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High School Reading List

 

Biography

Author Title Description
Barlow Thomas Becket Biography of the man who went from being the handsome, worldly courtier to the zealous prelate, exile, and saint-martyr. A very interesting figure.
Cameron, Ian Magellan Excellent biography of the great explorer.
Flexner, James Thomas Washington: The Indispensable Man Best one-volume biography of George Washington.
Frank, Anne Diary of a Young Girl, The Book based on the diary of a young Dutch Jewish girl as she was in hiding for 2 years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.
Manchester, William American Caesar Great narrative of Gen. Douglas MacArthur; interesting perspective on World War II and the Korean Conflict.
Massie, R.K. Peter the Great Story of the amazing ruler who transformed Russia with his rule in the 17th and 18th centuries.
McCullough, David John Adams Gripping biography of John Adam, from his roots in Quincy, through his legal career and many years of service to the founding of the United States.
Morison, Samuel Eliot Admiral of The Ocean Sea Best biography of Christopher Columbus. Morrison is an expert mariner as well as historian, so he conveys greater appreciation for Columbus’s achievement.
Morris, Edmund Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, The An excellent account of Roosevelt’s rise to the Presidency, winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
Oates, Stephen B. With Malice Toward None Superb biography of Abraham Lincoln, probably the best in one volume.
Smith, Gene Lee and Grant Dual biography of Robert E. Lee and U.S. Grant.
Treese, Patricia Man for Others, A Outstanding biography of St. Maximilian Kolbe.
Waugh, Evelyn Edmund Campion Biography of martyr Edmund Campion in England.

  

