TRA’s Book Reviews

Welcome to The Revolutionary Act’s MUST READS Book Reviews by the youngster Andrew Thomson. We seek to look at both the classics and modern works from a traditional American perspective, through the lens of a young American. If you are reading The Revolutionary Act, then you will find that these books are well worth the read. You’ll even find the name of our site comes from one of them.

These books are good for you, for your children and for your grandchildren to ensure a broad understanding of the real world in which America became so exceptional.

Hit the book cover in the reviews below and add these books to your collections to become well-rounded, well-read, informed Americans.

(Disclosure: The Revolutionary Act participates in the Amazon Services Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.)


RACE AND CULTURE, by Thomas Sowell

Reviewed by Andrew Thomson

A book titled ‘Race and Culture’ sounds like it would be about the importance of a race’s culture, or perhaps a culture’s race, yet that is not the case with this book. What is it about, then? It explains the interaction of race and culture through the ages, the impacts of race and culture on the economy and the whole realm of other interactions.

Inimitable author Thomas Sowell touches on how cultures shift with migration, and how, throughout the years, conquering nations have done all they can to eradicate the conquered nation’s culture, and thereby their identity as a people. He covers most of the available ground concerning culture and race without going into minute details, which makes the book large but readable.

Sowell, who is black, covers the tricky ground about how different races have differing views and strengths in economics and how, really, the path to the most effective economy is to have a mixture of many races in a capitalistic system, so that their strengths can complement each other’s and their weaknesses can be hidden.

Politics are indisputably affected by race, and Sowell digs into the cause and impacts of that reality. He even tackles perhaps the most explosive issue of how intelligence may be affected by race; he says most tests and studies can be discarded as biased. The author also touches one how geographic size and scope can affect culture by cutting down the number of visitors due to location, or being so huge that it can’t maintain a unified culture that is truly its own.

‘Race and Culture’ is an intellectual book that, nonetheless, is an enlightening read. While it was written 20 years ago, its universal truths make sense of the importance of different races and different cultures and, as such, I  recommend it to anyone who is trying to understand that challenging intersection.


Reviewed by Andrew Thomson

F.A. Hayek’s most famous work is a cautionary warning against incremental socialism, and could hardly be more perfect for our time.

The Road to Serfdom is about principles and ideals and including the history and thoughts of them. Hayek focuses mostly on the dangers of socialism, tying it into other ideals, and warns about seemingly innocent steps that lead towards socialism.

He does not sugarcoat anything in this book, and he does not pretend that the book is something else. In fact, the very first thing he says in the preface is “[w]hen a professional student of social affairs writes a political book, his first duty is plainly to say so. This is a political book.”

It is political in the sense of worldviews, not partisan politics. Hayek argues against socialism saying that freedom is, and should be, all important to Americans. Socialism allows no individual liberties — something entrenched throughout the American experience, a cherished, inalienable right from God.

Hayek also talks about the multiple downsides of discarding the individual in favor of the collective whole, pointing out that Nazi philosophers were much in favor of that as well. In fact, all the great killing machines of the 20th century — Nazism, Communism, Fascism — all utilized the call of the collective good.

All in all, this book is an argumentative case that seeks to persuade the reader from the siren call of socialism. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a better understanding of the dangers of socialism, and wants to be able to detect when and where it starts. Eyes wide open.


ANIMAL FARM, by George Orwell

Reviewed by Andrew Thomson

In this tale of sentient animals overthrowing their oppressive farmer and setting themselves up as owners of the farm, there are strong parallels with both the Russian Revolution and workings of Communism. And it’s still all too relevant.

For one, the reasons for the rebellion are the same: overthrowing an oppressive power and making all of their work and food go to the good of the community rather than the farmers; pretty straightforward communism right there. And, like communism often starts out, it seems to be working at first even though the pigs, who are the smart ones, automatically take the role of leadership. Yet one of the pigs becomes the true leader due to two things; he has the fighting majority of nine dogs, and he has the sheep, the useful idiots who drown out any verbal opposition, while no one dares go fisticuffs because of the dogs.

Now that’s just Communist history re-told in a farmyard.

Orwell, as was his nature and skill set, used his storytelling prowess to provide strong warnings, in this case against communism — particularly powerful as Orwell was a man of the Left early on and sought the benefits of enforced socialism.

The pigs harness the anger of the other animals against the farmer, and convince them to work harder than they ever did for the farmer to keep the farmer away. In other words, since the animals are so afraid of the farmer coming back, they work harder and eat less than they ever did for the farmer.

The motto of the pigs at the end is “All Animals Are Equal; But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others”, and it is a good summation of the story and real life for some; the ones less equal are the ones stupid enough to believe that that could be true.

Animal Farm is always a worthy read, but more so today as the forces of socialism push harder in the west.



Reviewed by Andrew Thomson

In C.S Lewis’ famous space trilogy, the protagonist, Elwin Ransom, travels to two other planets as a mode for discovering how God’s will works and how humans may have been different. It is a novel, but it is philosophy as well. Ransom must defend a new species from falling as Adam and Eve did by debating the devil to convince half of the new species (one) to ignore the devil. And to top it all off, he has to defend earth from an institute penetrated to the very top by evil.

These three books, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength, are written as argumentative novels, placed in Lewis’ time period in the 1940s. In fact, in the first one, the ‘boys… fighting the war’ is mentioned, tying the first into the time frame of WWII. He writes as though he heard it all from the protagonist, and even puts himself in the beginning of the second book.

Lewis, as always, writes magnificently and shares his voluminous ideas as only he can in this series. Interestingly and contrary to popular fiction, he institutes the idea that aliens are not the enemies.

