Arranged by Recommender's Name
To contribute to this list, or add to your own list below, plese use the Reading List for Life suggestion form.
Professor Richard Abels, History Department:
- Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. (PS 3558 .E476 C3 1961)
- Regeneration by Pat Barker. (PR 6052 .A6488 R4 1961)
- Waiting for the Barbarians by Joseph Coetzee. (PR 9369.3
.C58 W3 1982)
- The Making of the Middle Ages by Richard Southern.
(CB 351 .S6 1953a)
- The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
(Book: PG 3326 .B7 G32, Audiotape: PG 3326 .B7 F5 1997)
- On the Genealogy of Morality by Friedrich Nietzsche.
(B 3313 .Z73 D5413 1994)
- The Once and Future King by T. H. White. (PR 6045 .H2052
Douglas S. Altner, Mathematics:
- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (PS3535.A547 A94 2005)
- Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand (HB501.R25 1967)
- Philosophy: Who Needs It? by Ayn Rand (B29.R26 1984)
- The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand (BJ1474.R3 1970)
- Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Leonard Peikoff (B945.P234P44 1991)
- The Capitalist Manifesto by Andrew Bernstein (HB501 .B47 2005)
- The Myth of the Robber Barons by Burton Folsom (HG181.F647 2007)
- New Deal or Raw Deal? by Burton Folsom (E806.F64 2008)
- Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt (HB171.H47 1946a)
- The Ultimate Resource by Julian Simon (HB871.S573 1981)
- Nothing Less Than Victory: Decisive Wars and the Lessons of History by John Lewis (U21.L524 2010)
Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged is her greatest work. The plot involves a near-future U.S. that is crumbling due to crushing economic regulations and widespread cultural apathy. The leading innovators in business, engineering, academia and the arts are mysteriously disappearing while the leading politicians and intellectuals blame the country’s ills on the failure of free markets and the incorrigible greed inherent in human nature. However, they have no solutions aside from even more economic controls that inevitably worsen the economy.
Atlas Shrugged can be enjoyed on many levels. First, it is an exciting story filled with mystery, thrills and romance. Second, it offers a compelling moral defense of laissez faire capitalism. Third, it makes a powerful case for why it is morally proper for an individual to live for the sake of his own life and happiness. I highly recommend this book to anyone intrigued by the idea that a person’s chosen philosophy, consciously or not, is the crucial element in governing his or her life and that the course of human civilization is driven by the ideas people choose to hold.
For those of you who enjoyed Atlas Shrugged, I also recommend several of Ayn Rand’s nonfiction works. The Virtue of Selfishness, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal and Philosophy: Who Needs It? are all great collections of Ayn Rand’s essays and serve as a good starting point. Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand is perfect for those seeking an advanced presentation of Ayn Rand’s ideas.
I have also recommended several important books for further reading about capitalism. The Myth of the Robber Barons presents a compelling case for why the so-called “robber barons”, such as Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller and Cornelius Vanderbilt, were productive geniuses and should be remembered as the greatest heroes of the Industrial Revolution, not its greatest villains. New Deal or Raw Deal? is a provocative, but well-argued case that the New Deal actually elongated and exacerbated the Great Depression instead of ending it.
Economics in One Lesson is a brief, but enlightening overview of basic principles of economics from a free market perspective. The book explains complex economic topics in plain English and is a great supplement to economics coursework. The Capitalist Manifesto is a thoroughly detailed, but accessible moral, economic and historical case for laissez faire capitalism. The Ultimate Resource is a crucial book in understanding why many Malthusian predictions (e.g., we are running out of oil, clean water, trees, food, living space, etc.) have been and will continue to be incorrect. The book explains how these resources are more abundant than ever and how the human capacity for inventing new ways to use resources more efficiently is truly the ultimate resource.
Surveying six major wars, Nothing Less Than Victory argues that when at war with an ideological enemy, a nation can and should secure a lasting peace by bringing the offensive to the enemy’s homeland and shattering their desire to continue the conflict. The author discusses several examples of this principle, including the U.S.’s defeat of Imperial Japan, the Union’s routing of the Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War and the Greeks ending the threat of Persian invasions during the Greco-Persian wars. This is a great read for those who enjoys history as well as foreign policy.
Professor Peter Andre, Mathematics:
- The Double Helix by James Watson. (QH 450.2 .W37)
- Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis. (PA 5610 .K39 Z6713
- Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. (PS 3558 .E476 C3 l961)
- The Once and Future King by T. H. White. (PR 6045 .H2 O52
- The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. (HQ 1426 .F844 1997)
The Double Helix gives a marvelous insight into the human
side of scientific research. The excitement and also the fragility
of the hunt for new knowledge comes through clearly. Zorba the
Greek is about a bigger than life character who leaves the reader
with the feeling that there is a source of energy in all of us which
is largely untapped. Catch 22 is a zany unreal book which
leaves the reader wondering whether a serious view of life is the
real one or whether we are all enjoying a big joke. The Once and
Future King takes the Arthurian legend and turns it into a story
that begins with a sense of childish optimism. At first this book
seems to be a children's book. However, by the end we see the dark
forces of the world gaining power. The final chapter of the book
portrays one of the most powerful images of a man who has seen his
hopes and optimism destroyed by, in some sense, his own inability
to carry out his dream. The Feminine Mystique was one of the
first popular women's lib books. Although Friedan's optimism about
solving women's problems is naive, she was one of the first to see
that women's roles in American life will have to change.
Professor Robert Artigiani, History Department:
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (PR 6015 .U9 B73 1950)
- The Stranger by Albert Camus (PQ 2605 .A3734 E813)
- Science And Human Values by J. Bronowski (Q 171 .B8785 1965)
- What Is Life? by Erwin Schrodinger (QH 331 .S3557)
- The End of Certainty by Ilya Prigogine (Q 175 .P7513 1997)
Professor William Bagaria, Aerospace Engineering Department:
- The Sleep Walkers by Arthur Koestler (BL 245.K63 1959a)
- The City of God by St. Augustine. (BR 65.A64 E5 1998)
- Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. (Book: PS 3525 .I5
156 A6 1995, Videotape: PS 3525 .I5 156 D4 2001)
The Sleep Walkers is a comprehensive presentation of one
of the greatest controversies of all time, the Heliocentric Theory.
Koestler is an excellent writer and his style makes this history
book read like a novel. He does an outstanding job presenting the
cast of characters, the scientific theories, and the religious/political
realities of the times. He presents many interesting facts, such
as the ignominious events leading to Tycho Brahe's death, as written
down by Kepler. Lesser known than his Confessions, in The
City of God Augustine presents a wide range of religious ideas
set in the context of the knowledge of the fifth century. It is fascinating
to read his rigorous arguments interspersed with amusing digressions.
It is alleged that Augustine said that, although he had never seen
one, he considered the dragon to be one of God's most beautiful creatures.
Regardless of his "primitive" knowledge, Augustine's theology
is still viable today. Without hope, what value is there to life?
But living in a day-dream world must eventually lead to one's demise. Death
of a Salesman, while an engrossing heart-wrenching drama, can
serve to show us the pitfalls that can lead to a tragic life.
CDR Miles J. Barrett, USN, USNA Chaplain.
- The Battle for God by Karen Armstrong. (BL 238 .A76 2000)
- The Shattered Lantern by Ronald Rolheiser. (On order)
From an anthropologist and historian, Karen Armstrong, comes The Battle for God which reviews 2000 years of history of Christian,
Jewish, and Muslim fundamentalism and the conflicting mythos and logos
influence in mid-eastern and western thought today.
From a philosopher systematic theologian, Ronald Rolheiser, comes The
Shattered Lantern which offers a wide ranging analysis of the atheism of our
age. It reviews the philosophers over the centuries; and, brings clarity to
our unbridled restless, narcissistic world with an invite to contemplatively
live our lives. From Nietzsche's madman and the smashed lantern this brief
read is rich with insights for leaders of today and tomorrow.
Professor Harriet Bergmann, English:
- Beloved by Toni Morrison. (Book: PS 3563 .O8749 B4 1987,
Videotape: PS 3563 .O8749 B4 1998) A portrait of slavery, of mothers
and children, of independence.
- Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (PS 2954 .U5 1998). Surely
the most popular book in the 19th century deserves some consideration
in the 21st.
- The Body in Pain by Elaine Scarry (BJ 1409 .S35 1985) is a
scrupulous discussion of the language of war and violence - one of
the most thought provoking books I have ever read.
- The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (Book: PR 9199.3 .A8
H3 1986, Audiotape: PR 9199.3 .A8 H3 1999) is even scarier these days. When
she wrote it she said that everything that happened in the book had
an historical precedent; certainly the basic situation is very close
to what the Taliban did to women in Afghanistan.
