I am not much of a fiction reader, but I have tried to provide below a list of books which have provided me the greatest insights in socio-biology, anthropology, European history, theology, spirituality, politics and economics. I have avoided lazily throwing the Holy Bible in there or childhood favourites, such as The Hobbit, or guilty pleasures like Robert Howard or Robert Jordan’s Conan series. Rather, these are the sort of books which I wish had informed my education during my school years. I do hope that they will be enlightening for you, dear reader, as I believe the ideas therein have the power to change the world for the better.

1. The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution (2009) by Harpending and Cochran

The brilliant and influential anthropologist Henry Harpending sadly died before we could conduct our scheduled interview. He had co-authored The 10,000 Year Explosion with the humorous and equally brilliant Gregory Cochran. Together, they stood against the mainstream academe which insists that no evolution has occurred in human groups over the past 10,000 years.

The radical changes in lifestyle, brought about by the Neolithic Revolution, particularly by agriculture and city-states, as well as further developments since, have changed us genetically. Available data enable us to sufficiently answer questions regarding group differences in behaviour, intelligence etc. Geography is a factor, of course, but Harpending and Cochran’s refusal to kowtow to the liberal environmental determinism of Jared Diamond et al. was tantamount to heresy. Rather, Harpending described a beautiful dance in which genes, geography and other significant factors produced and influenced a culture.

In the decade since, others who have built on this work have also been shunned, such as Nicholas Wade’s controversial 2014 book A Troublesome Inheritance, which detonated the grounds of environmental determinism and ensured Wade lost his job as science editor of the New York Times.

2. Faustian Man in a Multicultural Age (2017) by Ricardo Duchesne

Most will be more familiar with Duchesne’s bestselling Canada in Decay, but his magnum opus is his Arktos book Faustian Man. Duchesne’s The Uniqueness of Western Civilization is a very important book for me personally. Trying to research the origins of European man’s unique individualising tendencies, I was recommended this book and I couldn’t put it down. I contacted the author almost a decade ago, and he encouraged me to start writing and was kind enough to write the afterword for my own book, The Uniqueness of Western Law.

However, the problem with the book was the very academic constraints he was fighting against in its contents. In the early pages, he detailed the devolution of anthropology and the destruction of the subject of Western Civilisation as a University course throughout the West, having been replaced by World History. Painfully obvious, Duchesne guardedly avoided talking in biological terms of Western uniqueness, sitting under the sword of Damocles which hangs over every right-wing academic. But, in Faustian Man, Duchesne was retired and free, speaking boldly about European restlessness, the eternal quest for glory, from the depths of the soul to the corners of the globe and beyond, reaching out to summon greater visions of tomorrow and drawing them forth to today’s innovations. What’s more, his challenge to the establishment dealt a killing blow to environmental determinism.

Duchesne is one of the most important minds on the right today and Faustian Man is essential reading.

3. The Iron Sceptre of the Son of Man: Romanitas As a Note of the Church (2023) by Alan Fimister

When Christ said, in Matthew 21, that the Kingdom of God would be taken away from his wayward countrymen and given to another nation (ethnoi in the Greek), it has historically been understood by the Church that the Roman Empire was intended. What’s more, it was understood by the early Church that they were inheriting the Roman Empire. When Christ spoke of the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem, Daniel’s prophecy was brought to mind, specifically the coming Kingdom of the Son of Man, which would recreate the final pagan kingdom of Rome, depicted as a soulless, iron-fanged, all-devouring beast. This beast would become a man, upright, an analogue of God; i.e. the Roman Empire would become a Holy Roman Empire.

From one of the great minds which produced the monumental 2020 book Integralism: A Manual of Political Philosophy, Fimister no less brilliantly outlines the Church’s historic understanding of herself in this new offering – The Iron Sceptre. To paraphrase a key passage, to be Roman is to be Catholic; to be Catholic is to be Roman. The Byzantines were Roman and understood themselves as such and, for this reason, Moscow considers herself to be the Third Rome even today. In short, it’s no larp to say that Rome never fell and that Roman Catholicism has been the continuation of a spiritual Rome.

As the West declines, it seems men are increasingly reminded of the supposed collapse of Rome. Instead, we should be realising our shared Romanity as Europeans, understanding that Rome only falls when we do. So find your Romanity! This book is an excellent place to start and not just for TradCaths and Orthobros.

4. The Odyssey by Homer

The Twelve Labours of Hercules leaves one feeling empty. Hercules’ Superman-like wit and strength render him undefeatable and without weakness as he almost effortlessly overcomes all. Great. Now what? There’s more to life, whether in success or failure. On this point, I feel Homer’s Odyssey is the spiritual masterpiece of the classics.

Neither monstrous dangers, threats of gods and the enchantments of Circe, nor the lustful allure of Calypso’s beauty, the promise of eternal life, sexual gratification and the iconically addictive satisfaction of the lotus fruit could keep Odysseus from returning home. But, why?

For men, there is something more important than pleasure, treasure, security, fame and fortune, and that is honour. The love of honour requires sacrifice. After all, what could better define manliness than sacrifice? Indeed, what could better define love itself than sacrifice? Now I should note that many are mistaken about Odysseus’ motivation in the tale; it isn’t a romantic love per se which draws Odysseus home, although he is delighted to return to his honourable wife, Penelope, and to be united with his loyal dog, Argos, in his final moments. Rather, true love, that is, sacrifice is manifested in religion, and honour demands that Odysseus return to hearth and home to continue his household religion. In this way, Odysseus and Penelope’s love is primarily a love of true love itself. The Odyssey gives us timeless encouragement to never let that fire go out.

5. The True State: Lectures on the Demolition & Reconstruction of Society by Othmar Spann

When others say that right-wingers only need to read one book on economics or politics and they recommend List, Sombart, Pesch, George, Schmitt, Chesterton etc., I typically shake my head. Spann was once recognised as a leading thinker in corporatism, perfectly addressing the individualistic tendencies of the European mind which have left us susceptible to liberalism. What’s more, in this book and his equally brilliant Types of Economic Theory, he succinctly critiques all of the aforementioned thinkers, presenting a thorough foundation for an explicitly anti-individualistic system of politics and economics, which is no less routed in our European heritage, and which nevertheless encourages innovation.

Nationalist economics and corporatist politics are today criticised for never presenting a coherent intellectual framework. Once upon a time, liberal critics recognised that there was a robust framework for the corporatist experiments of the twentieth century and it was provided by none other than Othmar Spann. If only for Spann’s ability to show that all leftism is individualism and all individualism is leftism, this book is an absolute essential for right-wingers today.

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This article was originally published in Arktos last October.