Skip to comments.Ten Books Every Student Should Read in College
Posted on 05/30/2003 11:45:30 AM PDT by Remedy
The editors of HUMAN EVENTS asked a panel of 28 distinguished scholars and university professors to serve as judges in developing a list of Ten Books Every Student Should Read in College.
To derive the list, each scholar first nominated titles. When all the nominations were collected-they amounted to more than 100 titles-HUMAN EVENTS then sent a ballot to the scholars asking each to list his or her Top Ten selections. A book was awarded ten points for receiving a No. 1 rating, 9 points for receiving a No. 2 rating, and so on. The ten books with the highest aggregate ratings made the list. We have also compiled an Honorable Mention list.
Interestingly enough, the No. 1 book our judges decided every college student should read is a volume that has been virtually banned in public schools by the United States Supreme Court. 1. The Bible Score: 116
Written: c. 1446 B.C. to c. A.D. 95
1. The Bible
The Bible, the central work of Western Civilization, defines the relationship between God and man, and forms the foundation of faith in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Yet, today it is virtually banned in America's public primary and secondary schools-meaning many American students may not encounter the most important book of all time in a classroom setting until they reach college. 2. The Federalist Papers Score: 106
Authors: Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison
Written: October 1787 to May 1788
2. The Federalist Papers
Written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, The Federalist Papers first appeared in several New York state newspapers as a series of 85 essays published under the nom de plume "Publius" from the fall of 1787 to the spring of 1788.
The purpose of The Federalist Papers was to garner support for the newly created Constitution. At the time the states were bound together under the Articles of Confederation, but the weakness of the Articles necessitated the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Once the Constitution was drafted, nine states were required to ratify it, so Hamilton, Jay, and Madison took up the effort to persuade skeptics. Because Hamilton and Madison were both members of the Constitutional Convention, their writings are instructive in divining the original intent of those who drafted the Constitution.
According to the Library of Congress, the first bound edition of The Federalist Papers was published in 1788 with revisions and corrections by Hamilton. A bound edition with revisions and corrections by Madison published in 1818 was the first to identify the authors of each essay. 3. Democracy in America Score: 80
Author: Alexis de Tocqueville
3. Democracy in America
A left-leaning Frenchman who visited America in 1831, de Tocqueville produced an incisive portrait of American political and social life in the early 19th Century. He praised the democratic ideals and private virtues of the American people but warned against what he saw as the tyrannical tendency of public opinion. Visiting during the heyday of slavery, de Tocqueville foresaw the troubles racial questions would pose for the country. He also was early in observing that judicial power had a tendency to usurp the political in the United States. He also wrote of the difficulties inherent in the egalitarian sentiment then gaining strength in America. "However energetically society in general may strive to make all the citizens equal and alike, the personal pride of each individual will always make him try to escape from the common level, and he will form some inequality somewhere to his own profit," he said. 4. The Divine Comedy Score: 57
Author: Dante Alighieri
Written: A.D. 1306-1321
4. The Divine Comedy
One of the most frequently cited poems of all time, this epic allegory is an amalgam of Dante's views of science, theology, astronomy, and philosophy. In it Dante recounts his imaginary journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, during which he realizes his hatred for his sin and becomes a changed man by the grace of God.
The work contains three sections-"Inferno," "Purgatorio," and "Paradiso." In "Inferno," Dante journeys through Hell, led by the soul of the Roman poet Virgil. He describes Hell as a funnel-shaped pit divided into nine circles, each one a place for those people guilty of a particular sin, with suffering increasing as he descends to the bottom where Satan himself dwells.
In "Purgatorio," Dante travels with Virgil up the Mount of Purgatory. Ten terraces make up the Mount and the process of purification for its occupants is arduous as they climb from terrace to terrace. When Dante and Virgil pass the final terrace, they glimpse Paradise where Beatrice, Dante's first love, awaits and Virgil is forced to depart.
In "Paradiso," Beatrice guides Dante through the various levels of Paradise. At the highest level, Empyrean, where God, Mary, and many of the angels and saints abide, Dante views the light of God, which leaves him speechless and changed. 5. The Republic Score: 55
Written: c. 360 B.C.
