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BS: 88 Books that shaped America

Wesley S 01 Jul 12 - 06:55 PM
gnu 01 Jul 12 - 07:03 PM
GUEST,999 01 Jul 12 - 07:05 PM
Ebbie 01 Jul 12 - 07:06 PM
Jack Campin 01 Jul 12 - 07:41 PM
ChanteyLass 01 Jul 12 - 07:46 PM
Don Firth 01 Jul 12 - 08:52 PM
josepp 01 Jul 12 - 09:40 PM
katlaughing 01 Jul 12 - 11:04 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 02 Jul 12 - 12:07 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Jul 12 - 05:24 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Jul 12 - 07:25 AM
GUEST,Lighter 02 Jul 12 - 08:11 AM
Midchuck 02 Jul 12 - 08:20 AM
Stu 02 Jul 12 - 08:46 AM
pdq 02 Jul 12 - 09:37 AM
GUEST,Lighter 02 Jul 12 - 09:52 AM
josepp 02 Jul 12 - 12:10 PM
Big Al Whittle 02 Jul 12 - 01:31 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Jul 12 - 01:39 PM
kendall 02 Jul 12 - 02:00 PM
pdq 02 Jul 12 - 02:07 PM
Little Hawk 02 Jul 12 - 02:17 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Jul 12 - 02:27 PM
Don Firth 02 Jul 12 - 02:33 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Jul 12 - 02:44 PM
gnu 02 Jul 12 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,Lighter 02 Jul 12 - 03:02 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Jul 12 - 03:28 PM
GUEST,josepp 02 Jul 12 - 04:47 PM
Jack the Sailor 02 Jul 12 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,josepp 02 Jul 12 - 06:40 PM
GUEST,Lighter 02 Jul 12 - 06:45 PM
GUEST,josepp 02 Jul 12 - 07:18 PM
Jack the Sailor 02 Jul 12 - 07:29 PM
GUEST,Josepp 02 Jul 12 - 08:05 PM
Jack the Sailor 02 Jul 12 - 08:09 PM
Bill D 02 Jul 12 - 08:46 PM
GUEST,Lighter 02 Jul 12 - 09:28 PM
Janie 02 Jul 12 - 09:37 PM
Jack the Sailor 02 Jul 12 - 09:48 PM
Bill D 02 Jul 12 - 10:01 PM
josepp 02 Jul 12 - 10:14 PM
katlaughing 02 Jul 12 - 10:34 PM
Jack the Sailor 02 Jul 12 - 11:36 PM
JohnInKansas 03 Jul 12 - 12:11 AM
Don Firth 03 Jul 12 - 12:59 AM
Little Hawk 03 Jul 12 - 01:15 AM
Big Al Whittle 03 Jul 12 - 04:49 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Jul 12 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,Lighter 03 Jul 12 - 08:58 AM
GUEST,Lighter 03 Jul 12 - 09:14 AM
Wesley S 03 Jul 12 - 09:18 AM
Bill D 03 Jul 12 - 10:53 AM
Jack the Sailor 03 Jul 12 - 11:06 AM
Big Al Whittle 03 Jul 12 - 11:25 AM
pdq 03 Jul 12 - 11:50 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 Jul 12 - 12:46 PM
Jack the Sailor 03 Jul 12 - 12:54 PM
Jack the Sailor 03 Jul 12 - 01:19 PM
Jack the Sailor 03 Jul 12 - 01:25 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 Jul 12 - 02:19 PM
Jack the Sailor 03 Jul 12 - 02:29 PM
Jack the Sailor 03 Jul 12 - 02:44 PM
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Subject: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Wesley S
Date: 01 Jul 12 - 06:55 PM

I found this article in the paper today. I'm sure folks can find books that were left off but it makes for interesting reading anyway:

WASHINGTON — Most great book lists concentrate on works of the highest literary or scholarly merit. Think of the Harvard Classics, Harold Bloom's "Western Canon," the Modern Library's selection of "the 100 best novels of the 20th century." Here, the compilers imply, are our cultural masterpieces, the Mount Everests and K2s all literate people should scale in their lifetimes. You haven't read already Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason" or James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake"? Get cracking and break out the ropes, climbing shoes and pitons.

Happily, the Library of Congress' latest exhibition, "The Books That Shaped America," ignores the familiar high-culture shibboleths and embraces cookbooks (Irma Rombauer's "The Joy of Cooking") and schoolbooks (McGuffey's "Primer"), mysteries (Dashiell Hammett's "Red Harvest") and science fiction (Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451"), political tracts as well as poetry, both Dr. Seuss and Dr. Spock.