Fiction

Benson, Robert Hugh Come Rack, Come Rope Historical novel about Catholic martyrs in Elizabethan England, written by an English Catholic convert from Anglicanism.
Benson, Robert Hugh Lord of the World Insightful and interesting apocalyptic novel.
Bolt, Robert Man for all Seasons, A Historical play about Thomas More’s struggle to preserve law and truth against the tyranny of Henry VIII in making himself head of the Church in England, ending with the heroic martyrdom of More.
Boulle, Pierre Bridge Over the River Kwai, The Novel dealing with British soldiers in a Japanese POW camp during World War 2 and the ways they resist their capturers.
Bowden Black Hawk Down Novel about the bloody fight of American troops against Somoli warlords.
Cather, Willa Death Comes for the Archbishop Beautifully written fictional account of Bishop Lamy of Santa Fe in the 19th century.
Cather, Willa My Antonia The final book of the prarie trilogy, about immigrant families moving to start new lives in Nebraska.
Christie, Agatha And Then There Were None Detective fiction novel about 10 people, previously complicit in the deaths of others but having escaped notice and/or punishment, and who are tricked onto an island and each mysteriously murdered one by one.
Christie, Agatha Murder on the Orient Express Detective fiction novel about a detective’s attempts to solve a murder that occurs on the train he’s riding through the Middle-East back to Europe.
Cooper, James Fenimore Last of the Mohicans, The Historical adventure novel about the relationship between American settlers and different warring Indian tribes.
Crane, Stephen Red Badge of Courage, The Historical novel on the Civil War and one soldier’s role in it.
Dante Divine Comedy, The: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradisio One of the greatest works of literature in history, covering a trek through purgatory, hell, and heaven. Beautiful poetry infused with philosophical and theological thought.
Defoe, Daniel Robinson Crusoe Excellent story of a ship-wrecked Englishmen and his struggle with basic survival, native savages, and the meaning and reason behind his solitary existence.
Dickens, Charles Christmas Carol, A Story of sour and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge’s ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation after the supernatural visitations of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come.
Doyle, Sir Aurthur Conan Complete Sherlock Holmes, The Stories about the briliant detective Holmes, who is famous for his intellectual prowess and is renowned for his skillful use of astute observation, deductive reasoning and forensic skills to solve difficult cases.
Greene, Graham Power and the Glory, The Story of a Roman Catholic priest in the state of Tabasco in Mexico in the 1930s when the Mexican government strove to surpess the Catholic Church.
Kipling, Rudyard Captains Courageous A spoilt son of a millionaire falls overboard from an ocean liner and is rescued by Portuguese fisherman. As he then must join the crew for the rest of their summer voyage, he undergoes a deep transformation in that alien and tough environment.
Kipling, Rudyard Jungle Book, The Collection of fable short stories.
Lee, Harper To Kill a Mockingbird Classic novel of a lawyer in the Deep South defending a black man charged with the rape of a white girl.
Lewis, C.S. Chronicles of Narnia Series of 7 classic fantasy novels for children, drawing upon Christian principles, Greek and Roman mythology and traditional British and Irish fairy tails. They present the adventures of children in the unfolding history of the fictional realm of Narnia, a place where animals talk, magic is common, and good battles evil. In each book the children help the Lion Aslan handle a crisis in the world of Narnia.
McLean, Alistair Guns of Navarrone, The The story concerns the efforts of an Allied commando team to destroy a seemingly impregnable German fortress that threatens Allied naval ships in the Aegean Sea, and prevents over 1,200 isolated British troops from being rescued. The story is based on the real events surrounding the Battle of Leros in World War II.
McLean, Alistair H.M.S. Ulysses Novel about a British light cruiser’s battle against German U-boats as it attempts to escort a convoy of ships to Murmansk.
NA Beowulf Medieval epic poem about the hero Beowulf’s quest to save a people from a mythical monster. One of the major pieces of Old English literature.
Orczy, Baroness Scarlet Pimpernel, The Novel about an English aristocrat who pretends to be a weak foppish figure but in reality saves French noblemen from the French Revolution’s guillotine.
Remarque, Erich All Quiet in the Western Front The book about World War I, still as gripping and deeply moving as when first published in the 1920’s.
Ryan, Cornelius Bridge Too Far, A Historical novel about the failed attempt to end the Second World War by Christmas 1944.
Ryan, Cornelius Longest Day, The Historical novel about D-Day, June 6, 1944.
Shaara, Michael Killer Angels, The Historical fiction account of the Battle of Gettysburg. Won the Pulitzer Prize, and called the best war narrative since Stephen Crane’s Red Badge of Courage.
Shakespeare, William Comedy of Errors, A A short and quite farcical comedy, it tells the story of two sets of identical twins that were accidentally separated at birth. Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse, arrive in Ephesus, which turns out to be the home of their twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant, Dromio of Ephesus. When the Syracusans encounter the friends and families of their twins, a series of wild mishaps based on mistaken identities lead to wrongful beatings, a near-seduction, the arrest of Antipholus of Ephesus, and accusations of infidelity, theft, madness, and demonic possession.
Shakespeare, William Hamlet The play, set in Denmark, recounts how Prince Hamlet exacts revenge on his uncle Claudius, who has murdered Hamlet’s father, the King, and then taken the throne and married Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother. The play vividly charts the course of real and feigned madness—from overwhelming grief to seething rage—and explores themes and various forms of moral corruption.
Shakespeare, William Julius Caesar It portrays the conspiracy against the Roman dictator of the same name, his assassination and its aftermath. Although the title of the play is Julius Caesar, Caesar is not the central character in its action; he appears in only three scenes, and is killed at the beginning of the third act. The protagonist of the play is Marcus Brutus, and the central psychological drama is his struggle between the conflicting demands of honour, patriotism, and friendship.
Shakespeare, William King Lear Tragedy of King Lear’s failure to see which daughters and subjects are good and bad. The evil subjects revolt, and those loyal defend him. One of Shakespeare’s greatest works.
Shakespeare, William Macbeth Tragedy in which Macbeth and his wife overthrow and murder King Duncan but later suffer retribution for their evil deeds.
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander First Circle, The Great Russian novel about life in the Soviet Union; this book won Solzhenitsyn the Nobel Prize.
Stevenson, Robert L Black Arrow, The An historical adventure novel and romance set during the Wars of the Roses.
Stevenson, Robert L Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde A novella about a dual personality much depicted in plays and films.
Stevenson, Robert L Kidnapped A historical novel that tells of the boy David Balfour’s pursuit of his inheritance and his alliance with Alan Breck in the intrigues of Jacobite troubles in Scotland.
Stevenson, Robert L Treasure Island Story of a boy and how he gets caught up in a race against pirates to find a hidden treasure.
Tolkien, JRR Hobbit, The Novel about Bilbo Baggins and how he comes into possession of the Ring of Power.
Tolkien, JRR Lord of the Rings, The Epic novel in the mythical world of Middle-Earth about the war and quest to defeat the forces of evil who seek to conquer all others.
Tolstoy, Leo Anna Karenina Greatest novel of Tolstoy, tells the story of 2 figures: the rebellious, sensual Anna and the self-doubting agnostic Levin and the struggle of both for fulfillment and happiness.
Twain, Mark Tom Sawyer Classic story of a boy’s life in a Mississippi river town in 19th century America.
Verne, Jules Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea Adventure story of exploring the depths of the ocean.
Virgil Aeneid Classic piece of western literature. Picking up on the tradition of Homer, Virgil tells the epic story of Aeneas’ struggle to reach Italy and the wars required to settle finally the wandering Trojans in their new home, which eventually would be Rome. Greatest piece of Latin literature.
Wallace, Lew Ben-Hur Novel set in the time of Christ. The central character is Judah, prince of the Hebrew house of Hur. Judah grows up in Jerusalem, during the turbulent years around the birth of Christ. His best friend is Messala, a Roman. As adults Judah and Messala become rivals, each hating the other, which leads to Judah’s downfall and eventual triumph.
Wilder, Thornton Bridge Of San Luis Rey, The Short but beautifully written story about the lives of several people caught in a tragic accident—how their lives were all touched by love.

