Choosing Books

October 27, 2004

I am teaching Western Civ II next semester, and I intend to change the readings.

The first change is easy, in fact the kids last semester insisted that I make this change - instead of reading Paine's Rights of Man and excerpts from Common Sense and Age of Reason I will give them Edmund Burke Reflections on the Revolution in France and Paine's Rights of Man. I will probably excerpt both books to make the reading more reasonable for a low level survey.

The second change is also easy. Last time I used Noble et al Western Civilization, The Continuing Experiment, a book I picked because I liked their choice of images (don't laugh) and because I decided that their use of in-line primary documents meant I could get away without a separate reader. But, I did not like its coverage of the Ottoman Empire and over the course of the semester I discovered that I was putting a LOT of emphasis on the Ottoman Empire. So, this time I intend to use McKay et al A History of Western Society which is not as good about its primary documents, has more words, but also has good coverage of the Ottomans.

My final decision is what to read for the modern era. I like to have them read something about the Great War. Last time we used All Quiet on the Western Front - a classic, a book much read in High School, and a book written several years after the war as a response to Nazi-ism in Germany. This time I am thinking about giving them Ernst Junger The Iron Storm - a book less read in high schools, a book written immediately after the war, and a book that was taken up by the same people who later embraced the Nazi party (although Junger himself seems to have steered clear of them). I asked Penguin for a review copy, but I suspect that I will pop into a library tomorrow and see if there is a copy on the shelves for me to flip through.

The total cost of the big textbook and the three other books brings the class to over $100, before bookstore markup on the textbook. This means no external reader. Instead I will do a milder version of what I am doing for US1 this semester, putting a few readings up on a class web page for the kids to read on line.

It should do.

Posted by Red Ted at October 27, 2004 07:35 AM | TrackBack