Benjamin Franklin, "Experiments and Observations on Electricity" (1751)
Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard Improved" (1758) and "The Way to Wealth"
Thomas Paine, "Common Sense" (1776)
Noah Webster, "A Grammatical Institute of the English Language" (1783)
"The Federalist" (1787)
"A Curious Hieroglyphick Bible" (1788)
Christopher Colles, "A Survey of the Roads of the United States of America" (1789)
Benjamin Franklin, "The Private Life of the Late Benjamin Franklin, LL.D." (1793)
Amelia Simmons, "American Cookery" (1796)
"New England Primer" (1803)
Meriwether Lewis, "History of the Expedition Under the Command of the Captains Lewis and Clark" (1814)
Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (1820)
William Holmes McGuffey, "McGuffey's Newly Revised Eclectic Primer" (1836)
Samuel Goodrich, "Peter Parley's Universal History" (1837)
Frederick Douglass, "The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass" (1845)
Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Scarlet Letter" (1850)
Herman Melville, "Moby-Dick; or, The Whale" (1851)
Harriet Beecher Stowe, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (1852)
Henry David Thoreau, "Walden; or, Life in the Woods" (1854)
Walt Whitman, "Leaves of Grass" (1855)
Louisa May Alcott, "Little Women, or, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy" (1868)
Horatio Alger Jr., "Mark, the Match Boy" (1869)
Catharine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe, "The American Woman's Home" (1869)
Mark Twain, "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" (1884)
Emily Dickinson, "Poems" (1890)
Jacob Riis, "How the Other Half Lives" (1890)
Stephen Crane, "The Red Badge of Courage" (1895)
L. Frank Baum, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" (1900)
Sarah H. Bradford, "Harriet, the Moses of Her People" (1901)
Ida Tarbell, "The History of Standard Oil" (1904)
Jack London, "The Call of the Wild" (1903)
W.E.B. Du Bois, "The Souls of Black Folk" (1903)
Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle" (1906)
Henry Adams, "The Education of Henry Adams" (1907)
William James, "Pragmatism" (1907)
Zane Grey, "Riders of the Purple Sage" (1912)
Edgar Rice Burroughs, "Tarzan of the Apes" (1914)
Margaret Sanger, "Family Limitation" (1914)
William Carlos Williams, "Spring and All" (1923)
Robert Frost, "New Hampshire" (1923)
F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby" (1925)
Langston Hughes, "The Weary Blues" (1925)
William Faulkner, "The Sound and the Fury" (1929)
Dashiell Hammett, "Red Harvest" (1929)
Irma Rombauer, "Joy of Cooking" (1931)
Margaret Mitchell, "Gone With the Wind" (1936)
Dale Carnegie, "How to Win Friends and Influence People" (1936)
Zora Neale Hurston, "Their Eyes Were Watching God" (1937)
Federal Writers' Project, "Idaho: A Guide in Word and Pictures" (1937)
Thornton Wilder, "Our Town: A Play" (1938)
"Alcoholics Anonymous" (1939)
John Steinbeck, "The Grapes of Wrath" (1939)
Ernest Hemingway, "For Whom the Bell Tolls" (1940)
Richard Wright, "Native Son" (1940)
Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" (1943)
Benjamin A. Botkin, "A Treasury of American Folklore" (1944)
Gwendolyn Brooks, "A Street in Bronzeville" (1945)
Benjamin Spock, "The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care" (1946)
Eugene O'Neill, "The Iceman Cometh" (1946)
Margaret Wise Brown, "Goodnight Moon" (1947)
Tennessee Williams, "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1947)
Alfred C. Kinsey, "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male" (1948)
J.D. Salinger, "The Catcher in the Rye" (1951)
Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man" (1952)
E.B. White, "Charlotte's Web" (1952)
Ray Bradbury, "Fahrenheit 451" (1953)
Allen Ginsberg, "Howl" (1956)
Ayn Rand, "Atlas Shrugged" (1957)
Dr. Seuss, "The Cat in the Hat" (1957)
Jack Kerouac, "On the Road" (1957)
Harper Lee, "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1960)
Joseph Heller, "Catch-22" (1961)
Robert E. Heinlein, "Stranger in a Strange Land" (1961)
Rachel Carson, "Silent Spring" (1962)
Jack Ezra Keats, "The Snowy Day" (1962)
Maurice Sendak, "Where the Wild Things Are" (1963)
James Baldwin, "The Fire Next Time" (1963)
Betty Friedan, "The Feminine Mystique" (1963)
Malcolm X and Alex Haley, "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" (1965)
Ralph Nader, "Unsafe at Any Speed" (1965)
Truman Capote, "In Cold Blood" (1966)
James D. Watson, "The Double Helix" (1968)
Dee Brown, "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" (1970)
Boston Women's Health Book Collective, "Our Bodies, Ourselves" (1971)
Carl Sagan, "Cosmos" (1980)
Toni Morrison, "Beloved" (1987)
Randy Shilts, "And the Band Played On" (1987)
Cesar Chavez, "The Words of Cesar Chavez" (2002)


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: gnu
Date: 01 Jul 12 - 07:03 PM

Thought provoking, to say the least. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: GUEST,999
Date: 01 Jul 12 - 07:05 PM

Wesley, no doubt this thread will be inundated by posters who have not yet read three or four of them. I am not one of those people. I've read about 35 or so. That said, what was the rationale for the statement that they shaped America? (As a BTW, I doubt that a tenth of a percent of America read Watson's "The Double Helix".)


