Saturday, June 04, 2005

HUMAN EVENTS ONLINE :: Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries

I'm proud to say I routinely teach one of these books, and also a few on the "honorable mention" (funny concept) list. I also routinely teach at least one book on the same folks' list of ten books every student should read in college, so I may be an equal-opportunity offender.

I do understand that there are harmful ideas in the world, and we need to debate them. But ad hominem attacks on the authors (Engels was a "limousine leftist," Betty Friedan was "for a time even the lover of a young Communist physicist working on atomic bomb projects in Berkeley’s radiation lab with J. Robert Oppenheimer”--guilt by association, anyone?) are not effective argument. And this list frankly just seems silly, though I do wonder whether any of my students will complain about having to read books that appear on it. Or whether their parents will.

4 comments:

Becca said...

Is it Marx, Nietzsche, or Friedan?!

Libby said...

It's the Manifesto, Becca--right up there at number one! (We do teach Nietzsche in the same class, but it's the Genealogy of Morals rather than Beyond Good & Evil).

Eileen Flanagan said...

Thanks for showing me this list. I also teach at a university and believe these are precisely the kinds of books my students should read, understand, and debate.

By the way, I found your blog when I discovered that you linked to mine at www.imperfectserenity.com.
Thanks. I look forward to reading more here.

Libby said...

Hi, Eileen--I found you linked from Miriam Peskowitz, whose book I just recently read (and reviewed for Literary Mama). Nice to "meet" you!