Professor Allyson Booth, English Department:
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (PR 4034 .P7 1990, Audiotape:
PR 4034 .P7 1980, Videotape: PR 4034 .P7 1998)
- Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett (PQ 2603 .E378 E513 1954)
- Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (PR 4568 .C67 1986)
- The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy (PR 4750 .M39 1984)
- The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (PS 2116 .P6 1995b)
- Beloved by Toni Morrison (Book on order, Videotape: PS 3563
.O8749 B4 1998)
- Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson (PS 3568 .O3125 H6 1997)
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (PG 3366 .A6 1995)
- To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (PR 6045 .O72T6)
For when you go to Italy:
- Tales from Ovid (translated by Ted Hughes) (PA 6522 .M2 H78
- The Agony and the Ecstasy: a novel of Michelangelo by Irving
Stone (PS 3537 .T669 A64 1961)
For when you go to Greece:
- The Odyssey by Homer. (Book: PA 4167 .H66 1996, Audiotape:
PA 4025 .A5 M36 1996)
Beach Reading /Great Stories:
- The Track of the Cat by Nevada Barr (PS 3552.A73184 T7 1994)
- The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (PR 4494 .M62 1999)
- Bang the Drum Slowly by Mark Harris (PS 3515.A757 B3 1984)
- Cider House Rules by John Irving (PS 3559.R8 C5 1999)
- The Winds of War by Herman Wouk (PS 3545 .O98 W55)
Dr. Jennifer Bryan, Head of Special Collections & Archives/Archivist, Nimitz Library:
- The Republic by Plato. (JC 71 .P35 1985)
- Confessions by St. Augustine. (BR 65 .A6 E5 1991)
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. (Book: PR 4571 .C48
1996, Audiotape: PR 4571 .A1 1986, Videotape: PR 4571 .A1 1990)
- Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. (PR 5318 .A2 D86 1996)
- The Iliad by Homer. (PA 4025 .A2 M85 1999)
I was introduced to philosophy my sophomore year of college, and
briefly toyed with the idea of changing my major from history to
philosophy. Plato's theory of forms was particularly appealing to
me. My philosophy professor explained to the class that all philosophers,
no matter what they may call themselves, are basically Platonists
or Aristotelians. During the course of the year, I found myself
more attracted to the works of those philosophers who followed Plato's
line of reasoning rather than Aristotle's.
St. Augustine's Confessions was another work studied in philosophy
class. I still remember his story of stealing pears from a neighbor
not because he wanted them, or because he was hungry, but just for
the sake of stealing them. As I recall, he used this episode from
his life to explain the nature of sin. His description of the concept
of time as a means man created to attempt to understand eternity
also has stuck with me. A Tale of Two Cities and Ivanhoe are
books I read when a teenager. Dickens' depiction of the Reign of
Terror is, in my opinion, unsurpassed. Both the depravity and the
nobility of which human beings are capable appear in the characters
of Madame Defarge, knitting as heads roll, and Sydney Carton, offering
himself to the guillotine in the place of the Marquis St. Evremonde. Ivanhoe,
although probably not particularly historically accurate, is still
a good tale, full of knights and chivalry. Although familiar with
the basic plot of the Iliad, I had not actually read it until
quite recently. The power of this poem, more than 2,000 years old,
is amazing. I found myself sympathizing more with Hector and the
Trojans than Achilles and the Achaean host.
Mr. Chris Buck, Technical Support Coordinator, Humanities and Social
- Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (PG 3476 .B78 M3
- War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (PG 3366 .V6 1942)
Major S. P. Callahan, USMC, History Department:
- The Nightingale's Song by Robert Timberg. (Book:
E 876 .T55 1995, Videorecording: E 876 .T553 1995)
This is a very readable book by a 1964 grad who served as
a Marine during Vietnam before becoming a journalist. It weaves the stories
of five other graduates (McCain, McFarlane, Webb, North, and Poindexter)
together, showing how their ambition and events like Vietnam shaped their
world perceptions. The result was with both positive and negative impacts
on the nation they were sworn to protect. I believe this book serves
a dual purpose, both inspiring and warning midshipmen about their potential.
CDR Matthew Carr, Mechanical Engineering Department:
- The Bible
- Situational Leadership by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard
(Out of print; updated by the videotape Situational Leadership
for Supervisors (HD 57.7 .S57 1990)
- The Hornblower series by C.S. Forester and Life
in Nelson’s Navy by Dudley Pope. (VA 454 .P66 1981)
- Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling. (PR 4854
- Books on Sir Ernest Shackleton and his third expedition to Antartica
The Bible - “A thorough knowledge of the Bible
is worth more than a college education.” (President Theodore
Roosevelt) Roosevelt believed that there were absolutes. To his mind,
true leadership must always be accountable to that set of unchanging
principles, ones not affected by the movement of the clock or the advance
of the calendar. And he believed that those absolute principles could
only reliably be found in the Book of Books, the Bible. (Quoted from Carry
a Big Stick, by George Grant) I agree.
I read Situational Leadership as a LT and it really
helped me to recognize the maturity levels of the people in my various
organizations and what it would take for each to perform at a better
level. Now out of print it is updated by the videotape Situational
Leadership for Supervisors (HD 57.7 .S57 1990).
Forester used to be required reading for all midshipmen and probably
should be today. His Hornblower books trace the history of a fictional
officer in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic era. Hornblower deals
with the issues of character, duty, and leadership in each book, but
from the perspective of his rank and experience at each level. Forester’s
description of battles between ships really brings it to life. Hornblower
books appear on the recommended reading list of many other faculty
members. I would add Pope’s book to get a better background of
what it was like to be in the Navy at that time. Remember that many
of the U.S. Navy traditions came from the Royal Navy.
Captains Courageous is a story of character development
in a spoiled and wealthy teenager who was rescued by some Gloucester
fishermen after falling off a luxury liner. While this story takes
place about a 100 years ago, its message is timeless.
An incredible story of leadership and survival - Sir Ernest Shackleton
intended to cross Antarctica with dog sleds. Instead his ship, the
Endurance, became icebound for over 10 months and was then crushed
by the ice. He and 27 others camped on ice flows for 6 months until
forced by the ice melting to take to their life boats. After landing
on a rocky island, he took a 26 foot lifeboat with five others and
sailed it across the South Atlantic to a small, but inhabited island
get help in rescuing the remainder of his crew. This may be the most
incredible small boat journey of all time. He then hiked across South
Georgia Island in a 30 hour trek that included hiking over a mountain
range and glacier. It took him three months to get back to where he
left the others, but not a single life was lost. Shackleton took a
photographer along on the trip and many of the photos were saved. At
the same time, 28 others in the ship Aurora had the job of pre-staging
food and supplies on the opposite side of the continent on a line of
longitude that Shackelton would follow after he crossed the South Pole.
Ten of these men were marooned as the Aurora was blown out to sea,
also became icebound, and couldn’t get back to the marooned men.
These men had no way of knowing that Shackleton was unable to start
his trek, so they improvised and actually placed food and supplies,
setting a record for sledging of around 220 days. There are many books
on Shackleton, two very good ones by Alfred Lansing and Caroline Alexander.
Lennard Bickel’s book on the Aurora crew is particularly interesting.
Professor Mike Chamberlain, Mathematics Department:
- Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson. (E 173 .O94 vol
- Lincoln by Gore Vidal. (PS 3543 .I26 L5 1998)
- The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. (Book: PS 3569 .H2 K55
1975, Audiotape: PS 3569 .H2 K55 1994, Videotape: PS 3569 .H2 K55 1993)
- Witness to Gettysburg by Richard Wheeler. (E475.53.W55 1987)
- Chesapeake by James Michener. (PS 3525 .I19 C55)
- The Covenant by James Michener. (PS 3525 .I19 C68)
Mr. Larry Clemens, Director of MSC and Engineering & Weapons Division
- The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. (Book: PS 3569 .H2 K55
1975, Audiotape: PS 3569 .H2 K55 1994, Videotape: PS 3569 .H2 K55 1993)
- Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. (PS 3553 .A655 E5 1991)
- Any book by Bruce Catton, such as Mr. Lincoln's Army
(E 470.2. C37 1962)
Killer Angels, a fictional work about the battle of Gettysburg,
has many real life examples of leadership. The hero of the
book, Colonel Chamberlain needs to rally men who no longer want to
fight, make several high risk decisions under fire, and physically
lead a regiment when many have given up. The recent movie "Gettysburg" is
adapted from this book. You don't have to be a civil war enthusiast
to enjoy the work. Ender's Game has long been a standard
of the Commandant of the Marine Corps Reading list. This science
fiction work provides real life examples why people need to train
for battle. In fact, the lesson from the book is, the harder
you train, the easier to battle. I also recommend any book
by Bruce Catton. While Catton is not the best historian about
the Civil War, he is one of the better authors in the area. Catton
uses diaries and recollections to bring this conflict to life for
Associate Professor John P. Cummings, Nimitz Library:
- You Just Don't Understand by Deborah Tannen. (HQ 734 .T24
- Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. (PR 4825 .J3 T5
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.