5. The Republic
The Republic is likely the most important work of the most important and influential philosopher who ever lived. The writings of Plato, a disciple of Socrates in ancient Athens, provide the foundation of abstract thought for all of Western Civilization, and The Republic contains expositions of various theories of justice, the state and society, and the soul. Is justice a matter of being helpful to those who help you and harmful to those who harm you? Or is it simply the "interest of the stronger," defined by those who govern the rest of us, as post-modern leftists would have it? How should society be organized? How is the human soul structured? How may we arrive at truth? The first author in history to deal with such questions in systematic rational argument, Plato contrasts the ideal society with reality in a way later echoed in the City of God (No. 7) by St. Augustine-who explored his own soul in his Confessions (No. 9). Plato describes the first totalitarian utopia as part of his argument, the first of many thinkers to do so. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Out of Plato come all things that are still written and debated among men of thought." 6. The Politics Score: 54
Written: Fourth Century, B.C.
6. The Politics
Aristotle, the most famous student of Plato, is one of the few men who managed to be highly appreciated both in his own time (he was hired to tutor Alexander the Great) and by posterity. His philosophy continues to form the backbone of Western thought. Much of his writing was lost for centuries, but its recovery helped Thomas Aquinas, in the 13th Century, and later political philosophers, develop the concept of natural law that became central to the Anglo-American understanding of just and limited government. Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson cited Aristotle as an inspiration for the Declaration of Independence.
In the Politics, Aristotle examines the formation and composition of civil society more simply and effectively than perhaps anyone since. Beginning with a complete accounting of the elements in the basic unit of society-the oikos or family home-the philosopher expands outward to discuss the larger unit of human existence, the city-state-or polis-in the same terms. 7. Nicomachaean Ethics Score: 52
Written: Fourth Century, B.C.
7. Nicomachaean Ethics
The Ethics is a collection of notes from Aristotle's lectures, taken by his student Nicomachus. The Ethics' elegant inductive arguments, developed hundreds of years before the Christian era, proved that man can indeed understand the basic concepts of good and evil without the aid of Divine Revelation-a fact that many leftists are unwilling to accept in their quest to destroy respect for objective rules of right and wrong.
Unlike today's secularists, Aristotle saw clearly that all human beings have a built-in need to pursue happiness through behaving properly. Aristotle analyzes why not all human actions lead to happiness, and reveals how a man's daily choices between good and evil result in the habits of virtue or vice. Virtuous action, he concludes, makes men happy, whereas vice does not. 7. City of God Score: 52
Author: St. Augustine of Hippo
Written: A.D. 413-426
7. City of God
The City of God ranks as history's most influential writing by a theologian. Augustine, the cultured bishop of an ancient Roman city in North Africa, created a philosophy of history that answered the argument of pagans who blamed the decline of Rome on the rise of Christianity. (Rome had first been sacked in 410.) Augustine explained human history in terms of Divine Providence and asserted that the Church would bring human history to its final consummation. At that consummation, the two "cities" that remained intermingled on Earth-the pure, virtuous city of God and the sinful, flawed city of man-would be separated into two. Augustine argued that the sinful practices of the pagan Romans helped prompt God to allow the Eternal City's capture by barbarians. Augustine firmly implants teleology-the Aristotelian idea that all things have an ultimate purpose-into history just as previous Christian thinkers had adopted teleology to explain God's plan for individual human beings. For Augustine, all of human history points toward a divine purpose. 9. Confessions Score: 47
Author: St. Augustine of Hippo
Written: c. A.D. 400
The Confessions is Augustine's spiritual autobiography. Addressed to God, the book bares the author's soul. Here Augustine explains the history of his life in terms of Divine Providence, much as in the City of God he explained the history of Rome. He owns up to the sins that pulled him away from faith despite the exertions of his intensely devout mother, St. Monica. In the course of describing both his exterior and interior life, Augustine reiterates the Christian philosophy of the human person expounded by St. Paul in his epistles. He describes the interplay among passion, will, and reason and attempts to explain why men do evil when they know better. 10. Reflections on the Revolution in France Score: 44
Author: Edmund Burke
10. Reflections on the Revolution in France
An Irish-born British politician of the late 18th Century, who was popular in America because of his opposition to taxing the colonies, Burke holds a prominent place in the history of English-speaking conservatives. Indeed, in The Conservative Mind, Russell Kirk singled him out as the first modern conservative intellectual.
