Around Civitas we have a saying: “You can never get a cup of coffee large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
Okay, maybe that’s not a common saying here (and perhaps it’s an Americanized revision of dear C.S. Lewis,’ “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”). Nonetheless, we have a staff that thoroughly enjoys their books. Here are a few of this year’s favorites from several members of our team:
Donald Bryson (President & CEO); Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans
As a society, we want heroes who show bravery, courage, daring, and swagger. The problem is that we often think of these characters in the context of superheroes, war stories, and fantasy.
One of my best reads of the year was Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans. This book, written by A.J. Baime, details the story of how two historic titans of American industry – Henry Ford II and Lee Iacocca – partnered with a racing sports legend – Carroll Shelby – to create one of the most legendary racing cars in history and defeat Ferrari’s Italian racing dynasty.
The story, portrayed in the movie Ford v. Ferrari, shows the power of innovation, economic thinking, and entrepreneurship. Different managerial philosophies are on display, along with an intriguing history of government overreach into professional sports – even in the 1960s.
This book is one of the best I have ever read, and I am not a racing fan. I highly recommend it.
Carrie Leggins (Development & Operations Manager); Educated
I read this entire book in two days! A collection of stories, Educated, by Tara Westover, tells the journey of a young girl growing up in a survivalist Mormon family in the middle of nowhere, Idaho. Tara grew up canning food for the end of times, being refused medical care because her father didn’t believe in doctors, and learning about the Holocaust and Civil Rights movement for the first time at 17 years old.
It’s an incredible story of Tara taking her education upon herself and finding a way into the world without the help of a school system, community, or even her parents. Her strong will to develop a sense of self apart from the environment she grew up in is astounding. Tara’s constant struggle with finding herself, leaving behind the many years of mistreatment from her family, and self-discovery through education make this an inspiring read.
Ray Nothstine (Editor); Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man
There are so many books about World War II now it can be hard to know what to read or where to even start. In many respects, it’s truly a flooded market. However, a new account of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis is well worth your time.
“Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man” is certainly one of the most riveting reads of the year. While it has plenty of intensity and heroism, this account finally tells the full story of the Indianapolis and the nightmare faced by the men of America’s most famous heavy cruiser. It’s also a reminder that even in the midst of some of America’s greatest victories, our government was susceptible to grave mistakes that destroyed and ended lives.
The latest in this story, and the long quest to elevate truth and justice, should be known by all Americans.
Libby Spain (Development Associate); Whiskey in a Teacup: What Growing Up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love, and Baking Biscuits
Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon is a fun, easy read with lots of yummy recipes thrown in. Whether or not you’re a cook, it’s a great read about growing up in the South. I found it to be very relatable at times and had many flash backs to memories with my own Grandma Ruthie. You’ll laugh, maybe cry, and want a drink and snack after every chapter.
Honorable mention: Outlander <— The historical fiction with a romantic and dramatic storyline was great.
Brooke Medina (Communications Director); Redeeming Capitalism
With the decline of capitalism’s favorability on the rise among younger generations, it’s apparent that it’s time for conservatives to clarify what concepts like free enterprise and voluntary association actually look like. Skepticism abounds toward institutions that were previously respected, whether it’s the government, media, or the financial and business sectors.
Part of the reason for this growing dissatisfaction stems from cronyism that has polluted our markets. But that’s not the only culprit. In Redeeming Capitalism, author Kenneth Barnes argues that a decline in virtue, namely the cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, courage, and moderation) has led to disordered priorities and unethical–albeit, sometimes legal–business practices. Barnes’ argument is this: capitalism is the best economic “system” around, but if people reject virtue, capitalism, alone, will be insufficient to achieve holistic human flourishing.
Although I am substantially more skeptical than Barnes of governmental interference into the markets, I find this book, as a whole, serves as a clarion call for those that believe that there is more to prosperity than mere economic inputs and outputs.