Essay:Greatest Conservative Novels
Conservative novels exist, and some are immensely influential. Please read one of these, or add a new one that you like to our growing list, or write your own!
|Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde||Robert Louis Stevenson||A fast-paced, brilliantly original tale about good and evil, with multiple references to God and Satan as well as mockery of the media (an official's “eye lighted up with professional ambition. 'This will make a deal of noise,'” meaning publicity)||Fiction in London||1886|
|Animal Farm||George Orwell||A short story by George Orwell, it describes a farm run by socialist animals. The animals rebel against its owners and set up a new farm under socialist ideas, though this idealistic future devolves into a dictatorship run by Napoleon the pig. Although it seems to be more pro-socialist, as the book goes on it begins to show the dangers and corruptness that arises through communism. It is based on the beginning of the Soviet Revolution, and every character represents either a prominent Soviet leader or a group of Russian citizens (Such as the elderly or workers).
Two film adaptations have been released: an animated film in 1954 and a live-action/puppet film in 1999.
|Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ||General Lew Wallace||The bestselling American novel of the 19th century, it tells the story of redemption by a victim around the time of Christ who is the hero in an indirect way.||Historical Fiction||1880|
|The Bostonians||Henry James||A brilliant satire of the elite in Boston in the late 1800s, this book hurt the career of the magnificent writer Henry James because liberals disliked both his mockery of them and his implicit criticism of the early feminist movement. James did not expect the politically motivated disdain for this classic, and it caused him to shift some of his time to writing plays.
A movie version was made in 1984, starring Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Reeve, and Jessica Tandy.
|1984 / Nineteen Eighty-Four||George Orwell||Another classic book by Orwell, it focuses on a civilian living in a Socialist world. The earth is split into 3 Nations : Oceania (The Americas, Australia, South Africa, and England), Eurasia (All of Europe and Russia), and Eastasia (Japan, China, and other parts of South Asia). All 3 nations fight over the left over areas, like North Africa and the Middle East, which result in endless casualties. There is constant editing of history. People, places, and things are constantly erased or changed or added (similar to the acts of the Soviet Union). Words and thoughts are censored and use of them result in torture and death.||Dystopian||1949|
|One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich||Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn||This novel about a communist prison camp describes the triumph of faith and perseverance over inhumanity and compliance with evil.||Political Fiction||1962|
|The Brothers Karamazov||Fyodor Dostoyevsky||The book is about keeping your traditional values, such as love in God, in a quickly changing world.||Philosophical Fiction||1880|
|Crime and Punishment||Fyodor Dostoyevsky||A man must argue against his morality in this novel. The main character, a poor school drop-out, murders a corrupt pawnbroker and takes her cash. Although he knows murder and robbery is wrong, he uses the stolen cash to do good and help people. This is similar to the tale of Robin Hood, who steals from the rich and gives to the poor.||Philosophical Fiction||1886|
|Detransition, Baby||Torrey Peters||Reese, an infertile woman, is forced to choose between her hedonistic, bohemian lifestyle and her lifelong desire for motherhood when a woman, Katrina, offers her the chance to adopt her new baby. As the title suggests, the book also features a gender-confused character, "Amy", who successful manages to "detransition" from the gender-confused lifestyle, adopting the male name Ames.||Drama||2021|
|Advise and Consent||Allen Drury||A gripping account of a confirmation battle in the U.S. Senate with an underlying criticism of how liberals think and act.||Political Fiction||1959|
|Fahrenheit 451||Ray Bradbury||The perils and harm caused by book-burning, a metaphor for censorship.||Science Fiction||1953|
|The First Circle||Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn||The book follows "Zeks" , a group of intelligent scientists living in Soviet gulags forced to work for the Soviet Government ; they're forced to help improve a government that causes too much pain and suffering. The novel is about the moral struggle between keeping yourself alive and causing someone else more pain in the future or doing the right thing.||Autobiographical Fiction||1968|
