Seeking Advice from the ‘Sphere

#1 daughter in a recent conversation reported by Mrs Pseudo-Polymath, was musing that she thought the study of history might “not be very useful.” Now, while I (emphatically) don’t agree with that, I’m 9,000 miles away and her mom had indicated that perhaps the study of history could shed light on political science. The conversation then led to the idea that she might cut to the chase and look learning some poly-sci.

So … #1 daughter then sought my advice as to what she might read to “learn some political science” (note: #1 daughter is 10). I went to a “Great Books” university (U of Chicago) and have bought into that theory of teaching hook, line, and sinker. My daughter has in the past read things well beyond her calendar age so I’m not going to shy from “hard” original material. For example when we started reading during last summer Robert Fagels wonderful Odyssey translation, out loud because after all it’s meant to be heard not read, … she got frustrated only reading it when I was home and finished the last half on her own.

I have never taken a class in political science so I’m a little out of my depth here. I have at this point suggested three books of which two where chosen largely because I had them lying around the house. The two around the house were The Federalist Papers and The Road to Serfdom. I suggested they borrow from the library Bloom’s translation of Plato’s Republic. But I’m pretty sure that these books would almost certainly not be what a real expert in the field might suggest reading, first. So I turn to you, my gentle readers, for advice. What books would you suggest my daughter read? Can you point to, or suggest a short reading list? I would be very grateful.

Recently she did read for her summer break “history” book, When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman, on the unfortunate but quite eventful reign of King Stephen in the 12th century. I got the impression she enjoyed that book. Suggestions of readable, and laudable history texts (or perhaps well researched historical fiction instead) would be also welcomed, to be honest by both of us.

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2 comments

  1. David says:

    “On Liberty” by John Stuart Mill is brilliant and has a very crisp writing style.

    And while I hate Walden, Henry David Thoreau’s “On Civil Disobedience” was short and interesting.

    Expect some Moderate Voice readers to drop in with suggestions…

  2. A Few Good Links

    I’m nowhere near at Joe’s level when it comes to linking, but here are a few good things I’ve stumbled across today.

    The New Republic has a great article on how Israel’s e…