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Ebbie
Date: 01 Jul 12 - 07:06 PM

I've read about one-third of those- I see that I have some serious and pleasurable reading to do.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Jul 12 - 07:41 PM

It had never occurred to be that Watson's book was American in any way - the research involved was in the UK.

Good try. I've read quite a lot of them and I'd have added

The Book of Mormon
Mary Baker Eddy: Science and Health
The IWW Songbook
Henry Ford: The International Jew
The Blue Book Of The John Birch Society
The Pentagon Papers
The Turner Diaries


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 01 Jul 12 - 07:46 PM

Interesting list.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Jul 12 - 08:52 PM

Many most interesting books on that list.

But one that I would single out—and for those who do not wish to invest the time and effort in reading the book, you can watch an exceptionally good movie adaptation of the book—is Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.

It's a novel about a small southern town during the depression. A black man has been unjustly accused of raping a white girl, and the quiet, retiring Atticus Finch, an attorney—who is a widower with two children to raise—decides to defend him in court.

The story is told through the eyes of his eight-year-old daughter, Jean Louise—called "Scout."

To me, Atticus Finch is the epitome of a true Hero. A man of integrity.

A quote from the book:
"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win. But sometimes you do."
                                                                                  - - Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
Read the book. Or rent the movie. It's one you'll never forget.

Don Firth

P. S. Atticus Finch is portrayed by Gregory Peck, and his daughter Scout is played marvelously by ten-year-old Mary Badham.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: josepp
Date: 01 Jul 12 - 09:40 PM

I read a lot of these as assignments in high school. I read "Moby Dick" on my own and it convinced me to head out to New England. So I went to New Bedford, Nantucket and also hit Providence. The following year I hit Salem after reading "The House of Seven Gables." That house actually exists, by the way.

I would add Mandelbrot's "The Fractal Geometry of Nature" and how could Newton's "Principia Mathematica" not be mentioned?


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 Jul 12 - 11:04 PM

I would include some others:

Old Yeller
The Virginian
The Ox-bow Incident


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 12:07 AM

I would add Slaughterhouse Five and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Also, I would add one of Stephen King's books, probably either The Stand or The Shining. No, Mr. King's books aren't great literature, but if the criterion for inclusion is the degree of influence on the culture, he deserves a mention.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 05:24 AM

Who knows - perhaps there are Americans who have read even more than 88 books.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 07:25 AM

"Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle" (1906)"
My father's favourite book - it was the only political work he was allowed when he was a prisoner of war in Spain - the authorities thought it was a travel book.
An expose of the conditions of the workers in the Chicago stockyards - didn't have any effect on their working conditions apparently but it sure as hell reformed the hygene laws.
"John Steinbeck, "The Grapes of Wrath" (1939)"
Surely the most movingly powerful piece of writing ever.
Would add to the list Sinclair Lewis's 'Kingsblood Royal' and Stetson Kennedy's 'I Rode With the Ku Klux Clan'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 08:11 AM

What was the basis for selection?

The cookbooks certainly helped "shape" America, but I wonder about some of the others.

"Moby Dick," for example. Admirable, but virtually unread till the 1920s. And what's been its impact on America anyway? (A 1999 educational TV show asked the question, "A battle between Good and Evil, or a cry to save the whales?")


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Midchuck
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 08:20 AM

15 out of 88 - plus fragments of several others.

Dune (Frank Herbert). As significant for the ecological movement as Stranger was for the hippies.

Lovecraft's short stories, and At the Mountains of Madness.

Peter


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Stu
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 08:46 AM

If a foreigner might pitch in with a couple of suggestions:

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

Wonderful Life by Steven J. Gould

Dispatches by Michael Herr

. . . and not on this list but I'm convinced will be in years to come, The Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy, a stunning book.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: pdq
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 09:37 AM

Starting with "Silent Spring", 12 of the last 15 are crap.

If you want some influential books in the last 40 years, look at...

       James Hal Cone: "Black Theology and Black Power"

       Sol Alinsky: "Rules for Radicals"

       Howard Zinn: "A People's History of the United States"

Those three books are the basis for the Obama Administration's game plan.

Respected authors James Mitchner, Louis Lamour and Stephen King dererve to have one book on the list.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 09:52 AM

Crap shapes civilizations too.

For the Middle Ages, try "Malleus Maleficarum," the witch-hunter's manual. For modern Germany, "Mein Kampf."

(Two we can agree on.)


