Since the invention of movable type by Gutenberg, books have been
the principle means of great freethinking minds speaking to us through the ages, past and
present, and thus it remains so to this day. In addition to advances in
technology that have introduced the ability to create an
and to deliver books via the Internet in
digital format, the simple joy of holding a book in one's hands, to
turn the pages at one's own pace and the smell of the paper that represents
the canvas on which the words must appear, will never lose its unique
In the spirit of reading a really good book or even, dare we
hope, delivering the impact of a "eureka" moment, when the book profoundly
inspires or connects in an almost unimaginable way, we present below an
introductory list of ideas in print that are intended to inspire and even
possibly ignite your own insight into the understanding of the pathways
possible for our journey.
This "Bibliography", first, is
organized using the following categories of knowledge:
Physical Science |
Biological Science |
Social Science |
And, second, is
alphabetically ordered by author, not title. In this fashion, multiple works
by such freethinking minds as Thomas Paine, Ludwig von Mises, Richard
Dawkins and others may be reviewed for their collective content and possible
selection. In addition, we've provided links to enable you to search
directly from within this page without your having to open additional
windows in your browser.
Also, book titles followed by an asterisk
denote those that are in the public domain and are available for reading
online or storing on your hard drives at no cost. When you click on
the book title link and arrive at the web page, refer to the "View the book"
box on the left and select one of the readable formats.
Sir Isaac Newton:
His Life and Work
E.N. da C. Andrade, Anchor Books,
Doubleday & Company, First Edition 1954
This concise biography of Sir Isaac Newton is notable for the clarity with which Edward
Neville da Costa Andrade, himself a distinguished scientist, discussed Newton’s
monumental discoveries and the changes they made in man’s view of the universe.
Andrade treats the enigmatic personality of the great genius as fully as the science,
and the combination makes this book the best brief introduction to Newton’s life
and works now in print.
In addition, Andrade presents in Chapter 1 a chronological history of
science before Newton which follows the ideologies of Newton’s greatest
predecessors and whose works are those upon which Newton largely based his
most important discoveries. This chronology is an excellent review of that
scientific history and is one of the added benefits of reading this small
but excellent book.
Sir Isaac Newton
by Colin Ronan, International Profiles,
A. S. Barnes & Co., Inc., 1969
This is a very short but powerful commentary on Newton’s life as described,
among others, by his younger contemporary, Alexander Pope who stated: "Nature and Nature’s
laws lay hid in night: God said, Let Newton be! And all was light".
And his later giant, scientific successor, Einstein, who once said of Newton … “[he]
stands before us, strong, certain, and alone: his joy in creation and his minute precision are evident in every
word [that he wrote]”. Finally of Newton, Joseph Lagrange, who was one of those to spend years following
up the scientific lead Newton had given, referred to him as “the greatest genius that ever existed”.
New Pathways In Science
by Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington,
Ann Arbor Paperbacks, 1959 – PB
A lucid and accessible explanation of some of the most advanced scientific discoveries of the 20th
century, including indeterminacy, quantum theory, the expanding universe, the constants of nature, and
astrophysics, for scientists and non-scientists alike.
The Crime of Galileo
by Giorgio De Santillana,
The University of Chicago Press, 1955
"In the gallery of what might be called the martyrs of thought, the
image of Galileo recanting before the Italian Inquisition stirs the
minds of educated modern men second only to the picture of Socrates
drinking the Hemlock. That image of Galileo is out of focus . . .
because it has been distorted by three centuries of rationalist
prejudice and clerical polemics. To refocus it clearly, within the
logic of its own time . . . de Santillana has written The Crime
of Galileo, a masterly intellectual whodunit which traces not
the life but the mental footsteps of Galileo on his road to personal
The Nature of the Physical World
Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington,
Ann Arbor Paperbacks – PB
discussion of the nature of physical reality as we perceive it and as science describes it, and
how the elusive quest for an "ultimate" reality has rocked the epistemological foundations of
human knowledge; a reprint of the original 1928 edition.
The Philosophy of
by Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington,
Ann Arbor Paperbacks – PB
The author states:
"This book contains the substance of the course of lectures which I delivered as Tarner
Lecturer of Trinity College Cambridge in the Easter Term 1938. The lectures have afforded
me an opportunity of developing more fully than in my earlier books the principles of
philosophic thought associated with the modern advances of physical science.