|The Moon is a Harsh Mistress||Robert Heinlein||Set in a Lunar Colony created as a prison on the Moon in the year 2075, Heinlein tells the story of the revolution by the Moon colony and its criminal population against the authoritarian Earth (Similar to a Soviet Gulag revolting against the USSR). The novel seems to lean towards Libertarian beliefs.||Science Fiction||1966|
|Double Star||Robert Heinlein||Fate smiles on a skilled but extraordinarily vain, racist (OK: species-ist), and seemingly hopelessly character-flawed actor induced by chance casting to practice better behavior for long enough dimly to recognize the worth of doing so for its own sake - and duly grows into the role becoming, to his own amazement, a significant and inspiring historical figure.||Science Fiction||1956|
|Starship Troopers||Robert Heinlein||Human society had to rebuild itself after a war between Communist China and a Russian, British and American alliance. As part of that rebuilding, mustered-out veterans, returning to find their home cities in disorder, imposed an order of their own, leading to a society in which one has to earn the right to vote by serving the society by putting one's life at risk. A young man, a product of this society, joins a Marines-like space infantry to impress a female friend at his school, but makes a career of it and goes on to become an officer – as his society must fight a major war against a species of spider-like social insects. A stark contrast between total communism and a society where those who would take part in running the state, must first risk their lives for the sake of the state.||Science Fiction||1959|
|Lord of the Rings||J.R.R. Tolkien||With about 150 Million copies sold, this book is said to be the best-selling novel of all time. The book touches on themes of corruptness through absolute power, Fate VS Free Will, and Death.||Fantasy||1954-1955|
|The Man Who Was Thursday||G.K. Chesterton||This book follows an English detective recruited to an Anti-Anarchist branch of Scotland Yard.||Fantasy||1908|
|Darkness at Noon||Arthur Koestler||The book is set in the year 1938 in the now Communist Russia. The main character, Nicholas Rubashov, stands trial during one of Josef Stalin's infamous Purges. A former Bolshevik leader, he is tried for treason against the nation he helped to change. Although the novel is based on true events, Koestler doesn't use names like "Stalin" or "The Soviet Union". The novel is about the dangers of communism, similar to "Animal Farm" , and tries to show the reader how corrupt the Soviet system is.||Dystopian||1940|
|The Camp of the Saints||Jean Raspail||Back on the Bestseller list, Le Camp Des Saints is a book that could be applied to modern day. Its about citizens from a third world country that mass immigrate to Europe and America and absolutely destroy the Western culture. The book has "Rouge States" , Countries that refuse to give in to pressure from others to accept immigrants. It can be applied to modern day with Muslims. Muslims come into countries (Germany, England, ECT.) and rape their once great culture and turn it into the hell that was their home countries.||Speculative Fiction||1973|
|State of Fear||Michael Crichton||Crichton's novel revolves around a terrorism plot by "Eco-Terrorists" to raise attention on Global Warming / Global Cooling / Climate Change / Climate Disruption / Carbon Pollution. Even though the book is a work of dystopian fiction, it tries to get readers to think about both sides of the global warming debate. Critics and readers say this ruin the book's story.||Dystopian||2004|
|The Red Badge of Courage||Stephen Crane||About redemption, this book is about a Union Army Private during the United States Civil War. During a battle, he fled from the skirmish. Overcome by shame, he decides that he could redeem himself if he takes a bullet for his cause.||Fiction||1895|
|Persepolis||Marjane Satrapi||Graphic novel about a teen girl in Iran at the time of the 1979 Iranian Revolution who secretly gains a liking for Western culture and realises how corrupt her country's new Islamic extremist government is. The book portrays American values positively and the authoritarian regime of Iran negatively.||Fiction||1980|
|Nuremberg: The Reckoning||William F. Buckley, Jr.||Set during the 1945 Nazi War Crime trials in Nuremberg, Germany, a young German-American interpreter must listen and translate stories of the brutal treatment by National Socialist German Workers' Party members of Jews during the Holocaust. Being of German descent, he must deal with the shame he now has from his home country's acts.||Historical Fiction||2003|
