Freedom and Equality Reading Library

We live in uncertain, turbulent, and divisive times.  Inspired by a blog post from my friend Themis-Athena, I’ve decided to build a suggested reading list of the greatest and most seminal works to inspire freedom and equality.   Some of these titles will support those ideals, while others will confront prime examples of what happens when we lose either of those.

This will be an ongoing project.  Please feel free to add suggestions.

Ali, Ayaan Hirsi

Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now


Nomad: From Islam to America

Amar, Akhil Reed and Les Adams

The Bill of Rights Primer: A Citizen’s Guidebook to the American Bill of Rights

Asbridge, Thomas

The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power Behind Five English Thrones

Asner, Ed and Ed. Weinberger

The Grouchy Historian: An Old-Time Lefty Defends Our Constitution Against Right-Wing Hypocrites and Nutjobs

Baptist, Edward E.

The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

Bird, Kai and Martin J. Sherwin

American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

Black Hawk

The Autobiography of Black Hawk

Bradbury, Ray

Fahrenheit 451

Brown, Dee

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West

Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama

Four Noble Truths

Cicero, Marcus Tullius

Selections from the Writings of Cicero

Conan Doyle, Sir Arthur

The Complete Sherlock Holmes

Craggs, Charlie (editor)

To My Trans Sisters

Dalai Lama

Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World

Douglass, Frederick

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

Ellis, Joseph J.

American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies in the Founding of the Republic

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Ellison, Ralph

Invisible Man: A Novel

Einstein, Albert

Essays in Humanism

Finn, John E.

Civil Liberties and the Bill of Rights (The Great Courses)

Foxe, John

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

Frank, Anne

The Diary of Anne Frank

Frankl, Viktor E.

Man’s Search for Meaning

Fukuyama, Francis

The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution

Grant, George

The American Patriot’s Handbook: The Writings, History, and Spirit of a Free Nation

Greenblatt, Stephen

Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics

Guelzo, Allen C.

The American Mind (The Great Courses)

Haidt, Jonathan

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

Hamilton, Alexander, James Madison, and John Jay

The Federalist Papers

Haley, Alex

Roots: The Saga of an American Family

Hayden, Michael V.

Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror

Henry, Patrick

The Anti-Federalist Papers

Holland, Jack

A Brief History of Misogyny: The World’s Oldest Prejudice

Holland, Tom

Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic

Hoffman, David E.

The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and its Dangerous Legacy

Huxley, Aldous

Brave New World

Jefferson, Thomas

The Declaration of Independence

Jones, Dan

Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty

Junger, Ernst

The Storm of Steel

Leary, Denis

Why We Don’t Suck and How All of Us Need to Stop Being Such Partisan Little Bitches

Lee, Harper

To Kill a Mockingbird

Lewis, Sinclair

It Can’t Happen Here

Lienesch, Michael

In the Beginning: Fundamentalism, the Scopes Trial, and the Making of the Antievolution Movement

Lilla, Mark

The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics

MacAskill, William

Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Make a Difference

Machiavelli, Niccolo

The Prince

Mancall, Peter C.

Origins and Ideologies of the American Revolution (The Great Courses)

McBride, Sarah

Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality

Muir, John

Nature Writings

Musashi, Miyamoto

The Book of Five Rings

Northup, Solomon

Twelve Years a Slave

Nye, Bill

Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World

Orwell, George


Paine, Thomas

Common Sense

The Rights of Man

Rather, Dan, with Elliot Kirschner

What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism

Reeve, Christopher

Nothing is Impossible: Reflections on a New Life

Ronson, Jon

The Elephant in the Room: A Journey into the Trump Campaign and the “Alt-Right”

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques

On the Social Contract

Sagan, Carl


Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Sandburg, Carl

Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years

Schwartz, A. Brad

Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News

Serano, Julia

Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity

Shakespeare, William

Complete Works

Shirer, William L.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

Snyder, Timothy

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons form the Twentieth Century

Soho, Takuan

The Unfettered Mind: Writings from a Zen Master to a Master Swordsman

Steinem, Gloria

Moving Beyond Words: Essays on Age, Rage, Sex, Power, Money, Muscles: Breaking the Boundaries of Gender

Stowe, Harriet Beecher

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Strauss, Barry

The Spartacus War

Stryker, Susan

Transgender History, 2nd Ed.: The Roots of Today’s Revolution

Thoreau, Henry David

Walden and Civil Disobedience

Tolkien, J. R. R.

The Lord of the Rings

Trungpa, Chogyam

Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery

Truth, Sojourner

The Narrative of Sojourner Truth

Tuchman, Barbara W.

The Guns of August

Tyson, Dr. Neil DeGrasse and Avis Lang

Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military

Twain, Mark

Mark Twain’s Helpful Hints for Good Living: A Handbook for the Damned Human Race

Tzu, Lao

Tao Te Ching

Tzu, Sun

The Art of War

Ueshiba, Morihei

The Art of Peace: Teachings of the Founder of Aikido

Walzer, Michael

Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations

Washington, Booker T.

Up From Slavery

Wolff, Michael

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House

Wollstonecraft, Mary

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

Woodward, Bob

Fear: Trump in the White House

Zakaria, Fareed

In Defense of a Liberal Education