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: josepp
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 12:10 PM

////"Moby Dick," for example. Admirable, but virtually unread till the 1920s. And what's been its impact on America anyway? (A 1999 educational TV show asked the question, "A battle between Good and Evil, or a cry to save the whales?")////

It's a creation epic--one that would replace the Bible in the Western world if I had my way. Melville himself left clues to this. Referring to Moby Dick, he once wrote, "Though I wrote of gospels of the 19th century, I should die in the gutter." Right on both counts.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 01:31 PM

I must say - an outsider would get the impression that the books had shaped America into a very miserable place where people go round with long faces - fear and loathing, lynching, people going round reading Emily Dickinson poems and immersed in an American tragedy.

I wouldn't let those sodding books shape my garden furniture, let alone America. Surely America can't be that bad.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 01:39 PM

Conspicuous by their absence are books that were important to westward migration and expansion.

A few:
Gregg, Josiah, 1844, Commerce on the Prairies.
Pike, Zebulon M., 1810, An account of expeditions to the Sources of the Mississippi.
Schoolcraft, H. R.,1820, Narrative Journal of Travels .... northwestern United States.
Hoffman, Charles F., 1835, A Settler in the West.
Oliver, William, 1843, Eight Months in Illinois.
Stansbury, Howard, 1852, An expedition to the Valley of the Grest Salt Lake of Utah.
Fremont, Jhn C., 1842, Report... Rocky Mountains.
Johnson, Overton, 1846, Route Across the Rocky Mountains...Oregon, California
Bradbury, John, 1817, Travels to the Interior of America.
Wyeth, John B., 1833, Oregon....
Several books on the Gold Rush (California), 1850s
Many books and pamphlets on the West, some with glowing descriptions of possibilities for settlement.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: kendall
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 02:00 PM

I'm surprised that Americas first published novel author was not mentioned. James Fennimore Cooper.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: pdq
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 02:07 PM

"Brave New World", "Animal Farm" and "1984" are all slaps at Socialism and are all missing from this list.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Little Hawk
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 02:17 PM

Yes, pdq, and little did their authors realize that the horrors they envisioned could be accomplished even more effectively through corporatism, profit-seeking, mass media, the consumer culture, and mass marketing.

I'll add Naomi Klein's book to the list: "The Shock Doctrine"

Good list, by the way. I've read a sprinkling of them, but not the majority. Maybe 20% of them.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 02:27 PM

Several boks have been put forth as America's First Novel."
Orooniko, 1688, published at the time of the author's experiences in the West Indies. English author, so not really applicable.

William H. Brown, 1791, The Power of Sympathy.
Susanna Rowson, 1791 (1794 US), Charlotte Temple.
H. W. Foster, 1797, The Coquette.
Charles B. Brown, 1799, Wieland.
Washington Irving, 1809, A History of New York, by D. Knickerbocker.
William Williams, 1815, The Journal of Penrose, Seaman. (Set in Nicaragua)
James Fennimore Cooper, 1826, Leatherstocking Tales, The Last of the Mohicans.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Don Firth
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 02:33 PM

Not slaps as socialism per se, pdq. Slaps at totalitarianism.

There are countries in the world with a socialist economic system that are doing quite well, thank you, that make the United States look like it's under the feudal system.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 02:44 PM

Much of what is being posted here did not "shape" America. Klein, Alinsky and the like are known only to a tiny fraction of Americans.

The Library of Congress list covers most, except books on westward expansion are poorly represented to absent. I agree that McGuffy's Readers and the like should receive consideration. I would also add the cookbook by Fannie Farmer.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: gnu
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 02:46 PM

Don... excellent point. In fear, I might add "look?".

Hey, before I get trashed, I said I was fearful. I also would like to add Canuckistan to Yankistan. My country is being led down the path as well. It's not pretty.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 03:02 PM

Those slaps were written by Englishmen. So they're not on the list.

I'd still like to know how Moby "shaped America." And Ginsberg's "Howl," while we're at it. And many others. These books influenced a certain number of authors, and intrigue a certain number of readers, but that's about it. I don't see the mystical power that could shape a nation. Perhaps because I'm a carping curmudgeon now.

Of course, if the list is just an excuse for a popular exhibition, then it doesn't much matter what's on the list as long as the list excites interest.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 03:28 PM

I would agree that the list is too long, including books that only a few read and some that almost no one has heard of.

Lacking are the wild west dime novels that were read by the kids (and their parents). They influenced the ideas of America in the minds of many.

And where are the Tom Swift books- Didn't they encourage kids towards aviation, the professions, and adventure?


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: GUEST,josepp
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 04:47 PM

/////I would agree that the list is too long, including books that only a few read and some that almost no one has heard of.

Lacking are the wild west dime novels that were read by the kids (and their parents). They influenced the ideas of America in the minds of many.

And where are the Tom Swift books- Didn't they encourage kids towards aviation, the professions, and adventure?////

If you mean that America was shaped by mass consumer pop culture shlock and outrageous fictions passed off as fact might I draw your attention to the whole of Western civilization?


