Sunday, March 02, 2008

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, but it bruises easily

I'm in the middle of Susan Jacoby's new book and if Slate worries that the American teenager is "stunningly ignorant" of history and literature in particular, it looks as though they're just keeping up with their parents.

Jacoby has been around a lot lately and the book is an evenhanded and provocative look at American attitudes in regard to education. She takes on the conservative credo that the Sixties ruined everything, and indeed traces what she sees as a uniquely American suspicion of intellectuals back to the Revolutionary War. She's digs deeper when discussing decades past, but Jacoby is comfortable in today's vernacular and cultural references as well; and footnotes abound.
I've always been aware of the big hole I have in classical education and even modern founding text (Origin of Species, Federalist Papers, etc.) and books like this go a long way toward filling in some gaps, for which I'm very grateful.
I'm about two-thirds through, and I'm very impressed. This is droll, engaging and very necessary stuff. If nothing else, it shows that George W didn't just come out of nowhere.

Posted by Dave


Imani said...

Hey! I had no idea you guys had a blog. It's not related to this post but I just wanted to let you know that LibraryThing, an online catalogue website, recently added a feature that allows users to add bookstores and libraries to a map, and it allows you to add author events, pictures and all that stuff. I started one for you and will add a few of the author events but you might want to go in and claim it so that you can oversee its maintenance. :)You can learn all about it here: Introducing LibraryThing local.

LT also allows bookstores to integrate their catalogue into the system...somehow, so that when a user searches for a book, if they opt-in to the feature, it will show whether it's in stock at that store. I have no idea if you have the capabilities to participate in that system but just thought I'd let you know. :)

Anyway, love the store! (Obviously.)

Crimson Wife said...

Ms. Jacoby's book can only be considered "evenhanded" if one thinks that CNN, PBS, and the New York Times are too. Like the others, Ms. Jacoby demonstrates a clear liberal and anti-religious bias throughout.

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