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Another Sort of Learning Paperback – April 1, 1988

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Editorial Reviews


James V. Schall has written a delightfully odd book about books, because he believes that (1) to be educated is to confront the great questions about what is; that (2) many modern students, in or out of school, never learn to raise, much less answer, the great questions, thus are uneducated in the deepest sense; and that (3) great books, past and present, which wrestle deeply yet non-technically with these questions rather than passively mirroring popular culture with its myopia and prejudices, can fill this vacuum for anyone, in or out of school. It contains unusually sane reflections on education, unusually reflective reviews of books, and unusually discriminating booklists. Just the book I have wanted to give my students for years. --Peter Kreeft, Boston College

For years I have meant to write such a book as Another Sort of Learning, suggesting how the rising generation might acquire some measure of wisdom despite the intellectual vices or indifferences of the Academy; but I am happy that Schall has forestalled me. It is full of much valuable wisdom. --Russell Kirk, Author, The Conservative Mind

Fr. Schall's observations about the American scene in general and education in particular are, as usual, wise and perceptive. He cuts against the grain in exactly the places where this needs to be done. --Dr. James Hitchcock, St. Louis University

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press (April 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 089870183X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898701838
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #352,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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99 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Chapman (Nativity@Pottsville.INFI.NET) on September 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is a compilation of essays written by James V. Schall. The main theme that connects the disparate themes of the essays is investigating reality. Three examples of the intellectually provocative essay titles are: "What the Student owes his Teacher", "On the Seriousness of Sports" and "On teaching the Most Important Things". The most charming and unique feature of Schall's book is the "various and sundry" book lists that follow at the end of each chapter. The book lists are not merely bibliographies, rather they are meant to provide a syllabi for the reader who wishes to further his education in the realm of the things that matter most in life: i.e. suffering, love, death, immortality, education, morality, politics etc.. Many of the names and books on the lists are venerable entries, such as Plato, Aristotle, the Bible, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, Shakespeare etc., however the lists are full of authors and titles of which I had never yet heard mention in my life. The books are presented as grocery lists (though he does not claim the lists to be exhaustive, who could?) of books and articles that should be read if someone seriously desires to receive an education in "what is". Thus, one could be in High School or be a Ph. D. candidate (or a Ph. D. already for that matter) and benefit greatly from this book One might look at this book as the exposed skeleton of all great books and the minds of the greats who produced them. We are led more deeply into reality, exposing "avenues" and "alleyways" and even "broad Boulevards" we may have never guessed existed. If we think and contemplate with them, we will be able to stand on their shoulders and see far and deeply. This is a first-rate intellectual adventure.
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77 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Mark E. Rhodes on April 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
Fr. Schall, professor of Political Philosophy at Georgetown, speaks for all true bibliophiles when he writes, "There is something narrow, even self-defeating, in reading a great work only once." ANOTHER SORT OF LEARNING is a collection of short essays on the necessity of making and using a personal library. That means gathering about oneself wonderful books on diverse topics and marvelling as the years roll by that, as he says at one point, "Everything reminds me of something in Plato."
Fr. Schall shuns the approach of a Master List of Books To Read Or Else. Instead, he writes elegant, meaty essays on education, philosophy, science, politics, history, and revelation, and concludes each essay with a short list of the books that nourish his own thoughts on the subject at hand. Examples of such lists include, "Unlikely List of Books to Keep Sane By", "Books You Will Never Be Assigned", "Seven Books on Sports and Serious Reflection", "Seven Books on the Limits of Politics", and "Five Books Addressed to the Heart of Things".
Why haven't I begun to do this? Isn't it true that, in my dotage, the books I have loved and marked and returned to and brooded over and dreamed by will reveal more about The Real Me than anything else?
Schall champions "the recovery of permanent things." (Readers of conservative literary critic and social philosopher Russell Kirk will recognize the phrase.) He enlists the thought and works of Plato and Aristotle, of Augustine and Aquinas, of G.K. Chesterton, [contemporary Thomist] Josef Pieper, and C.S. Lewis.
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60 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Craig K. Galer on December 9, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To begin with, any book which, in its preface, seamlessly links Eric Voegelin, E. F. Schumacher, and Mad Magazine deserves attention. James V. Schall has written a delightfully odd, but profound book (in fact, "Oddness and Sanity" is the title of one of his essays) for folks like me who got all the way through college without managing to get "educated" (and digging into the difference between the two is only one of the book's many virtues).

The whimsical subtitle captures the essence of the book perfectly: 'Selected Contrary Essays on How to Finally Acquire an Education While Still in College or Anywhere Else: Containing Some Belated Advice about How to Employ Your Leisure Time When Ultimate Questions Remain Perplexing in Spite of Your Highest Earned Academic Degree, Together with Sundry Book Lists Nowhere Else in Captivity to Be Found'.

The book contains 21 thoughtful (and thought-provoking) essays on an eclectic range of topics. From my own experience, though, the best feature of this book is the book lists at the end of each essay - 37 lists in all, composed of 290 books (not accounting for titles appearing in multiple lists). I consciously took Schall's advice on maybe a dozen books or so, but in reviewing it recently, I was surprised at how many more I've read since then. One could do a lot worse than following Schall's advice.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Ware on May 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
Not just a catalogue of books, but a guide to help students (whether in school or in the real world) **recall** that education (and, indeed, human existence itself) has a higher purpose.
One could spend a life-time chasing down Fr. Schall's lists and reading them; you regain that life-time when you apprehend what the book is trying to tell you (and why Schall put it on his list in the first place).
Superb work, and unequalled as an originating impetus for pursuing the life of enquiry and the love of wisdom.
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