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 04:57 PM

By far the most influential science fiction work other than Atlas Shrugged has been Dianetics by L Ron Hubbard.

Bram Stoker's Dracula has influenced a lot of popular culture obviously.

"If you want some influential books in the last 40 years, look at...

       James Hal Cone: "Black Theology and Black Power"

       Sol Alinsky: "Rules for Radicals"

       Howard Zinn: "A People's History of the United States"

Those three books are the basis for the Obama Administration's game plan."

Apparently the fantasy writers at Fox News and Newt Gingrich are also influential. But of course that it not a single book. It is volume upon volume of high fantasy.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: GUEST,josepp
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 06:40 PM

And for the 18 and under crowd, I would say "Pride, Prejudice and Zombies" and, of course, "Abraham Lincoln--Vampire Slayer."


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 06:45 PM

Bram Stoker was Irish and wrote in the UK.

But I have to agree with your estimate of Hubbard's influence. Surely far greater than Allen Ginsberg's, Nathaniel Hawthorne's, Stephen Crane's, etc.

Q is right to criticize the complete omission of dime novels other than "Mark, the Match Boy."

And, yes, the Book of Mormon should be listed.

In any case, where's Lomax's "Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads" (1910)? Clearly more influential than, say, Williams's "Spring and All."

If classic fiction is your bag, where's "Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque," by Edgar Allen Poe? Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises" came more than a dozen years before "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and made him (and his style) famous. "A Farewell to Arms" cemented it in 1929.

If Eugene O'Neill helped shape America, why not pick an earlier play like "Beyond the Horizon," which won him a Pulitzer Prize in 1920? Or "Anna Christie," which did the same in 1922?

And wait just a cotton-pickin' minute! Where are "All the President's Men" and "The Pentagon Papers"?

And "Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History," by Fawn M. Brodie (1974). (You know, dishing the alleged dirt on Tom and Sallie.)


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: GUEST,josepp
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 07:18 PM

////By far the most influential science fiction work other than Atlas Shrugged has been Dianetics by L Ron Hubbard.////

My gut instinct is to call this statement utter bullshit but then I might have to oncede that the Wall Street bankers have probably read these two turds and believed every word of their bullshit and hance brought this country to ruin. No one else, though (least of all Scientologists). Nor should they waste their time.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 07:29 PM

Wall Street bankers
Ron & Rand Paul,
thousands of "libertarians" and survivalists.

Atlas Shrugged has spawned a whole new American religion of greed, selfishness and anarchy.

Dianetics influence is also obvious. It also preaches a pernicious brand of self-involvement and undermines social institutions.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: GUEST,Josepp
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 08:05 PM

I doubt the libertarians have read it. They were just always that way.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 08:09 PM

I know libertarians who quote from it.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 08:46 PM

Like all lists of this sort, many of the suggested additions and complaints manage to miss the point OF the list.

There are books which 'shaped' America, but 'wonderful books which should have shaped America was not the topic... and neither was 'books which America shaped'.

We can differ about making up such a list, and lists often help to focus the debate.... but like Mudcat threads, we get 'topic creep'.

I agree that Atlas Shrugged had an influence.... durn it!


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 09:28 PM

So, Bill, how did the books I questioned (and many others on the list) "shape America"?

I mean really. What activities, industries, movements, common attitudes, etc., did these books "shape"? Lincoln quipped that "Uncle Tom's Cabin" started the Civil War. Even as repartee, that makes it sound pretty influential. Can we say anything similar about "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow?" (Not a book, BTW: a mere sketch.)

And why not 100? Couldn't they think of another dozen?

Surely Rand's "The Fountainhead" has had more time to be influential (particularly as helped out by the Gary Cooper flick) than has "Atlas Shrugged," published a decade later.

I'd call it a list of "88 American Books on Various subjects that Caught the Attention of our Staff for One Reason or Another."


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Janie
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 09:37 PM

Thanks Wesley! Interesting to think about.

And thanks Bill D.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 09:48 PM

I think that lighter makes a couple of good points about Moby Dick and the validity of how the list seems to have been chosen.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 10:01 PM

Lighter-
I sort of agree with you that several you questioned could have been left off... or been farther down on a longer list.

I don't think "All the President's Men" was influential... the events it described were influential. It was a good book...even an important book. But Dr. Spock & Dale Carnegie & Robert E. Heinlein & Betty Friedan were more 'influential'. (I watched them influence many college students many years ago)

My point was mostly about sticking to the point.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: josepp
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 10:14 PM

////I know libertarians who quote from it.////

They're just repeating what the ideologues in their cult tell them to say. They read Rand the way fundies read the bible--no real comprehension (after all, what is there to comprehend?) and then the pastor or reverend tells them what it means and they then repeat it as though it was their own thoughts.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: katlaughing
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 10:34 PM

I think Joel Chandler Harris's Uncle Remus books should be mentioned. Interesting quote about him by Twain at that link.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 11:36 PM

They read Rand the way fundies read the bible

That is pretty much my point. If you read Atlas Shrugged with and understanding of the world it makes no sense.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 12:11 AM

Obviously they're referring only to the old books, since they left the "Anarchists' Cookbook" off the list.