Burke's early and energetic disapproval of the French Revolution proved prophetic in light of the Reign of Terror that followed. A champion of the inherent wisdom of long-settled traditions, Burke argued that by violently ripping up their nation's institutions root and branch, the French had assured themselves years of chaos.
If changes had to be made in France, he argued, could not the tried-and-true be kept and only the bad discarded? "Is it, then, true," he asked, "that the French government was such as to be incapable or undeserving of reform, so that it was of absolute necessity that the whole fabric should be at once pulled down and the area cleared for the erection of a theoretic, experimental edifice in its place?"
On September 17, President Bush delivered a speech on Teaching American History and Civic Education in which he cited recent reports showing "large and disturbing gaps" in American students' knowledge of history.
They haven't "cleaned up thier act." There's bias on the left, but there's also bias on the right, and you are quoting it. Cornell still has classes just like the ones you cited, but they are atypical.
As for Bush's quote, well maybe that's true. But those aren't the kids that are going to Cornell, at least so far as I can tell. I'm not sure why you chose to post this long quote as part of your reply.
And I'd dump one of the Augustines for J S Mill's On Liberty
I have seen the movie, and have seen some Freepers mention the novel from time to time. I am curious. What about the novel is especially remarkable? What is the main theme?
Thanks in advance to any Freepers who could recommend it.
Pretty much what you saw in the movie is the main theme but, the book goes into more detail about the political structure hinted at in the movie.
Heinlein was a very, very, very smart guy!
Cornell still has classes just like the ones you cited, but they are atypical.
I'm not sure why you chose to post this long quote as part of your reply.
To preclude As for Bush's quote, well maybe that's true and inform you of the certainty of that quote.
I'm not sure why you bothered to reply or even post on F.R. since you are either biased toward a liberal perspective, or don't think there is much difference between conservative and liberal perspectives.
Amazing that you visited Cornell and never smelled a RAT.
Liberals outnumber conservatives 18 to one at Brown University. At Cornell University, the number is even higher, with liberals outnumbering conservatives more than 26 times. Penn State displayed a bit more balance, with the ratio of liberals to conservatives being six to one. Even the smallest disparity, at the University of Houston, had a ratio of three liberals to one conservative.
Of the 166 professors examined at Cornell University, only six were conservatives, with no conservatives at all in the fields of history and sociology. There were likewise no conservatives in these fields at Brown University.
Cornell University's 9/11 anniversary gathering focused attention away from the 3,000 dead Americans and our troops in Afghanistan to such topics as "multiculturalism" and Japanese internment camps during World War II. University President Hunter Rawlings held a September 11 ceremony resembling an anti-war protest.
Reverend Kenneth Clarke, director of Cornell United Religious Work, professed to Cornellians that they must look at the terrorist attacks "through the eyes of other nations." He also accused America of exploiting the rest of the world through "colonialism and imperialism."
The Cornell Sun Daily, the main student newspaper on campus, published an editorial on the anniversary focused on racial discrimination and Japanese internment camps. "Sept. 11 has made Americans more fearful about the future and more paranoid about the day to day. It has forced Americans to accept a rhetoric of good and evil, and numerous members of ethnic groups have suffered discrimination because of it," read the editorial. "Sept. 11 may be the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor but that does not mean, for instance, that the country should reflexively resort to measures as un-American as the Japanese internment camps."
Cornell University's sociology course, "Segregation," teaches students that "very little has changed" over the last seven decades as far as racial segregation is concerned.