 

General Interest

Chesterton, G.K. Everlasting Man , The Two-part history of mankind, Christ, and Christianity. It is to some extent a conscious rebuttal of H.G. Well’s book which argued for a purely evolutionary origin of man and against the divinity of Christ.
Lewis, C.S. Screwtape Letters Shrewd moral insights from correspondence between an arch-devil and his apprentice.

  

History

Alexander, Caroline Endurance, The True story of Shackleton’s ill-fated expedition to Antarctica in 1914, an amazing feat of courage and survival. Illustrated with remarkable photos.
Beevor, Antony Stalingrad Detailed narrative of the horrific battle of Stalingrad in World War II.
Birnbaun, Louis Red Dawn at Lexington One of the best narrative histories about the outbreak of the American Revolution, from the Boston Tea Party to the close of 1776.
Bishop, Jim Day Lincoln Was Shot, The An hour-by-hour account of events leading up to Lincoln’s assassination.
Bradford, Ernle Great Siege, The Stirring narrative of how the Knights of Malta held of the Turkish invasion of that island in 1565, thus saving Europe.
Catton, Bruce Part 1 of 3: The Coming Fury Explores the causes and events leading to the start of the war, culminating in its first major combat, the First Battle of Bull Run.
Catton, Bruce Part 2 of 3: Terrible Swift Sword Both sides mobilize for a massive war effort and the story continues through 1862, ending with the Battle of Fredericksburg.
Catton, Bruce Part 3 of 3: Never Call Retreat The war continues through Vicksburg, Gettysburg, and the bloody struggles of 1864 and 1865 before the final surrender.
Catton, Bruce Stillness at Appomatox, A Won the Pulitzer prize. Describes the campaigns of Grant in Virginia during 1864 to the end of the war in 1865.
Crowley, Roger Empires of the Sea: The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World Excellent narrative of the momentous struggle against the Turks in the 16th century.
Fischer, David Hackett Paul Revere’s Ride Story of Paul Revere and his famous exploits, much more interesting than the popular myth about him. Good companion book to Birnbaum’s above.
Fischer, David Hackett Washington’s Crossing Well written account of Washington’s crossing the Delaware River and the New Jersey campaign of 1777, a turning point in the American Revolution.
Ketchum, Richard Saratoga Excellent narrative of Britain’s campaign in upper New York (1777) leading to the decisive Battle of Saratoga, a turning point in the American revolution.
Klein, Maury Days of Defiance Gripping, detailed narrative of events leading up to the Southern attack on Ft. Sumter in Charlestown harbor, the spark that ignited the American Civil War.
Lafore, Lawrence Long Fuse , The The very best popular, one-volume study about the origins of World War I.
Lord, Walter Night to Remember, A Sinking of the Titanic.
Mattingly, Garrett Armada, The Incomparable narrative about the ill-fated Spanish armada and its defeat against the British in 1588.
McCullough, David Great Bridge, The Engineering feat: building of the Brooklyn Bridge.
McCullough, David Path Between the Seas, The Excellent account of one of engineering’s greatest achievements: the building of the Panama Canal.
McPherson, James Battle Cry Of Freedom Pulitzer-Prize winning 1-volume history of the American Civil War: causes, events, personalities, outcome. A great book.
Moore & Galloway We were Soldiers Once… and Young Detailed, very moving narrative about the La Drang Offensive during the Vietnam War, 1965.
Moorehead, Alan Blue Nile, The History of a 19th century exploration in East Africa to headwaters of the Nile.
Moorehead, Alan White Nile, The History of a 19th century exploration in East Africa to headwaters of the Nile.
Sears, Stephen Landscape Turned Red, The History of the Battle of Antietnam.