(Take your pick of any of the 3 or 4 versions in circulation, since they're all pretty much total crap - but a lot of people have believed in them.)

John


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 12:59 AM

Nathaniel Brandon, a disciple of Ayn Rand's, gave a series of twenty lectures entitled, "The Basic Principles of Objectivism" (Objectivism is what Rand called her philosophy), and the tapes of these lectures were played to groups of Ayn Rand enthusiasts all over the country.

It was a group of Ayn Rand fans who had taken these lectures who got together and started the "Libertarian Party."

I know this for a fact.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 01:15 AM

I attempted to read "The Fountainhead" once while in high school...got through about 3 chapters...and dropped it, because I found it espoused so deeply repulsive a philosophy that it practically made me feel physically ill to keep reading it.

That was my very short acquaintance with Ayn Rand's work. You could call it "loathing at first sight", I guess. It seemed to be directly opposed to every basic social instinct I have.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 04:49 AM

Perhaps if you put all the copies of those books in the gulf of Mexico, and it silted up over them - they would change the shape of America.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 08:54 AM

It occurs to me that it might be a good idea to discuss books that books that should have shaped America but unfortunately didn't
In fact some of those mentioned so far already fall into that category (before anybody accuses me of being anti-American, the same applies to any country, including and especially my own).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 08:58 AM

Like "The Pentagon Papers" (often cited, rarely read), "All the President's Men" (with the aid of the movie, of course) arguably convinced millions *never* to trust Washington about *anything.*

Other millions had already reached that conclusion, but we're talking about books here.

I wonder of "The Exorcist" (1971) had anything to do with the rise of Fundamentalism (starting in the late '70s).

If so, it was helped out, again, by the movie.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 09:14 AM

And how 'bout those early influential furriners like Calvin and Hobbes (I mean the originals), and Locke and Rousseau?

Their books *really* helped shape America. Shakespeare and Milton too. And, face it, Marx & Engels. I guess the Bible and the Talmud go without saying. (It may be premature to add the Quran and the Sayings of Confucius.) All are reasons why America is so diverse.
   
The title of the list should include the word "help." Books don't do everything.

Just thought of another one of vast influence: Alex Comfort's "The Joy of Sex." Of course, he was a furriner too, so he couldn't possibly have written a book that helped shape America, right?


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Wesley S
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 09:18 AM

When I see a list like this I can just imagine some people sitting in an office on Monday morning getting a memo from "upstairs" that they have to have a list of 100 books finished by Friday afternoon. The rest of the week is taken up with arguments along the lines of "Well if you get to include that one then I get to add this one". On and on until Friday when they give up and go home after finishing a list of 88 books.

Then they tell "upstairs" that they devised a list of criteria so stringent that only the 88 books made the list.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 10:53 AM

Lighter... I have a Calvin and Hobbes (the originals) Tee-shirt ..so I guess they helped shaped American pop-culture business. ;>)


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 11:06 AM

I know all of the books on the list were not written by Americans. Orwell? Wasn't he born in Bengal, India.

Speaking of which.... How about Kama Sutra?


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 11:25 AM

'
When I see a list like this I can just imagine some people sitting in an office on Monday morning getting a memo from "upstairs" that they have to have a list of 100 books finished by Friday'

Nonsense - the original e-mail was divinely inspired. There are also 88 white notes on a piano. Surely not just a coincidence,

Never ignore an omen!


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: pdq
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 11:50 AM

As I pointed out, neither George Orwell nor Aldous Huxley are on the list of 88.

Other Brits who perhaps should be are H. G. Well (for "The Time Machine", if nothing else), George Bernard Shaw and James Joyce.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 12:46 PM

Stumbled on this list of American Folk Tales.
Not really pertinent (?) but a lot of interesting stories; Americans undoubtedly have been influenced (if not "shaped") by them.

Famous American Folktales & Stories

http://www.americanfolklore.net/sindex.html#up

Despite the objections by josepp, I maintain that the dime novels were among the most important books shaping the American image of their country. Read to tatters by millions, thousands of whom would go west to build a new life. Horace Greeley would encapsulate that yearning and its fulfillment, when he wrote "Go West, ...."


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 12:54 PM

Sorry, I thought 1984 was there.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 01:19 PM

Very true Q. But it is very dubious that any one dime novel had enough influence to be included in such a list on its own merits.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 01:25 PM

Judging from his ads Rouzer is a Tea Party A-hole. I think he is running against the Blue Dog in our district.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 02:19 PM

What a sight! All those millions of Tea Party A-holes.

