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Dr. Phillip Naylor, associate professor of history, is well-known to the legions of students who have passed through his History of Western Civilization class and heard his Western Civilization Blues Band. His book North Africa: A History from Antiquity to the Present, was reviewed last summer in the Wall Street Journal. Here are six favorites from his bookshelf (we asked for five, but he couldn’t resist squeezing in one extra).

1. USA by John Dos Passos. “Dos Passos’s trilogy links and layers concurrent narratives with poetry/prose while acutely aware of historical forces. My favorite American novel.”

2. Report to Greco by Nikos Kazantzakis. “A ‘biographical novel’ of Kazantzakis’ expansive spiritual and secular searches. An extraordinary pneuma (spirit). All about guts/spirit/exploration. In other words, what it’s all about.”

3. Demian by Hermann Hesse. “I have my Western Civilization II students read it. Father Naus introduced me to Hesse’s writings decades ago. We still talk about the book and his Alternative University class: ‘Existential Themes in Literature.’”

4. The Lying Stones of Marrakech/Eight Little Piggies by Stephen Jay Gould. “Gould’s collective essays are erudite and entertaining. I contemplated being a bio major and history minor … before chem catalyzed the disintegration of my GPA.”

5. Between Thought and Expression by Lou Reed. “Lou’s lyrics take you to a lot of places. ‘Between thought and expression lies a lifetime’ (from ‘Some Kinda Love’). Quite a line. Reed can write.”

6. The Muqaddimah by Ibn Khaldun. “Brilliant multidisciplinary study of Islamicate civilization. Modern/Postmodern interpretations centuries before Kant, Marx and Foucault. Ibn K. is so cool, as my undergrads and grads would attest.”


Comment by Caryn Gracey Jones at Jan 12 2010 12:08 pm
What a fun feature! I love to know what other people are reading and Dr. Naylor is a legend in my mind. I feel pretty good that I've read some of his favorites. I'm a fan of Gould as well, for the same reasons. I love the science, but can't do the chem.
Comment by Peggy Healy at Apr 19 2010 01:10 pm
This feature is so good, it should be in the paper magazine as well as in the electronic. Love it!
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