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  • Writer's pictureHunter Howe Cates

The most inspiring books about heroism

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

Why this book? Doris Kearns Goodwin’s magnum opus about our 16th Commander In Chief made a powerful impression on me because it showed that before Abraham Lincoln was a remarkable President (and my favorite) he was simply a good man. Most of us won’t ever be President, but all of us can be good people.

Why this book? Erik Larson’s highly readable, page-turning treatment of one of history’s most enigmatic figures—Winston Churchill—during his “Finest Hour” makes us pause and reflect just how consequential one man can be. Yet Larson’s true triumph is how he showcased the people around Churchill, showing the reader how any of us can bravely rise to the occasion.

To Kill a Mockingbird By Harper Lee

Why this book? Has American literature, or any literature, ever produced a more towering heroic figure than Atticus Finch? Yet he was not a strong warrior or powerful knight, but a simple man doing what he knew to be right despite the consequences. This character inspires me so that I named my book after him.

The Confessions: Saint Augustine of Hippo By Augustine of Hippo, Maria Boulding (translator) + 1 more ⌄

Why this book? For most of us, the greatest enemy isn’t from without, but from within. This is true today and was just as true nearly two millennia ago when Saint Augustine of Hippo wrote his Confessions, the first autobiography. His struggles with sin and vice should be relatable to us all, especially his difficulty in abandoning his worldly desires. Would most of us be so brave as to abandon our wants for something far greater?

The Return Of The King By J.R.R. Tolkien

Why this book? What more can be said of the classic tale of good versus evil, which was penned less than a hundred years ago, but speaks of a timeless conflict as old as humanity itself? Yet what is most inspiring to me is that in this world of brave knights, powerful wizards, and deadly dragons, the true heroes are the hobbits. People viewed as insignificant by others, but whose courage saved the lives of all.

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