(Book: BF 637.S8 C68 1989, Audiotape: BF 637 .S8 C68 1989b)
The war between the sexes is generally waged on the field of communication. You
Just Don't Understand provides insight into the fundamental
differences in the purpose and mechanics of conversation as used
by men and women. If you develop such insight during your undergraduate
years you may not have to spend the rest of your life wondering
why you are not understood. Three Men in a Boat, written
in 1889, is classic British humor. You will either love it or hate
it--and you will know which after the first two pages. A key concept
in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is the fact that
our expectations are created by the patterns we use as we look
at things. These paradigms determine how we perceive situations
and therefore how we deal with them. This book could sharply improve
your life by increasing your understanding of the everyday forces
acting on you.
LCDR Michael Dennis. Electrical and Computer Engineering Department:
- The Quantum Dot: a Journey into the Future of Microelectronics by Richard Turton. (TK 7874 .T883 1995). Great presentation of the principles of current and future electronics (including quantum transistors, superconducting elements, and optoelectronics that switch with light) without a heavy dose of math (or even a light dose...)
Professor S. A. Elder, Physics:
- Foundations of Physics by Robert B. Lindsay and Henry Margenau.
(QC 6 .L42)
- The Bible
- The Puritan Dilemma by E. S. Morgan. (F 67 .W798)
- Writings of C. S. Lewis
Foundations of Physics summarizes the philosophy of modern
physics that I was taught by the late Professor Lindsay while at
Brown University. R. Bruce Lindsay was one of the bright young students
of the 20's who developed the "new" physics. His impact
on my life included: thesis advisor for Sc.M. degree, course instructor
for three g raduate-level courses at Brown, friend and career advisor
for more than thirty years. Margenau, of Yale, was known for his
expertise in the history and philosophy of science. The Bible has
profoundly affected both my lifestyle and my teaching style. It emphasizes
the importance of the individual, and one's personal accountability.
I found The Puritan Dilemma helpful in understanding the roots
of American Democracy. It helps to explain why the American Revolution
was different from the French Revolution. The book tells how John
Winthrop, an English gentleman, and the other members of the exclusive
Massachusetts Bay Company "freemen, willingly gave up their
chance to exploit the colony for financial gain and instead, developed
a working democracy in seventeenth century New England; how the people
to whom he transferred power at first rejected him and later came
to appreciate his special contributions. C. S. Lewis's books have
helped me to see the relevance of religion in modern life. Lewis
shows convincingly why the old ideas of God, heaven, etc., as taught
in historic, mainstream Christianity, make sense to intelligent,
scientifically trained minds. In his novels he shows the evil social
consequences of rejecting religious teaching.
Assistant Professor Howard Ernst, Political Science Department:
- Essays, Ralph Waldo Emerson. (PS 1608 .A2 F47 1987)
A vegetarian friend of mine is often asked why she refuses to eat
animal flesh. Her usual response is, "If you have to ask the question,
you probably would not understand my answer." This is precisely how
I feel about Emerson's Essays. I encourage students, or anyone with
an inquiring mind, to explore Emerson's ideas. Take your time, read
slowly, and perhaps you too will hope the pages never end.
LT Sean Fahey, Political Science Department:
- A Bright Shining Lie by Neil Sheehan (DS 558 .S47 1988) gives
an excellent overview of Vietnam showing the importance of not only
personal initiative but also critically looking at many of our failures
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (PS 3558 .E476 C3 1961) is a World
War II novel with such colorful characters and situations that no matter
who you meet in the fleet or what strange scenarios you find yourself
in, you'll know that you're not alone.
Professor J. Eric Fredland, Economics Department:
- Free to Choose by Milton Friedman. (HB 501 .F72)
- Economics and the Public Purpose by John Kenneth Galbraith.
(HC 106.6 .G344)
- Exit, Voice, and Loyalty by Albert Hirschman. (HM 131 .H566)
- The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. (HB 161 .S646 1961)
Professor Clementine Fujimura, Language Studies Department:
- Journey into the Whirlwind by Eugenia Ginzburg. (DK 268.3
- The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. (PG 3476 .B78
- The Mountain People by Colin Turnbull. (DT 429 .T87)
- Wrapping Culture by Joyce Hendry. (DS 830 .H45 1993)
Especially today, when we realize how little we really understand
about world cultures, it seems that these books could affect midshipmen
as they affected me in college. It was through Journey into the
Whirlwind that I realized that I had no clue what suffering really
was and that I needed to read and study "others more deeply
to truly relate to people with such different life experiences. Russians
themselves suggested I read their literature, and The Master and
Margarita was perhaps the most bizarre, shocking, funny and therefore
exciting piece of protest literature I have ever read. Bulgakov
wrote this novel during the Soviet crackdown of the 1930's and risked
his life to send his anti-Stalinist message via this complex allegory
of good and evil. This book was not published until 1967. Such
literature motivated me to learn more about other cultures. The
Mountain People is a story of an unbelievable group of people,
the Ik, situated on the borderlands of Uganda, Kenya and the Sudan,
who will do anything to survive. This book made me realize that
our sense of morality may not apply worldwide as conditions can change
even a very basic sense of morality and justice. Finally, it was Wrapping
Culture which taught me the complexity of communication across
cultures. When communicating with people from other cultures, we
need to fully understand the complexity of language and the many
forms it takes beyond the spoken word. If we rely on our "American common
sense, we will surely miss our chance at a peaceful world.
Professor Audrey Gaquin, Language Sudies Department:
- The Phenomenon of Man, by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. (BD512.T413
- The Need for Roots by Simone Weil. (HM 216 .W352 1971)
- Existentialism and Humanism by Jean-Paul Sartre. (B 819 .S32
- Perelandra by C. S. Lewis. (PR 6023 .E926 P47)
Professor William B Garrett, Political Science:
- The Bible.
- The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. (Book: PS 3513 .I25 P7 1991,
Audiotape: PS 3513 .I25 P6 1985)
- The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White.
(PE 1408.S772 2000)
- The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell
- Justine. (PR 6007 .U76 J88 1957)
- Balthazar. (PR 6007 .U76 B34 1958)
- Mountolive. (PR 6007 .U76 M68 1959)
- Clea. (PR 6007 .U76 C44 1960)
- A Treasury of Great Poems, edited by Louis Untermeyer.
(PR 1175 .T74 1993)
Assistant Professor Todd Garth, Language Studies Department:
- Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
(BF 637 .M4 K23 1994)
- Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. (DS 135 .N6 F73413 1995)
- Just an Ordinary Day by Shirley Jackson. (PS 3519 .A392 J8
- Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson. (PS 3519 .A392
- Raising Demons by Shirley Jackson. (PS 3519 .A392 R3 1957)
- We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.
(PS 3519 .A392 W45 1962)
- The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. (PS 3519 .A392
- El Tunel by Ernesto Sabato. (PQ 7797 .S214 T8 1965)
- The Odyssey by Homer. (Book: PA 4167 .H66 1996, Audiotape:
PA 4025 .A5 M36 1996)
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (PS 3537 .T3234 G8
I'm not usually one for self-help gurus, but Jon Kabat-Zinn verges
on genius. He combines Eastern philosophy and meditation practice
with Western perspective, and the result is a very provocative but
satisfying take on how to live in the face of life's inherent limitations. Wherever
You Go, There You Are is also a lovely, poetic narrative. I
try to read The Diary of a Young Girl every six or seven yearsI'm
long overdue nowand I always learn something new from it. This
thirteen-year-old girl had no concept that her diary would be read
by anyone. How did she manage to produce a book so incisive? It
would be easy to read The Grapes of Wrath like some kind
of cartoon or melodrama; the fact it reflected real people's lives
renders it explosive. This is the only book that ever made me weep.
