Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

July 21, 2013

Question Time: Required reading

What books would you make mandatory for students?

(Continued)

Our answers

“My hope is that by the time students are graduating they've read more than just textbooks or required reading. I would put on the list. 'Abraham Lincoln' by Carl Sandburg, outstanding book on the life of who I consider to be the greatest American president. 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee, a look at the racial differences that touched the nation. Anything by Hunter S. Thompson. Although dated somewhat, 'Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72" would be at the top of that list. For fun reading I would include the 'Lord of the Rings.'” — Ken de la Bastide

“'The Long Gray Line' by Rick Atkinson. 1966 Graduating West Point Class exploits in Vietnam. This class took huge losses both in Vietnam and struggled at home, if they made it home.” — Paul Grant

“It’s funny to me that Mitch Daniels was so focused on banning Howard Zinn’s ‘A People’s History of the United States’ because I’ve been saying for years that’s the one book I wish every student was forced to read. In school I always loved history. The first time I read the book it absolutely blew my mind to think I had been lied to my whole life. (Read even just the first chapter and see if you can ever celebrate Columbus Day again with a straight face.) But don’t stop there, kids. After you read that, read more. And more. And more. There are books which refute Zinn’s work. Read those too. Education never ends. I think it’s more important for students to be told how to think rather than what to think. Challenge what you’re told. Find out for yourself.” — Rob Burgess

Rob Burgess, Tribune night editor, may be reached by calling 765-454-8577, via email at rob.burgess@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at twitter.com/robaburg.

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