Ten Great Books on Politics

Since the spark in interest with education and political advocacy for better resources, here are some to get your students interested in their future.

Ten Great Books on Politics

I graduated with a college degree in English. Not English Education, nothing in marketing, nothing in social media, just general good old fashioned English.

There have been several attempts by people to get me interested in the field of education. But talking with former Vice Principals and several current new teachers at many schools across Florida and outside the state, I seem more and more disinterested in helping other children learn what they can already read on their own, behind their parent's backs.

Sweeping amounts of kids who are nearing college age admission hardly attend a four year university or take out large loans to ensure that they have a place in their college to continue attending. The interest to go to college since visiting a former teacher of mine has dropped to vast lows. Only three or four students raise their hand in a classroom saying that they want to go to college and become a doctor, nurse, or anything related in STEM.

A report released by several education groups found the number of girls and boys interested in STEM involve a 3:1 ratio. STEM was mostly produced to encourage boys to attend a college in a major technologically advanced field while girls who are strong in math and science are pushed to the wayside due to the amount of bullying an harassment and sexism rampant in the education field. Language and writing have a higher tick in the female box because of our brains capability to process speech and language into separate areas. Many of girls go onto politics, lawyers, bankers, teachers, and translators for the United Nations and for places such as Guantanamo Bay.

College admissions and the amount of people graduating with degrees are vastly changing. It is nearly a woman's world full of college educated women. Men don't think it is necessary to go to college or advance learning since the majority of their peers will be women. There are several occupations now being called pink jobs because there are more women than men in those areas. Yet as I mention education and even talk about the statistics, some going in favor of women, these ten books about politics are for anyone of any gender to find the most use in their daily lives.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

While Atlas Shrugged is not a book that some would consider political, it is important to help understand the economic outcome of political endeavors. Rand uses the perspective of John Galt, an inventor for a large railway company that the Taggert's own, wanting to create a utopia of like-minded individuals where they can live in happiness and comfort. The only way into the promise land was to give up all of your assets and sell them off. Thus in return, the government in the real world decided to imprison or force owners of large scale businesses to hand over their assets so that a government dummy could take over without any hassle. The problem there ended up with several business going under.

While the book is nearly 1,500 pages long, Rand's simple argument is extended to ensure that even the minimal IQ American can understand the concept of political oligarchy.

The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexander Dumas

Dumas is one of my favorite French writers since I saw his tomb in the Parthenon under Victor Hugo, who is on this list in France from five years ago. This was one of my first novels I read from him and hopefully I can read his Musketeers novels he is most famous for before the year is over and out.

The book is about a masked prisoner whose records survive from the reign of Louis XIV under his secretary of war general the Marquis de Louvois (in the television show Versailles, Louvois is shown to be a portly man who was a very prominent brown-nose and ensured that he stayed in the King's favor). No one knows who this prisoner is and where he came from, Voltaire and Dumas both cite that one of the candidates could be an illegitimate heir of Louis XIII, and several have said it could be Oliver Cromwell's son that was placed into hiding.

The book takes place in the Bastille, the last place the masked prisoner was known to be housed before the French Revolution and the attack of the Bastille. The prisoner is being given a chance to tell his story and unveil some truths behind the reasons why he wears a mask to hide his face. This leads to arrests and executions of some well-known court members that are close with Louis XIV, including the infamous Monsieur Foucault.

This is a great story on political intrigue, not only does it focus on the French prison system, it also shows the political structure of the former French monarchical rule and what it meant to live in luxury.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo may have had several iconic novels and stories, but all the same he was a writer and well-respected politician. The novel title translates to The Miserables, but that depends on what English title and translation you are interested in reading. A lot of the events that happen in the novel relate to what occurred in random moments Hugo would walk the streets of Paris. The character John, was inspired by an actual thief. The mother to Cosette, who turned prostitute after being fired from her job, was based on a prostitute Hugo saved from prison.

But on top of the actual stories, there is a look into the French politics in the 1800's after the end of the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror. There was a rise in revolt and protest against some of the politics and decisions made by Napoleon. Hugo decided it was a good enough source to make an interesting novel that explains all the unrest and political strife that happened when Napoleon wanted to pursue a better France for everyone. But since this shows the early beginnings of Victorian France politics and almost modern sense of political scandal, this book is a good source for anyone learning how to handle themselves in government or business type ethics.

Utopia by Thomas More

Utopia was written by a man who once was on the private council for Henry VIII. He was Lord Chancellor under Henry VIII's reign and opposed the Protestant Reformation happening in England at the time, the annulment (divorce) of Catherine of Aragon to Henry VIII, and theologians such as Martin Luther and John Calvin. Since the 1980's More has been known as a Reformation martyr within the Church of England, which was created when Henry couldn't get the pope's blessing to annul his marriage from Catherine of Aragon to marry Anne Boleyn.

Utopia was praised by Marx and Engles in their creation of the Communist Manifesto, which is also on this list. But it creates an ideal structure for what a pure socio-political economic life looks like. The book is narrated into two books and while one focuses on the current political and judicial systems in Tudor England (it was written in 1516 via Latin and 1551 via English), the other then discusses why socialism is impractical, or the concept of such things like socialism on a large scale don't work.