Top 10 Politically Correct of '98-'99 1. NAMBLA in the Classroom
1. NAMBLA in the ClassroomCornell University lashed out at Accuracy in Academia for criticizing "The Sexual Child," a course the school offered its undergraduates which required pro-pedophilia readings and the viewing of pictures of naked children. One assigned essay complains, "Like communists and homosexuals in the 1950s, boy lovers are so stigmatized that it is difficult to find defenders for their civil liberties, let alone erotic orientation." According to the author, opposition to "cross-generational encounters" has "more in common with ideologies of racism than with true ethics." Cornell Professor Ellis Hanson, the instructor of "The Sexual Child," told Accuracy in Academia that "the erotic fascination with children is ubiquitous . One can hardly read a newspaper or turn on a television without feeling obliged to accept, study, and celebrate it." The aim of his course, he states, is to "undermine preconceived notions about what a child is, what sexuality is, and what it means to love or desire a child." Among the screeds assigned to students in the class are "How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay," "Policing Perversions," "The Hysteria of Child Pornography and Pedophilia," and "Child-Loving."
Recent examinations of the political affiliations of college professors, too, demonstrate an extreme bias among historians. Stanfords department of history houses 22 Democrats and two Republicans. Cornell has 29 Democrats and zero Republicans.
Cornell University Democratizing Society: Participation, Action, and Research This course poses an alternative to distanced, "objectivist" social science by reviewing some of the many numerous approaches to socially engaged research. Among the approaches discussed are those centering on the pedagogy of liberation, feminism, the industrial democracy movement, and "Southern" participatory action research, action science, and participatory evaluation.
The growing role of "queer studies" was evident by the MLA's 20-plus sessions to the subject. Most panels followed a similar routine of openly gay professors talking about sex acts and gay activism.
Among the most flamboyant of the programs were the three sessions of the "Perpetual States of Sodomy" trilogy, focusing on the history of sodomy. Nicholas Radel of Furman University, and James Douglas Penney and Robert Odom, both of Cornell, graphically described acts of sodomy committed during the Middle Ages.
Amazing that you visited Cornell and never smelled a RAT.
I guess you have some difficulty with the English language. I wrote on this thread:
There are lots of things not to like, as far as I am concerned, but your post paints a very distorted picture."There are lots of things not to like." What do you think I meant by this?
Maybe they gave a course like this. I know I laughed at some of the courses given this spring as I looked over the catalogue ...
And why might you think that I laughed at some of the courses?
I'm not sure that you have ever had any association with Cornell. I have. You can reprodce listings of lots of silly courses because they do give them. But you need to look up and understand the meaning of atypical. Your posts present a very distorted picture and put me in the uncomfortable postion of defending this very left wing univerity.
You might recall that Ann Coulter went there and survived.
Night - Elie Wiesel
Brave New World - Huxley
You've got that right
The anti-federalists were not at all irrelevant to history. The Bill of Rights was very much their legacy. Madison and Hamilton (who were initially against a bill rights) were forced to promise such a document in order to win anti-federal support in the ratification battles and (later) to buy off continuing skeptics such as Henry.
LOL - Read your post! Not only are you self-contradictory, but you have stooped to defending this very left wing univerity. Continue posting, and you may start promoting Hillary for president.
You might recall that Ann Counter went there and survived.
Lot a water under the bridge since then. The Cornell Review Conservative Newspaper Online Cornell Review founder Ann Coulter 85
LAST MONTH an episode occurred at Cornell University, which the world took little note of, but which speaks volumes about the state of higher education and of an academic culture that is anything but. On April 30, Ann Coulter -- best-selling conservative author, lawyer and well-known TV commentator -- returned to her alma mater to speak about the Confederate flag controversy. She came as the guest of the Cornell College Republicans and the Cornell Review, a conservative student paper, she had helped to found seventeen years earlier. A little over six years ago, I spoke under the same auspices. As a result, I am familiar with the context in which the episode occurred.
Faculty and student conservatives at Cornell -- as at other elite campuses are routinely subject to harassment, persecution and an insecurity of place and employment completely unknown to any other minorities, including gays and blacks. Out of more than a thousand members of the Cornell faculty, for example, there are only three openly conservative professors available to sponsor organizations like the College Republicans and the Cornell Review. (Such sponsorship is a requirement for receiving student funds.) When I spoke at Cornell one of the three faculty conservatives, a botany professor, was under siege by both the administration and the student left barred from his own classes and waiting to see if he would be fired for expressing a politically incorrect opinion on the issue of homosexuality.