This then, in the words of the author himself, is the exposition of a man who finds “no disharmony
between a philosophy which embraces the wider significance of human experience and the specialized
philosophy of physical science, even though the latter relates to a system of thought of recent growth
whose stability is yet to be tested”.
“It is often said that there is no ‘philosophy of science’,
but only the philosophies of certain scientists. But in so far as we recognize an authoritative
body of opinion which decides what is and what is not accepted as present-day physics, there
is an ascertainable present-day philosophy of physics. It is the philosophy to which those who
follow the accepted practice of science stand committed by their practice. It is implicit in the
methods by which they advance science, sometimes without fully understanding why they employ them,
and in the procedure which they accept as giving assurance of truth, often without examining
what kind of assurance it can give.”
If you are of a mind to tackle the intellect of
one of the only contemporary living intellects of Einstein that could and did absorb and explain
Einstein’s theories almost better than the innovator himself, this is a must read of the
The Wright Brothers: The Authorized Biography of Two Americans Whose Inventive Genius
Changed the World
Fred C. Kelly,
Ballantine Books, 1975 – PB
Wright brothers is a story of total adventure –
the sharp physical adventure of flight in perilously frail machines, and the
breathtaking intellectual adventure of minds discovering through tireless
research and sudden, brilliant hunches the solution to the “impossible”
problem of flight.
Fred Kelly was recognized as one of the world’s
foremost authorities on the Wright brothers – their growth, their struggles,
their disappointments, and their ultimate triumph. For more than thirty years
he was a personal friend of Orville Wright and talked with him daily while
writing this book. The result is a vivid re-creation of the birth and
pioneer days of aviation and an intimate, affection portrait of two men
whose inventive genius changed the world.
Also, be sure to navigate to the website outlining
Wright-Smithsonian Feud that ensued during Orville's remaining life
following the death of his brother, Wilbur. This is a classic example of
denial of rightful ownership to a monumental achievement by none other than
the bureaucratic institution that now proudly displays the machine that
actually accomplished history.
Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla
by John J. O'Neill,
Cosimo Books, 2006
Even the gods of old, in the wildest imaginings of their
worshipers, never undertook such gigantic tasks of world-wide dimension as
those which Tesla attempted and accomplished. -from Chapter One First
published in 1944 and long a favorite of Tesla fans, this is a definitive
biography of the man without whom modern civilization would not exist.
Nikola Tesla, pioneer of electrical engineering, was a close friend of
Pulitzer Prize-winning author O'Neill, and here, O'Neill captures the man as
a scientist and as a public figure, exploring: how Tesla's father inspired
his life in engineering, why Tesla clung to his theories of electricity in
the face of opposition, how the shy but newly popular Tesla navigated the
social life of New York in the gay 1890s, Tesla's friendship with Mark
Twain, the story of Tesla's lost Nobel Prize, Tesla's dabblings in the
paranormal and much more.
Darwin and The Beagle
by Alan Moorehead,
Harper & Row, 1969 - HC
In 1831 Charles Darwin, aged twenty-two and fresh from Cambridge, was offered
the post of naturalist on board HMS Beagle, a ten-gun brig sent by the Admiralty on a surveying voyage
around the world. The voyage lasted five years, during which time the Beagle visited Brazil, Argentina,
Tierra del Fuego, Chile, Peru, the Galapagos Islands, Tahiti, new Zealand, Australia and other countries
and islands on the way.
For the young Darwin this was not only a great and exhilarating adventure, but the
beginning of a whole new conception of the origin and evolution of the various species of life on earth,
which, a few decades later, was to revolutionize most of the beliefs hitherto held sacred.
The Origin of Species
Gramercy Books (Random House), 1979 - HC
On the Origin of Species, published on
24 November 1859, is a work of
scientific literature by
Charles Darwin which is considered to be the foundation of
evolutionary biology. Its full title was On the Origin of
Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured
Races in the Struggle for Life. For the sixth edition of 1872,
the short title was changed to The Origin of Species.