When I was a boy, my father tried to get me to read Horatio Hornblower
adventure novels (maybe the videos are better?) and as a result I
hated adventure stories until I read Homer's Odyssey. This
book has something for everyone. If you don't like mythology, focus
on the adventure, or the psychological insight, or the political
implications, or just the magnificent poetry. Shirley Jackson was
the first author I read purely for pleasure, and I consider her America's
most underrated writer. Her books are very hard to find nowadays. First
I discovered her domestic novelssort of like sitcoms between
coversRaising Demons and Life Among the Savages. Then
as a teenager I discovered The Haunting of Hill House (absolutely
nothing like the movie), and We Have Always Lived in the Castle,
her masterpiece of psycho-weird suspense. Amazing that one person
could have written two such entirely different genres. Her short
stories - some collected in Just an Ordinary Day cover everything
in between. And speaking of psycho-weird, Argentine Ernesto Sábato
perfected it in the 1940s, before psychologists even studied paranoid
schizophrenia. But the amazing part of The Tunnel (On Order)
is its poetic simplicity (third-year Spanish students can read it).
It packs psychodrama, crime, social and political commentary and
a very twisted love story all in beautiful, balanced prose. Once
I read this I just knew I had to go to Argentina.
Major Keith E. Gibeling, USAF, History Department:
- The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas L. Friedman. (Book:
HF 1359 .F74 1999; Audiovisual: HF 1359 .F74 1999b) A brilliantly written,
insightful interpretation of today's globalized world and America's place
at its center. Should be required reading for all military professionals.
Professor C. Herbert Gilliland, English Department:
- Flatland by Edwin A. Abbot. (QA 699 .A13 1983) A delightful
little book listed by others here. For me it was a stimulus to trying
to envision how things looked from outside my own "dimensions."
- War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. (PG 3366 .V6 1942) As a teenager,
I picked this to read as a sheer quantitative challenge-- because it
was the fattest book in my parents' library. Took me three tries to
get through it. But I found in it an enormously rich exploration of
- Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier. (Book: PS 3556
.R3599 C6 1997 Videorecording: PS3556.R3599 C6 2004 ) The beautifully
written tale of a Confederate soldier making his way home towards the
end of the war, to the woman who has been waiting for him. Though the
book contains scenes of combat, it is really about how war can affect
society and individuals. It is also an elegant love story.
Professor Jane Good, History Department:
A sampling of my favorite literature around the world...
- Russia: Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak (PG 3476 .P27 D63
- Japan: The Remains of the Day by Kauzuo Ishiguro.
(PR 6059.S5 R46 1990)
- Greece: Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis (PA 5610 .K39
- South Africa: Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee.
(PR 9369.3 .C58 W3 1982)
- France: A Very Long Engagement by Sebastian Japrisot.
(PQ 2678 .O72 J3613 1994))
- England: Possession by A.S. Byatt. (PR 6052 .Y2 P6 1990)
- Scotland: Black Dogs by Ian McEwan. (PR 6063 .C4 B5 1999)
- Sri Lanka: The English Patient, by Michael Odantje. (PR 9199.3
.O5 E54 1993)
- Egypt: The Cairo Trilogy by Naghib Maufouz. (PJ 7846 .A46
- Columbia: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia
(PQ 8180.17 .A73 C513 1970)
- United States: The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. (PS
3566 .R697 S4 1994)
Professor Mark J. Harper. Mechanical Engineering Department:
- Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler. (PR 6021 .O 4 D3713) To appreciate living in the United States of America.
- Log from the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck. (F 1246 .S78) Lessons about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness from a talented writer.
- Testimonies (PR 6029 .B55 T47), also the Aubrey & Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian. Great writing and tremendous insight into human nature, life at sea, and leadership.
- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. (PS 3535 .A547 A94) For inspiration.
- Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig. (PT 2653 .W42 U613 1939) To realize that actions have consequences.
- The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White. (PE 1408 .S772 2000) Essential for any writer’s desk.
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. (D 810 .J4 F72713) To appreciate how precious life is.
- Carry On, Mister Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham. (PS 3523 .A76 C37) Inspirational sea story for the younger reader.
- The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat. (Book: PR 6025 .O36 C7; Book on tape: Audiovisuals PR 6025 .O36 C7; Videotape: Audiovisuals PR 6025 .O36 C7) Imagery and verity about life, and the sea.
- The Winds of War by Herman Wouk. (PS 3545 .)98 W55) The way it was, beautifully written.
- Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. (PQ 8180.I7 .A73 A813) Magical realism.
- A Sense of Honor by James Webb. (PS 3573 .E1955 S4) Should be required reading before entering the Naval Academy.
Associate Professor William Heuer, Chemistry Department:
- The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn.
(Q 175 .K95 1996)
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Persig.
(CT 275 .P6483 D57 1990)
- Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey. (PS 3561 .E667 S6
Professor Michael Hoffman, Mathematics Department:
- Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds,
by Charles Mackay. (AZ 999 .M2 1932)
- The Ancient Economy, by M. I. Finley. (HC 31 .F5)
- Plagues and Peoples, by William H. McNeill. (RA
- A History of Western Philosophy, by Bertrand Russell.
(B 72 .R8)
- Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, by
Douglas R. Hofstadter. (QA 9.8 .H63)
- On the Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin. (QH
365 .O2 1979)
- On Evolution, by John Maynard Smith. (QH 366.2 .M3919)
Charles Mackay’s book, first published in 1841, is the classic
study of market bubbles and mass hysteria. The most popular chapters
are those on the Dutch “tulipomania” of the seventeenth century and the
English South-sea bubble, but there’s plenty of good material throughout
the book on human greed and credulity; and it is remarkable how much
of the same behavior has appeared on the Internet the past few years.
Finley’s book makes two points that left an impression with me: (1) the
paucity of primary sources makes ancient history a difficult subject
to really know much about; and (2) the ancient world was quite different
from our own in many ways, and uncritical applications of modern economic
concepts like “the labor market” or “the balance of payments” can produce
a very distorted view of the Greco-Roman reality. Plagues and
Peoples is a really pathbreaking work, looking at the whole
of human history through the lens of epidemic disease. Russell’s history
of Western philosophy is the most readable work on the subject I know.
In Godel, Escher, Bach, Hofstadter accomplishes a truly
remarkable feat: he makes a major result of twentieth-century mathematical
logic accessible to someone without formal training in mathematics (which
is not to say the book is an easy read). Darwin’s book is a scientific
classic, and still relevant to current research in a way that, say, Newton’s Principia is
not. The chief weakness in Darwin’s argument was a lack of knowledge
about genetics, a gap which is filled nicely by Maynard Smith’s very
readable book. (Maynard Smith, whose first career was in aircraft design,
was arguably the twentieth century’s most important mathematical biologist.)
Professor P. J. Joyce, Mechanical Engineering Department:
- Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold. (QH 81 .L56 1966)
- Citizen Soldiers: the U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the
Bulge to the Surrender of Germany, June 7, 1944-May 7, 1945. Stephen
Ambrose. (Book: D 756 .A52 1997, Audiotape: D 756 .A52 1997b)
- Seven Days in May by Fletcher Knebel. (PS 3561 .N4 S48 1962)
- Inviting Disaster: Lessons From the Edge of Technology: An Inside
Look at Catastrophes and Why They Happen by James Chiles. (T
174.5 .C57 2001)
- To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful
Design by Henry Petroski. (Book: TA 174 .P474 1985, Videotape:
TA169.5 .W52 1997 Title: When Engineering Fails.)
- Skunk Works by Ben Rich and Leo Janos. (TL 565 .R53 1994)
- Airframe by Michael Crichton. (PS 3553 .R48 A77 1996)
Professor David Joyner, Mathematics Department:
Here are three books on spiritual growth, two from the Judao-Christian
perspective and one from the Buddhist perspective.
- The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck. (BF 637 .S4 P43)
- The Path to Tranquility by the Dalai Lama. (BQ 5580 .B77
- The Book of Jewish Values by Joseph Telushkin. (BJ 1285 .T45
- Ideas and Opinions by Albert Einstein (QC 71 .E54 1954) gives
the non-technical side of Einstein's thinking.
- Hilbert, by Constance Reid (QA 29 .H5 R42 1986) is a biography
of my favorite mathematician.
- The Universe in a Single Atom: the Convergence of Science and Spirituality by the Dalai Lama.
- Magister Ludi by Hermann Hesse is the fiction book I would most highly recommend.
CDR Mary Kelly, History Department:
- In Love and War: the Story of a Family's Ordeal and Sacrifice
During the Vietnam Years by Jim and Sybil Stockdale. (DS
559.4 .S75 1984)
- This People's Navy by Kenneth J. Hagan. (E 182 .H26
- The Tragedy of Great Power Politics by John Mearsheimer.
(D 397 .M38 2001)
- Peter the Great, His Life and World by Robert K.