|Gilead||Marilynne Robinson||Gilead is the autobiography of a fictional dying pastor from Iowa who writes about his life for his young son to read. The son, who wont have many memories of his father, develops a love for God and family through this diary-like book from his father.||Fiction||2004|
|Rainbow Six||Tom Clancy||About a counter-terrorist unit in several nations, it focuses on the unit as they deal with terrorist plots worldwide, similar to the G.I. Joe team but worldwide. The concept was so popular it has spawned a video game series, starting in 1998 and still continuing today, giving teenage gamers good morals.||Techno-Thriller||1998|
|Red Storm Rising||Tom Clancy||This book focuses on a Third World War between the forces of NATO And those of the Warsaw Pact. Surprisingly, the war never escalated to the point where nuclear warheads were used, but conventional guns and vehicles were used instead.||Techno-Thriller||1986|
|The Bridges at Toko-Ri||James Michener||About US Navy pilots during the Korean war, they must destroy bridges in enemy territory used by the Koreans to send supplies and soldiers to the front. The story was so popular it eventually spawned a movie of the same name in 1954.||Fiction||1953|
|The Thin Red Line||James Jones||War Story||1962|
|Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero||Henryk Sienkiewicz||Historical Fiction||1895|
|The Day of the Jackal||Frederick Forsyth||Spy Fiction||1971|
|Master and Commander||Patrick O'Brian||Historical Fiction||1969|
|The Idiot||Fyodor Dostoevsky||Philosophical Fiction||1868|
|The Overton Window||Glenn Beck||Fiction||2010|
|The Fountainhead||Ayn Rand||Philosophical Fiction||1943|
|Little Women||Louisa May Alcott||Jo March and her sisters come of age during the end of the Civil War, in which their father is fighting for the Union. The March sisters hold to conservative values taught by their mother despite pressure from their companions.||Bildungsroman||1868|
|One Second After||William R. Forstchen||Speculative Fiction||2009|
|The Screwtape Letters||C.S. Lewis||C.S Lewis tells the story of Screwtape, a demon mentoring his "nephew" Wormwood and giving him advice on how to tempt Christians, revealing the weaknesses the Church must repair.||Satire||1942|
|The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe||C.S. Lewis||Four children cross over from a wardrobe to a fantasy world called Narnia, where the heroic lion Aslan prepares a great battle against the White Witch, who wants to keep Narnia in an eternal winter. Contains many Christian allegories.||Fantasy||1984|
|Dracula||Bram Stoker||Abraham van Helsing is a Christian vampire slayer who does what he believes is right.||Horror Fiction||1897|
|Frankenstein||Mary Shelley||A condemnation of scientism and stark warning against the dangers and consequences of playing God.||Horror Fiction||1818|
|The Canterbury Tales||Geoffrey Chaucer||It's about a pilgrimage, or quest for Christianity from the Christians' standpoint.||Anthology||1478|
|Beowulf||Anonymous||Depicts the ever going battle between good and evil with Christianity being the good.||Poetry||700-1000 A.D.|
|The Jungle Book||Rudyard Kipling||A boy named Mowgli is found orphaned in the Indian jungle and is raised by a pack of wolves, with Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear as his teachers. He also faces down Shere Khan, a crippled tiger who wants to kill and eat Mowgli after separating him from his parents. The book promotes friendship and family values, and misanthropy is frowned down upon.||Children's Literature||1894|
|Maus||Art Spiegelman||Portrays the sheer disgustingness of the German National Socialists from the viewpoint of a Holocaust survivor. In 2022 the book was banned by the McMinn County School Board in Tennessee||Autobiography/Biography||1980|
|Gone with the Wind||Margaret Mitchell||Celebrates man-and-woman relationships as well as a strong heroic woman who is the antithesis of a modern feminist.||Historical Fiction||1936|
|Winnie the Pooh series||A.A. Milne||Winnie-the-Pooh and his toy friends, along with Christopher Robin, experience the innocence of childhood. A classic standing against the Liberals' attempts to ruin childhood.||Children's Literature||1924-1928|
|A Christmas Carol||Charles Dickens||A classic Christmas story about how Ebenezer Scrooge decides to give up his miserly ways and shows the dangers of hating Christmas in the end.||Novella||1843|
|The Gift of the Magi||O Henry||Heart warming story about a poor married couple who sacrifice their most cherished possessions to buy each other a Christmas gift.||Fiction.||1905|
|The Monkey's Paw||W.W Jacobs||Warns of the consequences of playing God.||Horror||1902|
|The Railway Series||Rev. W. Awdry (1945–1946, 1948–1970, 1972) Christopher Awdry (1983–1996, 2007, 2011)||Promotes friendship values and many of the anthropomorphic trains overcome hardships.||Children's Literature||1945–1946, 1948–1970, 1972, 1983–1996, 2007, 2011|
