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Don't Know Much About History...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Historian David McCullough discusses the new edition of his best-seller 1776, and the importance of teaching history and reading.

Guests:

David McCullough

Comments [10]

LEW from Tennessee Jed

On Sept 11, 2001 morning, what was made George Bush choose the book A Boy and His Goat as the selection to read a group of small children?

Dec. 21 2007 11:37 AM
Tongue Untied from NYC

The McCullough segment conflates two issues: The decline in reading with the evolution of the book. I somewhat accept McC's premise that we are ceding reading time to passive entertainment, but not entirely. Bringing me to my second observation. Respectfully, McC is really out of date. 1) Owning books -- liking having a trophy wife -- is not about the intrinsic experience, but the "coffee table syndome" -- bragging over one's taste and intel. I have been a patron of the NYPL for years. When I do purchase a book and it pleases me, with rare exception, I am only TOO happy to give it to someone. 2) Based on his bias for the form/mode of the book McC poo-pooos devices like the Kindle. I say, what is wrong with something that makes it easier to read? I more sophisticated discussion is require on these topics. Presently I will digest McC's New Yorker piece, but I'm afraid the show did not make the best case for it. -TU

Dec. 21 2007 11:25 AM
Maya from Brooklyn

I walk into Borders or B & N and go into a trance. So many books, so little time. I love new books - the crack of the spine, the smooth pages, the smell. And I love old books, the read and re-read ones, tattered, dog-eared pages and the coffee stains and penciled remarks....I wouldn't be caught dead with a Kindle.

Dec. 21 2007 11:21 AM
Graham from Paris


America is a television culture, not a reading culture.

There are more than a few people who don't even seem to be able to conceive of the idea that television is a _choice_, not an obligation.

In addition, what is saddest about this to me is not just that people aren't reading very much at all, but that, moreover, they simply don't care enough to read. They might be able to read but they aren't able to _want_ to read.

As Twain (S. Clemens) quipped, "The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who _cannot_ read."

Dec. 21 2007 11:20 AM
greengurl from NYC

I am trying so hard to instill reading as a habit in my toddler...It is very hard because of our *busy* lifestyle here in NYC, not just the internet. I really see the problem of less-literacy as a component to a bigger lifestyle problem...I'm not giving up.

Dec. 21 2007 11:19 AM
Sue from North Salem, NY

I'm a huge reader and I do everything possible to make books an integral part of my kids' lives. Trips to the library. Reading time together. Limiting TV. Letting them see how pleasurable reading is for me. My 4-year-old son can barely sit still for ten minutes and my 7-year-old daughter seems to take it or leave it. It's HARD. But I hope something gets through by osmosis...

Dec. 21 2007 11:19 AM
hjs from 11211

this is Reagan's real legacy

Dec. 21 2007 11:17 AM
LEW from Tennessee Jed

Oh wow, I just thought of a great book for kids that I read in the 2nd grade. Probably can't even find it these days, great book for kids it was called My Daddy Lost His Job.

Dec. 21 2007 11:17 AM
Robert from NYC

It is sad if people are reading less. It truly is essential to education, as you say. And it's true there is no or very little knowledge of history or the feel for history. I'm amazed when I speak to younger folks and they think that things that have been around or going on, sometimes for decades or even centuries, is something new to them! This could be due to the internet.

Dec. 21 2007 11:12 AM
LEW from Heaven

I wonder what percentage of United States high school graduates have ever heard of Abraham Cahan. Its like, how to you describe an A.Cahan novel to someone who has never read one? Can't do it.

Dec. 21 2007 11:12 AM

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