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Required Reading for Americans?

jpeirpont

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I joined one of those 50 books in a year clubs and decided to dedicate it toward learning more about the American experience. So far I have compiled 33 books, and need some recommendations . Here is what I have so far.
 
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I forgot my librarything account particulars, thus cannot read your list, but:

The Making of Americans by Gertrude Stein comes to mind.
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.
Grapes of Wrath.
 

gamelan

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something by Hemingway and Kerouac.

-Jeff
 

Connemara

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I would nominate Flan O'Connor.
 

Augusto86

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The Naked and the Dead - Norman Mailer. Macbeth.
 

Piobaire

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I recommend King Lear. A very good lesson to learn about what happens when you turn your entire life over to others, no matter how close those others are to you.

I would recommend either a novel by Camus, like The Stranger, or some essays, like The Myth of Sisyphus.

Paradise Lost, Milton.

One collection or another of Russell's essays of social critiques.

Rand, Atlas Shrugged, as a good example of, "Close, but oh so wrong."

Dune, by Frank Herbert.

There's a few.
 

King Francis

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Originally Posted by Piobaire
I recommend King Lear. A very good lesson to learn about what happens when you turn your entire life over to others, no matter how close those others are to you.

I would recommend either a novel by Camus, like The Stranger, or some essays, like The Myth of Sisyphus.

Paradise Lost, Milton.

One collection or another of Russell's essays of social critiques.

Rand, Atlas Shrugged, as a good example of, "Close, but oh so wrong."

Dune, by Frank Herbert.

There's a few.


These are some good recommendations, but I'm not sure most of them fit the OP's request for books that will give him greater insight into the American experience.
 

lawyerdad

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Originally Posted by King Francis
These are some good recommendations, but I'm not sure most of them fit the OP's request for books that will give him greater insight into the American experience.

TV Guide?
 

jpeirpont

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Heres the list:
African American Lives Henry Louis Gates
Gates, Henry Louis 2004

Alexander Crummell: A Study of Civilization and Discontent Wilson Jeremiah Moses
Moses, Wilson Jeremiah 1997

Ben Franklin Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin 2005

Class : A Guide Through the American Status System Paul Fussell
Fussell, Paul 1992

Conservatism Revisited: The Revolt Against Ideology Peter Viereck
Viereck, Peter 2005 Conservatism

The Decline of the WASP Peter Schrag
Schrag, Peter 1972

Democracy in America (Everyman's Library (Cloth))

Education of Henry Adams, the [An Autobiography] Volume 2 (Time Reading Program, Special Edition) Henry Adams
Adams, Henry

Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power Niall Ferguson
Ferguson, Niall 2004

The Federalist Papers (Signet Classics (Paperback)) Alexander Hamilton
Hamilton, Alexander 2003

Hamilton, Adams, Jefferson: The Politics of Enlightenment and the American Founding Darren Staloff
Staloff, Darren 2005

Change Cover A History of the American People Paul M. Johnson
Johnson, Paul M. 1999

Change Cover The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance Ron Chernow
Chernow, Ron 2001

Man Ralph Ellison
Ellison, Ralph 1995 John Adams David McCullough
McCullough, David 2001

Magna Carta and the tradition of liberty Louis B. Wright
Wright, Louis B. 1976
The Money Men: Capitalism, Democracy, and the Hundred Years' War over the American Dollar (Enterprise) H. W. Brands
Brands, H. W. 2006

The New History of the World J. M. Roberts
Roberts, J. M. 2003

Our Kind of People: Inside America's Black Upper Class Lawrence Otis Graham
Graham, Lawrence Otis 2000

Change Cover The Oxford Companion to Mark Twain Gregg Camfield
Camfield, Gregg 2002

The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, Or, Africa for the Africans (The New Marcus Garvey Library, No. 9) Marcus Garvey
Garvey, Marcus 1986

Change Cover The Power Elite C. Wright Mills
Mills, C. Wright 2000

The Protestant Establishment : Aristocracy and Caste in America E. Digby Baltzell
Baltzell, E. Digby 1987

The Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson (Modern Library) Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson, Ralph Waldo 1992

The Souls of Black Folk (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) (B&N Classics Trade Paper) W.E.B Du Bois
Bois, W.E.B Du 2003

Change Cover Terror and Consent : The Wars for the Twenty-First Century Philip Bobbitt
Bobbitt, Philip 2008 TL 53/1

Thomas Jefferson and the Education of a Citizen 1999

Thomas Jefferson: Author of America (Eminent Lives) Christopher Hitchens
Hitchens, Christopher 2005

Titan : The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (Vintage) Ron Chernow
Chernow, Ron 2004

Turmoil and tradition; a study of the life and times of Henry L. Stimson Elting Elmore Morison
Morison, Elting Elmore 1960

The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor David S. Landes
Landes, David S. 1999 Cultural Studies

The wealth of nations Adam Smith
Smith, Adam 2000

Change Cover The World Is Flat [Updated and Expanded]: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century Thomas L. Friedman
Friedman, Thomas L. 2006 TL
 

Lucky Strike

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Originally Posted by King Francis
These are some good recommendations, but I'm not sure most of them fit the OP's request for books that will give him greater insight into the American experience.
Why not these?:
Originally Posted by Augusto86
The Naked and the Dead - Norman Mailer. Macbeth.

Originally Posted by gamelan
something by Hemingway and Kerouac. -Jeff
Originally Posted by denimdestroyedmylife
You guys are being too vague, and the recs are not very focused. John Dos Passos: USA
Good one.
 

King Francis

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Originally Posted by Lucky Strike
Why not these?

I was quoting only Piobaire. Though in my opinion the other recommendations were not particularly strong.


A few recommendations of my own:

Tom Wolfe, Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers

Edward C. Banfield, The Unheavenly City Revisited

Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform and Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

Gunnar Myrdal, volumes one and two of An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy (a massive and insightful tome, written by a Swede, on the situation of American blacks in the 1950s with a view to what the future might hold)
 

GQgeek

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The Oresteia by Aeschylus.

I was in a lecture tonight and the prof was talking about the ironies in athenian democracy particularly with reference to the plays and whether or not Aeschylus may or may not have been making some political commentary in them. He summed it up as "democracy with fear." I couldn't help but chuckle to myself as I thought about an Obama presidency. Democracy with fear indeed!
 

mr monty

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Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life (A Free Press Paperbacks Book) (Paperback)
by Richard J. Herrnstein (Author), Charles Murray (Author)
 

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