What We Are Reading Today: The Revolutionary; Samuel Adams

What We Are Reading Today: The Revolutionary; Samuel Adams
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Updated 23 October 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The Revolutionary; Samuel Adams

What We Are Reading Today: The Revolutionary; Samuel Adams

Edited by Stacy Schiff

For people interested in learning about more behind the beginning of the American Revolution, The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams is a must read.

Well written and engaging, author Stacy Schiff gives the reader the build-up to the revolution through the eyes of the man who most likely helped to build it up: Samuel Adams. 

Schiff brings her masterful skills to Adams’s improbable life, illuminating his transformation from aimless son of a well-off family to tireless, beguiling radical who mobilized the colonies.

“Arresting, original, and deliriously dramatic, this is a long-overdue chapter in the history of our nation,” said a a review on Goodreads.com.

Adams was so entwined in the events leading up to the revolution, that reading his biography is like reading an historical account of those events.

Schiff ably brings this history to life in this fascinating volume that richly details the life of the man many believe was the linchpin to the Revolution, said the review.

The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams is a well documented and scholarly read, one that is never boring.


What We Are Reading Today: Rescuing Socrates by Roosevelt Montas

What We Are Reading Today: Rescuing Socrates by Roosevelt Montas
Updated 25 March 2023

What We Are Reading Today: Rescuing Socrates by Roosevelt Montas

What We Are Reading Today: Rescuing Socrates by Roosevelt Montas

What is the value of a liberal education? Traditionally characterized by a rigorous engagement with the classics of Western thought and literature, this approach to education is all but extinct in American universities, replaced by flexible distribution requirements and ever-narrower academic specialization. Many academics attack the very idea of a Western canon as chauvinistic, while the general public increasingly doubts the value of the humanities. In “Rescuing Socrates,” Dominican-born American academic Roosevelt Montas tells the story of how a liberal education transformed his life, and offers an intimate account of the relevance of the Great Books today, especially to members of historically marginalized communities.

Montas emigrated from the Dominican Republic to Queens, New York, when he was 12 and encountered the Western classics as an undergraduate in Columbia University’s renowned Core Curriculum, one of America’s last remaining Great Books programs. The experience changed his life and determined his career—he went on to earn a PhD in English and comparative literature, serve as director of Columbia’s Center for the Core Curriculum, and start a Great Books program for low-income high school students who aspire to be the first in their families to attend college.

Weaving together memoir and literary reflection, Rescuing Socrates describes how four authors—Plato, Augustine, Freud, and Gandhi—had a profound impact on Montas’s life.


What We Are Reading Today: Trust the Plan by William Sommer

What We Are Reading Today: Trust the Plan by William Sommer
Updated 24 March 2023

What We Are Reading Today: Trust the Plan by William Sommer

What We Are Reading Today: Trust the Plan by William Sommer

In “Trust the Plan,” William Sommer explains the rise of QAnon, how it has gained a mainstream following Republican lawmakers and ordinary citizens, the threat it poses to democracy, and how we can reach those who have embraced the conspiracy and are disseminating its lies.

What began as a fringe online conspiracy in the mid 2000s is now embraced by millions of Americans including new members of Congress and the thousands of Trump follower who attacked the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

This timely and essential book outlines what the nation must do to address this growing danger — including how to help friends and family who have fallen under Q’s pernicious sway.


What We’re Reading Today: Invention and Innovation

What We’re Reading Today: Invention and Innovation
Updated 23 March 2023

What We’re Reading Today: Invention and Innovation

What We’re Reading Today: Invention and Innovation

Author: Vaclav Smil

The world is never finished catching up with Vaclav Smil. In his latest and perhaps most readable book, “Invention and Innovation,” the prolific author — a favorite of Bill Gates — pens an insightful and fact-filled jaunt through the history of human invention, says a review published on Goodreads.com.
Impatient with the hype that so often accompanies innovation, Smil offers in this book a clear-eyed corrective to the overpromises that accompany everything from new cures for diseases to AI.
Drawing on his vast knowledge, Smil explains the difference between invention and innovation.


What We Are Reading Today: The First Fossil Hunters

What We Are Reading Today: The First Fossil Hunters
Updated 21 March 2023

What We Are Reading Today: The First Fossil Hunters

What We Are Reading Today: The First Fossil Hunters

Author: Adrienne Mayor

What if monstrous creatures once roamed the earth in the very places where their legends first arose? This is the arresting and original thesis that Adrienne Mayor explores in “The First Fossil Hunters.”

Through careful research and meticulous documentation, she convincingly shows that many of the giants and monsters of myth did have a basis in fact—in the enormous bones of long-extinct species that were once abundant in the lands of the Greeks and Romans.


What We Are Reading Today: Settling for Less

What We Are Reading Today: Settling for Less
Updated 20 March 2023

What We Are Reading Today: Settling for Less

What We Are Reading Today: Settling for Less

Author: Lachlan McNamee

Over the past few centuries, vast areas of the world have been violently colonized by settlers. But why did states like Australia and the United States stop settling frontier lands during the twentieth century? At the same time, why did states loudly committed to decolonization like Indonesia and China start settling the lands of such minorities as the West Papuans and Uyghurs?
Settling for Less traces this bewildering historical reversal, explaining when and why indigenous peoples suffer displacement at the hands of settlers.