(41% of Americans support the "Tea Party" according to the Washington Post estimate).
Tea party support stable, but interest is waning, Scott Clement, 04/15/2012, Washington Post Politics.

For those who want to know what and who the Blue Dogs are, see "Blue Dog Coalition" in Wikipedia. There are 26 Representatives according to this list, 6 departing at end of 112th Congress.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 02:29 PM

No not millions. The Tea Party A-holes, my term, are the ones running for office using nasty divisive ads with their name on them.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 02:44 PM

New York Times (Pew) puts agreement with the Tea Party in the mid 20's

That is in districts with Tea Party representatives.

I know it depends on how you ask the question. But since support is a much stronger term than "agree with," it makes your unsupported statement of 41% nation wide (Or did you just mean my district in North Carolina) seem dubious at best.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 03:01 PM

Q

I went back and read the poll

          -------- Support --------   --------- Oppose --------    No
          NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Somewhat   Strongly opinion
4/8/12    41      12         29       45       21         24       14

Somewhat support? That is not want a member would say. At best you have only 12 percent as member of the Tea Party. Obviously the reality is much smaller than that.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: pdq
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 03:44 PM

Have you two posted to the wrong thread?

This one is about classic books.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 04:06 PM

Yes I did, Thank you for pointing that out.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 06:27 PM

Did no-one write anything significant in the 1990s?


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 07:06 PM

Sure... but hardly anything that it is obvious 'shaped' us yet.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 08:21 PM

Good point Bill. Perhaps by that standard, this one should be stricken. It is not like we know about Chavez only because of this book.

Cesar Chavez, "The Words of Cesar Chavez" (2002)


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 08:24 PM

How about the report of the 9/11 commission. Or Debt of Honor by Tom Clancy which may have been the blueprint for the worst day in US history.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 08:38 PM

Its not a book, but it deserves to be on this list more than most of the books on the list. The TV series Star Trek. For inspiring young people to enter the field of science.

Maybe the movie Wall Street for doing the polar opposite of its intended purpose.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Allan C.
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 06:33 AM

I don't know if the book (edited by) E. A. Botkin listed above changed anything about America, but it certainly helped to point me toward an interest in folklore and traditional songs. I stumbled upon his "Treasury of American Folklore" long before I ever heard of Lomax. Botkin produced quite a number of other books of the same sort. Many of them were specific to certain areas of the USA. I have quite a few of these and have enjoyed thumbing through the various stories and songs therein.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 08:05 AM

The "memo from upstairs" theory has the ring of truth, especially if accompanied by an 8-hour deadline.

The more I think about the systematic omission of foreign authors of all periods from a list of books that "shaped America," the more irritated I get, particularly when I look at some of the titles that obviously haven't done much evident "shaping"

Of course, "The Scarlet Letter" did teach me and millions of other middle-schoolers to hate literature for many years. I guess that counts for something.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: josepp
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 09:25 AM

One book that had a huge impact on me was "The Illuminatus! Trilogy" and when I meet others who were first introduced to the subject matter covered in that book, it had the same impact on them. I suppose if you already knew all the stuff the book covers then maybe not so much. But then I had already ready Pynchon's "The Crying of Lot 49" and everything Lovecraft ever wrote and it only heightened my enjoyment of the Trilogy so I don't know. That book also quote a bit from Ishmael Reed's "Mumbo Jumbo" so I hunted that down and read it too. I lent it to a guy on my ship who had also read the Trilogy and "Crying" and we would discuss Mumbo Jumbo for hours.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 09:34 AM

I might take exception with the one contribution by Kinsey, since his other three (major) books were much better. And among those affecting the "practice" the follow-ons by Pomeroy et.al. actually have been much more influential.

As to books that "shaped" anything, there probably should be at least a couple of titles by/about Freud, although we pretty much got over that, and we still have a sizeable population who were (more recently than most will know) substantially influenced by the "Eugenics" craze of the 20s-40s, although picking a single book would be difficult. Almost any "home medical" reference book from the 20s would suffice.

As suggested, a list of books that should have influenced America, but mostly didn't is interesting. I can't offer a list of books, but one collection in my library offers "Fifty Major Documents of the Twentieth Century" (Published about half-way through the century?).

Hardly anyone now knows anything of them, but SHOULD. even if the latter half of the century might have added something, and a few of them have now been amended.

How many do you know of?

