Dark Enlightenment Reading List

While creating the Free Man’s Reading List, some recommended I add some books on what is sometimes referred to as the Dark Enlightenment. The Dark Enlightenment is something I’ve been reading for years and my blog here sometimes edges near the periphery of that territory, moreso as time goes on. Neoreaction is something I desire to learn more about.

So, I’ve been trying to create a reading list over the last few monehts for those wanting to learn about the Dark Enlightenment and I’m going to try to read through it while reading through the Free Man’s list (because one massive, multi-year reading list just isn’t enough).

Before that, I’ll briefly explain the Dark Enlightenment. It is essentially the realization that men are not equal. It is a reactionary movement against the progressivist ideology that dominates the Cathedral (ie. the elites) and is based on the untrue assumption of the equality of man.

Beyond that, there is a diverse array of ideologies among those that would be considered part of the Dark Enlightenment. Among those in the Dark Enlightenment are reactionaries, paleo-conservatives, paleo-libertarians, Christian traditionalists, formalists, fascists (in the non-pejorative sense), monarchists, tribalists, ethno-nationalists, nihilists, hedonists, and many others. The uniting link between these disparate ideologies is opposition to the current progressivist order and her sister ideologies of democracy, egalitarianism, socialism, feminism, multiculturalism, modernity, etc.

This list is meant to introduce someone to the Dark Enlightenment and its ideas. There is little discussion of the various little tribes of the movement; these are more focused on the broad-brush issues.

Not all (or even most) of the writers here would consider themselves part of the Dark Enlightenment, but these are books and writings I think would be useful in introducing the ideas that are fundamental to the DE.


First we start with a few introductory web readings on what the Dark Enlightenment is:

The Dark Enlightenment Defined
The Dark Enlightenment Explained
The Path to the Dark Enlightenment
The Essence of the Dark Enlightenment
An Introduction to Neoreaction
Neoreaction for Dummies

Here is are two longer introductions that may be helpful for some. The first is by a non-reactionary and may be useful for those now from the right:
Reactionary Philosophy in a Nutshell
The Dark Enlightenment – Nick Land

The Cathedral Explained.

Being introduced to Dark Enlightenment thought, I would suggest reading When Wish Replaces Thought by Steven Goldberg. The book itself is written by a liberal, but thoroughly debunks numerous liberal shibboleths through objective logic. It’s not reactionary in itself, but it will cause someone capable of thinking to question what they view as accepted “truths”.

Then try Three Years of Hate from In Mala Fide. The collection of essays touches on numerous neoreactionary topics and is an enjoyable, easy-to-read entry point, as long as you don’t mind the virulent nihilism and offensiveness of the book.

Now we can get down to the various categories of dark enlightenment thought. You can read these categories in whatever order you wish; each is somewhat separate, but all are inter-connected.

I probably have missed some stuff, so feel free to provide some suggestions.


The Decline

These books introduce outline the decline of our civilization, the reasons, and the potential consequences. These books are more ‘mainstream’and due to their natures, each highlights numerous interrelated ideas. Because of this, they should make a good introduction.

We are Doomed – John Derbyshire
America Alone – Mark Steyn
After America – Mark Steyn
Death of the West – Pat Buchanan
The Abolition of Britain – Peter Hitchens


Civil Society and Culture

The importance of organic community and culture are embraced by all rightests. These books outline the the disappearance of organic community due to modern society and the decline of our culture.

Coming Apart – Charles Murray
Disuniting of America – Arthur Schlesinger
The Quest for Community – Robert Nisbet
Bowling Alone – Robert Putnam
Life at the Bottom – Theodore Dalrymple
Intellectuals and society – Thomas Sowell


Western Civilization

These books analyze the importance of western civiliziation.

Civilization: The West and the Rest – Niall Ferguson
Culture Matters – Samuel Huntington
The Uniqueness of Western Civilization – Ricardo Duchesne



Mencius Moldbug is one of the more influential neoreactionaries. His blog, Unqualified Reservations, is required reading; if you have not read Moldbug, you do not understand modern politics or modern history. Start here for an overview of major concepts: Moldbuggery Condensed. Introduction to Moldbuggery has the Moldbug reading list. Start with Open Letter series, then simply go from the beginning.