 

Philosophy

Adler, Mortimer Ten Philosophical Mistakes Simple, clear account of ten mistakes made by modern philosophers.
Kreeft, Peter Refutation of Moral Relativism, A Entertaining and helpful refutation of moral relativism, written in dialogue form.
Lewis, C.S. Abolition of Man, The Reflections on modern education; defends objective values and natural law, and their compatibility with science.
Plato Apology of Socrates Dialogue with the defense speech of Socrates against the charge of impiety and corrupting the youth; the trial took place in 399 B.C.

 

Spiritual Reading

Canals, Salvador Jesus as Friend Great, short chapters about fundamental aspects of the spiritual life.
Escriva, St. Josemaria Christ is Passing By Collection of homilies given on major feasts throughout the year.
Escriva, St. Josemaria Forge, The Collection of 1055 aphorisms designed to help and foster personal prayer, and tracing the soul’s journey through life.
Escriva, St. Josemaria Friends of God Collection of homilies covering major themes of the Christian life.
Escriva, St. Josemaria Furrow Collection of 1000 aphorisms designed to help and foster personal prayer, and focusing on all the human and Christian virtues.
Escriva, St. Josemaria Holy Rosary Commentary on each mystery of the rosary.
Escriva, St. Josemaria Stations of the Cross Commentary on each station of the cross.
Escriva, St. Josemaria Way, The St. Josemaria’s most famous and best-selling book. Collection of 999 aphorisms designed to help and foster personal prayer, tracing one’s path through the spiritual life.
NA Bible, The The 46 books of the Old Testament, and the 27 books of the New Testament.
NA Scepter booklets #s: 15, 18, 20, 43, 61, 62, 89, 92, 118, 122, 125, 147, 158, 168, 179, 184, 188, 208 Excellent short pamphlets written to help one grow in living the Christian life. Available at www.tenley.org
NA Scepter booklets #s: 4, 8, 66, 96, 123, 124, 136, 140, 152, 159, 169, 172, 174, 180, 187, 201 Excellent short pamphlets written to increase your knowledge on foundational and pertinent issues in Catholic doctrine and philosophy. Available at www.tenley.org
Sheed, Frank Map of Life, A Gives great insight and perspective on one’s struggle for sanctity.
Sheed, Frank To Know Christ Jesus Using insightful commentary on the gospels, a great book for learning about Christ.
Suarez, Federico Narrow Gate, The A straight-forward look at the necessity for struggle in the Christian life.
Casciaro, Pedro Dream and your dreams will fall short First-hand account of a man who lived with St. Josemaria in the early years of Opus Dei.
NA Catechism of the Catholic Church. Official summary and handbook of Catholic doctrine, broken into four parts: the creed, the sacraments, the moral law, and prayer.
Trese, Leo J. Faith Explained, The Classic, systematic explanation of the teachings of the Catholic Church.