Coulter managed to make it to the question period, but only just. During the discussion, the podium and stage were pelted with oranges while one champion of the people after another got up to talk about racist oppression they knew about personally. Victimhood is perhaps the only thing these students have actually been taught in college. From orientation on, they are told: you are oppressed; you are a victim. This is their romance and their power. It is not something they are about to give up. This is the conservative challenge, since what makes them conservatives is the denial of the Marxist view of the world as divided into oppressor and oppressed. But victimhood has become the identity of these minority students and their leftist mentors; to deny it is to deny them.
After awhile, one man in the audience stood up and after ranting about his "slave ancestors," lunged at the platform where Coulter stood. The police managed to grab him just before he reached her, and took him away. The Cornell administration was lucky the lunatic was white (his slave relatives were allegedly Scots). Finally, an older black man got up and began a rant he refused to end. The campus police are not about to arrest older black men and risk being photographed, and then subsequently denounced as a "racist Gestapo" (a practice common among campus radicals). So Coulter left.
Maybe you should get a job for the New York Times? You could even dateline your columns, "Ithaca" !
Authors: Jerry L. Martin, Ph.D., President, ACTA
Anne D. Neal, Executive Director, ACTA
It was not only America that was attacked on September 11, but civilization. We were attacked not for our vices, but for our virtues-for what we stand for. In response, ACTA has established the Defense of Civilization Fund to support the study of American history and civics and of Western civilization. The first project of the Fund is Defending Civilization: How Our Universities Are Failing America and What Can Be Done About It. The report calls on college and university trustees to make sure their institutions offer strong core curricula that pass on to the next generation the legacy of freedom and democracy.
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni has compiled this Portfolio of Excellence to help
alumni and other donors identify outstanding programs and organizations that they may want to
support. ACTA's Fund for Academic Renewal helps donors direct their gifts to existing or newly-created
programs and activities.
Enclosed you will find examples of exemplary higher education projects across the country. There GREAT BOOKS and LIBERAL ARTS
is no attempt to be exhaustive. Projects are included on the basis of descriptions provided to ACTA
and have not been independently verified.
GREAT BOOKS and LIBERAL ARTS
Austin Peay State University
California Institute of Technology
California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo
Claremont McKenna College
Clemson University .
Delta State University
Gardner-Webb University .
Kansas State University
Louisiana State University at Shreveport
Loyola University of Chicago
Middle Tennessee State University
Rose Hill College .
St. Ignatius Institute at the University of San Francisco
St. John's College .
Theodore Roosevelt School at Medaille College
Thomas Aquinas College
The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts .
University of Chicago .
University of Montevallo
University of Wisconsin .
Wilbur Wright College II. HONORS COLLEGES
II. HONORS COLLEGES
James Madison College at Michigan State University . III. CORE CURRICULA
III. CORE CURRICULA
St. Anselm College
St. Olaf College .
University of Dallas
University of North Carolina at Asheville
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga IV. AMERICAN IDEALS AND LIBERTY
IV. AMERICAN IDEALS AND LIBERTY
Duke University .
The James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions Ð
Princeton University .
James Madison Program of the Sabre Foundation
Vanderbilt University V. PHILOSOPHY
Bowling Green State University .
Indiana University .
Missouri Baptist College VI. ECONOMICS
Auburn University Ð College of Business
He, Madison and Jay all use Publicus for the FP. He was not trying to hide his identity and anyone who was interested knew who was writing them.
Really, how many cases can you document?
There is also the little issue of Hamilton fraudulently claiming credit for 63 numbers of the Federalist, some of them plainly written by Madison.
Patrick Henry was not a nationalist and did not want a government strong enough to create a more perfect union. After a great start he too wound up on History's Loser List.
I very much doubt Patrick is concerned with your opinion. What exactly does a "more perfect union" mean? For me a free society will suffice, others equate the ability to control and dominate others with "greatness".
