In the Classroom: What Kids Read About Politics

Politics, as we know, is a big, sloppy subject muddied by opinions from all camps. So how do you teach it in the schools? We're asking universities and local public and private schools to let us know what books students read in their government and politics classes, in addition to the usual texts.

Here's a sampling of the line-up for high school students in the Fairfax County Public Schools. Students aren't assigned all of these books. They are reading selections from this list during the summer or have plowed through some of the books last year in 11th grade U.S. History, 12th grade Government, or 11th and 12th grade English.

"Hardball - How Politics Is Played Told By One Who Knows The Game" by Chris Matthews.

"Lord of the Flies" by William Golding.

"This Fleeting World - A Short History of Humanity" by David Christian.

"The Future of Freedom - Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad" by Fareed Zakaria.

"The Post American World" by Fareed Zakaria. When the United States no longer dominates world economy, politics and culture.

"Feeding Frenzy - Attack Journalism and American Politics" by Larry Sabato.

"The Broken Branch: How Congress is Failing America" by Thomas Mann.

"The Constitution: A Biography" by Akhil Reed Amar.

"The Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention, May-September 1787" by Catherine Drinker Bowen.

"How Democratic is the American Constitution?" by Robert Dahl.

"Novus Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual Origins of the Constitution" by Forrest McDonald.

"A More Perfect Constitution: 23 Proposals to Revitalize Our Constitution and Make America a Fairer Place" by Larry Sabato.

"The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World" by Niall Ferguson.

"The Two Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers and the Great Credit Crash" by Charles Morris

"Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America's Teachers" by David Eggers, Daniel Mathrop and Nineva Calegari.

"The American Revolution: A History" by Gordon Wood.

"The Struggle for Black Equality" by Harvard Sitkoff.

"The Presidency of Richard Nixon" by Melvin Small.

By Steven E. Levingston |  July 21, 2009; 5:30 AM ET
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My first reaction to this post was, but we never studied politics in my day. Social studies, economics, US and world history classes wiped out civics and POD in the 1960s, at least where I went to school. But then, we read Animal Farm, Michael Harrington's The Other America, essays by Richard Hofstadter and the Great Ascent by Robert Heilbroner, all of which shaped my adult outlook.

Posted by: cebeling | July 21, 2009 8:53 PM

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