|Of Sound Mind||Jean Farris||It's about overcoming hardships as a high school senior named Theo is the only hearing member of an all deaf family. It also promotes friendship and family values.||Realistic Fiction||2001|
|Painting the Black||Carl Deuker||For the majority of this book, it promotes friendship values between a baseball playing high school senior named Ryan Ward and his best friend named Josh Daniels, who plays both football and baseball. After Josh grabs a girl by the bra at lunch, has a mocking article in the school newspaper, and attempts to sexually assault the girl who wrote it as revenge, Ryan doesn't want to rat him out but eventually does. The ending has a message about overcoming such hardships. The book can also be seen to show the dangers and consequences of anger.||Realistic Fiction/Sports Fiction||1997|
|The Divine Comedy||Dante||Describes the dangers of wrongdoing, which could have you end up in the infamous Inferno (Hell) and the virtues of doing the right thing, which could have you end up in Heaven. It also talks about Purgatory.||Epic Poetry||1320|
|Ferdinand the Bull||Munro Leaf||This book is about a bull named Ferdinand who lives in Spain and prefers to stay under his favorite cork tree and smell flowers over fighting a matador in a bullring. It also inspired conservative leader Martin Luther King. In 1938, Walt Disney had created a cartoon about Ferdinand, and an animated movie about Ferdinand (created by Blue Sky Studios) was released after in 2017.||Children's Literature||1936|
|Watership Down||Richard Adams||This book tells of a band of British rabbits led by two brothers - clever leader Hazel and prophetic Fiver - as they journey to a new home when their old home is bulldozed. Once they reach their new home, they spend the novel building it up by recruiting more rabbits to join them, as well as fend off an attack from an aggressive neighboring warren.
While Richard Adams said that the book is more for entertainment and not an allegory, there are still some lessons to be learned in the story. The book promotes upholding traditions, though the rabbits are not afraid to break tradition once in a while to make their new home (for example, females do most of the digging for their babies, but the males that made it through the journey decide to dig in their place), thus showing that there is room for both conservative values and progressive values. Totalitarian rule is condemned in the form of the book's villain: General Woundwort, who rules Efrefa with an iron paw; he keeps his rabbits in seclusion in Efrefa to the point of them overcrowding and allows his council to rip the ears of another rabbit named Blackavar for trying to escape. Courage, loyalty, and fighting for one's home are shown in a positive light, an example being Bigwig (a friend of Hazel's and an officer in the "Owsla") helping his friends defend their new home and fighting Woundwort himself. Hazel and Fiver share a strong brotherhood; while they have their differences in ways of thinking (Hazel being more daring and Fiver being more cautious), they ultimately respect each other and care for each other, showing brotherhood in a good way. Finally, while there is some environmentalism in the book (though the humans are portrayed as mainly apathetic to the rabbits' lives, and Richard Adams had condemned urbanizing the countryside), it does show that humans can be good to rabbits, as seen when a girl named Lucy saves Hazel from her cat and releases him back into the wild.
An animated movie based on the book premiered in 1978, which (while portraying the same values as the book) is remembered for being pretty graphic and violent. A three-season animated TV series was released in 1999 and ended in 2001, being the most family-friendly of Watership Down adaptations. BBC released a CGI Netflix miniseries in 2018, which follows the book more than the 1978 film. A sequel to the book called Tales from Watership Down was published in 1996.
|Guardians of Ga'Hoole||Kathryn Lasky||The series stars a world where owls dominate the world after humanity goes extinct and form their own kingdoms; a band of owls called the Guardians of Ga'Hoole is formed, knightly owls who rise each night to perform noble deeds, protect the innocent, and vanquish evil. The first several books tell of the story of Soren, a young barn owl shoved out of the nest by his older brother Kludd, as he and an elf owl named Gylfie escape their captors and join new friends in finding the Great Ga'Hoole Tree. His nephew Coryn (born to the traitorous Kludd and Nyra) gets his story in the last few books, where he goes from child soldier to kindly king of Ga'Hoole.
