100 books like Leviathan

By Thomas Hobbes,

Here are 100 books that Leviathan fans have personally recommended if you like Leviathan. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Wealth of Nations

Sylvana Tomaselli Author Of Wollstonecraft: Philosophy, Passion, and Politics

From my list on the eighteenth-century you should read for yourself.

Who am I?

I have had the privilege to teach the history of political theory from Plato to today for decades and to discuss texts such as the five I mentioned with very gifted students. No matter how often I return to such works, I always find something new in them and it is a pleasure to see how students learn to love reading for themselves what can be daunting works, once they overcome the fear of opening the great works and the initial challenge of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century prose.

Sylvana's book list on the eighteenth-century you should read for yourself

Sylvana Tomaselli Why did Sylvana love this book?

Even though Adam Smith is often said to be the father of all that is good or bad about capitalism very few people have read his famous Wealth of Nations. Why? Well, 1) they think they already know what’s in it: no government intervention in the economy, thank you. 2) It is two volumes. 3) It must be very dreary because it is about economics, and 4) they are not good at economics or math.  

But read it for yourself, and you will find that it is readable, nuanced, and you can skip the bits that you can’t make out, enjoy the examples, and decide for yourself what he actually argued and whether you agree with it or not.

By Adam Smith,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Wealth of Nations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, generally referred to by its shortened title The Wealth of Nations, is the magnum opus of the Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith. First published in 1776, the book offers one of the world's first collected descriptions of what builds nations' wealth, and is today a fundamental work in classical economics. By reflecting upon the economics at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the book touches upon such broad topics as the division of labour, productivity, and free markets.


Book cover of Reflections on the Revolution in France

Sylvana Tomaselli Author Of Wollstonecraft: Philosophy, Passion, and Politics

From my list on the eighteenth-century you should read for yourself.

Who am I?

I have had the privilege to teach the history of political theory from Plato to today for decades and to discuss texts such as the five I mentioned with very gifted students. No matter how often I return to such works, I always find something new in them and it is a pleasure to see how students learn to love reading for themselves what can be daunting works, once they overcome the fear of opening the great works and the initial challenge of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century prose.

Sylvana's book list on the eighteenth-century you should read for yourself

Sylvana Tomaselli Why did Sylvana love this book?

Allegedly the father of conservatism, Burke could as easily be deemed the father of liberalism, though neither label is appropriate. Easy to read, and a bit of a rant in sections, Burke’s Reflections is a good source if you want to pick up rhetorical skills. Besides the prose, it's interesting to see how someone who was known to have supported the American pleas for political representation and sympathetic to their grievance as well as those of the Irish people tried to explain how what was happening in France in the early years of the revolution was something profoundly different to anything that had ever happened hitherto, and on no account to be compared to the Glorious Revolution. Very few of his immediate readers could see what he was getting at.  

By Edmund Burke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reflections on the Revolution in France as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Reflections on the Revolution in France offers provocative political commentary from the British statesman Edmund Burke, that examines the early stages of the French Revolution. It's a searing criticism of those in and outside formal government who support the movement's unconventional methods.



The French Revolution was a decade-long social and political conflict that changed the landscape of modern France. Irish philosopher and politician Edmund Burke of the Whig Party wrote a pamphlet explaining fundamental errors within the revolution's approach. He believed the fight for freedom was too abstract and needed more sustainable and proven direction. Burke warned that without proper…


Book cover of A Vindication of the Rights of Men

Sylvana Tomaselli Author Of Wollstonecraft: Philosophy, Passion, and Politics

From my list on the eighteenth-century you should read for yourself.

Who am I?

I have had the privilege to teach the history of political theory from Plato to today for decades and to discuss texts such as the five I mentioned with very gifted students. No matter how often I return to such works, I always find something new in them and it is a pleasure to see how students learn to love reading for themselves what can be daunting works, once they overcome the fear of opening the great works and the initial challenge of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century prose.

Sylvana's book list on the eighteenth-century you should read for yourself

Sylvana Tomaselli Why did Sylvana love this book?

Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Men, was a vigorous attack, probably the first, on Burke and his Reflections. Short and merciless, it is a spirited diatribe and displays her strong argumentative skills. It is the foundation for her far better-known Vindication of the Rights of Woman. She may not be fair to him, but she thought he hadn’t been fair to anyone either. Both Burke and she are engaging in some of the great issues of modern politics.

By Mary Wollstonecraft,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Vindication of the Rights of Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Less known than Mary Wollstonecraft's later work, A Vindication of the Rights of Men was her first work as a feminist philosopher and commentator. Compared to A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, this work is more focused on the specific political environment of the time. However, it covers many of the same themes, including the importance of liberty and equality.

