Eisenhower Institute of Gettysburg College
Foreign Affairs Specialist, Author, Lecturer
1984 by George Orwell
"George Orwell's 1984 is a compelling example of a writer taking his powers of observation, understanding of human nature, and sharp analysis of current events and projecting them into the future," says Susan Eisenhower.
Eisenhower first read 1984 in high school and describes it as "the classic negative utopia story."
"Orwell was an English socialist with penetrating, deeply critical storylines about communism in the distant future."
Published in 1949, Orwell's book describes a totalitarian society in which the government exerts nearly total control over its people.It also depicts how this society eventually collapses. This political novel coined the phrase "Big Brother is watching," referring to the loss of personal privacy and the omnipresent monitoring by the government. It also led to the term "Orwellian" as a description of totalitarian actions like those in the book.
Rhodes Scholar, Class of 2006
The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman
I first read Thomas Friedman's work in Introduction to Comparative Politics with Professor Gaenslen. Since then, I have consistently sought out Friedman's work. Friedman has traveled the world, and he eagerly shares his stories and insights with a personal and clear voice. What is most intriguing about Friedman is his ability to soak up information, read between the lines, and almost prophetically explain what the events of today portend for the future. In The World Is Flat Friedman clearly depicts the changes that are characterizing the world. Friedman provides his reader with a detailed summary of how globalization is evolving, how the end of the Cold War tore down walls in the world, and how he believes September 11th has resurrected these walls. Of course, it is not just Friedman's birds-eye view of world events that enthralls me; it is also Friedman's penchant for personalized story-telling that enables Friedman to share a certain intimacy with his reader that is rare in such a historical and informative work. By letting the reader into his experiences, thoughts, and growth as they relate to his ideas, Friedman not only takes his reader along on his journeys, but also gives his reader a broadened perspective.
Class of 1982
The Trial by Jen Bryant
The Trial is a novel-in-poems for young people about the 1935 Lindbergh baby kidnapping and murder trial, which took place in my hometown of Flemington , NJ. Because of the setting, it's still the favored child of all my books so far, but I'm always devouring a real mix of things written by other authors. Right now, I'm reading Local Wonders (essays) and Delights & Shadows (poetry) by Ted Kooser, N.C. Wyeth: a Biography by David Michealis, and re-reading Teaching a Stone to Talk, (essays) by Annie Dillard. Poetry, however, remains my favorite genre because of the beauty and intensity of the language. The poets I enjoy most include Emily Dickinson, William Stafford, Billy Collins, Ruth Stone, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Eamon Grennan. I also enjoy reading children's books by Eileen Spinelli and Jane Yolen, and young adult novels by Jerry Spinelli, Gary Soto, and Kate DiCamillo.
Zhongguo Huihua Quanji (The Complete Collection of Chinese Painting) from the Ming Dynasty
This book is one volume of a multi-volume catalog on Chinese paintings. The catalog is a comprehensive collection of Chinese paintings from ancient to modern times. It contains thousands of wonderful Chinese paintings. For each painting, there is a high-quality image and excellent introduction. The book is edited by experts on Chinese paintings. It is a rich source and reference book for students to learn Chinese Art. Indeed it is one of my students' favorite books.
Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
Vladimir Nabokov has long been one of my favorite authors, ever since my 10th grade English teacher in high school recommended that I give Nabokov's Pnin a try. Speak, Memory may not be one of Nabokov's best-known books, but I love it and have read it many times. He describes his idyllic childhood and the abrupt changes that resulted when his liberal but wealthy family was forced to leave Russia after the revolution. Nabokov wrote beautifully in several languages. He was not only a novelist, but an essayist, a literary critic, a professor of romance languages and literature at Cornell, and a lepidopterist with a position at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. He totally rocked!
Intercultural Resource Center
Thurgood Marshall : American Revolutionary by Juan Williams
Thurgood Marshall is one of my heroes. He was the first black Supreme Court Justice. He was the lead attorney on the Brown v. Board of Education case, which overturned legal segregation in schools. I admired him a lot. I think he was a real warrior and person for justice.
