A few years ago I wrote a book for young Christians graduating from high school or college on the theme of how best to prepare to influence the world, "In But Not Of." It has sold steadily, and occasionally I hear from a reader who especially appreciated the reading list I provided for those who had been ill-served by their history teachers and professors. It is difficult to make sense of the world if you don't know the stories of the Greeks, the Romans, and the English, and so I suggested titles that could give any persistent reader a spine of history on which to hang their more contemporary reading.
Now in the second half of the first decade of a long war with Islamism fascism, a second reading list is necessary. There are many good books out there, but for anyone who has constraints on their time but a desire to know how we arrived here and what is ahead, there are four indispensable books, and an order in which to read them. Any serious and patriotic high school history teacher or freshman survey course professor would do well to throw out the syllabus and assign these books. At the end of this course of reading, the students would at least be prepared for the years ahead.
The first task the booklist will complete is to educate the reader to know the enemy --where did the Salafist al Qaeda come from, and why do they act with such savage barbarity. The New Yorker's Lawrence Wright has recently come out with The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Path to 9/11. This is an amazing work of history and literature, a single volume history not just of al Qaeda, but of the Saudi Arabia and Egypt that nursed this menace, and of the incompetence of the West in recognizing much less combating it. Wright's achievement deserves every award in publishing, but mostly it deserves wide readership if the country is to be prepared for the long struggle ahead.