Intercollegiate Studies Institute's "50 Best Books of the 20th Century" (Non-fiction)

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Earlier this year, the Modern Library published a list styled The Hundred Best Nonfiction Books of the Twentieth Century. A list of significant books can make a compelling statement about how we are to understand an age. In judging the quality of a book, one necessarily judges the perception and the profundity which the book displays, as well as the character of the book’s influence.

Yet many were dissatisfied with the several "Best" lists published in the past year, finding them biased, too contemporary, or simply careless. So the Intercollegiate Review (IR) set out to assemble its own critically serious roster of the Best—and the Worst—Books of the Century. To assist us in this task, we relied on the advice of a group of exceptional academics from a variety of disciplines.

  1. 2.
    The Origins of Totalitarianism
    by Hannah Arendt

  2. 3.
    Teacher in America
    by Jacques Barzun

  3. 4.
    Samuel Johnson
    by W. Jackson Bate

  4. 5.
    Understanding Poetry
    by Cleanth Brooks

  5. 6.
    The Whig Interpretation of History
    by Herbert Butterfield

  6. 7.
    by Whittaker Chambers

  7. 8.
    by G. K. Chesterton

  8. 9.
    The Second World War
    by Winston S. Churchill

  9. 11.
    Religion and the Rise of Western Culture
    by Christopher Dawson

  10. 13.
    Selected Essays
    by T. S. Eliot

  11. 14.
    Civil War: A Narrative (3 Vol. Set)
    by Shelby Foote

  12. 15.
    R. E. Lee
    by Douglas Southall Freeman

  13. 16.
    Capitalism and Freedom: Fortieth Anniversary Edition
    by Milton Friedman

  14. 17.
    Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made
    by Eugene D. Genovese

  15. 18.
    The Constitution of Liberty
    by Friedrich A. Hayek

  16. 20.
    The Death and Life of Great American Cities
    by Jane Jacobs

  17. 23.
    The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot
    by Russell Kirk

  18. 24.
    The Abolition of Man
    by C. S. Lewis

  19. 25.
    The Great Chain of Being: A Study of the History of an Idea
    by Arthur O. Lovejoy

  20. 26.
    After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, Second Edition
    by Alasdair MacIntyre

  21. 27.
    Jefferson & His Time (History United States)
    by Dumas Malone

  22. 28.
    by H. L. Mencken

  23. 29.
    The Seven Storey Mountain
    by Thomas Merton

  24. 32.
    The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O'Connor
    by Flannery O'Connor

  25. 33.
    Homage to Catalonia
    by George Orwell

  26. 34.
    Lost in the Cosmos
    by Walker Percy

  27. 35.
    The Making of the Atomic Bomb
    by Richard Rhodes

  28. 36.
    The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith after Freud
    by Philip Rieff

  29. 37.
    Persons and Places: Fragments of Autobiography
    by George Santayana

  30. 38.
    Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy
    by Joseph A. Schumpeter

  31. 39.

  32. 40.
    The Elements of Style (4th Edition)
    by William Strunk

  33. 42.
    Study of History: The Geneses of Civilizations
    by Arnold J. Toynbee

  34. 43.
    The Frontier in American History
    by Frederick Jackson Turner

  35. 44.
    The New Science of Politics (Walgreen Foundation Lectures)
    by Eric Voegelin

  36. 45.
    Up from Slavery (Dover Thrift Editions)
    by Booker T. Washington

  37. 46.
    Double Helix (Scribner Classics)
    by J. Watson

  38. 48.
    Wittgenstein: Philosophical Investigations
    by George Pitcher

  39. 49.
    The Right Stuff
    by Tom Wolfe

  40. 50.

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Created by Robot Co-op on Nov 30, 2005.


Battle Cry of Freedom — 7 years ago

James McPherson’s Pulitzer Prize winning book of the Civil War is a northern companion to Shelby Foote’s work.

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