Reactionary Thought

Start with Carlyle’s first two:

Chartism – Thomas Carlyle
Latter-Day Pamphlets – Thomas Carlyle

Then move onto the other two major works necessary to enter the Froude society:

The Bow of Ulysses – James Anthony Froude
Popular Government – Henry Summers Maine

Then finish off Carlyle:
Shooting Niagara – Carlyle
The Occasional Discourse – Carlyle
On Heroes, Hero Worship & the Heroic in History – Carlyle

Having gotten through Carlyle we can move onto Julius Evola. Here’s his three main works in recommended reading order, but first a very short summation of his work and practical application thereof.

The Handbook of Traditional Living – Raido
Men Among the Ruins – Julius Evola
Ride the Tiger – Julius Evola
Revolt Against the Modern World – Julius Evola

Here are a few other reactionaries to read gained from Moldbug, Radish, and elsewhere.

Reflections of a Russian Statesman – Konstantin Pobedonostsev
Decline of the West – Oswald Spengler
Hour of Decision – Oswald Spengler
On Power – Jouvenel
Against Democracy and Equality – Tomislav Sunic
New Culture, New Right – Michael O’Meara
Why We Fight – Guillaume Faye



Dark enlightenment economics tend towards either the Austrian school, techno-capitalism, or some form of economic nationalism/protectionism/mercantalism. Here’s some basic Austrian economics to destroy what modern keynesian notions you may have. This overlaps with the other reading list.

Economics in One Lesson – Henry Hazlitt
Basic Economics – Thomas Sowell
That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen – Frederic Bastiat
Man, Economy, and State – Murray Rothbard
Human Action – Ludwig von Mises



Human bio-diversity (HBD) studies the biological roots of human behaviour a major topic within the Dark Enlightenment as genetic differences between people and groups provide a more fundamental view of inequality than the “root causes” touted by the Cathedral.

Darwin’s Enemies on the Left and Right Part 1, Part 2

The History and Geography of Human Genes (Abridged edition) – Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza
The 10,000 Year Explosion – Gregory Cochrane
Race, Evolution, and Behavior – Rushton
Why Race Matters – Michael Levin


Intelligence and Mind

The science of intelligence and the mind is closely related to HBD and provides one of the more visible and controversial aspects of the Dark Enlightenment, while destroying the blank slate ideology.

The Bell Curve – Charles Murray
The Global Bell Curve – Richard Lynn
Human Intelligence – Earl Hunt
Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence – Robert Sternberg
A Conflict of Visions – Thomas Sowell
The Blank Slate – Stephen Pinker
Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature – Murray Rothbard (essay)



The control of the modern education system and its leading role in the perpetuation of the Cathedral has made the modern education system and its

Real Education – Charles Murray
Inside American Education – Thomas Sowell
Illiberal Education – Dinesh D’Sousa
God and Man at Yale – William Buckley
Weapons of Mass Instruction – John Taylor Gatto
The Higher Education Bubble – Glenn Reynolds



These books outline the biological realities of sex and sexual differences that are denied by the Cathedral.

The Way of Men – Jack Donovan
Sperm Wars – Robin Baker
Sex at Dawn – Christopher Ryan
Why Men Rule – Steven Goldberg
Demonic Males – Dale Peterson
The Essential Difference – Simon Baron-Cohen
The Mating Mind – Geoffrey Miller
The Red Queen – Matt Ridley



It is essential to know how government works for any reactionary; these books will show you. Also, yes, I did include a TV show; watch Yes, Minister, there is simply no better way to actually understand the actual mechanics of government than to watch this show. I work in government, and yes, bureaucrats will say this is exactly how government works.

Mau-mauing the Flak Catchers – Tom Wolfe
Public Choice: An Introduction – Iain McLean
On Government Employment – Foseti (blog post)
Yes, Minister – TV Show



Complete Verse – Rudyard Kipling
Harrison Bergeron – Kurt Vonnegut
Camp of the Saints – Jean Raspail


Other Related Reading Lists

Derbyshire’s list of Dark Enlightenment blogs
The Great Books of The Aristocracy
Library of the Dark Enlightenment

24 responses to “Dark Enlightenment Reading List

  • Arred Wade

    I think the Cathedral is defined more narrowly as the specific institutions responsible for shaping public opinion and the government agencies through which they exert influence. It gets misused a lot these days, but it means Harvard and the State Department, for example, and not the whole of yankee liberalism as so much of the blogosphere seems believe.