Massie. (DK 131 .M28 1980)
- Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by
Jared Diamond. (Book: HM 206 .D48 1997, CD: HM 206 .D48 2001)
- Tuesdays With Morrie: An Old Man, A Young Man, and Life's
Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom. (LD 571 .B418 S383 1998)
Professor Mark Kidwell, Mathematics Department:
I recommend The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and
E.B. White (PE 1480 .S772 2000). Here are three groups of people who
should not read this book:
1. Writers who get paid by the word.
2. Students who think that a ten page paper is more
likely to get a good grade than a five page
3. People who think obscurity is a virtue.
This book makes the strongest possible case for keeping your writing
clear, lean and clean. The edition I have is 78 pages long, so the
authors practice what they preach.
Assistant Professor Lawrence Lengbeyer, LEL (Ethics, Philosophy)
- The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. (PR 4621
- Complete Tales & Poems of Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne.
(PR 6025 .I65 W45 2001)
- Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. (PQ 2603 .E378 E645 1989)
- Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman. (DS 135 .P63 S68
- Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. (Music Collection at Circulation
- On Liberty by John Stuart Mill. (JC 585 .M6 1985)
Following a childhood occupied with the riveting stories of the
Hardy Boys, Enid Blyton's adventuresome children, and Superman and
his Justice League of America allies, I spent my adolescence continuing
to lose myself in thrilling and mysterious stories, including J.R.R.
Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy and Dumas' The Count
of Monte Cristo. But some stories--the Sherlock Holmes mysteries,
and also Alistair Maclean's spy thrillers--began to shape my conception
of the kind of person I most highly valued and dreamt of becoming:
the perfect thinker, who employs a heightened perceptiveness and
flawless reasoning ability in order to accomplish fine things, his
mental power and rational self-control totally unhampered by emotion
or pain. This has long since ceased to be my ideal, but some version
of it remains an important aspect of that ideal. And I still greatly
enjoy--and recommend--the Sherlock Holmes tales, both for their intriguing
portrait of an acute mind in action and for their atmospheric depiction
of a murky, moory, sinister England.
It was only a bit later in life--when I was 21, in fact--that I discovered,
and discovered that I loved, the Winnie the Pooh books. The
Bear of Very Little Brain and his friends are a far cry from
the austerely ratiocinating detective, but they are utterly charming,
and reading about their escapades offers plentiful laughs as well
as valuable inspiration to keep a part of oneself forever childlike.
More laughs are provided by the absurd dialogue in Waiting for
Godot, which I recommend as a representative of the underappreciated
category of drama. We don't ordinarily think of reading plays for
fun; but they are as spellbinding, amusing, and enlightening as novels
or short stories. Check them out!
Other categories are easily overlooked, too. First, comics: their
special combination of text and graphics has in recent years been
turned to profound ends. Maus, a beautifully drawn true saga
of one family's experience of the Holocaust (Auschwitz and all),
is a compelling page-turner of a story--but you'll find yourself
struggling to rein in your curiosity so you can occasionally linger
over the intricate drawings. Second, music: no, I suppose this recommendation
does not strictly belong on a library recommended-reading list, but
I cannot pass up the opportunity to plead that anyone who might possibly
develop an interest in jazz listen to Miles Davis' Kind of Blue album.
Listen to its cool sound, gently pulsing rhythms, and wonderfully
melodic improvisations by several of the great figures in jazz history--soon
you'll be pushing it onto all your friends, too.
Finally: philosophy, my intellectual passion. Unfortunately, the
books that did the most to arouse my interest in devoting a career
to the subject--Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations,
Martin Heidegger's Being & Time, and Hans-Georg Gadamer's Truth & Method--are
(surprise!) not readily comprehensible. Still, even if their riches
will be accessible only to the most determined midshipmen, a book
like the Investigations can provide other readers with some
neat ideas plus the sense that something deep and true is being discussed--which
is nothing to sneeze at, and basically all that I was able to extract
on my own first encounter. But everyone in the Brigade is capable
of understanding the ingenious, important arguments by John Stuart
Mill in On Liberty on behalf of freedom of expression and
action. His message--think for yourself, don't allow social pressures
to overrule your own judgment--is one that we all need to reconnect
with periodically during our lives.
Associate Professor Joseph F. Lomax, Chemistry:
- The Peter Principle by Laurence Peter. (PN 6231 .M2 P4 1969)
- The Chemist's English by Robert Schoenfeld. (PE 1475 .S29
- The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. (Book: PQ 4315 .D87
1996, Videotape: PQ 4315.17 .C57 1998)
The Peter Principle is essential for anyone with a sense
of humor, who needs to work in a hierarchy. It is humorous and deadly
in its insight. The Chemist's English is an amusing, helpful
discussion of the pit-falls in scientific writing. Any scientist,
engineer, or person subjected to scientific writing should enjoy
this. The Divine Comedy contains everything necessary to write
and think. It is wonderful to read just for the joy brought by the
pure inventiveness of description of natural phenomena. A writer,
a scientist (observer) or a thinker should be helped by reading this.
LCDR Marc Lucas, Mathematics:
- Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by James Collins and Jerry Porras. (HF 5386 .C735 1994) A study in structural leadership using stock market returns as a measure for success.
- Good to Great : Why Some Companies Make the Leap--And Others Don't by James Collins. (HD 57.7 .C645 2001) The sequel/prequel to Built to Last
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. (On order)
Tools for leadership and influence on a personal level
- How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. (BF 637 .S8 C37 1981)
- The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov. (PS 3551 .S5 F6 1974)
Professor Robert Madison, English Department:
- Seven Pillars of Wisdom, by T. E. Lawrence. (D 568.4
.L4 1935b) WWI in the desert: terrorism against the Turks as an Arab
- Log from The Sea of Cortez, by John Steinbeck. (F
1246 .S78 1951) Two marine biologists explore life from sex to sea
urchins: non-teleological thought.
- The Dermis Probe, by Idries Shah. (PN 6071 .S85
S49 1980) Humorous Sufi teaching stories: nonlinear thought.
- Zorba the Greek, by Nikos Kazantzakis. (PA 5610
.K39 Z6713 1952) The Anthony Quinn-Alan Bates movie screenplay may
be much better than Wildman's book translation, but it's only half
- Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres, by Henry Adams.
(DC 20 .A2 1913) A deeply beautiful book on architecture and spirituality.
- Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. (PS 3048 . A1 1970)
Simplifying your life: how to live and what to live for.
- The Riddle of the Sands, by Erskine Childers. Book:
PR 6005 .H52 R52 1995, Sound recording: PR6005.H52 R52 1989) A great
spy novel for small-boat sailors.
- News from Nowhere, by William Morris. (HX 811 .1890
.M62) A gentle utopian romance by the founder of the Arts and Crafts
Professor Reza Malek-Madani, Director of Research:
- The Conference of the Birds by Farid ud-Din Attar (12th Century
Persian Poet) (PK 6451 .F4 M2813 1984)
- After Virtue by Alasdair MacInytre. (BJ 1012 .M325 1984)
- The Evolution of Physics by Albert Einstein (QC 7 .E5)
Associate Professor Mark McWilliams, English Department:
Some American Essentials:
- Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life (E449 .D75 D68
- Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (PS 3555 .L625 I53)
- William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom! (PS 3511 .A86 A65 1951)
- Toni Morrison, Beloved (PS 3563 .O8749 B4 1987, Videorecording:
PS 3563 .O8749 B4 1998)
- J.M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians (PR 9369.3 .C58 W3
- Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day (PR 6059 .S5 R46 1990)
- Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian (PS 3563 .C337 B4 2001)
- Barry Unsworth, Sacred Hunger (PR 6071 .N8 S3 1992)
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Birth of Tragedy (B 3313 .G42 E55 1990)
- Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents (BF 173 .F682
- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (JK216 .T713
Associate Professor Paul Miller, Naval Architecture, Ocean, and Marine
- The Machine That Changed the World, by James P. Womack, Daniel
T. Jones, and Daniel Roos. (HD 9710 .A2 W65 1990)
- To Engineer is Human, by Henry Petroski. (Book: TA 174 .P474
1985, Videotape: TA169.5 .W52 1997 Title: When Engineering Fails.)
- The Hornblower stories by C. S. Forester.
While nominally about the automobile industry The Machine That
Changed the World actually characterizes the conflicts between
the social, economic, environmental and management aspects of technology. It
shows the value of embracing the concept of continuous improvement
in manufacturing and in our personal lives. Anyone interested in
engineering or cars would enjoy this book. To Engineer is Human addresses
major engineering projects and looks at both the successes and
failures. It points out the important concept that everyone is
responsible for the success or failure of any project. As the book
describes some of the most ambitious projects ever created by man,
it is also simply interesting reading on how these projects came
about. The Hornblower books chronicle the life of a fictitious
naval officer struggling with the concepts of honor, bravery, perseverance
and addressing your weaknesses. Great action scenes combined with
the joy of sailing are punctuated by ethical lessons. I have read
all of them at least three times.