Fifty Major Documents of the 20th Century TOC:
1. The Daily Telegraph Interview, October 28, 1908
2. The Austro-Hungarian Ultimatum to Serbia, July 23, 1914
3. Extracts from Bethmann-Hollweg's Speech to the Reichstag, August 4, 1914
4. The Zimmermann Note, January 19, 1917
5. President Wilson's War Message, April 2, 1917
6. The Balfour Declaration on Palestine, November 2, 1917
7. The Fourteen Points, January 8, 1918
8. The Armistice Demands, November 10, 1918
9. The Covenant of the League of Nations, 1919
10. Extracts from the Treaty of Versailles, June 28, 1919
11. Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution, August 11, 1919
12. The Enfranchisement of Women in Great Britain and the United States, 1918-1919
13. The 25-Point Program of the National Socialist German Workers' Party, February 25, 1920
14. The Zinoviev Letter, September 15, 1924
15. The Locarno Pact, October 16, 1925
16. The Tanaka Memorial, July 25, 1927
17. The Kellogg-Briand Pact for the Renunciation of War, August 27, 1928
18. The Escalator Clause of the London Naval Treaty, April 22, 1930
19. Quadragesimo Anno : Pope Pius XI on Reconstructing the Social Order, May 15, 1931
20. The Statute of Westminster, December 11, 1931
21. The Nuremberg Laws on Citizenship and Race, September-November, 1935
22. Opening Chapter of the Soviet Constitution of December 5, 1936
23. Abdication Letter of Edward VIII to the House of Commons, December 10, 1936
24. The Hossbach Document, November 5, 1937
25. The Munich Agreement, September 29, 1938
26. Winston Churchill's Three Famous Speeches of 1940
A. "Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat," May 13, 1940
B. "Their Finest Hour," June 18, 1940
C. "So Much Owed by So Many to So Few," August 29, 1940
27. The Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis Pact, September 27, 1940
28. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Four Freedoms Speech, January 6, 1941
29. The Atlantic Charter, August 14, 1941
30. War Message of President Roosevelt on Japan, December 8, 1941
31. Declaration by the United Nations, January 1, 1942
32. The Casablanca Conference, January 26, 1943
33. The First Quebec Conference, August 11-24, 1943
34. The Moscow Pact Declaration on General Security, October 30, 1943
35. The Cairo Conference, November 22-26, 1943
36. The Tehran Conference, December 1, 1943
37. The Secret Treaty of Yalta, February 4-11, 1945
38. Hitler's Political Testament, April 29, 1945
39. Admiral Doenitz's Assumption of Leadership in the Third Reich, May 1, 1945
40. The Potsdam Declaration, August 2, 1945
41. The Japanese Instrument of Surrender, September 2, 1945
42. The Baruch Proposals-for the Control of Atomic Energy, June, 1946
43. Extracts from the Nuremberg Trial Judgments, October 1, 1946
44. The Truman Doctrine, March 12, 1947
45. The Marshall Plan, June 5, 1947
46. Expulsion of Marshal Tito and Yugoslavia from the Cominform, June, 1948
47. The Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man, December, 1948
48. The North Atlantic Treaty, April 4, 1949
49. Final Act of Nine-Power Conference on Arming West Germany, London, September 28-October 3, 1954
50. Charter of the United Nations

Amazingly, about half of the above were discussed in one of my high school classes - but it was an "unusual" class, and most of the kids didn't get much past auto maintenance and home cooking.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 10:12 AM

Compare the shaping influence of those dry documents on history with that of most of the 88 titles on the first list.

The fond idea that poets are the "movers and shakers of the world forever" is rather overstated.


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: keberoxu
Date: 11 Aug 16 - 07:18 PM

Jack London's "The Scarlet Plague" isn't on that list, is it, although its author is. What gets my attention about that book, is that its author projected its futuristic setting for one hundred years in the future. And "The Scarlet Plague" dates from 1914. So here we are, over one hundred years later.

Correct me if I'm mistaken here -- I have seen none first-hand -- but I believe "The Scarlet Plague" has been adapted for the screen, cinema/and-or television (radio even??) more than once.

And one can certainly look back on both books and films in recent decades that resemble "The Scarlet Plague."


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: CupOfTea
Date: 11 Aug 16 - 10:29 PM

I am completely astonished that in the tally of what we find lacking in the OP's list, books of music are strikingly absent. The shaping of the country in the colonial era through to independence had much to do with religious as well as political separation from England. The onset of a publishing industry in this period spawned numerous hymnals - in particular the Shape Note format. Northern & Southern Harmony, & the start of denominational hymnals. Standardizing hymns in books helped form an identity, and was part of the trend toward universal literacy in the US.

While some books are compilations of significant songs or tunes that are part of the American heritage, hymnals were, and are, used in a much different way, to direct and inspire. When thinking of influential books- how many of those mentioned are an intrinsic part of someone's life experience? I know there are a couple on that list I've read multiple times.

Let's hear it for early American hymnals, please?

Joanne in Cleveland (whose church life is enriched by 7 different hymnals)


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: Stu
Date: 12 Aug 16 - 05:44 AM

A few from the intervening years that have made a big impression on me:

The Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemingway

The Man in the High Castle by Phillip Dick.

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: robomatic
Date: 12 Aug 16 - 12:48 PM

H. L. Mencken: "The American Language"


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Subject: RE: BS: 88 Books that shaped America
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Aug 16 - 01:28 PM

I'd have thought The Bible would have made it in the list, given it's not just about American books.


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