1. “Supreme Commander: MacArthur’s Triumph in Japan” by Seymour Morris Jr. I enjoyed this 300-page account of how Douglas MacArthur handled the responsibility of helping a devastated post-WWII Japan back on its feet. He essentially held absolute power though did not abuse it in the slightest. MacArthur’s political impact is obvious, but Morris also highlights MacArthur’s humanitarian impact.
2. “Frederick the Great: King of Prussia” by Timothy Blanning. Frederick was the poster boy of “enlightened absolutism” and quite a complex man as well. This biography is approximately 500 pages long and I skimmed a few parts of it, but what I did read I found valuable.
3. “Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream — And Why It Matters” by Helen Smith, PhD. Great book. Much of what she wrote would not be out of place on a site like Return of Kings. She explains why so many young men are opting out of a system that’s against them. Men are suffering economic hurt and emotional rejection, which affects not just men but also women and society itself.
4. “The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life” by Michael Puett. Recommended by Ryan Holiday on his book recommendations newsletter (which you ought to subscribe to). I loved the first half but found myself skimming much of the second. Still got some good nuggets of wisdom out of it, though.
5. “George, Nicholas, and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I” by Miranda Carter. Just began this one last night. Carter analyzes a voluminous amount of letters and diaries from these monarchs and their families, and she illustrates a not-so-harmonious relationship amongst these related dynasties.
6. “Candide” by Voltaire. I cannot endorse Voltaire’s thought (I am Catholic after all). However there’s no denying that Voltaire was a brilliant writer and one of the Enlightenment’s greatest minds. This snarky, witty satire is a criticism of both Leibnizian thought and theodicy in general. And it’s also a fascinating adventure story of sorts.