LCDR Jose Morales, Leadership, Ethics & Law:
- A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. (PS 3559 .R8 P7 1990) A dark comedy which brilliantly interweaves childhood friendship, love, sex, sports, draft-dodging, and the importance of following your heart.
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac. (PS 3521 .E735 O6) A classic tale of self-discovery and the pursuit of a life unconstrained. It provides a peek at a lifestyle far removed from the military experience and inspired the beatnik generation of the early 1960’s.
- The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. (PS 3535 .A547 F63) A bigger-than-life saga centered on the principles of ethical courage, believing in yourself and defining your own destiny.
- The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. (PS 3515 .E37 S8) Written in Hemingway’s traditional “reporter” style and set in France and Spain in the mid 1920s, this is a story of lost hope, painful love, deep friendship, and the cost of lives spent in the search for meaning. This book popularized the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. It’s also the perfect starting point for Hemingway novices.
- Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. (Book: HB 74 . P8 L479 2005, CD: HB 74 .P8 L479 2005) Explores the hidden side of economics through unusual topics such as NYC crime waves, real-estate, drug-dealers, standardized testing and the KKK. This book can help open your eyes, build your critical thinking skills and improve your objectivity.
- The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome by Susan Wise Bauer. (On Order.) This succinctly formatted yet very informative and easily digested historical reference covers the rise and fall of all major ancient civilizations in Europe, Egypt the Middle East, India and China with just the right amount of detail for those of us who are not pursuing PhDs in ancient history. It is basically two college classes in one easy-to-read book.
- Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap--And Others Don't by James Collins. (HD 57.7 .C645 2001) One of the most acclaimed “how to” guides on propelling yourself and your people across the boundaries that often separate effective management from real leadership.
Professor Clair E. Morris, Economics:
- The Worldly Philosophers by Robert Heilbroner. (HB 76 .H4
1999) An excellent source of alternative perspectives on economic
thinking through the ages.
- Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman. (HB 501 .F7) An
articulate expression of conservative economic viewpoints.
- Free to Choose by Milton Friedman. (HB 501 .F72) A statement
that does much to explain American social policies.
- Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery by
Robert W. Fogel and Stanley L Engerman. (E 449 .F65) A classic statement
about the past that explains much of the present.
Professor Maria Castro de Moux, Language Studies Department:
- Don Quijote by Miguel de Cervantes (PQ 6329 .A2) If read in
English the Everyman classic edition of early 20th century or the Thomas
Shelton (Elizabethan English) editions are very good. A great example
of an ideal that is upheld no matter what the circumstances and damage
to the self, with Sancho Panza's restraining voice of reality. A compendium
of Spain as the empire was about to deteriorate. The ideal knight errant
who gallantly accepts the end, but not before insisting on improving
this world through many and untried adventures.
- Politics, by Aristotle (JC 71 .A41 L67 1985) The first chapters
are a wonderful primer on the causes of revolutions. What he said centuries
ago, it still is as fresh as yesterday.
- The Poems of St. John of the Cross (PQ 6400 .J8 A26 1989)
If you want to understand what soul is and why the soul seeks the spirit,
read his poetry.
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (PQ
8180.17.A73 C5 1969) Rabassa's translation (on order) is splendid.
This is the Don Quijote for Latin America. On the manifestation
of spiritual beliefs in everyday life. The best way to understand why
Latin America has struggled with modernity and may never be able to
- The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare (PR 2825 .A2 M87 1987,
Audiotape: PR 2825.A2 G7 1995, Videotape: PR 2825 .A23 1987) If you
want to understand the meaning of justice and mercy and how, in order
to avoid vengeance, we must traverse the middle road, read this wonderful
play. Justice without pity is always vengeance.
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (PG 3365 .A613 1965b) On the
plight of women before our times, so that Anna's choice is needed no
- A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner (PS 3511.A86 R6 1970)
On how the South resembles Latin American magic realism.
- Psalms of David (BS 1424 .P73 1996) Most inspiring spiritual
poetry that should help you in life.
- Edgar Allan Poe [Complete Works] (PS 2601 .H3 1965) Any of
his poems or stories. Read all over Latin America and France.
CAPT Robert Niewoehner, Aerospace Engineering Department:
- The Bible
- Can Man Live Without God? by Ravi Zacharias. (BR 128 .A8
- Miracle of Flight by Stephen Dalton (TL 570 .D35 1999)
- Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (PQ 2286 .A33 1982)
- Horatio Hornblower series, C.S. Forester. (11 titles)
The Bible - In the words of Scottish reformers: "The
Word of God which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New
Testament is the only rule God has given to direct us how we may
glorify and enjoy him." Zacharias is among the three most important
Christian thinkers of the 20th Century. Can Man Live without
God? elegantly portrays the bankruptcy of atheism to provide
any meaning or motive in our lives. Miracle of Flight exhibits
the finest insect, bird and manned flight pictures found anywhere. The
technical discussion richly supports the contention that flight is
indeed miraculous. Les Miserables stands among the richest
novels of all time, vividly portraying the challenge faced by the
Christian life of being not merely redeemed by God, but redemptive
in the lives of those about us. Forester's accounts of the life
of Horatio Hornblower first enflamed my boyhood interest in becoming
a Naval Officer.
Professor David Peeler, History Department:
- 1919 by John Dos Passos (vol II of his USA trilogy) (PS
3507 .O743 U5 1946)
- Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. (PS 3555 .L625 I53)
I would rank these among the best American fiction of the twentieth
century. Both are challenging reads, and each deals with significant
themes (World War I and its aftermath in the first case, the nature
of American racism in the second). And both authors have created
masterful pieces of art. I admire Dos Passos for the conciseness
of the autobiographical sections of his novel, and Ellison for his
Associate Professor Jenelle Piepmeier, Systems Engineering:
- A Godward Life: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All Life (Book
1) by John Piper. (BV 4501.2 .P55436 1997 v.1)
- Don't Sweat the Small Stuff--And It's All Small Stuff by
Richard Carlson. (BF 637 .B4 C35 1997)
- The Woman's Guide to Navigating the Ph.D. in
Engineering and Science, by Barbara B. Lazarus, Lisa M. Ritter,
and Susan A. Ambrose. (TA 157 .L385 2001)
- Talking From 9 To 5: How Women's And Men's Conversational Styles
Affect Who Gets Heard, Who Gets Credit, and What Gets Done at Work by Deborah
Tannen. (HF 5718 .T36 1994)
A Godward Life and Don't Sweat the Small Stuff remind
me to balance my priorities in my busy life. The Woman's Guide
to Navigating the Ph.D. in Engineering and Science is one I wish
I'd read before going to graduate school. It is very well written
and researched. Talking from 9 to 5 explains the different
conversational styles used by men and women, and I feel that reading
it has improved my communcation skills. If you feel like people do
not listen when you talk, this book might help you understand why.
Professor Anne Quartararo, History:
- Letters and Papers from Prison by Deitrich Bonhoeffer. (BX
4827 .B57 A34 1972)
- Markings by Dag Hammarskjold. (D 839.7 .H3 A313)
- Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton. (PR 6031.A757 C78
LT Jason Salinas, English Department:
- The Peloponnesian War by Thucydides. (DF 229.T5H6 1989) How democracies turn into empires; how empires run themselves through on the twin swords of greed and hubris.
- The Second World War: A Short History by RAC Parker. (D 743 .P286 1997) You'll not find a more cogent, concise, and penetrating account of the world's most sweeping conflict.
- Armageddon Averted by Steven Kotkin. ( DK 274 .K635 2001) Only one world empire ever disintegrated without a bang; Kotkin explains why it didn't and provides a sobering check to those who think American bluster and mad-cap defense spending had something to do with the peaceful end of the Cold War.
- The Republic by Plato. ( JC 71.P35 1986) The Ring of Gyges, the Myth of the Cave, why philosophers should be kings, and why poets should be banished.
- An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume. (B 1480 1949)
The Scottish skeptic takes on causality, miracles, and why 2+2=4.
- A Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics by Immanuel Kant. (B 2787 .E5 K3613 2004)
Kant claimed that Hume awoke him from his "dogmatic slumber." If you've ever wondered why mathematics helps us understand how the real world actually works, or how we know what we know, Kant has an answer.
- Twilight of the Idols by Friedrich Nietzsche. (B 3312.E5H6 1968) Nietzsche assesses many of the most important philosophers, writers, and historians since ancient times, and casts aside Christianity, morality, and Socrates. Now that's gumption!
- The Iliad by Homer. (PA 4025.A2F33 1991) An anti-war war epic, complete with the tragedy of Achilles.