These books positively portray a battle of good versus evil (showing who is clearly good and who is clearly evil) and objective morality, as well as portraying family in a positive light. Betraying family is seen in a negative light, an example being where Kludd shoves Soren out of the nest to pass a Pure Ones test, brainwashes his baby sister, and very likely kills his parents. Racism is rightfully portrayed as negative, as the Pure Ones are barn owl supremacists who want all other species of owls to be servants to barn owls; they even show hypocrisy by treating other Tytos in their ranks (like sooty owls and masked owls) lower than barn owls. Faith and science are both important in the series, where owl authors have written in books how the gizzard is important to owls both physically and mentally; the more scientific spotted owl Otulissa even learns to respect others' way of thinking even if she doesn't agree.
The books have also gotten a field guide, a collection of stories, and a prequel called The Rise of a Legend (which tells the long story of a soldier-turned-teacher owl named Ezylryb who had served in the owl army). Spinoffs were also included like Wolves of the Beyond, Horses of the Dawn, and Bears of the Ice. An animated movie called Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole was released in theatres in 2010, loosely based on the first three books of the series (The Capture, The Journey, and The Rescue).
|The Alchemist||Paulo Coelho||This novel is ultimately an anti-victimhood moral. It's a story about having a dream, and the number one thing that keeps us from achieving greatness is not some oppressive force, (although there will be obstacles), it's instead one's fear that keeps one from ever trying.
Set at some undisclosed time somewhere in the middle east, a young shepherd boy has a dream. Of which he is convinced is a prophetic vision where he will find a hidden treasure in Egypt. The boy is visited by a mysterious traveler (who turns out to be a famous biblical character) who knows without being told, the boys vision, and at the cost of 10% of his flock will help him on his journey.
The boy has to decide if he is going to take a leap of faith and embark on a journey that is filled with life lessons, hardships, and mysteries. While in the end, all these things were just a part of an ordained destiny, or as he puts it, necessary steps towards his "Personal Legend". It's a wonder quick read, with a wonder biblical story type feel but has magical or "Alchemist" elements similar to "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" that makes it appealing to fantasy readers.
It's all the more powerful and inspiring when you read the Author's life story, and realize the story is true.
|Elephants Are Not Birds||Ashley St. Clair||This children's book stars a young elephant child named Kevin who loves to sing, which prompts a vulture named Culture to trick him into believing that he was born a bird; the vulture even gives him some fake wings and a fake beak so that he can be one. Over the course of the book, however, Kevin comes to understand that he can't be a bird and decides to be happy as an elephant who loves to sing. The author confirms that this is an "unapologetic rebuke of the transgender acceptance and the growing number of young people identifying as trans", calling out the idea of creating many "genders" and confusing kids into becoming trans.||Children's literature||2021|
|Johnny the Walrus||Matt Walsh||Children's book about the harm of transgenderism, short and effective in its conservative messaging.||Children's Fiction||2021|
Debatable whether Conservative
|Bambi||Felix Salten||Even though it's anti-hunting, this novel featuring the life of a young European roe deer still promotes friendship and family values. An animated film by Walt Disney was released in 1942, changing the setting from Austria to Maine, USA, for a more familiar audience (and thus changing Bambi from a roe deer to a white-tailed deer).||Children's Literature||1923|
|Diary of a Wimpy Kid series||Jeff Kinney||Although these books are silly and don't necessarily portray friendship and family values in the most positive light, the main character, Greg Heffley and his family are Christians. Some of these books also have brief anti-public school and anti-environmentalist messages as well. Even though Greg Heffley can be a jerk sometimes, in some books, he overcomes certain hardships.||Comedy||2007-2017|
|The Great Gatsby||F. Scott Fitzgerald||It's about living the American Dream, but its stances on gambling seems to be rather mixed to positive. It also speaks against materialism, but seems to glorify Gatsby, the epitome of materialism and sexual immorality. He has an affair with Daisy despite her being married.||Historical Fiction||1925|
