Alumni Recommended Reading

Scott Newbert

Recommended Reading

Dr. Scott Newbert
Associate Professor of Management
Anne Quinn Welsh Faculty Member

The House of Mirth

The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton (1905).

One of the many "great American classics," but far superior to its contemporaries in its depth and character development.  This book provides a vivid look into turn-of-the-century American life.

John Adams

John Adams, David McCullough (2002).

A wide-ranging biography that explores Adams' (and the Union's) ascendance to the international stage.  Though somewhat biased in favor of Adams, this book captures the public and private life of one of America's most important political figures.

A Brief History of Time

A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking (1988, 1998). 

A fascinating book that explores the origin, scale, and physics of the universe. The conversational, non-scientific prose of the author, who is one of the most brilliant scientists of our time, makes the material accessible and interesting for those (like me) who lack formal scientific training. 

Scott L. Newbert is an associate professor and the Harry Halloran Emerging Scholar in Social Entrepreneurship at Villanova University.  He received his Ph.D. in strategic management and entrepreneurship from Rutgers University.  His current research interests include the processes by which existing and nascent firms create value through the entrepreneurial use of resources, the determinants of new firm formation, and the socioeconomic impacts of entrepreneurial activity.  His research has appeared in many leading academic journals and has been highlighted in several popular media outlets including the Boston Herald and Inc.  He serves as a reviewer and editor for various academic journals and conferences on the subjects of entrepreneurship and management.  In addition to his academic endeavors, he also provides consulting services to non-profit and for-profit organizations, with clients including the United States and Dutch governments and Sandia National Laboratories.  Prior to obtaining his Ph.D., he worked in sales for a Fortune 100 company, worked as a collegiate athletics coach, and co-founded a privately owned marketing firm serving clients including Colgate-Palmolive and McNeil Nutritionals. 

Eugene McCarraher

Recommended Reading

Dr. Eugene McCarraher
Associate Professor of History in Humanities
Anne Quinn Welsh Faculty Member

The World Turned Upside Down

The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas during the English Revolution, Christopher Hill (1972).

Hill was and is still considered one of the foremost historians of 17th-century England, especially of its religious and political ideas.  This book, perhaps his greatest, is a study of the rise of modern radicalism out of the debates surrounding property, religion, and sexuality that were provoked by the English Revolution and its aftermath in the 1640s and 1650s.  Paying close, sympathetic attention to the moral, material, and spiritual struggles of men and women caught up in history’s first modern, capitalist revolution, Hill illuminates, not only the birth of modernity in the West, but the relevance of history to the understanding and resolution of contemporary affairs.  At the same time, he provides incisive accounts of both well-known and perhaps still obscure figures:  Thomas Hobbes, John Bunyan, John Milton, and Gerrard Winstanley, to name only a few.   Written with exceptional lucidity, grace, and passion, this book was pivotal both in setting me on the course of studying and writing history and in shaping my political and religious beliefs.  (I first read it as an undergraduate, and have returned to it many times since then.  I’ve even used it a few times, with great success, in undergraduate and graduate courses.)

The True and Only Heaven

The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics, Christopher Lasch (1991)

Next to Hill, Lasch is the other reason I decided to become a historian.  Lasch was and is still considered one of the greatest scholars of American cultural and intellectual history.  As the subtitle to this book indicates, Lasch was a profound and vehement critic of belief in “progress”:  the modern commitment to constant technological innovation, incessantly expanding productivity, and endless enlargement of individual freedom.  Constructing what he dubs a “populist” tradition of resistance to “progress,” Lasch contends that “progress” has been at once a myth; an ideology that ascribes a false inevitability to the designs of economic and technical elites; and a practice with devastating human and ecological consequences.  I recommend this book not so much for its veracity – since I first read it in graduate school, I’ve come to differ significantly with the ways in which Lasch portrays both the advocates and the critics of “progress” – as for its conceptual daring, its provocative and unsettling questions, and its attempt to combine historical scholarship and cultural criticism.  More overtly polemical than Hill but no less rigorous as a scholar, Lasch believed that historians could offer moral insight without descending into a facile moralism.

New Seeds of Contemplation

New Seeds of Contemplation, Thomas Merton (1962).

As someone who rejected his boyhood Catholicism and then returned to it later in life, I credit my return in no small measure to discovering Merton’s work.  There’s no space here to describe Merton’s own journey from youthful agnostic to undergraduate aesthete to obedient Catholic monk to dissident, controversial participant in the religious, political, and cultural debates of the 1960s.  Suffice it to write that this book – a collection of short essays on a range of spiritual, theological, and moral topics – helped enormously to convince me that Catholicism was not the desiccated and stultifying tradition whose caricature I’d rejected as an undergraduate.  A graceful, witty, and profoundly gentle writer, Merton opened me up to the love and generosity at the heart of the Gospel, and has remained a spiritual mentor to whom I return in times of doubt, despair, or anger at a Church that always falls short of its Founder.  I know that a later generation of Catholics – influenced by the more conservative sensibility of John-Paul II – have tended to look askance on Merton and other Catholic writers of his era as too “liberal” or “progressive” or even “secular.”  I think that’s unfortunate; in fact, at this moment, when some of the unresolved issues of Merton’s era may well be returning, his work deserves and even compels our attention.

God Christ and Us

God, Christ, and Us, Herbert McCabe (2003)

I discovered McCabe after I’d returned to Catholicism, and like Merton he remains an invaluable spiritual and theological mentor.  McCabe was an Irish Dominican philosopher and theologian at Blackfriars, Oxford, and – as is appropriate to the Dominican charism of erudite but accessible preaching -- this book is a collection of essays and sermons on a variety of topics.  Respected and even revered as an expositor and interpreter of Aquinas, McCabe was also a political radical – he was a teacher and friend of the Marxist intellectual Terry Eagleton, another writer whose work I highly recommend – and a keen, exuberant moralist.  Not only does McCabe offer in this book convincing and moving accounts of faith, hope, charity, forgiveness, providence, prayer, and the Trinity; he writes provocatively and beautifully about money, friendship, singing, love, and whiskey.  (His sermon “Poverty and God” is alone worth the price of the book.)  While I also recommend McCabe’s more technical work – which is rigorous but not at all inaccessible – this book is a marvelous introduction to a man whose significance is, I suspect, only beginning to be fully appreciated.         

Eugene McCarraher is an associate professor of humanities and history at Villanova University.  After his bachelor’s degree from Ursinus College, he pursued graduate study at Harvard, Villanova, and Rutgers, where he completed his Ph.D. in U. S. cultural and intellectual history.  A professor at Villanova since 2000, he has also taught in the history or religion departments at Rutgers, the University of Delaware, and Princeton.  His study of liberal Protestant and Roman Catholic social and cultural criticism, Christian Critics:  Religion and the Impasse in Modern American Social Thought, was published by Cornell University Press in 2000.  In addition to publishing scholarly articles in the Journal of the Historical Society, Modern Theology, and Modern Intellectual History, he has also written many essays and book reviews for Commonweal, the Nation, Dissent, In These Times, the Hedgehog Review, and the Chicago Tribune.  He has been a fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies.  He is completing a cultural history of corporate business, tentatively entitled The Enchantments of Mammon:  Corporate Capitalism and the American Moral Imagination.

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