Interestingly enough, the No. 1 book our judges decided every college student should read is a volume that has been virtually banned in public schools by the United States Supreme Court.That's entirely false. The Bible may be read by students during free time including study hall, and may be studied as literature or a historically significant document. It may not be presented as divinely imspired or read devotionally during classroom time in public schools. That's all.
Oddly enough, I was forced to read Ayn Rand in High School and hated it. I don't get all the Ayn Rand worshipers on this forum who says Rand "converted" them to conservative thought. I was conservative long before Rand and her novel Anthem put me to sleep, Orwell wrote on the same theme and did it much better instead of hitting you over the head with it.Heinlein did more to make me a conservative than Rand did, and many of his books are more teen-friendly.
2003 January Freshmen Reading List.
Thucydides, Peloponnesian War.
Sophocles, Oedipus Rex.
Plutarch, Lives; Lycurgus; Solon
Aristophanes, The Clouds
Plato, Apology, Crito
Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics
Lucretius, On the Nature of Things
Now that is what I call an education!!!!!
The Art of War -- Niccolo Machiavelli
The Art of War -- Sun Tzu
The Book of Five Rings -- Go Rin No Sho
The Illiad & The Odyssey -- Homer
The Canterbury Tales -- Chaucer
The bombing starts in five minutes.
A great, great book is "An Introduction to the Metaphysics of Thomas Aquinas". Nice too because it's mercifully brief, about 150 pages or so. A must have for the library. It makes a good gift for college students or the philosophically minded.
So true, but try telling that to HR. But that's a gripe for another day.
I wouldn't want a philosopher to barbeque a hamburger for me either, but that's irrelevant. The assumptions upon which the natural sciences are based are determined by philosophy. Philosophy is therefore logically prior to the natural sciences.
For example, scientific endeavors depend upon certain assumptions such as the fact that the universe is comprehensible, that physical laws are uniform, that one can trust one's senses, that time progresses forward (that is, history is not literally cyclical). The reason why the natural sciences were fructified in the West is because of the influence of Christianity, particularly the influence of the Catholic Church, and even more particularly, because of the Church's dogmatic teaching regarding "Creation from nothing," as Stanley Jaki argues so persuasively.
In Christ and Science (p. 23), Jaki gives four reasons for modern science's unique birth in Christian Western Europe:Philosophy and theology are nice sciences to talk about, but rarely put food on the table, give you shelter from storms or enemies, etc.
1. "Once more the Christian belief in the Creator allowed a break-through in thinking about nature. Only a truly transcendental Creator could be thought of as being powerful enough to create a nature with autonomous laws without his power over nature being thereby diminished. Once the basic among those laws were formulated science could develop on its own terms."
2. "The Christian idea of creation made still another crucially important contribution to the future of science. It consisted in putting all material beings on the same level as being mere creatures. Unlike in the pagan Greek cosmos, there could be no divine bodies in the Christian cosmos. All bodies, heavenly and terrestrial, were now on the same footing, on the same level. this made it eventually possible to assume that the motion of the moon and the fall of a body on earth could be governed by the same law of gravitation. The assumption would have been a sacrilege in the eyes of anyone in the Greek pantheistic tradition, or in any similar tradition in any of the ancient cultures."
3. "Finally, man figured in the Christian dogma of creation as a being specially created in the image of God. This image consisted both in man's rationality as somehow sharing in God's own rationality and in man's condition as an ethical being with eternal responsibility for his actions. Man's reflection on his own rationality had therefore to give him confidence that his created mind could fathom the rationality of the created realm."
4. "At the same time, the very createdness could caution man to guard agains the ever-present temptation to dictate to nature what it ought to be. The eventual rise of the experimental method owes much to that Christian matrix."
No, they're essential to a true education.
(Yes, I'm an engineer!)
I have a degree in mechanical engineering too. But if you want to read something truly challenging, try the Summa Theologica (and then consider that St. Thomas considered it theology for beginners).
For the record, the Catholic Church only opposes stem cell research which uses stem cells taken from aborted fetuses. This is a provisional and prudential position, as far as I know.