    Great list.

  • Foseti

    I’d also recommend reading a bunch of first-hand sources about any the wars the US has fought in. Moldbug provides various suggestions for all of them.

    The result is always enlightening, if darkly so.

  • Great Books For Men GreatBooksForMen GBFM (TM) GB4M (TM) GR8BOOKS4MEN (TM) lzozozozozlzo (TM)


    what abo0ut da GRETA BOOKS FOR MENZZ!?? zllzozozo

    The renaissance hath begun.

    As Athena called Telemachus to adventure–to sail forth and learn the news of His True Father Odysseus, so too does GBFM call upon ye to man up, sail forth, and learn the news of your true Fathers.

    Like Hamlet you came of age in a world where your father–THE GREAT BOOKS FOR MEN–had been murdered. Where they had been debauched, debased, bernenekfified out of the fiat-debt curriculum. And just as Hamlet’s Father called upon Him to Avenge his Death and Set the World Right, so too do I call upon all of ye buton-mashing gamersz and manboob betasz churchians to Man Up and Honor Your True Fathers.

    Like Odysseus’s son Telemachus you came of age in a house occupied by false suitors trying to buttehxt your mom Penelope alongside your future wife, deosuling her faster than Bill Bennett can gamble away a million dollars in Vegas. You came of age in a home absent of your true Father–Odysseus and THE GREAT BOOKS FOR MEN.

    Like Telemachus and Hamlet, you were born to know of your Fathers and do the work of your Fathers, as did Jesus. And like Jesus, you were born into a fallen world occupied by arrogant neeoconth Scribes and Pharisees, lorded over by intellectually-indifferent Pontius Pilates, ruled by mobs (and female prison wardensz lzozlz) who vote to set the murderer free, while sending Jesus to die upon the Cross.

    But all of that was then, and This is Now.

    Do not fail to Honor your Fathers by neglecting to live for the Classical, Epic Honor that so many of them not only Lived for, but Died For.

    Do not turn away from the vast Gifts they bequeathed you with–THE GREAT BOOKS AND CLASSICS.

    Begin today, begin today, all ye fanboyz mashing buttonz in your single-mom’s basements, all you PUA artsitsz trying to get your occkas wet in sterile bungholez and sterilized ginaholez made sterile by the fed’s before and morning after pillz. Begin today, all my fatherless, ritalin-addicted, gold-farming sons and READ the GREAT BOOKS FOR MEN.

    Learn of the HONOR of your FATHERS form Achilles and Moses on down. The tiny-cckcoaaks white-knighting Churchians will scowl and stamp their feet and scream at you that Jesus cam to Abolish the Law, while Jesus himself stated that He came to Fulfill it.

    When you were a child ye partook in childish things–in mashing buttons in your meaningless videogamez.

    But now that you are a Man, it is time to Man Up, which does not mean marrying a babebrnekified beenrnakified butethxted, desouled, single monz, but reading THE GREAT BOOKS FOR MEN.

    Begin today my firendz. BEGIINZ TODAYZ.

    I propose that a renaissance in the Great Books and Classics is needed so as to re-instill a more traditional Code of Honor which will enrich the lives of men, women, and children, and liberate us all from the debt-financed debauchery, deconstruction, and debasement.

    All men should begin immediately by reading the following books which the central bankers and their fellow churchians hate, fear, and detest:

    0. THE BIBLE
    1. Homer’s Iliad
    2. Homer’s Odyssey
    3. Exodus & Ecclesiastes & The Psalms
    4. Virgil’s Aeneid
    5. Socrates’ Apology
    6. The Book of Matthew & Jefferson’s Bible
    7. Plato’s Repulic
    8. Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic
    9. Aristotle’s Poetics
    10. Dante’s Inferno
    11. The Declaration of Independence
    12. The Constitution
    13. John Milton’s Paradise Lost
    14. Shakespeare’s Hamlet
    15. Newton’s Principia
    16. Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and Theory of Moral Sentiments
    17. Henry David Thoreau’s Walden
    18. Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn (& all of his work)
    19. Shakespeare’s Hamlet
    20. Ludwig von Mises’ A Theory of Money and Credit
    21. F.A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom
    22. Herman Melville’s Moby Dick
    23. Einstein’s The Meaning of Relativity
    24. Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces and The Power of Myth
    25. Ron Paul’s Revolution & End the Fed
    26. THE BIBLE

    And as men are reading the Great Books for Men, they must start enacting their principles in the living world, so as to exalt our legal system and universities, for it is not enough to think and read, but virtue is ultimately defined by *action*.