Class of 1961
Shelley's Heart by Charles McCarry
The best book I ever read was Charles McCarry's Shelley's Heart, a story of political scandal. My bookshelves are filled, not surprisingly, with books on politics and history (particularly World War II). I was also enthralled by The Da Vinci Code and promptly read all Dan Brown's novels. I love Randy Wayne White's "Doc Ford" novels, such as Sanibel Flats - I discovered White's work while vacationing at Florida 's Sanibel Island , where he resides. In addition, I also have many reference books on antique toys, which I collect avidly.
The Bone People by Keri Hulme
As someone who teaches International Relations, I love to travel and learn something about the cultures of other countries. One of the vicarious ways I can do so is by reading books written by authors from other countries. The Bone People, written by Keri Hulme, a woman from New Zealand who is half-Maori, introduced me not only to some of the physical beauty of New Zealand but to a topic I knew little about -- the relations and friction that exist between Maori and European New Zealand. The book can be difficult to read because it deals with unsettling topics such a mental illness and child abuse. However, it also has some of the most amazing use of language and vivid imagery I've come across in a novel. In addition, one comes to care deeply about the fate of the three central characters in the novel.
The Stand by Stephen King
I picked The Stand because it was the first Stephen King book I ever read, way back in 8th grade. It got me hooked on his books and since then, I've read everything of his except the Dark Tower series. The Stand is a great story of good versus evil, ending of course, with good triumphing over evil. The version of the book that I was pictured with is the uncut version published in 1990, in which 500 pages were added from the original 1978 edition. In my opinion, this is Stephen King's finest work.
Child Soldiers: The Role of Children in Armed Conflict by Ilene Cohn
This book offers great insights about children who live in the war zones of Asia, Africa , Middle East and East Europe . It provides excellent information about how children were abducted and forced to join the war and how social conditions in the war zones also seduce children to voluntarily join the fight. The authors provide an in-depth discussion about the laws and other means of protecting children from military recruitment and abuse. This is a critical book for any study of child soldiers.
The Odyssey by Homer
I don't know... I guess it picked me. Several stimuli induced me to pick it up: hearing Christopher Hitchens and Robert Fagles (with a drum, no less) waxing profoundly on justifiable slaughter of Penelope's suitors and the construction of Odysseus' bed, listening to Leslie Cahoon warn me NOT to read Fagles translation, or enjoying the elasticity of the text as a perfect vehicle to explain to my students about protein flexibility (Proteus as in protein). Then, of course, I read a lot and this one was near the bed stead when I left for the photo shoot.
Class of 1963
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
I like an eclectic mix of books. My favorite writer is my wife, Eileen Spinelli, author of children's books. I also love Loren Eisley - his essays are beautiful and inspiring. Before I write, I regularly read Walking on Alligators: A Book of Meditations for Writers by Susan Shaughnessy. I also like mysteries; two favorites are Robert B. Parker's Spenser series and John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series.
A Mother, A Daughter, A Wedding by Denise A. Kelly & Sheila Kelly Kaplan
While planning for my daughter's wedding, I saw a review of the book, A Mother, A Daughter, a Wedding: Diaries of Bridal Chaos, Conflict and the Bond That Endures... and decided to order it. It was so funny that I was afraid to read it in public because I was always laughing out loud. This book was just what I needed to relieve some of the stress associated with helping my own daughter plan her wedding. I passed it along to her to read, and it helped to keep all of the details of planning a wedding in perspective. This light-hearted book is just what is needed for anyone involved with planning a wedding. It has become my favorite gift to give to mothers and daughters when I hear about an engagement!
Class of 2005
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
For those of us who have not experienced war and, more specifically, the Vietnam War, The Things They Carried takes us inside and behind enemy lines. The novel focuses on the men from the Alpha Company as they narrate their journey, experiences and survival throughout the deadly, bloody war. This book must be read on many levels as it not only speaks of the physical weight these men carried but also the emotional weight they carried inside and the nightmares they brought home. It is about the guilt, responsibility, courage and cowardice that they struggle with and the strength they find within to continue on day-by-day and long after they leave Vietnam. Tim O'Brien does an excellent job of introducing characters and creating an attachment so real that you connect with the book. His symbolism and metaphors are perfectly intertwined to further the brilliance of this novel.
Comic strip character
Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud