"Frankenstein" as a book for economics?

Posted by Julia Adams and Marjorie Pratt on 9/18/23 1:00 PM

Frankenstein Book

You may be thinking, “Not another reading list!” If you’re in high school, you may be learning how to manage a larger workload. If you’re a college student, you may be just trying to get by with the assigned reading. You may have glanced at our summer reading lists, maybe one perked your interest.

But this list is different.

This list is designed to help you find books that focus on your field of interest. Perhaps you have even searched the internet for reading lists for your intended major. We want to help you with that! We've also included some surprise titles that you may not have associated with your major, but may find just as enjoyable!

We asked students and professors to share what their go-to books are within each of PHC’s majors. This is not an exhaustive list, nor is it a list of books you must read to be successful. It is simply a list of books that might pique your interest and guide you along a certain path of your chosen major. Ready to go on an adventure?

Classical Liberal Arts

If you are interested in the Classical Liberal Arts major, you may enjoy How Should We Then Live by Francis Schaeffer or Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder

Schaeffer’s book is widely recognized as the most important commentary on history, culture, and worldview in the twentieth century. As a reader, you are led along a journey as you look at history through the lens of art to show how the worldviews of the time shaped the art which it produced.

Sophie’s World is a Norwegian novel about a young girl, named Sophie, who discovers that her entire life was a fantasy world created by her father. As she attempts to manipulate this world, she learns about philosophy, studying thinkers from the Pre-Socratic era to Karl Marx. This book demonstrates the power of education.


For the history aficionados, you might find Ronald Wells’ History through the Eyes of Faith or The Enders Series by Orson Scott Card intriguing.

While every PHC freshman will read History through the Eyes of Faith,  it is a remarkable read. Wells’ book was the first to fill the lacuna in scholarship for history presented from a Christian worldview.

The Ender’s Game Series is a dystopian sci-fi series that has an interesting twist. Throughout the plot, you will encounter interesting commentaries on humanity, from our failure to empathize and understand the consequences of our actions to the drama of politics.

Want to test your knowledge of Western Civilization? Take this quiz! 

Economics and Business

If you are interested in our Economics and Business Analytics major, we have several options for you: Me, Myself, and Bob by Phil Vischer, Myth of the Robber Barons by Burt Folsom, Thomas Sowell’s Conflict of Visions, and (believe it or not), Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

In Me, Myself, and Bob, author Phil Vischer tells the story of how a couple of singing vegetables grew into the successful children’s show VeggieTales.™ Folsom’s book is an enjoyable and light read about American business titans and the overall development of their successful businesses.

Thomas Sowell’s Conflict of Visions is an excellent analysis of one aspect which fundamentally separates those who favor a limited-government structure and those who favor paternalism. With its Christian perspective, Professor Nathan Russell thinks Sowell’s book aids in understanding the paternalists and discussing government with fellow believers.

Learn More About PHC's EBA Program

And now … Frankenstein. This book is more than just a Gothic tale of an experiment gone wrong. It is an examination of human nature—filled with selfishness and the need to create and destroy. Ultimately, this novel paints the picture of how the Industrial Revolution shifted the economy, how that shift was felt by the public and its effects on science experiments.


If you are interested in majoring in Government, you might be interested in The Abolition of Man, That Hideous Strength, both by C.S. Lewis, and All the President’s Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

While The Abolition of Man is a series of speeches, many scholars have recognized That Hideous Strength as the application of the “Green Book.” Both discuss the idea of modern dystopias.

All the President’s Men is a non-fiction book in which the authors—who were the reporters—revealed the Watergate Scandal in The Washington Post. This book is an excellent way to look back at the mistakes the American government made so that history doesn’t repeat itself.

Did you know? PHC's Spring 2022 Faith & Reason guest speaker, Dr. Michael Ward, gave a lecture on The Abolition of Man.

Watch Dr. Ward's Lecture Here

For those wanting to specifically explore American government, Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, Russell Kirk's Roots of American Order,  and, of course, the Federalist Papers are good places to start.

For modern takes on the cultural and political phenomena of today, Reinhold Niebuhr's Christian Realism and Political Problems, and Rod Dreyer's Live Not by Lies are great places to begin. These books are easy to read without much understanding of political philosophy. If you are interested in older books on government, read "Book 19" of Augustine's The City of God. Plato's Apology is a good discussion of principles at work. 

English Literature

If you are interested in our English major (formerly the Literature Major),  you might enjoy Triumphs of Imagination, by Leland Ryken, Rhetoric of Fiction by Wayne Booth, C.S. Lewis’ The Discarded Image and The Allegory of Love.

Ryken’s book is a Christian introduction to literature. For a more in-depth and fiction-focused reader, Booth’s book is a good place to start. Those who love C.S. Lewis can read The Discarded Image and The Allegory of Love to discover his take on literature.

If you are more interested in the importance of literature, try The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak. The main character, Liesel, finds comfort in books in the midst of the Nazi occupation. Though the ending isn’t exactly happy, you will find yourself drawn in by the wonderful powers of reading.


If you are interested in Journalism, Dr. Les Sillars recommends that students interested in journalism read a variety of books to broaden their horizons to what journalism can do.

For starters, what about Brave New World? While it is a 1931 dystopian novel, it is an excellent demonstration of the grim reality of journalism. If you are looking for good examples of journalistic work, you may try Same Kind of Different As Me, Unbroken, Moneyball, and Best American Essays of the Century.

Same Kind of Different As Me by Lynn Vincent offers a perspective that someone wouldn’t normally understand in everyday life. Vincent describes the story of how two men from completely different lives come to an understanding and close friendship. I read it last year and found myself completely enthralled by the story as each man told the story from his perspective.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. The book tells the story of Olympic runner and WWII pilot Louis Zamperini who survived as a prisoner of war in Japan. “After I finished [the book],” said Sillars, “I thought to myself, ‘if I ever write anything half as good, I will call myself a journalist and retire.’”

For sports fans, Moneyball by Michael Lewis is an example of some of the best journalistic writing in the world of sports. Best American Essays of the Century edited by Joyce Oates is an excellent way to understand American culture. Sillars recommends that any student who wants to become a journalist in this country needs to know the people or at least the names of the authors in this book.   

Read the Journalism Program Guide


Strategic Intelligence

If you are thinking about Strategic Intelligence in National Security, you might enjoy Nine Lives: My Time as the West’s Top Spy Inside al-Qaeda by Aimen Dean (with Tim Lister and Paul Cruickshank). In his book, Dean narrates how he lived nine different lives during the jihadist wars in Bosnia and a manhunt ordered by al-Qaeda, each touching on the radical movements throughout the Middle East and in the UK. The book ends with Dean’s thoughts on the movements he encountered there and what the world is now seeing.

For a take on modern political intrigues, The Permanent Coup: How Enemies Foreign and Domestic Targeted the American President by Lee Smith is an excellent choice. In his book, Smith makes complicated connections between the events of recent political history from the pandemic to Russiagate, all of which point to who he believes to be the mastermind behind it all.

For those interested in cyberwars, you may enjoy Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin’s Most Dangerous Hackers by Andy Greenberg. With enough technical jargon and a genius plot line and characters, this book describes the technical side behind Cyberwar.

Last, but not least, The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy. This classic Cold War spy novel gives readers a glimpse into the middle of America’s race toward technological superiority against Russia. You may have heard of the agent, 007 in the Cold War, named Jack Ryan.

Are you still in high school and interested in Strategic Intelligence? Click below!

Explore Strategic Intelligence Camp


Environmental Science, Pre-Med

Last, but certainly not least, if you are interested in Environmental Science and Stewardship, we have several categories of reading materials for you!

If you only ever read one book on creation science,  read The Quest by Dr. Todd Wood. This book explores the interrelations between science and faith through the perspective of a Christian biologist. The author encourages the reader to think of creation as an adventure that is filled with exploration and growth.

If you enjoy The Quest or want to read a second creation science book, try The New Creationism by Paul Garner. In his book, Garner explains the scientific creation model, while focusing on astronomy, biology, and geology. Filled with evidence for a young earth, this is one of the most readable and up-to-date books filled with evidence for their beliefs. Lastly, Lee recommends A Different Shade of Green by Dr. Gordon Wilson. This book carefully lays out a biblical case for environmental care using the original mandate to steward creation in Genesis. Wilson touches on the themes of stewardship, dominion, conservation, and investment.

*Patrick Henry College does not officially endorse the book selections or the worldviews they represent. These selections were gathered by a member of the LearnPHC staff for educational purposes only.


  Patrick Henry College exists to glorify God by challenging the status quo in higher education, lifting high both faith and reason within a rigorous academic environment; thereby preserving for posterity the ideals behind the "noble experiment in ordered liberty" that is the foundation of America.

The Three Distinctives



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