|Hocus Pocus and the All New Sequel||A.W. Jantha||The first part of this novelization of the classic 1993 Halloween film Hocus Pocus contain the same conservative messages that the movie had portrayed: family and friendship, as well as resisting against evil. The sequel has Max and Allison's daughter Poppy witnessing the three Sanderson witch sisters rising up again after twenty-five years, and she must work with her friends and Thackery Binx's ghost to stop them from wreaking the destruction that her parents and aunt had helped stop. While the sequel contains most of the same conservative messages that the book before and the film portrayed, Poppy is shown to be homosexual by having a crush on a fellow girl after being friends for years.||Young Adult Novel/Fantasy||2018|
|Hoot||Carl Hiaasen||While it seems to be rather pro-environmentalism and anti-capitalism, it still shows three teenaged kids standing up for what they believe in, doing what they believe is right, and even standing up to a bully.||Realistic Fiction||2002|
|The Lorax||Dr. Seuss||While it has an environmentalist agenda, it also warns against monopolies.||Children's Literature||1971|
|Lord of the Flies||William Golding||During a fictional World War 3, a plane containing schoolboys crashes, leaving the boys left on a deserted island. They band together for survival and make their own society, which begins to crumble the more they stay on the island. Conservative lessons include responsibility and self-reliance, for the boys make a fire to signal for help and also hunt for enough food for them all. On the other hand, the ending has a rather negative message on how there is ultimately no redemption, only a perpetuation of sin and violence. Christ has the promise of redemption.||Allegory||1954|
|Warriors||Erin Hunter||Warriors (or Warrior Cats) is an ongoing book series about five colonies of feral cats called Clans living together and fighting for survival. The series starts with a house cat named Rusty leaving his owners to join one of these Clans, and later books star much more characters that include the descendants of Rusty - who eventually becomes Firestar - and even cats from before his era. The series itself has had eight six-book arcs, fifteen stand-alone books, four manga arcs and four stand-alone manga novels, five field guides, and twenty-one novellas.
The series starts out pretty neutral, one example being that while the Clans are staying separate, they can still come together to fight whatever threatens all the Clans, including Scourge and his BloodClan cats as well as the Dark Forest (the cat version of hell). Family is mostly portrayed positively, an example being Firestar agreeing to adopt his sister's firstborn kitten Cloudtail so that he can be a warrior like him. Totalitarianism is condemned through leaders like Brokenstar, who kills kittens during battle practice and forces his cats to constantly go to war.
However, more liberal elements show up in later books. Characters protest the use of borders, an example being Mistystar's decision to temporarily close RiverClan's borders and look after her own cats first being portrayed as negative (however, this is seen as not completely bad by some fans, who said that it could put an end to inbreeding in the Clans). Moral relativism is seen as good in a way, an example being the author portraying the murderous manipulator Mapleshade as sympathetic by making everyone around her even worse; there are, however, instances where a villain's tragic history doesn't excuse their evil actions (like Scourge, Firestar's half-brother who grows up from a bullied kitten to the vicious leader of BloodClan). The Raging Storm portrays an unsubtle jab at Donald Trump's 2016 slogan "Make America Great Again" by painting Tigerheart's line "Make ShadowClan great again" in a negative light. The series promotes a slight environmentalist message in glorifying the wild cats' harsh life while having the Clan cats look down on house cats (known to them as "kittypets") for preferring to be with loving humans over wild living; one of the rules in their warrior code tells warriors to reject the "soft life" of house cats, encouraging contempt towards them. Finally, witchcraft and feminism seem to be glorified in the later books in the form of the Sisters: a band of molly cats who banish year-old tomcats from their group and create a ceremony that allows them to call ghosts from beyond the grave; one molly even scoffs that all toms want to do is fight and that everyone is better off without them, and no one debunks this.
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- Ten Great Conservative Novels according to National Review