- Paradise Lost by John Milton. (PR 3562.S77 1988) A Frankenstein tale before Mrs. Shelley gave us Frankenstein, with God as Dr. Frankenstein and Adam and Satan as the monsters.
- Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky. (On order) Sticking your tongue out at the "Crystal Palace," and how 2+2=5 can be good for the soul.
- Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. (PS 1300 .F72 vol. 8 2003) How a boy stands up to the big lie of American slavery on a raft trip down a lazy river.
- 1984 by George Orwell. (PR 6029.R8N49 1984b) Orwell shows us how language shapes and delimits thought (Newspeak), and why 2+2=4 is an essential truth, a mooring to reality and conscience.
- A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt. (PR 6003.O474M3 1962) Thomas More finds the part of himself that isn't an appetite, desire, or feeling, but is just him.
- A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes. (PR 6052.A6657H5 1989) On Noah's Ark with a stowaway; the evolution from true life to true art; the relationship of history and love; a too-perfect Heaven.
- The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. (PS 3565.B75 T48 1990) Why we tell stories, and how to tell true ones.
LCDR John Schedel, Mechanical Engineering Department:
- The Bible.
- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. (PS 3535 .A57 A94)
- Don't Stop the Carnival by Herman Wouk. (PS 3545 .O98 D65)
- The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. (PS 3535 .A547 F63)
- Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. (PR6056.O45 P55 2002)
Professor Carl S. Schneider, Physics Department:
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
(CT 275 .P648 A33)
- Magnetic Induction in Iron and Other Metals by Sir James Alfred
Ewing (1892) (On Order)
- The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern
Physics and Eastern Mysticism by Fritof Capra. (QC 6 .C277b)
- Order Out of Chaos: Man's New Dialogue With Nature by Ilya
Prigogine. (Q 175 .P8823 1984)
- The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. (JC 143 .M3813 1997)
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance:
The detail which Pirsig displays in caring for and enjoying a motorcycle
has parallels in any career, hobby, marriage or religion. It is only
when you lose your identity in the object of your attention that
you become one with it and you transcend mere reason to an indescribable
level of awareness and being.
Magnetic Induction in Iron and Other Metals:
The purity of scientific observation by Lord Ewing over a century ago
shows how any researcher must approach the unknown: with humility
The Tao of Physics:
The laws of physics transcend data, words and symbolic mathematics
to become processes and understanding. The Tai Chi represents the
transformation from intuitive to deductive to intuitive etc. Experimental
and theoretical physics become one in a never ending dance.
Order Out of Chaos:
The development of understanding begins with chaotic abundance of observations
which condense into a simpler state of understanding through a process
which may or may not be describable.
The complexity of human interactions is simplified through definition
of goals and procedures, which is the heart of the scientific method.
Assistant Professor Michael Schultz, Naval Architecture, Ocean, and
Marine Engineering Department:
- Civil War, A Narrative (3 Volumes) by Shelby Foote. (E 468
- Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. (Book: PS 3537 .T3234 C35
1945, Videotape:PS 3537 .T3234 C35 1993)
- Fly Fishing in Salt Water, Lefty Kreh. (SH 456.2 .K73 1997)
- An Introduction to Fluid Dynamics by G.K. Batchelor.
(QA 911 .B33 1999)
- A First Course in Turbulence by J.L. Lumley and H. Tennekes.
(QA 913 .T44)
I am a bit of a Civil War buff and in my opinion Civil War, A
Narrative is the best book on the subject. Shelby Foote not
only offers detailed Civil War history and facts but also uses
narrative to let you feel some of the emotions of the people who
were there. I am a fan of any novel that can describe a scene
so vividly that you are there. In Cannery Row, John Steinbeck's
words actually allow the reader to smell the sardine plants and
salty air of the Monterey waterfront. Saltwater flyfishing is
one of my favorite hobbies, and Lefty Kreh's Fly Fishing in
Salt Water was one of the first and is still the best book
on the subject. My main area of research is fluid dynamics. An
Introduction to Fluid Dynamics and A First Course in Turbulence are
books that give an excellent background on the basic concepts of
LCDR George E. Segredo, USN, Professional Development
- Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield (PS 3566.R3944 G38 1998)
- Tides of War by Steven Pressfield (PS 3566.R3944.T54 2001)
- Virtues of War by Steven Pressfield (PS 3566.R3944 V57 2004)
- Jack Aubrey / Stephen Maturin Series by Patrick O'Brian.
- Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein (PS3515.E288 S75 1997)
Pressfield's trilogy examines the development of three Greek cultures by examining a leader of each: Leonidas, the Spartan lord who lead during the Battle at Thermopylae; Alcibiades, the Athenian general during the Pelopponesian War; and Alexander the Great. Though technically fiction, these are historically accurate and vivid tales which will keep the interest of Midshipmen while teaching much about leadership.
The twenty Jack Aubrey / Stephen Maturin books are quick reads that not only look at life in the Royal Navy, the root of many of our traditions, but also analyze the relationships between captain and crew and how our careers mold our relationships at home. Vivid and roughly based on the life of Admiral Lord Cochrane.
Based in a science fiction setting, the true worth of Starship Troopers is in the discussions on "History and Moral Philosophy" which analyze society and the military's role in society as well as looking at how leaders are developed.
Professor Robert Stone, Language Studies Department:
- We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. (PG 3476 .Z34 W4) One of the great
dystopian novels of the last century, along with 1984 and Brave
New World, both of which it predates.
- Pereira Declares by Antonio Tabucchi. (PQ 4880 .A24 S6613
1995) A novel of life under dictatorship.
- Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes. (PR 6052 .A6657 F56
1990) The book that makes all biographies inaccurate.
- The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. (PT 2680 .L54 V6713 1998) Raises
delicate issues of blame for the Holocaust.
- Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. (PR 6068 .U757 M5
1995) The birth of modern India, as told by a great stylist with an
- London Fields by Martin Amis. (PR 6051 .M5 L6 1991) Charles
Dickens for the 1990's.
- The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman.
(RA 418.5 .T73 F33 1997) A compelling work of non-fiction about a
tragic clash of cultures in modern-day California.
Professor Craig Symonds, History:
- The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. (Book: PS 3569 .H2 K55
1975, Audiotape: PS 3569 .H2 K55 1994, Videotape: PS 3569 .H2 K55 1993)
- The General by C. S. Forester. (PR 6011 .O56 G4 1982)
- Captain Horatio Hornblower by C. S. Forester (PR 6011 .O56
C36 1967) (or any other Hornblower novel)
- The Civil War: A Narrative (3 Volumes) by Shelby Foote. (E
- The Two Ocean War by S. E. Morison. (D 773 .M62)
- Battle Cry by Leon Uris. (PS 3541 .R46 B38 1953)
- The Black Flower, Howard Bahr. (PS 3552 .A3613 B57 1997)
All of these books deal with military history in its broadest context. Shaara,
Forester, and Uris are novelists, but their stories of humans in
combat are more than mere adventure; they illuminate the dilemma
of leadership and the psychology of warfare. Foote and Morison are
gifted writers who provide a narrative history of America's greatest
land and sea conflicts with a minimum of academic impedimenta. All
of these books can be read for pleasure as well as for enlightenment.
Professor Larry V. Thompson, History Department:
- Lucky Jim, by Kingsley Amis. (PR 6001 .M6L8 1976)
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
(Book: PR 4611 .A7 1983, Videotape: PR 4611 .A73 A43 1994)
- Maxims by La Rochefoucauld. (PQ 1815 .A7 1940)
- Faust by Johann Goethe. (PT 2026 .F2 P25)
- Parade's End by Ford Maddox Ford. (PR 6011 .O53 P37 1950)
While these works are recognized "pieces" within our western
literary museum, their enduring value for me is their prescriptive
rather than their literary value. All demonstrate the futility of
lives consumed by ambition and cynical world weariness on the one
hand and thwarted by unremitting naivete or an opportunistic "go
along to get along" attitude on the other. In this sense, their
message is didactic. Yet, while their meaning is indeed instructive,
their most important contribution might well be the realization that
we usually ignore the lesson and invariably have to relearn it from
our own experience.
Associate Professor Brian VanDeMark, History Department:
- Tragedies, by Aeschylus. It is the moral sensibility
of Aeschylus that gives his tragedies a lasting significance. People
learn through suffering. Another supposition is that great prosperity
leads to hubris that leads to insolence that leads to destruction.
He drives his audience not merely to see but to understand. His tragedies
transcend the limitations of time and place.
