Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Summer Reading and the work of James V. Schall: Another Sort of Learning

There is an important writer still alive amongst us. He will be 80 in a few years. He has written hundreds of articles and thousands of columns and hundreds of books and contributions to the books of others. Some years ago, I was sent a manuscript of his and asked to review it for a Press in the USA. It didn’t take me long (a few pages) to see that this was a book of serious import on another important writer - - G.K. Chesterton, and the book was duly published as Schall on Chesterton (Catholic University of America Press, 2000).

There is a website that contains his complete bibliography, some recordings of his lectures and recent reviews of his most recent book, Roman Catholic Political Philosophy (which I have not yet seen).

This blog is merely to introduce those who do not know of this wonderful thinker and writer to his work and, particularly, at this time of the year – when, school and university ended, there may be an hour or two for young people to read something important - - in short, to recommend “ a good read” and a short one.

So, without further ado, please have a look at a free booklet, of only some 18 pages, available on the web at this cite: .

Sit back and read it and pass it along to all the young students (or older students) you know who might spend a few minutes to read its 18 pages. It is what it says it is: A Student’s Guide to Liberal Learning and it should be much more widely known.

Once you discover James Schall, you have discovered an ocean of wisdom and insight. His book, Another Sort of Learning (Ignatius, 1988) I consider one of the finest guides to good reading available (it gives book lists under a wide variety of topics) and At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Catholic University of America, 1996), another excellent book as to what questions are properly political and why.

Since there is no crediting why some books go out of print and others stay in print, it is important to realize that some of Schall’s books might have to be found at good used book stores and the easiest way to access these now is on the net at But don’t let that stop you. Recall that the search for a good book especially if used and out of print is a species of adventure or, as Chesterton once said: “all adventures are inconveniences rightly considered…”

Happy summer reading. May the Schall be with you!

Iain T. Benson ©