The most recommended Thomas Hobbes books

Who picked these books? Meet our 21 experts.

21 authors created a book list connected to Thomas Hobbes, and here are their favorite Thomas Hobbes books.
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Book cover of Eight Bookes of the Peloponnesian Warre

Neville Morley Author Of Thucydides and the Idea of History

From my list on understanding Thucydides.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian and classicist, teaching at the University of Exeter. I am equally interested in classical Greece and Rome, especially their economy and society, and in the ways that classical ideas and examples have been influential in the modern world.

Neville's book list on understanding Thucydides

Neville Morley Why did Neville love this book?

There are lots of excellent modern translations of Thucydides (I tend to recommend either the Oxford World Classics edition by Martin Hammond or the CUP one by Jeremy Mynott), and Hobbes’ version, the first proper translation into English, is not the easiest place to start, not least because at times you effectively have to translate it out of seventeenth-century English. It is powerfully and elegantly written, and above all it offers the spectacle of one great thinker on matters of politics and war engaging with another – you can almost feel Hobbes developing his own ideas (some of which later appeared in works of original philosophy like Leviathan) as he works to make sense of Thucydides’ ideas. If you read nothing else, the introduction To the Readers and the sketch of Thucydides’ life and work are short and brilliantly insightful, capturing the particular nature of Thucydides’ text –…

By Thomas Hobbes, David Grene,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eight Bookes of the Peloponnesian Warre as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book.


Book cover of Frances and the Monster

Ben Gartner Author Of The Eye of Ra

From my list on new action-packed middle grade with heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love to read a good action-adventure story. I’ve also written a few. And I know that no matter how high the stakes, if there’s no heart in the characters then there’s very little engagement to make it any more memorable than a temporary thrill. I love thrills, but the stories that stick with you after the excitement of the moment is over, those are the true gems. Besides the fun of reading that type of book, maybe you even learn something about yourself or the world and come out a wee bit wiser than when you went in. And isn’t that a fantastic use of our imaginative powers?!

Ben's book list on new action-packed middle grade with heart

Ben Gartner Why did Ben love this book?

A visual and cinematic adventure that sweeps you through a pre-WWII version of Switzerland, this Frankenstein-inspired story is jam-packed with action and humor.

The primary characters are all idiosyncratic in a memorable way—Frances, who lost an ear in a car crash; Fritz, the monkey juiced up on intelligence serum; and Hobbes, the android tutor. Even the secondary characters are crafted with heart and colorfully distinct in their own respects.

The cliff-hangers and twists pushed the action along and I’m sure this will be a story kids read late into the night wanting to find out what happens next. I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

By Refe Tuma,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Frances and the Monster as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

What would you do if you accidentally brought a monster to life and set him loose on your town?

Adventurous and charming, this middle grade twist on Frankenstein features a precocious main character who does just that. Perfect for fans of Serafina and the Black Cloak and the Greenglass House series.

Frances Stenzel was just trying to prove her scientific worth to her parents so they would take her with them to their scientific symposiums for once-instead, she reawakened her great-grandfather's secret and most terrible invention.

Before it can destroy the town, she sets off after it, with her pet…


Book cover of Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat

Hans Bluedorn Author Of Archer and Zowie

From my list on exploring with friends and siblings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was homeschooled, and when I was young (back in the last millennium), we didn’t have a TV, so my parents read to us kids hours every day. This really helped pass the time because we lived in the middle of a cornfield, and there was nothing else to do but . . . watch corn grow! Later in my teens, I started writing myself. This has continued until today. Writing is a good way to explore the world of ideas. All of the books on this list have influenced my writing. 

Hans' book list on exploring with friends and siblings

Hans Bluedorn Why did Hans love this book?

I can (and have) read Calvin and Hobbes all day. Perfect on many levels. This is a good book in the series. But they are all good.

The strip is all about exploring with friends. I like how the strip avoids revealing what is real and what is imaginary. The story, art, and dialog work together and show just enough to constantly excite my imagination.

Also, each time a storyline recurs, it always tops the last time it was there. The interaction of the characters is second to none. The art is unexpected in its detail and emotion. Watterson took his work seriously.

By Bill Watterson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Calvin and Hobbes are at it again, and this time, our irrepressible friends are taking a walk on the wild side.

Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat chronicles another segment of the multifarious adventures of this wild child and his faithful, but skeptical, friend. If the best cartoons compel readers to identify themselves within the funny frames, then all who enjoy Calvin and Hobbes are creative, imaginative, and ... bad, bad, bad!