When it was initially published anonymously, it was both successful and and influential. Later, when Wollstonecraft revealed herself as the author, critics focused on her identity as a woman, rather than the political ideals, leading to her rejection by…


Book cover of Essays: Moral, Political, and Literary

Sylvana Tomaselli Author Of Wollstonecraft: Philosophy, Passion, and Politics

From my list on the eighteenth-century you should read for yourself.

Who am I?

I have had the privilege to teach the history of political theory from Plato to today for decades and to discuss texts such as the five I mentioned with very gifted students. No matter how often I return to such works, I always find something new in them and it is a pleasure to see how students learn to love reading for themselves what can be daunting works, once they overcome the fear of opening the great works and the initial challenge of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century prose.

Sylvana's book list on the eighteenth-century you should read for yourself

Sylvana Tomaselli Why did Sylvana love this book?

Hume’s Essays were a great publishing success at soon as they appeared. They established his reputation not only in the UK, but also on the Continent and America. Entertaining, they not only considered issues of the day such as commerce and the progress of civilization but treat of questions that remain relevant today on freedom of the press, political parties, taxes, and divorce. The writing is elegant and helps us understand the making of modernity.

By David Hume, Eugene F. Miller (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Essays as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This edition contains the thirty-nine essays included in Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary that made up Volume I of the 1777 posthumous Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects. It also includes ten essays that were withdrawn or left unpublished by Hume for various reasons.

Eugene F. Miller was Professor of Political Science at the University of Georgia from 1967 until his retirement in 2003.

Please note: This title is available as an ebook for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes.

Book cover of Potentia: Hobbes and Spinoza on Power and Popular Politics

Steven Nadler Author Of Think Least of Death: Spinoza on How to Live and How to Die

From my list on Spinoza.

Who am I?

I have immersed myself in the study of seventeenth-century philosophy for almost forty years. Over that time, I have become particularly devoted to Spinoza. This is because, first, I think he got it all pretty much right; his views on religion, on human nature, and especially on what it is to lead a good life have always struck me as correct and relevant. You can be a Spinozist today, three and a half centuries after his death, and it would make perfect sense. Second, Spinoza is endlessly fascinating. I find that every time I read him⎯and I’ve been reading and re-reading him for a long time now⎯it gets more difficult. Just when you think you know him, there are always new questions that arise and new puzzles to solve.

Steven's book list on Spinoza

Steven Nadler Why did Steven love this book?

It is impossible to read Spinoza and not think often of Thomas Hobbes. Spinoza read Hobbes’s works and was clearly influenced by the English philosopher both in his account of human nature and, especially, in his political thinking. This is, as far as I know, the first book devoted explicitly to the two thinkers together. Field’s focus is on the political, and she does a beautiful job of analyzing and distinguishing different conceptions of ‘power’ (both in the individual and in the group), as well as illuminating similarities and contrasts between these two of the most important early modern thinkers on politics and the state.

By Sandra Leonie Field,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Potentia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We live in an age of growing dissatisfaction with the standard operations of representative democracy. The solution, according to a long radical democratic tradition, is the unmediated power of the people. Mass plebiscites and mass protest movements are celebrated as the quintessential expression of popular power, and this power promises to transcend ordinary institutional politics. But the outcomes of mass political phenomena can be just as disappointing as the
ordinary politics they sought to overcome, breeding skepticism about democratic politics in all its forms.

Potentia argues that the very meaning of popular power needs to be rethought. It offers a…


Book cover of Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution

Joseph D'Agnese Author Of Signing Their Rights Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the United States Constitution

From my list on the creation of the U.S. Constitution.

Who am I?

Joseph D’Agnese grew up in the Bicentennial-fueled excitement of the 1970s, and spent 1976 fake-playing a fife and sporting a tricorn hat in various school events. Besides teaching him how to get in and out of Revolutionary-period knickers, this experience awakened in him a love for the Founding Era of American history. He has since authored three history titles with his wife, The New York Times bestselling author Denise Kiernan. 

Joseph's book list on the creation of the U.S. Constitution

Joseph D'Agnese Why did Joseph love this book?

What’s fascinating about the making of the Constitution is how every point the framers debated in 1787 rang down through the ensuing years.

Should a state’s power be determined by its land size and resources—or the size of its population? Should we abolish slavery, or pass the buck to another generation? Who should get the right to vote—rich men or all men? Deciding these big three questions consumed much of the squabbles, and led to compromise. State’s rights, for example, led to creation of the bicameral structure of Congress.

