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Understanding America Better A Ten-book Challenge

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Eleven Americans, including a publisher, an international entrepreneur, two librarians, an historian, an art designer, a real estate agent, an author, an academic, an IT consultant and a bibliophile, were asked to choose which ten books they would recommend to a new arrival in the United States. Their target was defined as literate in English, well read, and with an intelligent outsider's knowledge of the United States. The participants, who made their choices unbeknown to one another, were invited to annotate their choices. The result is a kaleidoscope of views and arguments, with surprisingly little overlap, reflecting the endless diversity of the subject. The earliest of the 87 titles recommended is dated 1786, the most recent 2011. They include the famous and the obscure, scholarly and popular, tomes and light reading, poetry and essays, history and biography, science and sociology.


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