09 Jun 2016

Reading Lists

, , , ,

Theodore Roosevelt Reading

Intellectual Takeout tells us that the LA Times recently asked The Donald what he was currently reading. Trump identified a book about Hillary, whose title he could not remember, which he was obviously reading for purposes of opposition research, and another book, whose author and title he couldn’t name, that he’s reading presumably in search of a role model.

I’m reading the Ed Klein book on Hillary Clinton,” Trump answered, without specifying which one — Klein has written two, “The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She’ll Go to Become President” and “Unlikeable: The Problem with Hillary.”

Trump then said that he’s reading a book about Richard Nixon, but was unable to recall the title or author, telling Wolff, ‘[W]ell, I’ll get you the exact information on it.’”

Politico asked Hillary the same question back in 2014, and Hillary had a perfectly-considered list all ready, one belle-lettres title establishing her intellectual cred, one PC title demonstrating her attention to diversity authors, and one best-seller thriller assuring the common people that she reads trash, too, just like them, as well:

‘The Goldfinch’ by Donna Tartt; ‘Mom & Me & Mom’ by Maya Angelou; and ‘Missing You’ by Harlan Coben.”

To see how far the American leadership class declined in a just over a century, compare the reading list Teddy Roosevelt shared with Columbia President Nicholas Murray Butler in 1903:

The History of the Peloponnesian War Thucydides
The Histories Herodotus
The Histories Polybius
Plutarch’s Lives Plutarch
Oresteia Trilogy Aeschylus
Seven Against Thebes Aeschylus
Hippolytus Euripides
The Bacchae Euripides
Frogs Aristophones
Politics Aristotle
Early Age of Greece William Ridgeway
Alexander the Great Benjamin Ide Wheeler
History of Egypt, Chaldæa, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria Gaston Maspero
Chronicles Froissart
The Memoirs of Baron de Marbot Baron de Marbot
Charles XII and the Collapse of the Swedish Empire Robert Nisbet Bain
Types of Naval Officers AT Mahan
Critical and Historical Essays Thomas Macaulay
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Edward Gibbon
The Life of Prince Eugene Prince Eugene of Savoy
Life of Lieut.-Admiral De Ruyter G Grinnell-Milne
Life of Sobieski John Sobieski
Frederick the Great Thomas Carlyle
Abraham Lincoln: A History Hay and Nicolay
Speeches and Writings Abraham Lincoln
The Essays Francis Bacon
Macbeth Shakespeare
Twelfth Night Shakespeare
Henry IV Shakespeare
Henry the Fifth Shakespeare
Richard II Shakespeare
Paradise Lost John Milton
Poems Michael Drayton
Nibelungenlied Anonymous
Inferno Dante (prose translastion by Carlyle)
Beowulf (Samuel H. Church translation)
Heimskringla: Lives of the Norse Kings Snorri Sturluson
The Story of Burnt Njal (George Dasent translation)
Gisli the Outlaw (George Dasent translation)
Cuchulain of Muirthemne (Lady Gregory translation)
The Affected Young Ladies Moliere
The Barber of Seville Gioachino Rossini
The Kingis Quair James I of Scotland
Over the Teacups Oliver Wendell Holmes
Shakespeare and Voltaire Thomas Lounsbury
Sevastopol Sketches Leo Tolstoy
The Cossacks Leo Tolstoy
With Fire and Sword Henryk Sienkiewicz
Guy Mannering Sir Walter Scott
The Antiquary Sir Walter Scott
Rob Roy Sir Walter Scott
Waverly Sir Walter Scott
Quentin Durward Sir Walter Scott
Marmion Sir Walter Scott
The Lay of the Last Minstrel Sir Walter Scott
The Pilot James Fenimore Cooper
Tom Sawyer Mark Twain
The Pickwick Papers Charles Dickens
Nicholas Nickleby Charles Dickens
Vanity Fair William Makepeace Thackeray
The History of Pendennis William Makepeace Thackeray
The Newcomes William Makepeace Thackeray
The Adventures of Philip William Makepeace Thackeray
The White Company Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Charles O’Malley Charles Lever
Poems John Keats
Poems Robert Browning
Poems Edgar Allan Poe
Poems Lord Alfred Tennyson
Poems Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Poems Rudyard Kipling
Poems Bliss Carman
Tales Edgard Allan Poe
Essays James Russell Lowell
Complete Stories Robert Louis Stevenson
British Ballads William Allingham
The Simple Life Charles Wagner
The Rose and the Ring William Makepeace Thackeray
Fairy Tales Hans Andersen
Grimm’s Fairy Tales Grimm Bros
The Story of King Arthur Howard Pyle
Complete Tales of Uncle Remus Joel Chandler Harris
The Woman Who Toils Bessie Van Vorst
The Golden Age Kenneth Grahame
All on the Irish Shore Somerville & Ross
Some Experiences of an Irish R.M. Somerville & Ross
Asia and Europe Meredith Townsend
Youth: A Narrative Joseph Conrad
Works Artemus Ward
Stories of a Western Town Octave Thanet
My Reminiscences of the Anglo-Boer War Ben Viljoen
Through the Subarctic Forest Warburton Pike
Cross Country with Horse and Hound Frank Sherman Peer
Ways of Nature John Burroughs
The Real Malay Frank Swettenham
Gallops David Gray
Napoleon Jackson Ruth Stuart
The Passing of Thomas Thomas Janvier
The Benefactress Elizabeth von Arnim
People of the Whirlpool Mabel Osgood Wright
Call of the Wild Jack London
The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come John Fox
The Captain of the Gray-Horse Troop Hamlin Garland
The Gentleman from Indiana Booth Tarkington
The Crisis Winston Churchill
John Ermine of the Yellowstone Frederic Remington
The Virginian Owen Wister
Red Men and White Owen Wister
Philosophy 4 Owen Wister
Lin McLean Owen Wister
The Blazed Trail Stewart Edward White
Conjuror’s House Stewart Edward White
The Claim Jumpers Stewart Edward White
American Revolution George Otto Trevelyan

