“The Problem with Big Books; Or, Alan Taylor’s Biggest Sin”

Hey friends,

 

I found this great post over at The Junto about reading the big books.  Though I know I feel very accomplished after reading a huge history book, when I have four or five other classes to read for it can be frustrating to get through a monstrous book like the one Benjamin Park describes.  Here is part of that article.

[Headlines are supposed to draw readers, right?]

TaylorOne of the first things I did after finishing my dissertation a couple months back (other than sleeping for an entire week, of course), was reading Alan Taylor’s latest tome, An Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1776-1832 (W. W. Norton, 2013), which recently won the Pulitzer Prize. (One could argue that Taylor’s biggest sin, other than the one I’m about to discuss, is hogging all the major book awards.) As one could expect given Taylor’s track record, I was floored by the book’s exhaustive research and lyrical prose. I made a mental note that this would be a great book to assign to students. Now that I’m prepping for this fall, when I’ll be teaching a Jeffersonian America course, I gave the idea more serious consideration. However, I soon realized the biggest problem, which more seasoned teachers probably already know.

The book is just too big.

Keep reading here.

-Phil

 

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Christian, Lover of History, Aspiring Teacher

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