There are thousands of important books relevant to the Orthospherean project, that could all with equal justice be listed here. But that would be Too Much. We will start with books that have been particularly important in the intellectual development of Orthosphere contributors, qua Traditionalists, and that might therefore be particularly useful to those who wish to learn more about Traditionalist thought.
Books by Orthosphereans:
- Thomas Bertonneau: The Truth Is Out There: Christian Faith and the Classics of TV Science Fiction. Christian notions propagated (sub rosa, of course) on TV shows that are actually popular: who knew?
- Bruce Charlton: Thought Prison. A disquisition on the logic of Political Correctness.
- James Kalb: The Tyranny of Liberalism. A summation of Kalb’s pioneering early thought on the subject.
Books by modern thinkers we respect:
- Christopher Alexander: A Pattern Language. Alexander is the high priest of architecture’s rediscovery of its traditional and vernacular forms, methods, and meanings. Alexander and his graduate students set out to discover what it is, exactly, that makes a place feel humane and comfortable. This book sets forth their findings, in respect to human arrangements of all scales – from the province to the chair. E.g.: a deck or porch less than six feet wide will never be used. Not just a guide to buildings that work, it specifies the built environment that is proper to man. Once you read this book, you will know exactly why you feel wonderful in some buildings and horrible in others.
- Mark Anderson: Pure: Modernity, Philosophy & the One. A relentless, elegant, precise analysis of modernity as a disease of the intellect. Anderson works his way back to the traditional way of seeing by taking up the stance of Classical, pre-Cartesian philosophy – and the pre-philosophical sophia perennis of Homer’s day and before - as against the Sophists and the Nietzscheans. Philosophy as a Way of Purification of the Soul. Reading this book, it becomes quite clear why Christianity subsumed Platonism.
- Gregory Boyd: God at War. The theology of the scrum in which we find ourselves here on Earth as a portion of a wider war, whose principal combatants are angelic; with applications to theodicy.
- William Cavanaugh: The Myth of Religious Violence. Why it’s historically and conceptually stupid to say that the secular state saved us from irrational violence.
- GK Chesterton: Incredibly prolific and brilliant British apologist; the use of English as a rapier.
- Fustel de Coulanges: The Ancient City. How religion and filial piety shaped the ancient world. Available as a free etext.
- Mircea Eliade: The Sacred and the Profane. The great work on religion’s symbolic and social aspects.
- Edward Feser: One of the clearest traditionalist philosophers, and a palmary apologist for Classical (pre-Cartesian) philosophy.
- David Bentley Hart: An eminent Orthodox theologian, Hart writes like an angel.
- Atheist Delusions. A pellucid refutation of the new atheism.
- The Beauty of the Infinite: the Aesthetics of Christian Truth. A gorgeous examination of the sheer loveliness of Christian doctrine.
- Dietrich von Hildebrand: Von Hildebrand was the main advocate of the value response school of ethics and a tireless defender of reverence, chastity, and ritual in the Christian life.
- CS Lewis: Perhaps the greatest Christian apologist of the 20th Century, and a great writer; possibly a saint. See also the other books Lewis wrote, all of which are valuable.
- The Abolition of Man. What the New Order wants to make of us. Available online.
- Mere Christianity. The doctrines all Orthosphereans hold in common. One of the most important books in the Traditionalist canon.
- That Hideous Strength. The third book of his science fiction trilogy, set in Britain just after WWII. A chilling description of the absurd, banal, evil apotheosis of modern secular humanism. Published in 1945, the book is eerily prescient.
- Rudolph Otto: The Idea of the Holy. A fin de siècle pioneer of comparative religion, Otto picked out the essential elements of the Holy as felt. Hair-raising for those who have experienced it. Makes “the Fear of the Lord” wholly intelligible.
- Henri Pirenne: Mohammed & Charlemagne. How Islam crippled the flourishing late classical civilization in Western Europe by destroying Mediterranean trade; how the Germans, Franks and Goths managed to preserve some of it. Published posthumously in 1937, the book’s thesis was instantly swamped by PC. Yet it seems the most logical explanation of the abrupt end of classical civilization, circa 640.
- Emmet Scott: Mohammed & Charlemagne Revisited. Scott reviews the archeological and documentary evidence that has accumulated since Pirenne’s day, and concludes that the Muslim invasions destroyed classical civilization in the East as well as in the West. An even more devastating critique of Islam’s cultural effects than Pirenne could have made. Fascinating facts on almost every page. History is not what you thought.
- Rodney Stark: The Victory of Reason. Christianity’s role in the foundation of the West, and the decisive differences between Christian cultures and their antecedents and competitors. A refutation of Gibbon, and of almost everything you learned in school about the Christian role in the history of Europe. Dark Ages? Not on account of the Church.
- JRR Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings. Perhaps the most important books written in the 20th Century. A great read, and the greatest Christian allegory.
Here are some other helpful books that are available for free in electronic form:
- Reflections on the Revolution in France, by Edmund Burke. A basic text for understanding what’s wrong with “progress.”
- Works of Joseph de Maistre in English Translation. The leading counterrevolutionary thinker on the Continent.
- Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age, by, by Eugene (Fr. Seraphim) Rose. A fundamental account of the world we see around us.
- After Strange Gods: A Primer of Modern Heresy, by T. S. Eliot.
- Americanism and the Collapse of the Church in the United States, by John R. Rao. The star-spangled Church hasn’t worked out so good.
- Pascal’s Pensees, with an introduction by T.S. Eliot. What scientism leaves out.
- An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent, by John Henry Newman. How we can know things that are not formally demonstrable.
- Confucian Analects, (Arthur Waley translation). Traditionalist thought at its best.
- Europe and the Faith, by Hilaire Belloc.
- Writings of Paul Elmer More. Books and essays by the luminous Platonist sometimes called “America’s reactionary.”
- Don Colacho’s Aphorisms. English translations of the aphorisms of reactionary Colombian philosopher Nicolás Gómez Dávila. Not a book, exactly, but enough aphorisms to compose one.