November 22, 2011

Lewis Lapham’s revolutionary reading list


In the wake of the two month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, we asked Lewis Lapham, the founder of Lapham’s Quarterly and the former editor of Harper’s, what books he would recommend in order to better understand the current political climate. Lapham wrote in an e-mail, “None of the books on the following list preach revolution, but they provide some of the back story for what we now see in the news footage from Occupy Wall Street.” In order to look to the future, we often have to look into the past for answers, and who else is better equipped to assist us in this journey than one of the most erudite critics we have in this country?

Here is his revolutionary reading list:

American Colossus—H. W. Brands
The Barbaric Heart—Curtis White
The Relentless Revolution—Joyce Appleby
Theory of the Leisure Class—Thorstein Veblen
Folklore of Capitalism—Thurman Arnold
The Big Short—Michael Lewis
Merchant of Venice—William Shakespeare
Rameau’s Nephew—Denis Diderot
Age of Greed—Jeff Maddrick
The Politicos—Matthew Joseph
Are We Rome?—Cullen Murphy
Letter to Commodore Vanderbilt, Letter to the Children Who Sit in Darkness—Mark Twain
Money and Class in America—Lewis H. Lapham

What titles would you add, dear readers?