These books are not driven so much by plot, as by thought, and the books themselves may almost seem to be mere racks to hold, house, and expand on those thoughts. As such, I would recommend it to anyone, who enjoys well written, constructive books that make you think.


REVIEW OF CONSTITUTION 201 — Another Indispensable Free Course From Hillsdale College

Reviewed by Andrew Thomson

Have you ever wondered if the U.S. Constitution could be used as more than a guideline for the U.S.? Constitution 201 is an example of how it can be — by using it as a lens through which to look at many different issues.

This free online course taught by Hillsdale professors takes progressive issues and major American policies such as FDR’s New Bill of Rights and LBJ’s Great Society, and looks at them through the lens of the Constitution. It also delves into the birth of progressivism in America through Woodrow Wilson. As opposed to Constitution 101, which took a look at how important the Constitution is, this course uses it more as a tool to judge the merits of ideas and policies.

This course also compares and contrasts the Founders with the Progressives, and goes into some of the changes made by the Progressives that the Founders never envisioned, as well as refuting some of the points Progressives make, using the Constitution.

I would recommend this to anyone who wants to deepen their knowledge of the United States, and who wants help understanding how we’ve ended where we are in the present.

(The Revolutionary Act has no financial relationship with Hillsdale. We just love their mission and education and take advantage of their free college-level courses from a traditional American perspective.)

A TALE OF TWO CITIES, by Charles Dickens

Reviewed by Andrew Thomson

This classic has stood the test of time for good reason.

It takes place during the Reign of Terror, where the king of France was overthrown and replaced by a mockery of a court full of unqualified people who put dozens of people to death each day.

Yet, despite its setting, it tells a remarkably beautiful tale, with likable and noble characters, as well as distasteful and vengeful characters. Dickens is an authorial master, well able to make a reader feel the anger and fear of the citizens during the revolution, along with the sadness and fear of those caught in its vengeful paths, and the joy and contentedness of those uninvolved.

A Tale of Two Cities shows the people overthrowing their corrupt government, only to revel too much in their newfound “equality” and create an ordered anarchy, where everyone obeys the law, yet most anyone can be called out as an ‘enemy of the Republic’ and sentenced to death after a false hearing. In that, the story of the French told here is tragically ironic: they have overthrown the fearsome government, yet, not caring to put up a new one, they continue to be ruled by fear.

A Tale of Two Cities is a literary masterpiece and not one character goes to waste in it. I would recommend it to anyone who wants and enjoys a good book with good strong characters, a warning against unchecked anger and hate (the beginning of which can be seen today) and who wants the chance to marvel at one of the world’s greatest author’s works.

BRAVE NEW WORLD, by Aldous Huxley

Reviewed by Andrew Thomson

In the book, Huxley did a good job of creating a utopic dystopia where the individual is discarded, in order for the ‘Society’ to be bettered; where freedom is left behind, and replaced by forced willing submission. The same coerced upside down views as we see in George Orwell’s 1984 and we are seeing today in America. (Assigned sex at birth when it is chromosomal?)

Everybody has their purpose in life in Brave New World, assigned by those at the top of the pecking order, and everybody wishes to have no other purpose, where even a caste in the system labeled ‘semi moron’ is conditioned to be happy that they don’t do much work, even if they do live up to their title. Happiness is the main goal, and achieved through conditioning everybody to be happy.

Thus, a utopic dystopia, for no one has the freedom of a utopia, yet everyone is happy, unlike a dystopia.

Brave New World is a highly argumentative book, with Huxley posing characters on different sides of the aisle to debate his differing views on many matters in the book. He also did a good job of keeping himself out of his characters’ debates.

At one point in the book, one character ascribes to the view of a very changing God, saying that He “manifests himself in different ways to different men” and, when further pressed, the character goes on to say that, at the present in the book, He “manifests himself as an absence.” The debate goes on for some time and, even though the character Huxley makes the reader like is of the opinion that God is real and good, he makes no authorial judgement of who is right and wrong; his characters merely debate, and the reader is left to decide.

Overall, it is a classic for a reason. It’s well thought out and interesting, and a definite thought provoker. And it is incredibly relevant to today.

As such, I would recommend it to anybody with the time and will for a book that is enjoyable, constructive and nearly prophetic.



Reviewed by Andrew Thomson

Do you ever get tired of debating liberals and the way they defend their positions? Do you want to be able to defeat them easily without getting caught in a quagmire of name-calling?

Then, How to Debate Leftists and Destroy Them, by Ben Shapiro, could be just the book for you. Shapiro has put a plethora of his debating tactics into the book, and each one is easy to understand and simple to put into use. A quick perusal of Shapiro on Youtube will confirm their effectiveness.

One of the points he makes is that Conservatives are too darned nice, and he uses the Obama v. Romney election as an example. Romney called Obama a “Good Guy, Bad President”, while Obama said Romney was the “worst guy since Mussolini” and painted him as the devil incarnate.

It’s important to do some research if you can, and know your opponent’s tactics, but the bigger point he makes is that of going on the offensive: the liberal’s favorite tactic, he says, is misconstruing their opponent.

So go on the offensive, “punch them in the mouth” — metaphorically, of course — to ruin their plans: frame them from the start, and if they resort to name calling, ignore it and stay on the offensive. It’s futile to explain why you aren’t racist or sexist or any other –ist out there, so ignore it when they call you that and go on the offensive, don’t lose the momentum from your figurative punch in the mouth at the start.

And, easier said than done depending on personality, but appearing cool and confident is a surprisingly big step in the direction of debate victory.

This is not just a good book, but one that can be put to use easily.

I would recommend it to anybody who debates liberals — in person or social media. But it is useful outside of that arena as it can help one better understand conservative principles and find strategies that are applicable to many non-political debates.

Best of all: 99 cents on Kindle.


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