Calvin, the irascible little boy with the stuffed tiger who comes to life are a pair bound for trouble. Boring school lessons become occasions for death-defying alien air battles, speeding…


Book cover of Calvin

Ann Jacobus Author Of The Coldest Winter I Ever Spent

From my list on young readers that deal with mental illness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an American author of young adult novel Romancing the Dark in the City of Light and other fiction for younger readers as well as a trained suicide prevention counselor and mental health advocate. I have long been pulled by the subject of suicide since struggling with depression as an adolescent. Along with my pal, author and psychologist Nancy Bo Flood, we read and keep track of exceptional, traditionally-published books dealing with mental illness—that of the main character or of someone they love—that avoid tropes and stereotypes, model characters seeking and receiving help and support and ultimately coping, all while pursuing their goals and dreams like any other fictional people. 

Ann's book list on young readers that deal with mental illness

Ann Jacobus Why did Ann love this book?

This concise, beautifully-written gem of a novel features seventeen-year-old Calvin, diagnosed with schizophrenia, who makes a delusional and ill-advised trek across frozen Lake Erie to visit cartoonist Bill Waterson. Fortunately, his best friend Suzie, more firmly grounded in our collective reality, goes along. It’s a fascinating walk in the shoes of a young protagonist suffering serious mental illness that makes us question the very nature of reality in the first place.

By Martine Leavitt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Calvin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Just because you see something doesn't mean it's really there.

Seventeen-year-old Calvin has always known his fate is linked to the comic book character from Calvin & Hobbes.

He was born on the day the last strip was published. His grandpa put a stuffed tiger named Hobbes in his crib. And he even had a best friend named Susie.

Then Calvin’s mom washed Hobbes to death. Susie grew up beautiful and stopped talking to him. And Calvin pretty much forgot about the strip―until now.

Now he is seventeen years old and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Hobbes is back, as…


Book cover of Chimera Shakes: The Ontological Crisis of Jasper Hobbes

Pete Aldin Author Of Black Marks

From my list on werewolf thrillers without motorbikes or erotica.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated by the dichotomy between humanity’s beauty and its penchant for visiting horror upon the world. This fascination drove me to write my own werewolf novel (and keep it true to the heart of the mythos). In no other genre/subgenre is human double-nature better explored than the werewolf one. From earliest times, these tales examined human complexity, mental illness, moral responsibility, the tenuousness of our understanding of reality. For me, a great werewolf novel is not an erotic romance or comedy urban fantasy. It’s a monster story: antsy, atmospheric, dark, violent, fraught. It's a thriller, not a swooner, with more in common with Jekyll and Hyde or Incredible Hulk than with Twilight

Pete's book list on werewolf thrillers without motorbikes or erotica

Pete Aldin Why did Pete love this book?

Okay, so the title already has you frowning. Stay with me here. This indie ebook novelette had me smiling, nodding, and ooo-ing. I loved the brave way the author attempted something new and, well, left field. Because this is a lot of left field…

Our main character is a hitman. Or is he? He’s a werewolf. Or is he? I loved every paragraph of this story’s prose. But it was this “what’s really going on here?” aspect that had me smiling all the way through. It reminded me of Mad Max: Fury Road—because you can watch that entire movie as a psychotic episode on Max’s part. Same with this book. Leaves you guessing until the last page while keeping things fun along the way.

By Chuck Regan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This Bizarro tale is part Naked Lunch, part Goodfellas.

Jasper Hobbes believes he is an assassin. He also believes demons were injected into his brain by the Illuminati, connecting him to the occult machinations of the Great Wyrm. Hospitalized once again for a psychotic break, Jasper is given an ultimatum—either continue his anti-psychotic drug therapy and accept what is real and what are delusions created by his disease, or be committed to a psychological hospital for the duration of his life.

In his struggle to avoid being pulled into a spiral of delusion, Jasper battles inhuman cosplayers, public transportation to…


Book cover of Hobbes and Bramhall on Liberty and Necessity

John T. Maier Author Of Options and Agency

From my list on defending the reality of free will.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a philosopher and psychotherapist, with a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Princeton. From the beginning of my work in philosophy, I have been interested in the nature of agency: what is it to be an agent, and how is agency even possible in the first place? These questions naturally drew me to the metaphysics of free will, as well as related topics in the logic and semantics of agentive modality (that is, the kind of possibility and necessity that is characteristic of agents). Much of my recent work has been on more clinical issues, especially on understanding addiction. I continue to be fascinated by fundamental topics in metaphysics, and especially the question of free will.

John's book list on defending the reality of free will

John T. Maier Why did John love this book?

This 17th-century debate remains both engaging and unresolved – testimony to the endurance of the free will problem.

Bramhall upholds a traditional view of free will, while Hobbes defends a more modern “materialist” view that is an ancestor to the views defended by List and Ismael above.

While many contemporary discussions of free will often focus on implications for moral responsibility, this debate is notable for the far broader range of considerations that the authors invoke, suggesting that the question of free will touches just about every aspect of our agency.