  • Transmillenium

    The Manipulated Man by Esther Vilar
    The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
    Annotations on an Implicit Text (Escolios a un texto implícito) by Nicolás Gómez Dávila
    Art of Manliness: Classic Skills & Advice for the Modern Man by Brett McKay
    You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney
    No Man’s Land (Free e-book) by Jack Donovan
    30 Days of Discipline by Victor Pride
    The Principles That Govern Social Interaction (free e-book) by Manhood Academy
    The Resistance by Ernesto Sabato

  • josh

    No history?

  • PA

    Arthur Koestler” Darkness at Noon”

  • Tim

    Robert Wright’s “The Moral Animal” is a great intro to evo psych.

  • nydwracu

    Confucius and Han Feizi.

  • Ransom Culhane

    Don’t forget Patriarcha; or the Natural Power of Kings by Sir Robert Filmer

  • Martel

    A lot of great stuff here, but and important point you forgot to mention:

    “Yes, Minister” is absolutely downright hilarious. It’s got amazing acting, as well.

    Also, there’s a companion book to the series (ostensibly Hacker’s journal’s from the time) which works great or as a stand-alone book. I read it before seeing the show.

  • WillieMaize24

    I’d add: Fiction–Anything by Raymond Chandler, A Fan’s Notes-Frederick Exley: Government-any collection of Thomas Macaulay’s parliamentary speeches; Education-Erin O’Connor’s blog archives; Minding the Campus blog, Dissident Prof blog: History–Life on the Mississippi-Twain

  • Exurban Curmudgeon

    The psychologist Roy Baumeister has written some impressive stuff, most recently a book called “Is There Anything Good About Men?”

    A summary of this book from a lecture he gave:


  • Free Northerner

    Thanks for all your suggestions. I’ll look over them over the next few days and make the appropriate changes.

    @Tim: I thought I’d put the Moral Animal on there. Must’ve accidentally lost it at some point in the creation process..

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    […] What this was all supposed to lead up to was my own counter-reaction to the web’s new Bad Boys: the NeoReactionaries. As I began moving out from Nick Land’s site over on Outside In I followed the trail to the tributary flow-boys that seem to make up this post-futurist paleodrome, a throwback to that Burkean matrix of rock gut conservatism they are now calling the Dark Enlightenment. […]

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    […] Here are some additions to the Dark Enlightenment Reading List based on comments from the original post. […]

  • Avery Morrow

    I’ve actually been working on a similar list. It’s similar to yours but lacks the books written after 1970.

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  • AverageMoe

    Dark Enlightenment sound quite similar to Political Islam.

  • dalsgaard

    Be greeted psychoneurotics!

    For you see sensitivity in the insensitivity of the world,
    uncertainty among the world’s certainties.

    For you often feel others as you feel yourselves.

    For you feel the anxiety of the world, and
    its bottomless narrowness and self-assurance.

    For your phobia of washing your hands from the dirt of the world,
    for your fear of being locked in the world’s limitations.
    for your fear of the absurdity of existence.

    For your subtlety in not telling others what you see in them.

    For your awkwardness in dealing with practical things, and
    for your practicalness in dealing with unknown things,
    for your transcendental realism and lack of everyday realism,
    for your exclusiveness and fear of losing close friends,
    for your creativity and ecstasy,
    for your maladjustment to that “which is” and adjustment to that which “ought to be”,
    for your great but unutilized abilities.

    For the belated appreciation of the real value of your greatness
    which never allows the appreciation of the greatness
    of those who will come after you.

    For your being treated instead of treating others,
    for your heavenly power being forever pushed down by brutal force;
    for that which is prescient, unsaid, infinite in you.

    For the loneliness and strangeness of your ways.

    Be greeted!

    – Dabrowski


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    […] was reading ROK lately, and they like a lot of Dark Enlightenment blogs were covering these Catholic men who stood in front of their church to protect it from […]

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    […] “Great Books for Men” asks: “what abo0ut da GRETA BOOKS FOR MENZZ!?? zllzozozo” […]

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    […] Free Northerner publishes a reactionary reading list. […]

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