Feature

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich served 20 years as a member of Congress, and was speaker of the House of Representatives from 1995–99. He is currently a political analyst for Fox News Channel. His official Web site is www.newt.org.

It is impossible for me to pick five all-time favorite books, because there are simply too many possibilities. I will list five favorite books that I would recommend to anyone interested in good reading:

Shogun by James Clavell (Bantam Doubleday, $15). A brilliant introduction to medieval Japan, the process of modernization, cross-cultural communications, the nature of being alien (as seen through both Japanese and English eyes), and a tremendous study of power and intrigue. One of the best and most useful books I have read.

Naturalist by Edward Osborne Wilson (Island Press, $25). A terrific introduction to how a young person can fall in love with nature and end up as one of the world’s leading biologists.

The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker (HarperCollins, $13). Based on lectures Drucker gave to the Kennedy administration about being effective. It introduced me to George Catlette Marshall, Alfred Sloan, and Theodore Vail back in 1969 and changed my life by orienting me towards effectiveness and away from either efficiency or effort as measurements of activity.

The Unvanquished by Howard Fast (Sharpe M.E. Inc., $25). One of the finest novels of the American Revolution and a vivid portrait of the courage, discipline, and patience it took for Washington to create first an army and then a country.

Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (Random House, $20). Simply the best military novel about the Civil War (thus sidestepping any comparison with Gone With the Wind). It captures the poignant portrayal of Gettysburg as seen from both sides; worth reading for its vivid introduction of Joshua Chamberlain, the most idealistic icon of the Union side.

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