4 Feedbacks on "Reading Lists"

Dan Kurt

Dear JDZ,

You are anti-Trump 24/7, it shows.

Here is a book for your reading list: Greatness: Who Makes History and Why by Dean Keith Simonton PhD. He has a chapter in it why US Presidents tend to be smart but not too smart. Let the presidential advisors have the 140+ IQs as always as it has been. They are the ones who read the deep books.

Dan Kurt

T. Shaw


The hits just keep coming: more Trump Derangement Syndrome.

I bet Hillary failed to read most of the listed. If she read any, either it made no impression or she couldn’t stomach the Truth.

Smartest woman on the planet: what does that say about the rest of womenfolk?

A new-book recommendation: Rough Riders: Theodore Roosevelt, His Cowboy Regiment, and the Immortal Charge Up San Juan Hill by Mark Lee Gardner.


I’ve read a half dozen of these titles. I’ve seen maybe a half dozen more of the movies and a PBS special or two. I’ve read all about half of the authors and I’ve heard of a bunch more.

Oh, yes, I’ve read all of the Hardy Boys mysteries, all of John Sandford, Robert B. Parker, Bernard Cornwell, C.J. Box, William Kent Krueger Craig Johnson and Tony Hillerman. Also a lot of Isaac Asimov, Heinlein and Ben Bova.

Hmmmmm. I’m betting that makes me probably much more well read than the present occupant of the WH and probably either of the two main candidates.


While TR’s list is long, he’s advising Butler of the books he’s (at least partly) read over the previous two years. In my own case, if I were asked what I was reading “now”, I could list three or four books, but over a two year span I’d have to list at least a hundred (also not counting re-reads of old favourites).

I’m always willing to poke fun at politicians of any party, but I don’t think the examples are at all parallel.


Please Leave a Comment!

Please note: Comments may be moderated. It may take a while for them to show on the page.

Entries (RSS)
Comments (RSS)
Feed Shark