 

Biography

Abbott.J Mary Queen of Scots
Baldwin, Neil Edison: Inventing the Century
Chesterton, G.K. Charles Dickens: The Last of the Great Man
Massie, R.K. Nicholas and Alexandra
Mattingly, Garrett Catherine of Aragon
McCullough, David Truman
Morison, Samuel Eliot Christopher Columbus: Mariner
Morison, Samuel Eliot John Paul Jones

 

Fiction

Bradbury, Ray Fahrenheit 451
Bradbury, Ray Illustrated Man, The
Bradbury, Ray Martian Chronocles, The
Bronte, Charlotte Jane Eyre
Bronte, Emily Wuthering Heights
Browning, Robert Selected Poems
Cather, Willa O Pioneers
Cather, Willa Shadows on the Rock
Cervantes, Miguel de Don Quixote
Christie, Agatha Curtain
Christie, Agatha Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Christie, Agatha Tuesday Club Murders, The
Conrad, Joseph Heart of Darkness, The
Conrad, Joseph Lord Jim
Cooper, James Fenimore Deerslayer, The
Cooper, James Fenimore Leatherstocking Tales, The
Cooper, James Fenimore Pathfinder, The
Cooper, James Fenimore Spy, The
Crichton, Michael Andromeda Strain, The
Dickens, Charles Great Expectations
Eliot, George Silas Marner
Forester, C.S. Horatio Hornblower Series, The
Forester, C.S. Last Nine Days of Bismarck, The
Hemingway, Ernest Old Man and the Sea, The
Kipling, Rudyard Light That Failed, The
Kipling, Rudyard Man Who Would Be King, The
Kipling, Rudyard Plain Tales from the Hills
Lewis, C.S. Out of the Silent Planet
Lewis, C.S. Perelandra
London, Jack Call of the Wild, The
London, Jack White Fang
Malory, Thomas Le Morte D’ Arthur
Melville, Herman Billy Budd
Mitchell , Margaret Gone with the Wind
Paton, Alan Cry the Belowed Country
Roberts, Kenneth Arundel
Roberts, Kenneth Northwest Passage
Roberts, Kenneth Oliver Wiswell
Roberts, Kenneth Rable in Arms
Sabatini, Rafael Captain blood
Schaefer, Dorothy Shane
Scott Card, Orson Ender’s Game
Scott, Sir Walter Ivanhoe
Scott, Sir Walter Talisman, The
Steinbeck, John Pearl, The
Stowe, Harriet Betcher Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Tolkien, JRR Silmarillion, The
Verne, Jules Around the World in 80 Days
Verne, Jules Journey to the Center of the Earth
Verne, Jules Mysterious Island
Waugh, Evelyn Scoop
Wells, H.G. Invisible Man, The
Wells, H.G. War of the Worlds
Wodehouse, P.G. Virtually all his Works
Wren, P.C. Beau Geste

  

History

Bullock, Alan Hitler: A study in Tyranny
Churchill, Winston Crisis, The
Churchill, Winston Gathering Storm, The
Churchill, Winston History of the English-Speaking Peoples, A
Churchill, Winston Their Finest Hour
Costain, Thomas B. Conquering Family, The
Costain, Thomas B. Last Plantagenets, The
Costain, Thomas B. Silver Chalice, The
Costain, Thomas B. Three Edwards, The
Costain, Thomas B. Tontine, The
Costain, Thomas B. William the Conqueror
Diaz, Bernal Conquest of Mexico, The
Hamilton, Edith Mythology
Hunt, Sir John Conquest of Everest
Kennedy, John F. Profiles in Courage
Parkman, Francis Oregon Trail, The
Tuchman, Barbara Guns of August, The
Tuchman, Barbara Zimmerman Telegram, The
White, Theodore H Making of the President 1960, The

 

Spiritual Reading

Scupoli, Lorenzo Spiritual Combat
Suarez, Federico Joseph of Nazareth
Suarez, Federico Mary of Nazareth
Casciaro, Jose Maria It is worth while

 

 

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