Looking for Beach Reading?

Looking for Beach Reading?

Books on a list from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute may not be the lightest to read by the ocean, but they’ll be educational. The ISI created the list “in response to the dismal results college students nationwide have produced in ISI civic literacy tests,” according to a press release.

Over 14,000 college freshmen and seniors took a 60 multiple-choice question civic literacy test about America’s history, government, international relations and market economy. See how you score.*

College seniors scored an average 54.2%; college freshman, 50.4%. The ISI estimated that a 5-year-old kindergarten student would score 20% by guessing. Some of the worst performing colleges were Yale, Princeton, Duke and Cornell.

What’s the ISI’s solution to addressing the knowledge gap? 30 books. Here’s the list. I know I’m headed to the library. Maybe only to reread The Great Gatsby, but I’ll glance at some of the others. Maybe.

Civic Literacy Summer Reading List

Political Thought
1) “Speech on Conciliation with America” – Edmund Burke
2) The Federalist/The Anti-Federalist – Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay, et al.
3)Political Writings of John Adams – John Adams
4) Democracy in America – Alexis de Tocqueville
5) The Lincoln-Douglas Debates: The First Complete, Unexpurgated Text – Abraham Lincoln, Stephen A. Douglas (ed. H. Holzer)
6) The Civil War: A Narrative (3 vols.) – Shelby Foote
7) Frederick Douglass: Frederick Douglass Autobiogrpahies – ed. H. L. Gates
8) Roots of American Order – Russell Kirk
9) Witness – Whittaker Chambers
10) Unsettling of America – Wendell Berry

Biography/Autobiography
1) Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation – Richard Norton Smith
2) John Adams – David G. McCullough
3) American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson – Joseph J. Ellis
4) Alexander Hamilton, American – Richard Brookhiser
5) Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President – Allen C. Guelzo
6) Theodore Rex – Edmund Morris
7) No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II – Doris Kearns Goodwin
8) Eisenhower: Soldier, General of the Army, President-Elect, 1890-1952 (vol. 1)/Eisenhower: The President (vol. 2) – Stephen Ambrose
9) The Years of Lyndon Johnson (3 vols.) – Robert A. Caro
10) The Reagan Diaries – Ronald Reagan (ed. D. Brinkley)

American Literature

1) The Complete Tales of Washington Irving – ed. C. Neider
2) The Scarlet Letter – Nathanial Hawthorne
3) Moby Dick – Herman Melville
4) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
5) The Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane
6) The Magnificent Ambersons – Booth Tarkington
7) The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
8) Death Comes for the Archbishop – Willa Cather
9) Absalom, Absalom! – William Faulkner
10) To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

*Full disclosure – I got 71.67% and need to read more de Tocqueville

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One thought on “Looking for Beach Reading?

  1. 85% – suck it. Not sure if it speaks well of my inherent genius or poorly of my reading habits that I have read only three of the books on that list.

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