The book is controversial due to the Catholic beliefs that Thomas More grew up practicing all throughout his life. Several times it has been interpreted again and again and each conclusion is not correct nor wrong, it is just simply a book on wanting to change or showing how changing radial notions such as these, might affect long-term politics. The other lesson regarding the short rise to fame with Thomas More is that no one can trust their government, not even their King (he was executed for not showing up at Anne and Henry's wedding, what a guy).

Animal Farm & 1984 by George Orwell

Orwell was a pseudonym for a man known as Eric Arthur Blair. Blair was a journalist and a critic as well as many political supports and oppositions to forms of government. Both of these books are great novels to understand the concept behind other forms of equality for all.

Animal Farm starts with the inspiration behind the little sparks that led to the Russian Revolution to the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin. Many of the situations and critical analysis of socialistic, communistic rule were based on the affects the Spanish Civil War caused on the author Orwell. The end result of the novel is where all the farm animals get mistreated and double-crossed by a pig named Napoleon. It also explains why the pop culture phenomenon of never name a pig Napoleon came from.

Animal Farm succeeded in the time of the Cold War. But it was rejected several times following the effects of World War II, when several authority figures for both sides of the war were held in high esteem.

1984 is a novel that focuses on what type of thoughts and writing you should say to never incur the wrath of Big Brother. Written during the forties, it was Orwell's last book. He died of tuberculosis once the book was finished. He was writing the story on an island off Scotland. But it focused on the total governmental control that was occurring in a futuristic world. The main character Winston Smith begins to write down his thoughts and ideas, he falls for a co-worker named Julia, and in the end he is succumbed to electro-shock manipulation to break him only to kill him later on like Julia.

Both books are iconic with present and modern times that are occurring in several parts of the globe. History only repeats itself if the actions of the former are not corrected for the later. A great recommendation for those who read either novel should listen to the last interview with George Orwell before he died. All this novels focus on the power of language and if someone has total control on how you must act, speak, write, or think, then you no longer are a human being.

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

The Prince by Machiavelli is a great book on the ways in which he hoped to achieve a position within the government of Florence. The leading political family at the time was the Medici's, whose daughter Catherine became Queen of France and a Machiavellian herself.

The book is used in a lot of methods, especially in modern and earlier politics on how to get the advantage you need to succeed. It is a great book for modern philosophy and political philosophy. It is also a great way to read Kant and understand how the ends justify the means.

The book influenced many politicians and influential leaders of state. It was the second book to be published in Italian after Dante's works. There are some founding fathers who were heavily influenced by the works of Machiavelli and Paine that brought on the American Revolution.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

This novel is about the way in which the language and the control of what to read or the way in which literacy is controlled by the government shows how much reading and comprehending everything is important.

The novel title came from the number in which books will burn to ash. The main character is a man who burns the books and any that are found because of the censorship that is important for the country to pursue in this novel.

While I enjoy several dystopian novels and love the concepts behind them, the concept for this novel more or less likely came from the way in which Nazi youth burned books from libraries that were deemed offensive according to the Nazi Party who had the power of Germany during the Depression and into World War II.

But the importance of reading and literacy goes back to the argument of language and culture, to destroy everything is to erase everything and everyone from existence simply because history was horrible back then. I think the message is clear, don't repeat an action that was done in the past because the end result is the same every time. Talk about karma.

The Communist Manifesto by Marx & Engels

The manifesto was a place in which the history of the socialist and communist governments that had power throughout much of the Eastern Europe landscape, China, and North Korea is capable of holding onto such power and what it means at the industrial scale.

While I have seen the statues and been to the plaza dedicated to Marx and Engles, the idea of politics and government being for the people, by the people is a bit harder to swallow. In the book, it demonstrates how the working class and the struggling classes can overcome the elite and those who live inside the White Tower. But the concept behind everyone is equal and everyone is the same, faces a more difficult question of equality. Many can apply this book to modern politics, classroom education standards, or even college level atmospheres and somewhere you can find the simple meaning behind bourgeois. Try learning how to spell that in third grade.

Common Sense by Thomas Paine

The pamphlet that started it all. Paine was a writer back in the times of the American Revolution. He was a colonist and saw the oppressive regime of how the English controlled their subjects. The taxes and increases, the types of taxes, and the way in which everyone was fed up with the control of the government.

Paine was the one who pushed for an independent government, no kings, no monarchs, and no sole autocracy. Hamilton was one of the men who was behind the ideas of checks and balances, but Paine was the one where he suggested that everyone should have an equal right and opportunity to elect a leader and create a form of leadership that enables the country and the populace to do better. While it may not be a monarchy, it is simply a platform in which everyone should stand for. After all it is in the preamble of the constitution.

Whether you want to go into politics, or you want to be able to perform your best and understand the political system, these classic books on politics and types of governmental control may help you overcome obstacles in your own mind that may seen controlling and governmental at times too.

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Heather Wilkins
Heather Wilkins
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Heather Wilkins

Lover of words with a hope for a future novelist career.

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