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Mostly on the Edge
by Karl Hess
Karl Hess was one of the fabulous figures of twentieth-century politics. Speech writer for Barry Goldwater ("Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice..."), community activist, tax resister, welder. He was left, right, libertarian. He was unique. And wonderfully witty, as this autobiography (edited posthumously by his son, Karl, Jr.) reveals on every page.

Rebel: The Life and Times of John Singleton Mosby
by Kevin H. Siepel
Mosby -- the gallant, nerveless, witty little hero led his band of Confederate partisans on daring raids against the Yankees. They hated him, and his own military commanders were uneasy about him. But we may need more like him someday.

Mr. Jefferson
by Albert J. Nock
In this 1926 classic, the great Mr. Nock looks at the mind and rather mysterious character of the great writer of the Declaration of Independence.

Death by Government
by R.J. Rummel
You've heard the statistics on how many innocent people governments have killed in this century alone. Now read the original research from the man who revealed these horrors perpetrated by our self-proclaimed "leaders" and protectors.

The Outsider
by Colin Wilson
When I first read this, back in high school, it was a personal revelation. Wilson looks at creativity, alienation and why some souls perpetually remain "outside" and separate from the herd.

The God of the Machine
by Isabel Paterson
In the state-worshipping darkness of the 1940s, three women writers stood forth to point the way back toward freedom. They were Ayn Rand, Rose Wilder Lane and Isabel Paterson. Paterson's book, published in 1943, is a fine example of classical liberal (proto-libertarian) thought.

Hologram of Liberty
by Kenneth W. Royce (aka Boston T. Party)
Do you believe the Constitution was a blueprint for small government? Do you think our current plight merely comes from the subversion of a divine document? Think again. Ken Royce shows, step by step, how the lovers of central power stole the revolution from the Jeffersons and Henrys who wanted individual rights and decentralized government. The Constitution belonged to the elitists and control freaks from the beginning. Yeah, as they say, "The Constitution's better than what we have now." But to worship that document mindlessly is to give power to those who crave it.

Albion's Seed
by David Hackett Fischer
In some of the most readable history you'll ever have the pleasure of devouring, Fischer traces the origins and customs of four very distinct groups of English settlers in the U.S. It's an eye-opening look at why parts of this country are, and have been since the first days of European settlement, vastly different from each other and why the majority of people in Massachusetts may never understand their compatriots in Tennessee, and vice versa.

Paul Revere's Ride
by David Hackett Fischer
I cannot say enough for this thorough and fascinating book. Fischer details the famous ride moment-by-moment, explains the battles of Lexington and Concord in full, lets you know Paul Revere the man, and otherwise brings to life the most critical days of American history. Reads like a novel, but shines like the truth.

A Son of Thunder: Patrick Henry and the American Republic
by Henry Mayer
Patrick Henry was more than a great orator. He was one of the truest individualists and most influential figures in the American Revolution. Oh, if we only had more like him today.

Three Men of Boston
by John R. Galvin
Samuel Adams. John Otis. Thomas Hutchinson. Three men all living at the same time, in the same place; their actions (deliberately or otherwise) helping forge the American Revolution. Military man John Galvin weaves the threads of these three lives together -- the agitator, the brilliant but unbalanced lawyer, the British colonial governor on the brink of history.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X
by Malcolm X, Alex Haley
He began life as Malcolm Little -- petty crook, zoot-suited dude and aimless chaser of good times. He transformed himself into Malcolm X, black separatist. At the time of his murder he may have been on the verge of an even more important transformation that would have altered the course of contemporary African-American -- and U.S. -- history. This book may leave you uneasy. But it should also leave you with insights.

The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates
by Ralph Ketcham (Editor)
So you think the U.S. Constitution was the creation of people who believed in small government? Think again. Many of our most revered Founding Fathers saw the Constitution as what it turned out to be -- a blueprint for big government. Read their views in this slow-going, but important set of papers.

Murder Trials
by Marcus Tullius Cicero
Arguments for justice -- and for a just system of governance.

Let My People Go
by Henrietta Buckmaster
This comprehensive history of the underground railroad and the decades leading up to it is a real eye opener -- particularly for anyone who sees oppression on the horizon in America today. Learn from these people who were willing to die rather than live unfree.

With Liberty for Some:
500 Years of Imprisonment in America

by Scott Christianson
Weíve heard about soaring rates of imprisonment in America. What most of us donít realize is that this trend isnít anything new. Christianson shows that, throughout its history, European America has always had an obsession with jails, prisons and forced labor. He takes us from early Puritan jail-building, through slavery and indentured servitude, right up to modern times. Expensive -- $35 -- but thereís nothing quite like it.

Common Sense
Thomas Paine
The booklet that helped inspire the American Revolution.

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
by Edward Gibbon
This is the Penguin abridged version of the multi-volume monster. First published in 1776, this book is still must-reading -- especially for those who wonder, "Whither the American empire?" Gibbon was a witty dude; despite the ancient prose style, heís fun to read once you get used to him. Amazon.com sells the full Decline in several versions, but I chose this one to be merciful on pocketbooks and busy schedules.

It Still Begins with Ayn Rand
by Jerome Tuccille
Twenty-some years ago, Jerome Tuccille wrote the hysterically funny (and almost completely actually true, more or less) history of the modern libertarian movement, It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand (listed below). Well, he's b-a-a-a-ck! And this one's just as funny.

It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand
by Jerome Tuccille
The original! Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard, YAF, Karl Hess and all the early figures of libertarianism (and proto-libertarianism) as you've never seen them before. There's even a Galambosian. What's a Galambosian? Read and find out!

Farewell to Manzanar
by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James Houston
and
Desert Exile: The Uprooting of a Japanese-American Family
by Yoshiko Uchida
Many members of the freedom movement have speculated about the possibility of being rounded up and sent to concentration camps. Here are two vividly personal accounts of what that life was like for Japanese-Americans during WWII. Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston recalls California's Manzanar camp from the perspective of a schoolgirl, driven into close quarters with what we would now call a dysfunctional family. Yoshiko Uchida was a college student when her strong and loving family was enclosed within the barbed wire of Topaz, Utah's ironically named "Jewel of the Desert."

Japanese Americans: From Relocation to Redress
Edited by Rogers, Taylor and Kitano
For a more comprehensive and dispassionate view of the WWII relocation of Japanese and Japanese-Americans, this book offers timelines, photos and accounts from various perspectives, both academic and personal.

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01 December 1998