The Stoker and Paterson suggested reading list

The Stoker and Paterson suggested reading list

Young people and people just starting to engage with politics often ask what books might be worth reading as they start to get their head around the issues. 

There are so many good options, but here are a few that come to our minds that are thought provoking.  Ones that are particularly accessible (easy to read, not too long) are marked with an asterisk for the time-poor or easily overwhelmed!

In no particular order.

Starting Point



100 Great Books of Liberty:  The Essential Introduction to the Greatest Idea of Western Civilisation

Chris Berg, John Roskam and Andrew Kemp

[This book is a great reading list of its own, setting out the authors and titles of 100 important books and why they matter.  The list of books on Australian History in it is particularly good.]





Churchill:  Walking with Destiny

Andrew Roberts

President Reagan

Lou Cannon

Peter Costello:  A Biography

Tracey Aubin

The Path to Power

Margaret Thatcher

The Downing Street Years

Margaret Thatcher

The Reagan Diaries

Ronald Reagan

Lazarus Rising

John Howard

The Years of Lyndon Johnson series

Robert Caro

Faith and Duty:  the John Anderson story

Paul Gallagher

Afternoon Light

Sir Robert Menzies


Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Confessions of a Failed Finance Minister

Peter Walsh

Hitch 22

Christopher Hitchens


Foreign Affairs




Margaret Thatcher

The China Questions:  Critical Insights into a Rising Power

Jennifer Rudolph and Michael Szonyi

Xi Jinping:  The Backlash

Richard McGregor

The Party

Richard McGregor

The Gulag Archipelago

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Winter is Coming

Gary Kasparov

The Case for Democracy

Natan Sharansky







The Forgotten People speeches*

Sir Robert Menzies

The Coddling of the American Mind*

Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt

The Madness of Crowds*

Douglas Murray

How We Invented Freedom and Why it Matters*

Dan Hannan

Black Rednecks and White Liberals

Thomas Sowell

The Tyranny of Tolerance

Peter Kurti

Liberalism and the Australian Federation

John Nethercote

Democracy in a Divided Australia

Matthew Lesh

Gang of Five

Nina Easton

The Vanishing American Adult

Ben Sasse





The Menzies Era

John Howard

History of the First World War

Liddell Hart

Menzies at War

Anne Henderson

On Grand Strategy

John Lewis Gaddis

The Land of Dreams

David Kemp


Niall Ferguson

The Enlightenment: And Why it Still Matters

Anthony Pagden

Is the West Special?  World History and Western Civilisation*

Greg Melleuish

Forgotten Wars:  The End of Britain’s Asian Empire

Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper

Israel:  A Concise History of a Nation Reborn

Daniel Gordis

The Secret World:  A History of Intelligence

Christopher Andrew

Masters of the Universe:  Hayek, Friedman and the birth of Neoliberal Politics

Daniel Stedman Jones

History of the English Speaking Peoples

Winston Churchill

The Old Regime and the French Revolution

Alexis de Tocqueville

Liberalism:  A Short History*

Richard Allsop





Capitalism and Freedom*

Milton Friedman

The Road to Serfdom

FA Hayek

The Ascent of Money*

Niall Ferguson


Ludwig von Mises

The Wealth of Nations

Adam Smith

The Rational Optimist*

Matt Ridley

In Defence of Global Capitalism

Johan Norberg


Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt

The God of the Machine

Isobel Paterson

When Helping Hurts

Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert

The Myth of the Rational Voter

Bryan Caplan

Religion & Spirituality



God is Good For You*

Greg Sheridan

The Righteous Mind

Jonathan Haidt

The Book that Made Your World

Vishnal Mangalwadi

The Great Human Dignity Heist

Michael Cook

Mere Christianity

CS Lewis


Ayaan Hirsi Ali


Marcus Aurelius

Today’s Tyrants

Damien Freeman

The Servant Queen and the King she Serves

Queen Elizabeth et al

The Fountain of Public Prosperity:  Evangelical Christians in Australian History

Stuart Piggin and Robert D Linder

A Letter Concerning Toleration

John Locke





Atlas Shrugged

Ayn Rand

Reflections on the Revolution in France

Edmund Burke

On Liberty, Utilitarianism and Other Essays

John Stuart Mill

The Fountainhead

Ayn Rand

The Complete Novels (but especially 1984)

George Orwell


Thomas Hobbes

The Theory of Moral Sentiments

Adam Smith

The Art of War

Sun Tzu

12 Rules for Life

Jordan B Peterson

In Defence of Free Speech

Chris Berg

How to be a Conservative*

Roger Scruton

The Law

Frederic Bastiat

The Constitution of Liberty

FA Hayek





The King’s English

Kingsley Amis