The slavery question ultimately led to war in the 19th century, and the stinging legacy of the infamous Three-fifths Compromise. Their decisions on voting rights later resulted in amendments granting African Americans and women the right of suffrage. It’s almost as if you can glimpse America’s future in those 1787 debates.

The late Richard Beeman, then a professor at the University…

By Richard Beeman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Plain, Honest Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In May 1787, in an atmosphere of crisis, delegates met in Philadelphia to design a radically new form of government. Distinguished historian Richard Beeman captures as never before the dynamic of the debate and the characters of the men who labored that historic summer. Virtually all of the issues in dispute—the extent of presidential power, the nature of federalism, and, most explosive of all, the role of slavery—have continued to provoke conflict throughout our nation's history. This unprecedented book takes readers behind the scenes to show how the world's most enduring constitution was forged through conflict, compromise, and fragile consensus.…


Book cover of Toward Perpetual Peace and Other Writings on Politics, Peace, and History

Matt Qvortrup Author Of Referendums and Ethnic Conflict

From my list on deep thinkers of politics, democracy, and philosophy.

Who am I?

"Why don’t they want to have their own country?” I asked this question as I was 12 years old and we were watching the results of the Quebec independence referendums coming in. The Quebecois nationalists had lost- and lost big. And I wanted to know why. I grew up in a political family but none of the adults were able to give me an answer. So, I began to do research on my own. Being a bit of an obsessive, my interest in referendums took me to Oxford University, and as a professor I have specialised in direct democracy. I have advised the US State Department and the British Foreign Office on referendums around the world – and written several books on democracy. 

Matt's book list on deep thinkers of politics, democracy, and philosophy

Matt Qvortrup Why did Matt love this book?

Immanuel Kant is often seen as a pure philosopher, one who was interested in abstract principles. He was that, but his essays on "Perpetual Peace" and especially his essay "Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Perspective" are literally the best things I have ever read, and have so much resonance for us today.

Democracies tend not to go to war as much as dictatorships because the people are likely to be the ones who are killed on the battlefield. In Kant’s time Frederick the Great was able to go to war whenever he wanted. Today, Vladimir Putin can go to war without asking anyone and the people, and Russian conscripts too – suffer the consequences. Kant’s experience of living in a militarised state governed by a single man is eerily relevant today. Reading this thinker tells as much about contemporary politics as it teaches us about 18th…

By Immanuel Kant, David L. Colclasure (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Toward Perpetual Peace and Other Writings on Politics, Peace, and History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Immanuel Kant's views on politics, peace, and history have lost none of their relevance since their publication more than two centuries ago. This volume contains a comprehensive collection of Kant's writings on international relations theory and political philosophy, superbly translated and accompanied by stimulating essays.
Pauline Kleingeld provides a lucid introduction to the main themes of the volume, and three essays by distinguished contributors follow: Jeremy Waldron on Kant's theory of the state; Michael W. Doyle on the implications of Kant's political theory for his theory of international relations; and Allen W. Wood on Kant's philosophical approach to history and…


Book cover of On Compromise and Rotten Compromises

Carrie J. Menkel-Meadow Author Of What's Fair: Ethics for Negotiators

From my list on ethical negotiators.

Who am I?

I am one of the founders of the American dispute resolution field and have taught negotiation, legal ethics, mediation, alternative dispute resolution and international dispute resolution for 40 years in over 25 countries on every continent. I have mediated, negotiated or arbitrated hundreds of cases. I am a law professor who has taught legal ethics since it was required post-Watergate for all law students. As a negotiation teacher and practitioner, I have seen the effects of deceit and dishonorable negotiations in law and diplomacy and peace seeking and I have also seen what can happen when people treat each other fairly to reach better outcomes for problems than they could achieve on their own.

Carrie's book list on ethical negotiators

Carrie J. Menkel-Meadow Why did Carrie love this book?

This book explores the expedients of political negotiations and compromises—when should we (not) negotiate with evil people or regimes or those we can’t trust? It explores some of the most controversial negotiations in history (Munich, Yalta, Arab-Israel peace negotiations) and provides both vivid stories and good philosophical standards for trying to do the best one can in problematic settings. How can we make things better when things are already bad? How can we distinguish good acts and bad acts and well-meaning actors in tough situations, and necessary, if painful, political compromises? Major historical events provide guidance even for everyday negotiations.

By Avishai Margalit,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On Compromise and Rotten Compromises as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When is political compromise acceptable--and when is it fundamentally rotten, something we should never accept, come what may? What if a rotten compromise is politically necessary? Compromise is a great political virtue, especially for the sake of peace. But, as Avishai Margalit argues, there are moral limits to acceptable compromise even for peace. But just what are those limits? At what point does peace secured with compromise become unjust? Focusing attention on vitally important questions that have received surprisingly little attention, Margalit argues that we should be concerned not only with what makes a just war, but also with what…


Book cover of Common Sense, Rights of Man, and Other Essential Writings of Thomas Paine

Robert Krenzel Author Of A Nest of Hornets

From my list on revolutionary reads.

Who am I?

While I grew up in New Jersey, the “Crossroads of the Revolution,” with a passion for history, I was ignorant to the amount of fighting that happened in my home state. My decision to write coincided with a renewed interest in the American Revolution: when I realized how many stories of the Revolution remained untold, the die was cast. My passion for history, love for soldiering, wartime experiences, and understanding of tactics and terrain came together to produce something special. Now I can often be found, map, compass, and notebook in hand, prowling a Revolutionary battlefield so I can better tell the story of those who were there.

Robert's book list on revolutionary reads

Robert Krenzel Why did Robert love this book?

If you want to know what motivated ordinary British colonists to pick up a musket, spear, or sword and take on the most powerful military in the world, read Thomas Paine’s essays Common Sense and The Crisis. Common Sense was the ideological underpinning of the movement toward independence. Paine’s experiences with the Continental Army during the dark days of late 1776 inspired The Crisis, and Washington ordered it read to the troops to encourage them to stay by the Colors for one last great gamble at Trenton. In my research, I found that the average American soldier truly believed in the cause of Independence; that belief has much to do with the writings of Thomas Paine.

By Thomas Paine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Common Sense, Rights of Man, and Other Essential Writings of Thomas Paine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A special gift edition of one of the most important and influential documents in our nation's history-featured in Lin-Manuel Miranda's Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning Hamilton: An American Musical-stylishly packaged for twenty-first-century readers. According to John Adams, "Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain." With Common Sense, Thomas Paine energized colonial support for the armed rebellion that would make the American experiment a reality, using common sense to argue for colonial independence. Today, this cornerstone of the American Revolution has once again been rediscovered by ardent fans of…


Book cover of A Theory of Justice

Raphael Cohen-Almagor Author Of The Boundaries of Liberty and Tolerance: The Struggle against Kahanism in Israel

From my list on political philosophy justice, liberty, and equality.

Who am I?

Raphael Cohen-Almagor, DPhil, St. Catherine’s College, University of Oxford, is Professor of Politics, Founding Director of the Middle East Study Centre, University of Hull, and Global Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Raphael taught, inter alia, at Oxford (UK), Jerusalem, Haifa (Israel), UCLA, Johns Hopkins (USA) and Nirma University (India). A prolific author with more than 300 publications to his name, Raphael has published extensively in the field of political philosophy, including Liberal Democracy and the Limits of Tolerance; Challenges to Democracy; The Right to Die with Dignity; The Scope of Tolerance; Confronting the Internet's Dark Side; Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism, and The Republic, Secularism and Security: France versus the Burqa and the Niqab.

Raphael's book list on political philosophy justice, liberty, and equality

Raphael Cohen-Almagor Why did Raphael love this book?

If there is a classic, great book in political philosophy that will be discussed and taught for many more years to come, alongside the iconic books of John Locke and JS Mill, then this is the one. When I studied at Oxford during the 1980s, it was near impossible to write about anything in political philosophy without referring to Rawls’ philosophy. Rawls convinced me that of all the values, justice is the most important value in life. And he provided a comprehensive answer to the intriguing question: What is justice? I engage with this book constantly, reread it and refer to its rationale in many of my writings. I keep copies of this seminal book at home and at my office. I was fortunate to meet Rawls at Tel Aviv University.

By John Rawls,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Theory of Justice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since it appeared in 1971, John Rawls's A Theory of Justice has become a classic. The author has now revised the original edition to clear up a number of difficulties he and others have found in the original book.

Rawls aims to express an essential part of the common core of the democratic tradition--justice as fairness--and to provide an alternative to utilitarianism, which had dominated the Anglo-Saxon tradition of political thought since the nineteenth century. Rawls substitutes the ideal of the social contract as a more satisfactory account of the basic rights and liberties of citizens as free and equal…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in political, Thomas Hobbes, and the English Civil War?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about political, Thomas Hobbes, and the English Civil War.

Political Explore 3,234 books about political
Thomas Hobbes Explore 16 books about Thomas Hobbes
The English Civil War Explore 17 books about the English Civil War