First up, let us recommend three books released this year (one of which will show up a few more times in this list).
Celebrate the first decade of the Claremont Review of Books with Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: Ten Years of the Claremont Review of Books, which gathers together some of our journal's most distinctive essays, books reviews, and illustrations. Together, they diagnose a century of liberal excess and call for a renewed American conservatism, one that takes its bearings from the principles of the American Founding. Contributors include Hadley Arkes, Larry Arnn, Martha Bayles, William F. Buckley, Jr., Paul Cantor, James Ceaser, Angelo Codevilla, Joseph Epstein, Christopher Flannery, Mark Helprin, Harry Jaffa, Harvey Mansfield, Wilfred McClay, Cheryl Miller, Jaroslav Pelikan, Joseph Tartakovsky, Peter Schramm, Michael Uhlmann, William Voegeli, and James Q. Wilson.
CRB editor Charles R. Kesler's spirited analysis in I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism shows that the president represents either a new birth of liberalism—or its demise. Reflecting a sophisticated mix of philosophy, psychology, and history, and complemented by a scathing wit, I Am the Change tries to understand Obama as he understands himself, based largely on his own writings, speeches, and interviews. Kesler views him as a gifted and highly intelligent progressive who is attempting to become the greatest president in the history of modern liberalism. Intent on reinvigorating the liberal faith, Obama nonetheless fails to understand its fatal contradictions—a shortsightedness that may prove to be liberalism's undoing.
Harry V. Jaffa's Crisis of the Strauss Divided: Essays on Leo Strauss and Straussianism, East and West begins with an extensive unpublished autobiographical essay entitled "Straussian Geography: A Memoir and Commentary," which alone is worth the cover price. The book as a whole brings together a collection of Jaffa's published arguments on Leo Strauss, written during the 40 years since Strauss's death. The volume includes arguments of those who have disagreed with Jaffa about Strauss's teaching and about the nature of political philosophy. These wide ranging exchanges explore many of the great themes of political philosophy and, in particular, the implications of Strauss's thinking for America and modern civilization.