Darwin's book introduced the
scientific theory that populations
evolve over the course of generations through a process of
natural selection. It presented a body of evidence that
the diversity of life arose by
common descent through a
branching pattern of evolution. Darwin included evidence that he had
the Beagle expedition (see
Darwin and the Beagle
immediately above) in the 1830s and his subsequent
findings from research, correspondence, and experimentation.
The Descent of Man and Selection In Relation To Sex
Charles Darwin, Google eBook
The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex is a
book on naturalist Charles Darwin, first published in 1871. It was Darwin's second book
on evolutionary theory, following his 1859 work,
On The Origin of Species. In The Descent of Man, Darwin
applies evolutionary theory to human evolution, and details his theory of
sexual selection. The book discusses many related issues, including
evolutionary ethics, differences between human races, differences between
dominant role of women in choosing mating partners, and the relevance of
the evolutionary theory to society.
Inclined To Liberty:
The Futile Attempt To Suppress The Human Spirit
Louis E. Carabini
In the words of the author: “I have often wondered why those with strong
opinions about social affairs are always attracted toward one of two
opposing poles. There are those inclined to liberty – freedom of the individual to live his or her life
in any peaceful way. And there are those who are
inclined to mastery – permitting
others to live their lives only as another sees fit.
The Life of Thomas Paine
Moncure Daniel Conway, Benjamin Bloom,
Moncure Conway presents his long-planned biography of the
misunderstood Anglo-American revolutionary and fellow deist Thomas Paine, a
man Conway had admired for decades.
The Writings of Thomas Paine
by Moncure Daniel Conway, Volume IV, G. P. Putnam’s Sons., 1896 – HC
Be sure to visit amazon.com where all four volumes of Conway’s original The Writings of Thomas
Paine have been reissued in digital format (Kindle) for free. This is an amazing offering not to be missed.
The Complete Writings of Thomas Paine
by Phillip S. Foner, Ed., Citadel Press, Inc.,
1969 – HC, in slip case
This two-volume set includes all of the books, letters, pamphlets, essays, and dissertations
written by the founder of the United States of America. Very limited quantities available.
Liberty: A Path to Its Recovery
by F.A. Harper, Foundation for Economic Education, 1949 – HC
Although categorized as an economist, this brilliant analysis of the central problem of the philosophy of
human governance — the reconciliation of liberty and coercively enforced authority and the quest for a truly
liberal society. Includes a preface by Dr. Han Sennholz.
Citadel, Market & Altar
Spencer Heath, Science of Society
Foundation, 1957 – HC
A Review by Roy Halliday: This
book, written by the grandfather of Spencer Heath MacCallum, one of
FNF's most admired contributors, reminds me of Isabel
Patterson's God of the Machine. Both books provide
sweeping interpretations of history from a libertarian perspective, and both
books use terminology from the physical sciences to describe human society
If you start reading Citadel, Market and Altar from the beginning,
you are likely to give up quickly and do something else. I suspect that many
readers quit this book before they get past the pages numbered with roman
numerals. If my suspicion is correct, it is a shame, because they miss all
the good parts.
Scipio Africanus: Greater Than Napoleon
by B. H. Liddell Hart, Da Capo Press, 1994
Scipio Africanus offers the strongest possible argument against the hypothesis put forward by some
Marxists alleging that individuals have not mattered very much in history and what matters is only a series
of impersonal trends and tendencies. Scipio Africanus, in a variety of different ways, left his individual
stamp on history which would not have turned out in the same way, or at the very least, would have had an
extremely different chronology if he had never existed.
In addition to his military genius, as the major topic of this book, Scipio’s fame and
influence meant a great deal more with his moral and political accomplishments. For Rome’s
victory over Carthage in the Second Punic War, in which Scipio played such a decisive part, meant
that Rome had become not merely an Italian power but a Mediterranean power as well, a fact that was
reinforced by Scipio’s subsequent activities in Asia. In other words, he played the leading
role in the immensely significant process which made the Romans became the rulers of the western
world for a considerable number of centuries to come.
As Paine was the principal influence and intellectual father of our nation with his pen,
Scipio was the father of western civilization through his military conquests followed by his
compassionate, moral and political acumen as a consummate administrator of the vanquished.
This is a fascinating, must read historical account and would make a secondary school or even
collegiate school book report project.
