My colleague Dean Barnett may have sparked a revolution in Washington, D.C. –the reading of books. Geraghty The Indispensable picks up the subject today and concludes that “[r]eassuringly, there will be at least one Republican Presidential candidate who reads books. He’s read lots of ’em, I’ll bet.”
I am very certain there are at least two, and the second of the two has Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower. I would strongly encourage any presidential candidate (and their staffs) to read that book first, then Mark Steyn’s America Alone, Robert Kaplan’s Imperial Grunts, Doris Kearns Goodwin’s A Team of Rivals and –I am told, though I have not yet read them– Andrew Roberts’ A History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900, and Niall Fergusun’s The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West.
The last two make up my gift list, and Team Giuliani, Team McCain, and Team Romney plus all the other teams would do well to distribute the six tomes with a note that there will be a test. The coming campaign will very much center on the war, and the challenge in all of its incredible complexity. Five of these books explains aspects of that challenge: Wright provides a genealogy of one-half of the enemy. Steyn tackles the demographics and the vast Stockholm syndrome suffocating the West. Kaplan charts the extraordinary accomplishments of the American military around the globe, and the historians Roberts and Ferguson place the current crisis in its historical context.
And Doris Kearns Goodwin’s remarkable read tells us that America has survived much more difficult times, and the sort of leaders who allowed her to do so.
Would-be presidents and their advisors should arrive at the starting gate in January fully prepared to talk early, often and seriously about the war. It is not only the way to win, but the way to deserve to win.