A List of Influential, Useful, and Entertaining Books
- Saturday, March 16, 2002
The Closing of the American Mind, Allan Bloom
The shocking truth about the mind of "generation X." The one thing they know is that there are no absolutes. Bloom gives examples from his own dealings with students of how much learning and culture has disappeared in the last few generations.
For the Childrens Sake, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
One of Dr. Schaeffers daughters provides practical suggestions on how to best educate children. This book is almost single-handedly responsible for the revival of interest in the writings and teaching methods of Charlotte Mason.
Dumbing Us Down, John Taylor Gatto
"Real education reform would cost so little, that it will never be done." Strong words from the former NY State Teacher of the Year. From the inside he describes why public education cannot be reformed. But he does point to hopeful alternatives, among them home schooling and teaching co-ops.
Favorite History Books
Luthers Progress to the Diet of Worms, E. Gordon Rupp
A short, brilliant, and fascinating account of the turbulent 3 years in Luthers life from the time he posted the 95 theses to the moment he stood before the Emperor, threatened with death if he did not recant his views.
The Armada, Garrett Mattingly
One of the best written historical accounts ever. It begins with the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, and concludes with the return of the (few) surviving Spanish ships and sailors.
Struggle for a Continent: The French & Indian Wars, Albert Marrin
Ever wonder why George Washington was chosen to lead the Continental Army? This book tells why. Colonel Washington served as commander of the Virginia militia attached to the British regulars sent to fight the French and Indians in the Ohio Valley. He was with them at their greatest defeat at Ft. Duquesne (now the site of Pittsburgh). A great writer, and a part of our history that is too much overlooked.
Lees Lieutenants, Douglas Southall Freeman
Freeman won the Pulitzer Prize for his 4-volume biography of Lee. The material he had left over, he then compiled in this 3-volume study of every officer of general rank who served under Lee during the war. After each battle he discusses the performance of Lees subordinates.
Favorite Popular Literature
Patriot Games, Tom Clancy
I like techno-thrillers. And Clancy is the best in the genre.
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, Tom Stoppard
Take two obscure characters from Hamlet and re-tell events from their perspective. Along the way play with the ideas of chance, fate, free will, and predestination. Oh, and include lots of puns and word play.
Brother Cadfaels Penance, Ellis Peters
Brother Cadfael of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul at Shrewsbury is not your ordinary medieval monk. He entered the monastery at 40, after having served as a knight in the crusades. His experience in the world, as well as his knowledge of plants and herbs (at the monastery, he is in charge of the infirmary), is a great help whenever he is called upon by his friend the sheriff to solve a murder mystery.
Pigs Have Wings, P.G. Wodehouse
Wodehouse is the author who gave us Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, his butler, two of the most comic characters of the 20th century. All of his books are delightful, complicated comedy-of-manners with hilarious and barely-to-be-believed plot resolutions.
The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
Tolkien was an Oxford Professor and still one of the authorities on medieval literature, especially Beowulf. In this epic tale, he creates races, languages, and peoples, each with their own character and history. The most admirable are the hobbits, simple folk, who succeed in a quest in spite of long odds, not by strength of arms, but by determination and devotion to duty.
Rob and Cyndy Shearer are the owners of Greenleaf Press, www.greenleafpress.com, and have been home schooling their 10 children forever. Rob attended Davidson College in North Carolina where he majored in history (spending his junior year as an exchange student in Germany). After college, he and Cyndy married and moved to the west coast where Rob attended Stanford University and worked towards a doctorate in History and Humanities. Cyndy received her undergraduate degree in English from Queens College in Charlotte and then a masters degree in English from the University of Virginia.
You can e-mail Rob and Cyndy at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at either 1-800-311-1508 or 1-615-449-1617.
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