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Bonfire of the Humanities: Rescuing the Classics in an Impoverished Age

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With humor, lucidity, and unflinching rigor, the acclaimed authors of Who Killed Homer? and Plagues of the Mind unsparingly document the degeneration of a central if beleagured discipline - classics and reveal the root causes of its decline. Hanson, Heath, and Thornton point to academics themselves -their careerist ambitions, incessant self-promotion, and overspecialized s With humor, lucidity, and unflinching rigor, the acclaimed authors of Who Killed Homer? and Plagues of the Mind unsparingly document the degeneration of a central if beleagured discipline - classics and reveal the root causes of its decline. Hanson, Heath, and Thornton point to academics themselves -their careerist ambitions, incessant self-promotion, and overspecialized scholarship, among other things - as the progenitors of the crisis. They call for a return to academic populism, an approach characterized by accessible, unspecialized writing, selfless commitment to students and teaching, and respect for the legacy of freedom and democracy that the ancients bequeathed to the West. This is an important book for those who wish to give the classics a primary place in the education of our youth and for all those who care about quality teaching. -Washington Times [R]eaders who enjoy common sense expressed in vigorous prose are going to love Bonfire of the Humanities. -Academic Questions


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With humor, lucidity, and unflinching rigor, the acclaimed authors of Who Killed Homer? and Plagues of the Mind unsparingly document the degeneration of a central if beleagured discipline - classics and reveal the root causes of its decline. Hanson, Heath, and Thornton point to academics themselves -their careerist ambitions, incessant self-promotion, and overspecialized s With humor, lucidity, and unflinching rigor, the acclaimed authors of Who Killed Homer? and Plagues of the Mind unsparingly document the degeneration of a central if beleagured discipline - classics and reveal the root causes of its decline. Hanson, Heath, and Thornton point to academics themselves -their careerist ambitions, incessant self-promotion, and overspecialized scholarship, among other things - as the progenitors of the crisis. They call for a return to academic populism, an approach characterized by accessible, unspecialized writing, selfless commitment to students and teaching, and respect for the legacy of freedom and democracy that the ancients bequeathed to the West. This is an important book for those who wish to give the classics a primary place in the education of our youth and for all those who care about quality teaching. -Washington Times [R]eaders who enjoy common sense expressed in vigorous prose are going to love Bonfire of the Humanities. -Academic Questions

30 review for Bonfire of the Humanities: Rescuing the Classics in an Impoverished Age

  1. 4 out of 5

    Colin

    Essential reading for anyone concerned about the decline of Classical education in America.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

    Although I agree most of which what Professors Hanson, Heath, and Thornton had to say about the state of the classics and what needed to be done (writing for the public rather than for specialists, better focus on being undergraduate professors rather than gaining grants and sabbaticals), I did not care for their execution. I became tired of their constant baiting of classics professors that they disagreed with particularly that of Judith Hallett. Apparently after a publication, Hallett claimed Although I agree most of which what Professors Hanson, Heath, and Thornton had to say about the state of the classics and what needed to be done (writing for the public rather than for specialists, better focus on being undergraduate professors rather than gaining grants and sabbaticals), I did not care for their execution. I became tired of their constant baiting of classics professors that they disagreed with particularly that of Judith Hallett. Apparently after a publication, Hallett claimed she turned both Professors Hanson and Heath in as possible suspects for the Unabomber. This entire story is shown at length in Hanson's essay "Too Much Ego in Your Cosmos" and then once again in the epilogue titled "Not the Unabomber." This distracted me from the purpose of the book (to explain the danger of extinction and promote the classics). That the entire epilogue revolves around this story and is a vindication of Heath and Hanson while explaining the craziness of Hallett made me question the real motive of the book. I think this same information can be gathered elsewhere from a much less scandal-dwelling resource.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    I missed humor, lucidity, et all and got vitriol and cumbersome clauses against Martha Nussbaum.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Wyman

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emmett

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ed Cottrill

  7. 5 out of 5

    Justine Olawsky

  8. 5 out of 5

    David Hoffmann

  9. 4 out of 5

    Will

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brian Yoder

  11. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Swan

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  13. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  14. 5 out of 5

    A. P. D. G.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  16. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Minson

  17. 5 out of 5

    Robert C.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hywel Gruffydd

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

  20. 4 out of 5

    Johnny

  21. 4 out of 5

    Matt Davis

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michael Boerm

  23. 5 out of 5

    Doni Parnell

  24. 5 out of 5

    K. Rozier

  25. 5 out of 5

    Iron Mike

  26. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  27. 4 out of 5

    Josh Disney

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kaleen

  29. 5 out of 5

    V

  30. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

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