Weaver, Richard M.. Ideas Have Consequences.
47. Jacobs, Jane. The Economy of Cities.
48. Bloom, Allan. The Closing of the American Mind.
49. Sowell, Thomas. Ethnic America.
50. Myrdal, Gunnar. An American Dilemma.
51. Freud, Sigmund. Three Case Histories.
52. Wilmot, Chester. The Struggle for Europe.
53. Parrington, Vernon Louis. Main Currents in American Thought.
54. Huzinga, Johann. The Waning of the Middle Ages.
55. Pannenberg, Wolfhart. Systematic Theology.
56. Tyng, Sewell. The Campaign of the Marne.
57. Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.
58. Lonergan, Bernard. Insight: A Study of Human Understanding.
59. Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time.
60. Blake, Robert. Disraeli.
61. Babbitt, Irving. Democracy and Leadership.
62. White, William Strunk & E. B.. The Elements of Style.
63. Burnham, James. The Machiavellians.
64. Pobedonostsev, Konstantin P.. Reflections of a Russian Statesman.
65. Berlin, Isaiah. The Hedgehog and the Fox.
66. Genovese, Eugene D.. Roll, Jordan, Roll.
67. Pound, Ezra. The ABC of Reading.
68. Keegan, John. The Second World War.
69. Parry, Milman. The Making of Homeric Verse.
70. Wilson, Angus. The Strange Ride of Rudyard Kipling.
71. Leavis, F. R.. Scrutiny.
72 Gaulle, Charles de. The Edge of the Sword.
73. Freeman, Douglas Southall. R. E. Lee.
74. Mises, Ludwig von. Bureaucracy.
75. Merton, Thomas. The Seven Storey Mountain.
76. Zweig, Stefan. Balzac.
77. Lippmann, Walter. The Good Society.
78. Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring.
79. Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition.
80. Bloch, Marc. Strange Defeat.
81. Douglas, Norman. Looking Back.
82. Adams, Henry. Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres.
83. Jarrell, Randall. Poetry and the Age.
84. Rougemont, Denis de. Love in the Western World.
85. Kirk, Russell. The Conservative Mind.
86. Gilder, George. Wealth and Poverty.
87. McPherson, James M.. Battle Cry of Freedom.
88. Edel, Leon. Henry James.
89. White, E. B.. Essays of E. B. White.
90. Nabokov, Vladimir. Speak, Memory.
91. Wolfe, Tom. The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test.
92. Behe, Michael J.. Darwin’s Black Box.
93. Foote, Shelby. The Civil War.
94. Wanniski, Jude. The Way the World Works.
95. Wilson, Edmund. To the Finland Station.
96. Clark, Kenneth. Civilisation.
97. Pipes, Richard. The Russian Revolution.
98. Collingwood, R. G.. The Idea of History.
99. Manchester, William. The Last Lion.
100. Starr, Kenneth W.. The Starr Report.

About the author

Kevin Holtsberry

I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season – oh, and watching golf too).

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2 Comments

  • Celebrating Reading Underachievement Since 1974

    Kevin has again bravely served up what he calls his “lack of education” regarding the National Review’s Top 100 Non-Fiction Books of the Century. My own bolded paucity (23, more admittedly if the list had slanted left or if I…

  • If “Rationalism in Politics” is just *sitting there* on your shelf, you should read “On Being Conservative.”