Top 30 Politics & Culture Books Ranked by Reviews

See an Overview of this Rating System and Algorithm Here

Top 10

#1 Carl Trueman’s The Rise & Triumph of the Modern Self


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Since the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision in 2015, sexual identity has dominated both public discourse and cultural trends—and yet, no historical phenomenon is its own cause. From Augustine to Marx, various views and perspectives have contributed to the modern understanding of self. In The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self, Carl Trueman carefully analyzes the roots and development of the sexual revolution as a symptom, rather than the cause, of the human search for identity…

#2 Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Some Americans insist that we’re living in a post-racial society. But racist thought is not just alive and well in America–it is more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues, racist ideas have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit.
In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. He uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to drive this history…

#3 Carl Trueman’s Strange New World


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

How did the world arrive at its current, disorienting state of identity politics, and how should the church respond? Historian Carl R. Trueman shows how influences ranging from traditional institutions to technology and pornography moved modern culture toward an era of “expressive individualism.” Investigating philosophies from the Romantics, Nietzsche, Marx, Wilde, Freud, and the New Left, he outlines the history of Western thought to the distinctly sexual direction of present-day identity politics and explains the modern implications of these ideas on religion, free speech, and personal identity.

#4 James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin’s early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document from the iconic author of If Beale Street Could Talk and Go Tell It on the Mountain. It consists of two “letters,” written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as “sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle … all presented in searing, brilliant prose,” The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of literature.

#5 James H. Cone’s The Cross & the Lynching Tree


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. Acts 10:39

The cross and the lynching tree are the two most emotionally charged symbols in the history of the African American community. In this powerful new work, theologian James H. Cone explores these symbols and their interconnection in the history and souls of black folk. Both the cross and the lynching tree represent the worst in human beings and at the same time a thirst for life that refuses to let the worst determine our final meaning. While the lynching tree symbolized white power and black death, the cross symbolizes divine power and black life God overcoming the power of sin and death.

#6 Jamar Tisby’s How to Fight Racism


Rating: 4 out of 5.

In this follow-up to the New York Times Bestseller the Color of Compromise, Jemar Tisby offers an array of actionable items to confront racism. How to Fight Racism introduces a simple framework—the A.R.C. Of Racial Justice—that teaches readers to consistently interrogate their own actions and maintain a consistent posture of anti-racist behavior… Tisby offers practical tools for following this model and suggests that by applying these principles, we can help dismantle a social hierarchy long stratified by skin color. He encourages rejection passivity and active participation in the struggle for human dignity.

#7 Dorothy Sayers’ Are Women Human?: Astute & Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society


Rating: 4 out of 5.

One of the first women to graduate from Oxford University, Dorothy Sayers pursued her goals whether or not what she wanted to do was ordinarily understood to be “feminine.” Sayers did not devote a great deal of time to talking or writing about feminism, but she did explicitly address the issue of women’s role in society in the two classic essays collected here. Central to Sayers’s reflections is the conviction that both men and women are first of all human beings and must be regarded as essentially much more alike than different. We are to be true not so much to our sex as to our humanity. The proper role of both men and women, in her view, is to find the work for which they are suited and to do it.

#8 Abraham Lincoln: Speeches 1832-1858


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Abraham Lincoln measured the promise—and cost—of American freedom in lucid and extraordinarily moving prose, famous for its native wit, simple dignity of expressions, and peculiarly American flavor. This volume, with its companion, Abraham Lincoln: Speeches and Writing 1859–1865, comprises the most comprehensive selection ever published. over 240 speeches, letters, and drafts take Lincoln from rural law practice to national prominence, and chart his emergence as an eloquent antislavery advocate and defender of the constitution. included are the complete Lincoln-Douglas debates, perhaps the most famous confrontation in American political history.

#9 Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Antiracism is a transformative concept that reorients and reenergizes the conversation about racism—and, even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. At its core, racism is a powerful system that creates false hierarchies of human value; its warped logic extends beyond race, from the way we regard people of different ethnicities or skin colors to the way we treat people of different sexes, gender identities, and body types. Racism intersects with class and culture and geography and even changes the way we see and value ourselves.

#10 Thomas Sowell’s Wealth, Poverty, and Politics: an International Perspective


Rating: 4 out of 5.

In Wealth, Poverty, and Politics, Thomas Sowell, one of the foremost conservative public intellectuals in this country, argues that political and ideological struggles have led to dangerous confusion about income inequality in America. Pundits and politically motivated economists trumpet ambiguous statistics and sensational theories while ignoring the true determinant of income inequality: the production of wealth. We cannot properly understand inequality if we focus exclusively on the distribution of wealth and ignore wealth production factors such as geography, demography, and culture.

Top 30

  1. Berry, Wendell. The Unsettling of America. (3.95)
  2. Sowell, Thomas. Basic Economics. (3.95)
  3. Rosling, Hans. Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – And Why Things Are Better Than You Think. (3.95)
  4. (Political Order 2) Fukuyama, Francis. Political Order & Political Decay. (3.93)
  5. Haugen, Gary. The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence. (3.87)
  6. Sandel, Michael. Justice: What’s the Right Thing To Do? (3.85)
  7. Brooks, Arthur. Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America From the Culture of Contempt. (3.82)
  8. Sowell, Thomas. The Thomas Sowell Reader. (3.81)
  9. Stewart, Katherine. The Power Worshipers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism. (3.78)
  10. Pieper, Josef. Leisure: The Basis of Culture. (3.74)
  11. Taylor, Charles. A Secular Age. (3.74)
  12. Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America. (3.74)
  13. Haidt, Jonathan. The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure. (3.72)
  14. Sauls, Scott. Jesus Outside the Lines: A Way Forward for Those Who Are Tired of Taking Sides. (3.70)
  15. Dalrymple, Theodore. Life at the Bottom: The Worldview that Makes the Underclass. (3.70)
  16. Klein, Ezra. Why We’re Polarized. (3.70)
  17. Jefferson, Thomas. Writings. (3.65)
  18. Schaeffer, Francis A. Escape from Reason: A Penetrating Analysis of Trends in Modern Thought. (3.65)
  19. Murray, Douglas. The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race & Identity. (3.65)
  20. Anderson, Ryan T. When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment. (3.63)