- Discourses, by Epictetus. Like other Stoic philosophers,
Epictetus attacks the persistent fears of man. He holds up internal
calm and peace of mind as that which is finally to be desired. Peace
of mind can be attained only through good judgment and, especially,
self-discipline. The passages which exhort to self-control, point to
one's obligations to the human community, and suggest that somehow
or other God is in each man are inspiring.
- American Slavery, American Freedom by Edmund S.
Morgan. The race story goes back to the founding of the nation, and
it's always going to be with us. Morgan brilliantly depicts the tragic
intersection of slavery and freedom at the heart of the nation's founding:
how interdependent they were, and how the freedom of some was built
on the unfreedom of others.
- Democracy In America, Alexis de Tocqueville. Tocqueville's
great book is as relevant now as when it was first published in the
mid-19th century, and it remains one of the most penetrating & astute
portraits of American life, politics, and morals ever written--whether
by an American or (as in this case) by a foreign visitor.
Professor Mario Vieira, Oceanography:
- The Story of San Michele (Le Livre de San Michele)
by Axel Munthe. (PR 6025 .U69 S7)
- The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) by Antoine de Saint
Exupe'ry. (PQ 2637 .A274 P43713 1943)
- Night Flight (Vol de Nuit) by Antoine de Saint Exupe'ry. In Airman's
Odyssey.(PQ 2637 .A274 A23)
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach. (PZ 10.3 .B123Jo)
The Story of San Michele is a wonderfully human, touching
rendition of how the author, a physician and humanist, interprets
the world and the people around him. The southern European, Mediterranean
atmosphere permeates the work. Makes you smile, maybe even cry a
little, but it certainly restores your belief in the human race,
if only for a little while.
The Little Prince is a whimsical, poetic fable that takes
us back to the curious, innocent child that we once were, while reflecting
on what are real matters of consequence.
Night Flight is a beautifully written story of flying in the
days of flimsy airplanes, crude maps and fatally unreliable weather
predictions. Savor the authentic flavor of flying among the stars
in the days of adventurous piloting.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull Be a Seagull: learn to fly in
the pursuit of your dream. Be different and soar above all those
fearful of departing from the rules of the flock. You will also
enjoy a photographic album of birds in flight.
Professor Sharon Voros, Language Studies Department:
- Don Quixote by Cervantes. (Book: PQ 6329 .A2 1932, Videotape:
PQ 6323 .A5 1993) The first modern novel.
- Lazarillo of Tormes (Anonymous) (PC 4117 .A52 2000) The
first picaresque novel.
- Life is a Dream by Calderon de la Barca. (PQ 6292 .V5 C55
1998) Spain's most famous play of the seventeenth century.
- Life of Teresa of Jesus translated by David Lewis. (BX 4700
.T4 A2 1991) Life of one of Spain's great mystics.
Professor Richard Hume Werking, Library and History Department:
- The Collected Essays, Journalism, and Letters of George Orwell
(PR 6029 .R8 A6), especially the opening, "Why I Write," and
also his famous "Shooting an Elephant." The latter draws on Orwell's
own experience as part of the British colonial apparatus in Burma.
- The Tragedy of American Diplomacy by William Appleman Williams.
(E 744 .W56) A Naval Academy graduate in the class of 1945, Williams
was a leading, and highly controversial, U.S. diplomatic historian
of a revisionist bent. The strength of this influential book lies in
some of the ideas, not in the details.
- The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn. (Q
175 .K95 1970) Together with his brief 1962 article in SCIENCE, "Historical
Structure of Scientific Discovery" [available via JSTOR at http://www.jstor.org/],
Kuhn's book draws the reader's attention to the nature of scientific
discovery, distinguishing between event and process. One of the books
most frequently assigned on American college campuses in the 1970s.
- Disturbing the Universe by Freeman Dyson. (QC 16 .D95 A33 1979)
An idea-rich autobiographical account from a prominent physicist, which
discusses the making of the atomic bomb and includes good introductions
to Robert Oppenheimer, Edward Teller, and Richard Feynman, among others.
- The Sand Pebbles: A Novel by Richard McKenna. (Book: PS 3563
.A3155 S26 1984, videotape: PS 3563 .A3155 S26 1986) A highly regarded
novel about the U.S. Navy's participation in gunboat diplomacy on Chinese
rivers during our "isolationist" 1920's. The author himself
was an enlisted man in the navy between 1931 and 1953, spending some
of those years as a machinist's mate on a gunboat in China. In 1966 the
book was made into a movie starring Steve McQueen [which the Nimitz Library
- Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J.
(E 302.5 .E45 2000) In-depth portraits of the men (and Abigail Adams)
who played leading roles in the political life of the new United States,
detailing not only the tactical skirmishes but also the fierce ideological
differences among the principals about what their nation's future direction
should be. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
- Once An Eagle by Anton Myrer. (PS 3563 .Y74 O5 2000) A novel that depicts a man's journey in the Army between World War I and the 1960s, from private to major general, and which portrays vividly his battles in war and peace on behalf of his men as well as his country. The author drew the book's title from a quotation by Aeschylus, from which his thesis can be inferred: "So in the Libyan fable it is told that once an eagle, stricken with a dart, said, when he saw the fashion of the shaft, 'With our own feathers, not by others' hands, are we now smitten.'"
Professor Els Withers, Mathematics Department:
- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. (PS 3535 .A547 A94 1992)
- The Tao is Silent by Raymond Smullyan.
(B 127 .T3 S65 1992)
- The Cream of the Jest by James Branch Cabell.
(PS 3505 .A153 C7 2001)
- My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass.
(E 449 .D7838 1968)
- The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain. (PS 1313 .A1 1996)
- The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.
(PS 3564 .I9 M6)
Atlas Shrugged, The Tao is Silent, The Cream of
the Jest: I put these three together because each clearly and
irrefutably explains the meaning and purpose of human existence.
Not my fault that all three say different things. Atlas Shrugged is
a landmark of the 20th century and the definitive Ayn Rand. If
you don't know what that means, read it and find out. The standard
cover blurb is a good description of this unique and controversial
story: "a mystery story, not about the murder of a man's body,
but about the murder--and rebirth--of man's spirit." The
Tao is Silent is playful and fun to read, but it will challenge
your everyday assumptions about your own identity, morality, and
everything you take for granted--an interesting viewpoint on mysticism
coming from a renowned logician. The Cream of the Jest is
a dreamy Victorian novel, unhurried and witty, written in the days
before richness of vocabulary and literary and historical allusion
were considered something to be ashamed of. Felix Kennaston meets
the love of his life only in his dreams, and even then he is forbidden
to touch her. Nevertheless, he turns out to be perhaps the only
member of the human race to realize perfect contentment. My
Bondage and My Freedom provides a fascinating look at the everyday
nuts and bolts of the American practice of slavery, but also is
the ultimate story of the self-made man (or woman). Douglass's
discovery of the principle that "Knowledge makes a man unfit
to be a slave" still gives me goosebumps when I read it. The
Innocents Abroad is a long, rambling, and entertaining manifesto
on the mismatch between Americans and everyone else in the world,
with lots of genuine Twain humor. Be aware, however: conditions
in the Holy Land have changed quite a bit since this was written. Finally,
I first read The Mote in God's Eye in high school and took
it for simply a great adventure tale. Only much later did I realize
that my first understanding of engineering philosophy and basic
engineering principles came out of this book. And it's still a
great story: science fiction with a strong naval flavor.
Professor Stephen Wrage, Political Science Department:
- Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. (PS 3556 .R3599 C6 1997)
- The Face of Battle by John Keegan. (D 25. K43 1976)
- The Once and Future King by T.H. White. (PR 6045 .H2 O52
- Politics and the English Language, in The Collected Essays,
Journalism, and Letters of George Orwell. (PR 6029 .R8 A6 1968)
Cold Mountain tells the story of Odysseus in the person of
a deserter from the southern cause in the American Civil War making
the long voyage home. The novel won the National Book Award two
or three years ago. You shouldn't embark on a warrior's career without
reading this, or John Keegan's non-fiction companion, The Face
of Battle. The Once and Future King starts as a children's
story (Disney made it into a cartoon called "The Sword in the Stone)
but each of the novel's four books is more adult. White was a conscientious
objector, sitting out the war against Hitler in a hut by a mud flat
in Ireland. The novel is his struggle to make sense of love, force,
law, violence and destruction. George Orwell's short essay "Politics
and the English Language attacks lying on every level Stalin
lying about twenty million murders and our own dodgy use of words
when we talk ourselves into and out of things. If you take to heart
his half dozen rules for using language, you will find it hard to
lie or do anything truly barbarous.
Associate Professor Thomas A. Zak, Economics:
- The Citizen and the State, George Stigler. (HD 82 .S834)
- The Economist as Preacher, George Stigler. (HB 71 .S83 1982)