To claim a single individual is responsible for the establishment of the Roman empire,
as opposed to a Carthaginian empire (about which one only can ponder), is simply remarkable. Hart
accomplishes this and more with his wonderful, I don’t want it to end book.
Thomas Paine: Author of the Declaration of Independence
Joseph Lewis, The Freethought Press Association, New York, 1947.
Joseph Lewis (June 11, 1889 - 1968) was an
activist, publisher, and litigator. During the mid-twentieth century, he was
one of America’s most conspicuous public atheists, the other being
Emanuel Haldeman-Julius. Born in Montgomery, Alabama to a Jewish family, he was forced by poverty to
leave school at the age of nine to find employment. He read avidly, becoming
self-educated. Lewis developed his ideas from reading, among others,
Robert G. Ingersoll, whose published works made him aware of
Thomas Paine. He later credited Paine’s Age of Reason with converting
him to atheism.
Lewis believed that Thomas Paine was the true author of the
Declaration of Independence, so arguing in his 1947 book Thomas Paine,
Author of the Declaration of Independence. His other noteworthy
publications included The Ten Commandments (1946), a massive justification
for atheism, and An Atheist Manifesto (1954), published at the height of the
to dispute popular ideas that atheism was un-American.
To Spit Against The Wind
by Benjamin H. Levin
Tom Paine was an innovator. He saw ways of doing things that no one had perceived clearly before.
In his writing, he moved people to action with his visions. His most memorial work, a short pamphlet entitled
Common Sense, fanned the flames of independence in the colonies to a fiery heat. This novel takes us from his
early life in England, through the Revolutionary war in America, and later through his life during the French
Paine: Collected Writings: Common Sense / The Crisis / Rights of Man / The Age of Reason / Pamphlets, Aricles
Library of America – HC
As the author of two highly influential pamphlets at the start of the American
Revolution, he became one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. His ideas reflected
Enlightenment era rhetoric of transnational human rights. He has been called "a corsetmaker
by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination. In the minds of most, he
will be judged as a genius in his ability to motivate people at all levels of early American society
to understand ideas that, prior to his writings, may have been considered above and beyond the
mental means of most who read his profoundly simple rhetoric for freedom.
Revolutionary Characters: What Made The Founders Different
S. Wood, The Penguin Press - 2006
Once Thomas Jefferson realized in the immediate aftermath of the Revolution that he
and his colleagues might become famous, he began to collect portraits and busts of those he came to call
"American worthies." ... This book might be regarded as a written collection of these American worthies.
However, more importantly, it is a chronicle of what
sincere, just and worthy men wanted to establish for a deserving nation
which came oh so close to achieving individual sovereignty. But, in the
process of establishing this nation based on ideas, our forefathers opened
the door to a more insidious form of human control which has culminated
today in the systemic ill known as majority rule democracy controlled by
the character of individuals who are anathema to every thing the founding
fathers set out to achieve.
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The Tariff Idea
by W.M. Curtiss,
Foundation for Economic Education, 1972 – PB
An incisive analysis of why tariffs don't work—indeed, why they can't work; in one short
and well-written book you will understand what politicians consistently fail to learn.
Why Wages Rise
by F.A. Harper, Foundation for Economic
Education, 1972 – PB
Written in Harper's lucid style, this book is an extraordinary clear and
understandable exposition of the subject of its self-descriptive title; out
of print and difficult to find but available in PDF format by clicking on
the title above.
One Lesson: The Shortest & Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics
by Henry Hazlitt, Manor Books, 1975 – PB
This book explains in simple, direct language the fundamental principles of economics that most
economists and virtually all politicians do not understand.
It is essential reading for every person who wants to understand economics.
by Ludwig von Mises, Arlington
House, 1969 - HC
Mises' 1944 book applies his insight concerning
economic calculation to delineate the difference between bureaucratic
management and profit-and-loss management in the free market. The
implications of his argument are far reaching, for it shows that all types
of public administration lack the ability to conduct their affairs in an
economic rational manner.
Liberty is not a battle that requires the conversion of others in order to win.
Liberty is won when you accept the idea that you are the sole master of your life,
when your life is subordinate to none, and no other life is subordinate to yours.
When you accept that idea, you are liberated. There will always be those who will claim to be your master,
but you will know otherwise.”
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