University Honors Program

Summer Reading 2019

Presenting the Summer Reading book options for Summer 2019:

First Year UHP Students:

In Defense of Liberal Education by Fareed Zakaria

Copy given to first year students at AARO

New York Times bestselling author of The Post-American World and host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS argues for a renewed commitment to the world’s most valuable educational traditions in this fascinating book.

The liberal arts educational system is under attack. Governors in Texas, Florida, and North Carolina have announced that they will not spend taxpayer money subsidizing the liberal arts. Majors like English and History—which were once very popular and highly respected—are in steep decline and President Obama has recently advised students to keep in mind that technical training could be more valuable than a degree in art history, when deciding on an educational path.

In this timely and urgently needed book, Fareed Zakaria explains that this turn away from the liberal arts is a mistake. A liberal education provides the foundation for finding your voice, writing, speaking your mind, and ultimately, learning—all immensely valuable skills no matter your profession. Technology and globalization are making these skills even more valuable and necessary as routine mechanical and even computing tasks can be done by machines. More than just a path to a career, Zakaria argues that a liberal education is an exercise in freedom and above all, it feeds the most basic urge of the human spirit—to know.

(Amazon Description)

All UHP Students:

In celebration of the end of the semester, the UHP will be giving out books for summer reading during the study break. This year we have a selection of fiction, history, and current events, including Drew Gilpin Faust's This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, Arlie Russell Hochschild's Strangers in their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, Chris Tomlinson's Texas family history, Tomlinson Hill, and Ibi Zoboi's Jane Austen remix, Pride. Each will be featured as part of our monthly Honors High Table Dinners in the coming year.

(You never know who might make an appearance on campus next year...)

This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust

More than 600,000 soldiers lost their lives in the American Civil War. An equivalent proportion of today's population would be six million. In This Republic of Suffering, Drew Gilpin Faust reveals the ways that death on such a scale changed not only individual lives but the life of the nation, describing how the survivors managed on a practical level and how a deeply religious culture struggled to reconcile the unprecedented carnage with its belief in a benevolent God. Throughout, the voices of soldiers and their families, of statesmen, generals, preachers, poets, surgeons, nurses, northerners and southerners come together to give us a vivid understanding of the Civil War's most fundamental and widely shared reality.

(Amazon Description)

 

Strangers in their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild

When Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, a bewildered nation turned to Strangers in Their Own Land to understand what Trump voters were thinking when they cast their ballots. Arlie Hochschild, one of the most influential sociologists of her generation, had spent the preceding five years immersed in the community around Lake Charles, Louisiana, a Tea Party stronghold. As Jedediah Purdy put it in the New Republic, “Hochschild is fascinated by how people make sense of their lives. . . . [Her] attentive, detailed portraits . . . reveal a gulf between Hochchild’s ‘strangers in their own land’ and a new elite.” Already a favorite common read book in communities and on campuses across the country and called “humble and important” by David Brooks and “masterly” by Atul Gawande, Hochschild’s book has been lauded by Noam Chomsky, New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu, and countless others.

(Amazon Description)

Tomlinson Hill by Chris Tomlinson

New York Times Best Seller!

Tomlinson Hill is the stunning story of two families―one white, one black―who trace their roots to a slave plantation that bears their name.

Internationally recognized for his work as a fearless war correspondent, award-winning journalist Chris Tomlinson grew up hearing stories about his family's abandoned cotton plantation in Falls County, Texas. Most of the tales lionized his white ancestors for pioneering along the Brazos River. His grandfather often said the family's slaves loved them so much that they also took Tomlinson as their last name.

LaDainian Tomlinson, football great and former running back for the San Diego Chargers, spent part of his childhood playing on the same land that his black ancestors had worked as slaves. As a child, LaDainian believed the Hill was named after his family. Not until he was old enough to read an historical plaque did he realize that the Hill was named for his ancestor's slaveholders.

A masterpiece of authentic American history, Tomlinson Hill traces the true and very revealing story of these two families. From the beginning in 1854― when the first Tomlinson, a white woman, arrived―to 2007, when the last Tomlinson, LaDainian's father, left, the book unflinchingly explores the history of race and bigotry in Texas. Along the way it also manages to disclose a great many untruths that are latent in the unsettling and complex story of America.

Tomlinson Hill is also the basis for a film and an interactive web project. The award-winning film, which airs on PBS, concentrates on present-day Marlin, Texas and how the community struggles with poverty and the legacy of race today, and is accompanied by an interactive web site called Voice of Marlin, which stores the oral histories collected along the way.

(Amazon Description)

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Pride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny, gorgeous retelling of the classic, starring all characters of color, from Ibi Zoboi, National Book Award finalist and author of American Street.

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

In a timely update of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.

(Amazon Description)