By Vere Chappell (editor), Thomas Hobbes, John Bramhall

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hobbes and Bramhall on Liberty and Necessity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Do human beings ever act freely, and if so what does freedom mean? Is everything that happens antecedently caused, and if so how is freedom possible? Is it right, even for God, to punish people for things that they cannot help doing? This volume presents the famous seventeenth-century controversy in which Thomas Hobbes and John Bramhall debate these questions and others. The complete texts of their initial contributions to the debate are included, together with selections from their subsequent replies to one another and from other works of Hobbes, in a collection that offers an illuminating commentary on issues still…


Book cover of Brief Lives - Volume I

Ruth Brandon Author Of Surreal Lives: The Surrealists 1917-1945

From my list on group biographies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love writing group biographies (I‘ve written four and my next book, Spellbound by Marcel: Duchamp, Love, and Art, will be another). I enjoy the intellectual scope they offer, the way they let you explore a world. I’m less interested in the details of individual lives than in the opportunity biography offers to explore social history, and group biography is particularly suited to that. They’re not easy to do, it’s no good putting down just one damn life after another, but I enjoy the challenge of finding the shape that will let me fit everyone’s personalities and ideas into a coherent story. 

Ruth's book list on group biographies

Ruth Brandon Why did Ruth love this book?

John Aubrey’s gossipy Lives allow us to glimpse the unofficial side of his famous contemporaries and near-contemporaries, among them Thomas Hobbes (whom he knew), Shakespeare (who died ten years before he was born), Sir Walter Raleigh, and many others. You can dip in and out, and if you haven’t read them, this is a treat in store.

By John Aubrey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Brief Lives - Volume I as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Brief Lives - Volume I" from John Aubrey. English antiquary, natural philosopher and writer (1626 – 1697).


Book cover of It's a Magical World: A Calvin and Hobbes Collection

Howard McWilliam Author Of Just SNOW Already!

From my list on illustrated stories packed full of snow.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved snow for as long as I can remember: a childhood enthusiasm which has not dimmed one bit in adulthood. When those flakes flutter silently from the sky I feel a thrill just like an eight-year-old getting the day off school, a feeling that I try to convey in Just Snow Already! I adore snow scenes depicted in art and children’s illustrations when that magic is transferred to the page… and unlike the real thing, you can enjoy it with a hot drink and warm toes. 

Howard's book list on illustrated stories packed full of snow

Howard McWilliam Why did Howard love this book?

Like millions of others, I grieved when the magnificent Calvin & Hobbes cartoon strip came to an end. So, this last published collection was one to savour.

I loved how Bill Watterson would draw snowy scenes, bringing them to life with a few ragged strokes of India ink, and there are few better examples than the last strip he ever created, which closes this book.

“Everything familiar has disappeared! The world looks brand new!… It’s like having a big sheet of white paper to draw on!” declares Hobbes (that connection with an un-started picture’s potential is one reason I find snow so visually compelling).

“A day full of possibilities!” replies Calvin. “It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy…”

The final huge panel sees them launch into the expanse of white on their sled, whose tracks trace the topography with glorious minimalism: “… Let’s go exploring!”

What an end to ten…

By Bill Watterson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked It's a Magical World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

This collection of cartoons features Calvin and Hobbes . It shows Calvin-turned-firefly waking Hobbes with his flashlight glow; Spaceman Spiff rocketing through alien galaxies as he battles Dad-turned-Bug-Being; and Calvin's always inspired snowman art.


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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 The Complete Calvin and Hobbes

Oliver Maclennan Author Of Living Wild: New Beginnings in the Great Outdoors

From my list on the weirdness and wildness of nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

My choice of books reflects a lifelong passion for literature and the natural world. I’ve always enjoyed travelling, to cities or more remote locations, learning as much as I can about the people that live there, and my first published article was about a hotel in Mali, photographed by my sister. Ten years later we published our first book, The Foraged Home. With Living Wild we wanted to look more deeply at how people lived, not just where, focussing not only on day-to-day life and their work, but their relationship with the surrounding landscape, asking big questions about our place in the world.

Oliver's book list on the weirdness and wildness of nature

Oliver Maclennan Why did Oliver love this book?

Six-year-old Calvin - along with his stuffed (?) tiger Hobbes - chafes against the ordinariness of his existence and ponders the meaning of life, often while strolling in the woods, or plummeting from a cliff edge in his little red wagon.

I first read Calvin & Hobbes when I was 12. Over the years, this brilliantly illustrated comic strip (which ran from 1985-1995) has only become richer and funnier and more poignant.

By Bill Watterson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Complete Calvin and Hobbes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Calvin and Hobbesis unquestionably one of the most popular comic strips of all time. The imaginative world of a boy and his real-only-to-him tiger was first syndicated in 1985 and appeared in more than 2,400 newspapers when Bill Watterson retired on January 1, 1996. The entire body of Calvin and Hobbescartoons was originally published in hardcover as a truly noteworthy tribute to this singular cartoon in The Complete Calvin and Hobbes. Available for the first time in paperback, these four full-colour volumes in a sturdy slipcase include all the Calvin and Hobbescartoons that ever appeared in syndication. This is the…