There will be much to discuss about this election, both on the national and the local level, in the coming days. But for today, I’ll keep it short, and give you this off-kilter but interesting story that ran in Higher Ed Weekly on Wednesday.
Writer Scott Mclemee asked various “academics, editors, and public intellectuals” to choose one book each that they thought that our new president should take to the White House.
Here’s a few of the books they chose:
James Marcus, the book-review editor for The Columbia Journalism Review, said that at first he wanted to recommend, Democracy in America, The Federalist Papers. But then he got a grip on himself and decided on Tobias Wolff’s In Pharaoh’s Army: Memories of the Lost War “As the next president ponders the best way to extract the United States from its Iraqi quagmire, a memoir of Vietnam seems like a useful reality check.”
(Okay, that works.)
Then Elvin Lim assistant professor of government at Wesleyan University and author of The Anti-Intellectual President, said that the president-elect should read Preparing to be President: The Memos of Richard E. Neustadt (AEI Press, 2000), edited by Charles O. Jones. “Richard Neustadt was a scholar-practitioner who advised Presidents Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, and Clinton, and, until his passing in 2003, also the dean of presidential studies. Most of the memos in this volume were written for president-elect John Kennedy, when the country was, as it is now, ready for change.”
(Another undoubtedly handy thing to have.)
The rest of the entries may be found here. They’re a bit on the heady side, but fun to glance through as we wait for our breathing become normal.
Back with more serious elections stuff tomorrow.
Last night I did a book reading/talk-ish thing at Occidental College, together with Father Greg Boyle. The place was filled with Obama-giddy students who were still reeling happily from the election. They talked a lot about how important Obama’s win was for their generation, and how they and their friends intended to be involved in any way they could in changing the country for the better. It was actually pretty great. (Kids are a good thing.)