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Nathaniel rated a book 5 of 5 stars
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Atlas Shrugged
by Ayn Rand
read in November, 2008
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An epic critique of statism, clearly showing the slippery slope we walk when we regulate and tax producers to death. Heroes that are clearly human and yet clearly exceptional carry this thrilling, chilling story.
Nathaniel rated a book 5 of 5 stars
The Chronicles of Narnia Box Set by C.S. Lewis
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Children's literature doesn't get much better than this--compelling and imaginative adventure stories combined with morals that can reach both children and adults. Worth reading again and again.
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One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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Nathaniel rated a book 4 of 5 stars
Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose
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A compelling history of the Easy Company of the US Airborne--the personalities of the men really shine through the story, and the war mindset becomes more comprehensible to civilians. I'm watching the HBO miniseries based on this book, and it's also...more
Nathaniel rated a book 3 of 5 stars
I Am Legend and Other Stories by Richard Matheson
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I saw the movie first and then read this book, and while the settings of the two are similar (different time periods and technologies, obviously), the message of the two are quite different. The same survivalist themes exist in both, but more importa...more
Nathaniel rated a book 4 of 5 stars
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
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A sobering and distressing account of a German soldier's experience during World War I. Tackling much more than the notions of duty and cowardice, as in Red Badge of Courage, Remarque describes the thin wall built by soldiers to protect themselves fr...more
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The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
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More of Nathaniel's books…
Alexis de Tocqueville
“Our contemporaries are constantly wracked by two warring passions: they feel the need to be led and the desire to remain free. Unable to destroy either of these contrary instincts, they seek to satisfy both at once. They imagine a single, omnipotent, tutelary power, but one that is elected by the citizens. They combine centralization with popular sovereignty. This gives them some respite. They console themselves for being treated as wards by imagining that they have chosen their own protectors. Each individual allows himself to be clapped in chains because that the other end of the chain is held not by a man or a class but by the people themselves.
Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville
“What good does it do me, after all, if an ever-watchful authority keeps an eye out to ensure that my pleasures will be tranquil and races ahead of me to ward off all danger, sparing me the need even to think about such things, if that authority, even as it removes the smallest thorns from my path, is also absolute master of my liberty and my life; if it monopolizes vitality and existence to such a degree that when it languishes, everything around it must also languish; when it sleeps, everything must also sleep; and when it dies, everything must also perish? ”
Alexis de Tocqueville

Robert A. Heinlein
“There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.”
Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

Alexis de Tocqueville
Tyranny in democratic republics does not proceed in the same way, however. It ignores the body and goes straight for the soul. The master no longer says: You will think as I do or die. He says: You are free not to think as I do. You may keep your life, your property, and everything else. But from this day forth you shall be as a stranger among us. You will retain your civic privileges, but they will be of no use to you. For if you seek the votes of your fellow citizens, they will withhold them, and if you seek only their esteem, they will feign to refuse even that. You will remain among men, but you will forfeit your rights to humanity. When you approach your fellow creatures, they will shun you as one who is impure. And even those who believe in your innocence will abandon you, lest they, too, be shunned in turn. Go in peace, I will not take your life, but the life I leave you with is worse than death.
Alexis de Tocqueville

Robert A. Heinlein
“The America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories. A perfect democracy, a ‘warm body’ democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction. It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of citizens… which is opposed by the folly and lack of self-restraint of other citizens. What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all. But what does happen is that he votes his own self-interest as he sees it… which for the majority translates as ‘Bread and Circuses.’

‘Bread and Circuses’ is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader—the barbarians enter Rome.”
Robert A. Heinlein

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