Reading is one of the great joys of summer downtime. Whether you’re at the beach, a Northwoods lake or just sitting in the backyard, settling in with a good book can challenge old ways of thinking, inspire new paths in life, or provide a window into another world.
The Bradley Foundation has always believed reading fosters the ideas and knowledge that are central to human flourishing. Over the last 35 years, we’ve funded the research and publication of more than 700 books and were integral to the launch of Encounter Books, which we continue to strongly support.
In this age of cancel culture, it’s never been more important to access different viewpoints and to understand the foundations of American exceptionalism. We thought it would be fun to share our recommendations of the latest books by Bradley Prize winners and grantees, as well as some suggestions for digital viewing. We hope you’ll consider adding them to your summer reading and viewing list.
Bradley Summer Reading Recommendations
Crisis of the Two Constitutions: The Rise, Decline, and Recovery of American Greatness, by Charles Kesler, details how we got to and what is at stake in our increasingly divided America. It takes controversial stands on matters political and scholarly, describing the political genius of America’s founders and the attempted progressive re-founding of America. It also appraises American conservatives’ efforts to revive the founders’ Constitution and moral common sense
Maverick: A Biography of Thomas Sowell, by Jason Riley. In the first-ever biography of Sowell, Riley gives this iconic thinker his due and responds to the detractors. Maverick showcases Sowell's most significant writings and traces the events that shaped his ideas and resulted in a black orphan from the Jim Crow South becoming one of our foremost public intellectuals.
Curiosity and its Twelve Rules for Life, by F.H. Buckley. Curiosity is the instinct that prompts us to act, and a book about curiosity should tell us how to live. This is the first to do so, with its twelve rules for life.
Red, White, and Black: Rescuing American History from Revisionists and Race Hustlers, by Robert Woodson, is an indispensable corrective to the falsified version of black history presented by The 1619 Project, radical activists, and money-hungry “diversity consultants". A collection of the most prominent and respected black scholars and thinkers comes together to correct the record and tell the true story of black Americans in all its complexity, diversity of experience, and poignancy.
The Love of Learning, by Margarita Mooney, tells the stories of how seven renowned scholars fell in love with learning. It invites readers to join the long, ongoing conversation about truth, goodness, and beauty that has its roots in the beginning of Western civilization and is still, as these contributors show, alive and vibrant today.
The Plot to Change America, by Mike Gonzalez, exposes the myths that help identity politics perpetuate itself. This book reveals what has really happened, explains why it is urgent to change course, and offers a strategy to do so. Though we should not fool ourselves into thinking that it will be easy to eliminate identity politics, we should not overthink it, either.
The 1776 Report is the official report of The President’s Advisory 1776 Commission. Submitted to the President and released as a public document on January 18, 2021, the report explains the core principles of the American founding and how they have shaped American history.
A Time to Build, by Yuval Levin. Everybody knows that Americans have long been losing trust in institutions. But what does that really mean? And how is that widespread collapse of confidence related to the daunting, complex, social crisis our society is living through? Awarded the prestigious 2021 Conservative Book of the Year by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Levin’s book takes up these questions and suggests a path toward an American renewal.
The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights Volume XXXVII: The Bill of Rights, no. 1. The first in a planned six-volume series examining the intense debate over the drafting and ratification of the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution, The Bill of Rights, no.1 is the latest volume in the landmark Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution series. This volume represents a profoundly important documentary record of the effort to protect human rights during the Revolutionary War Era.
Bradley Digital Viewing Suggestions
We the People - Want to be informed on cancel culture, corporate wokeness, election integrity, and other threats to our freedom? Interested in the latest on education reform or local arts and culture? Check out our 15-minute episodes of We the People: A Bradley Speaker Series to learn more from the leading thinkers at the remarkable organizations supported by The Bradley Foundation.
Kite & Key Media - Everyone wants to be informed, but most of us don’t have time to distill a 90-page research paper on the topics impacting the world. Kite & Key does that for you by translating the world’s best research into accessible videos. Check out their latest videos on infrastructure, education, energy and more.
Thomas Sowell: Commonsense in a Senseless World - This recent documentary - supported by The Bradley Foundation - traces Sowell’s journey from humble beginnings to the Hoover Institution, where he became one of this era’s greatest economists, political philosophers, and authors.