[Paleopsych] Human Events: Ten Books Every Student Should Read in College

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Ten Books Every Student Should Read in College
by Staff, 5.6.1

[Again, I'll mark the books I have actually read entire. Lots of them I feel as 
if I've read them, for having read so much about them.

    The editors of HUMAN EVENTS asked a panel of [1]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 collectedthey amounted to more than 100 titlesHUMAN
    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.
    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.

x  #1 The Bible
      Score: 116
      Written: c. 1446 B.C. to c. A.D. 95 [I'm convinced it was finished by
      70 AD by John A.T. Robinson's Redating the New Testament.]

    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 schoolsmeaning many American
    students may not encounter the most important book of all time in a
    classroom setting until they reach college.

x  #2 The Federalist Papers
      Score: 106
      Authors: Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison
      Written: October 1787 to May 1788

    Written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, [2]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.
    To purchase The Federalist Papers, click [3]here.

[I may not have actually finished it, since so many of the arguments are 

x  #3 Democracy in America
      Score: 80
      Author: Alexis de Tocqueville
      Written: 1835

    A left-leaning Frenchman who visited America in 1831, de Tocqueville
    produced an [4]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.

[I read an abridgement.]

x  #4 The Divine Comedy
      Score: 57
      Author: Dante Alighieri
      Written: A.D. 1306-1321

    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.

[I am not clear why Protestants reject Purgatory. Do they accept Limbo? What's 
the difference.]

    #5 The Republic
      Score: 55
      Author: Plato
      Written: c. 360 B.C.

    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.
    Augustinewho 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

    #6 The Politics
      Score: 54
      Author: Aristotle
      Written: Fourth Century, B.C.

    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 societythe oikos or family homethe philosopher expands outward to
    discuss the larger unit of human existence, the city-stateor polisin
    the same terms.

    #7 (tie) Nicomachaean Ethics
      Score: 52
      Author: Aristotle
      Written: Fourth Century, B.C.

    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 Revelationa fact that many leftists are unwilling to
    accept in their quest to destroy respect for objective rules of right
    and wrong.

[Why are "leftists" so bent? Is it Satan at work, or is it rent-seeking?]

    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 (tie) City of God
      Score: 52
      Author: St. Augustine of Hippo
      Written: A.D. 413-426

    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 Earththe
    pure, virtuous city of God and the sinful, flawed city of manwould 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 teleologythe Aristotelian idea
    that all things have an ultimate purposeinto 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.

x  #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
      Written: 1790

    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?"

    Honorable Mention

      Natural Right and History by Leo Strauss 38 points

      The Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk 36 points

      A New Birth of Freedom: Abraham Lincoln and the Coming of the Civil
    War by Harry V. Jaffa 33 points

x    Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis 32 points

x    The Illiad by Homer 31 points

x    King Lear by William Shakespeare 29 points

x    The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis 27 points

x    Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton 25 points

x    Aeneid by Virgil 19 points

x    Hamlet by William Shakespeare 18 points

x    Modern Times by Paul Johnson 18 points

      Oedipus Trilogy by Sophocles 18 points

[I only read the first, in high school.]

x    Ideas Have Consequences by Richard Weaver 17 points

      Idea of a University by John Henry Newman 16 points

x    The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich von Hayek 16 points

x    Animal Farm by George Orwell 14 points

      Gorgias by Plato 14 points

      A Humane Economy by Wilhelm Roepke 14 points

      The Public Philosophy by Walter Lippman 14 points

      The Roots of American Order by Russell Kirk 14 points

[No books by Mr. Mencken!]

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