Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 09:32 am
A Haahvad president in the eraly 1900's compiled a bookshelf of classic literature that he felt that, to read the books therein, was to embrace the minimum that ENglish literature had to present so that the reader was truly educated. Today, we have so many subjects that Id like to hear some of our own "minimla five foot bookshelves " that would contain the esssences of the subjects we were interesetd in.
Id like to start with History soince what gave me the idea was reading one of Sets post about education's role in "lighting the candles to smoke out the myths".

Maybe this wont work because the opinions are varied and the subjects are many. Id like, again to start with history and then science, art and cuklture,

 
wandeljw
 
  3  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 10:05 am
@farmerman,
farmerman wrote:
Id like to start with History


Frederick Copleston's A History of Philosophy

In my opinion, this is an astounding work of pure scholarship. It is a nine-volume series, with each volume about 500 pages long. It begins with Pre-Socratic philosophy and covers all major trends in philosophy through post-World War II.

It is so thorough that it will never be surpassed.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 10:07 am
Bulfinch's Greek and Roman Mythology
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 11:31 am
Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
0 Replies
 
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 11:39 am
Asimov's New Guide to Science.
hamburgboy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 12:25 pm
@Chumly,
The " Decline of the West " (German: Der Untergang des Abendlandes), or The Downfall of the Occident, is a two-volume work by Oswald Spengler
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 01:13 pm
H. G. Wells An Outline of History.

And, of course, Will and Ariel Durant's seminal work.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 01:29 pm
@Merry Andrew,
I have to add, Herbert Wendt's "In Search of Adam" the Grerman version is a gem even though theres some bit of hyperbole and outright bullshit. It still stands as a greaqt work about the rise of early "Man" on the planet.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 01:30 pm
@farmerman,
How many feet have we accounted for by now?
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 01:31 pm
@farmerman,
Tomorrow , Ill compile a list from the above stuff (and others we may reciecve0. OR ELSE ILL ASK JOHN BOY
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 01:41 pm
@farmerman,
I'd have to have space on my bookshelf for a couple of books that I'd pick simply for the writing - not the content. I'm mulling over some Dorothy L. Sayers or E. F. Benson. Maybe one P. G. Wodehouse. Isabel Allende. An anthology of Chinese poetry.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 02:19 pm
@Merry Andrew,
I'm reading Wells off and on now; also Tacitus' The Annals of Imperial Rome, and Herodotus' The Histories. These are small books, don't take up a lot of room on the shelf. Sad to say, I gave my father's set of the Durants' volumes to my cousin's husband unread by me. Stupid, stupid choice, based on space problems after my parents passed away.

I'm no history expert, but I very much enjoyed a translation of Jacob Burckhardt's The Age of Constantine the Great (1852 and 1880 or so), so it's a keeper on my shelves. Years ago I liked Graves' I Claudius. but no longer have a copy, or even opinions on it.

I think Primo Levi is important but I've only read one of his books, The Reawakening. Want to read his Survival in Auschwitz.

Here's a review from an amazon customer on Survival in Auschwitz -
"It would be easy to bluntly horrify the reader in a book about life in a death camp, but Levi is not content to appeal to the emotions. He has an intellectual fascination with details, and the psychology of genocide. By a dispassionate and careful treatment of the very difficult material, he manages to write a compelling book about a terrible subject. And the emotional effect does not suffer from this approach--because Levi does not manipulate them, the reader's feelings are deeper and more lasting.

In one chapter, Levi describes how many of the prisoners, after fourteen hours of manual labor, would assemble in one corner of the camp in a market. They would trade rations and stolen goods. Levi describes how the market followed classical economic laws. Whenever I remember this I am freshly amazed at the resilience of life, and the ability of people to live and think and work in the most adverse conditions. It is remarkable that I finished a book about the Holocaust with a better opinion of mankind than I started with; I think the fact that the book affected me this way is the best recommendation."



farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 05:37 pm
@farmerman,
I have to admit that my interests have gone to the paleohistory and prehistory of human settlement. My reading and understanding of classicl hiatory of Europe and Middle East has been limited (I was reading other things and never really liked the way I was taught history at all, it was based upon such and such a date , something happened here and were gonna learn all about here and screw the relationship that here had with the stuff going on over there. Thats why Ive loved the study of early settlement because it forces us to be multi locational and interdisciplinary.

I also have been inetersted in colonial through Civil War America. However Ive had some great folks that I followed in the PA Museum Commission. Historians like Paul Wllace, whose many works of the Indian cultures of the 5 Nations. His Indians inPennsylvania still ranks as one of the biggest little books on pre contact settlements , insights gathered from extensive digging into records and the dirt of old encampments.
0 Replies
 
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 05:47 pm
The Waning of the Middle Ages by Johan Huizinga
(sometimes translated as The Autumn of the Middle Ages)
also
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara Tuchman
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 05:50 pm
Specifically for art:
Patrons and Painters: A Study in the Relations between Italian Art and Society in the Age of the Baroque, by Francis Haskell

Obstacle Race: The Fortunes of Women Painters And Their Work by Germaine Greer



0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 05:53 pm
Poor fella my country (Xavier Herbert)

Writer Xavier Herbert was an often-offensive yet heroic figure in Australian literary history. His epic, Poor Fellow My Country, At 1463 pages and 850,000 words it is one of the longest novels ever published in English.

Its theme is the one that preoccupied Herbert throughout his life - the impact of the white man and development on the indigenous population.
Xavier Herbert was a man of contradictions; from the 1930s he was a visionary defender of indigenous rights who enjoyed talking like a racist. He liked to offend people.

(synops for those interested)
it is not so much a tale of this period as Herbert's analysis (and indictment) of the steps by which we came to the Australia of today.
http://www.middlemiss.org/lit/authors/herbertx/fellow.html
0 Replies
 
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 05:57 pm
@farmerman,
I have the Great Books (a 54-volume collection) published by the University of Chicago. I'm not sure if the University still sells them as a set - if so, they're well worth the (modest) price for what may be the all-time best (or at least best-known) works of Western Civilization. Some flagrant omissions (imo), some authors and groups (again imo) over-represented - but otherwise as good a list as any. And, no more than 3 feet or so on the shelf, though admittedly they're printed on very thin paper in rather small type. That last may well help, though - if I had seen Gibbon's Decline and Fall in the standard 5-volume edition (in the U of Chicago it's a single volume) I know I would never, ever, have started it - but now I love it!
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 06:21 pm
@farmerman,
Terrific thread, farmer! (I've been hoping for a few new terrific threads! Hooray! Very Happy )

I will definitely return & post. In the meantime, adjusting settings for email updates.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 06:25 pm
@Green Witch,
Oh, yes, A Distant Mirror.

The book meant a lot to me. For historians of that period - I don't know, they might toss it.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 06:35 pm
@farmerman,
American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America by the intellectual giant and famous Australian art critic Robert Hughes.
 

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