Acton Institute Powerblog

Reading Russell Kirk

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It’s the end of the year, so the book lists are out. I’m thinking about conservative icon Russell Kirk.

If you want a really enjoyable and edifying read, I recommend you begin with The Roots of American Order. That book will give you an understandable and historically grounded sense of what “ordered liberty” means. It will also open the mysteries of Kirk wide to the uninitiated reader. The prose is lively. Highly readable.

Kirk is more widely known for the book that made his reputation, The Conservative Mind, but I think The Roots of American Order is a better read for the vast majority of people.

Hunter Baker Hunter Baker, J.D., Ph.D. is associate professor of political science and university fellow at Union University. He is an affiliate scholar with the Acton Institute and a fellow with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Dr. Baker is the author of The End of Secularism,Political Thought: A Student's Guide, and The System Has a Soul.


  • I’ll second the recommendation for The Roots of American Order. It really changed the way I think about politics, making me less ideological.