Selected by faculty who teach introductory courses

The Nature of the Physical World 
A.S. Eddington, 1927
"This great classic is a popular exposition on our modern understanding of the universe by a preeminent astrophysicist of the century. It provides a deep insight into the nature and limits of science."
Harry Rubin, Molecular Biology

The Fate of the Earth
Jonathan Schell, 1982
"In response to Einstein's dictum that nuclear weapons changed everything except the way we think, this book is a primer for thinking about life and death, good and evil, politics and science in the nuclear age. It belongs on everyone's reading list."
Jerry W. Sanders, Peace and Conflict Studies

Lovesong: Becoming a Jew
Julius Lester, 1988
"A lyrical and extremely moving account by the son of a black southern preacher and a leader in the civil rights movement who searches for himself. It is a remarkable odyssey by a sensitive artist and profound man."
Harry Rubin, Molecular Biology

Louis Pasteur: Free Lance of Science
Rene Jules Dubos, 1951
"This book describes the life and achievements of Pasteur, the much loved French scientist whose career went from industrial chemistry to the germ theory of disease and the development of vaccines. It also describes his personal life and how he responded to violent attacks on his ideas and even his truthfulness."
Kenneth Carpenter, Nutritional Sciences

Powers of Desire: The Politics of Sexuality
Edited by Ann Snitow, Christine Stansell, and Sharon Thompson, 1983
"This is a lively, varied anthology of feminist and gay writers, historians, and activists, who address not only current topics--abortion, pornography, reproductive and gay rights--but larger social and political concerns about our sexual natures. I like this volume because of its diverse perspectives as well as its singular insistence that sexual lives are fundamentally political, and political lives fundamentally gendered."
Carolyn Dinshaw, English

The Tale of Genji
Murasaki Shikibu, translated by Edward G. Seidensticker, c. 1976.
"A psychological novel written by a woman at the Japanese imperial court, ca. 1000-1010, the Tale of Genji is strikingly modern in its refusal to surrender complex characters into black-and-white roles. A moving exploration of human relationships, worth reading once a decade as one ages. Also of immense value in understanding Japanese cultural values. Be certain to get the unabridged version (54 chapters)."
Maribeth Graybill, History of Art

The Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Four Novels and the Fifty-six Short Stories Complete
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1967
Edited by William S. Baring-Gould.
"The depiction of Holmes etches more clearly than any theoretical statement the essence of individualism, the centrality of cultural marginality to creativity (Holmes is Irish and English), and the charisma attached to science (they are not supposed to go together). It also introduces one to 19th century England, for me the core of Western modernity - for others the source of all evil."
Ken Jowitt, Political Sciences

The Soul of a New Machine
Tracy Kidder, 1981
"The chronicle of the creation of a computer in the "real" world. In addition to including accurate descriptions of the technology, it brings to life the human drama of the birth of a new computer."
David A. Patterson, Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

Son of the Morning Star
Evan S. Connell, 1984
"This is the untold story of General George Armstrong Custer. Connell is a fine storyteller who not only chronicles historical events, but gives his reader human insights into the personalities and perspectives of both the Indians and non-indians who created this rich chapter in history."
Karen W. Biestman, Native American Studies

Wordarrows: Indians and Whites in the New Fur Trade
Gerald Vizenor, 1978
"Vizenor's seventeen short narratives illustrate how contemporary American Indians survive (as individuals and collectively) through imagination, humor (in the tradition of a trickster) and vision--a very entertaining and thought provoking social commentary."
Karen W. Biestman, Native American Studies

The Man Who Loved Children
Christina Stead, 1965 (originally 1940)
"This is a great novel of family life, vividly imagined, intense and disturbing. It is also a splendid coming-of-age story: Louie's imaginative genius gives her the power to survive her early life in her family. Her parents are horrifying and despite their insistent oddities, strangely familiar. I read this book first when I was twenty and reread it recently. I still love it."
Janet Broughton, Philosophy

The Best and the Brightest
David Halberstam, 1972
"A comprehensive account of the personalities, the process of decision making, and the operative logic that contributed to U.S. military involvement and escalation in Vietnam. Written with the pace of a suspense novel, it imparts lessons that future generations must learn."
Jerry W. Sanders, Peace and Conflict Studies

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