The list author says: "This list is about passing on Western culture, with an emphasis on American culture, to our children. Culture comes from what we as a society believe in (worldview). As well, it is based on shared experience. Much of this list will be classic books, or things that can sometimes be harder to find in our chain bookstores, but that are readily available on Amazon.com (yay!). We are all capable of picking out many wonderful modern books, thus the emphasis on the past in this list. The past is integral to our present and future. Think of culture as a person - if we have amnesia and do not know our past, we cannot really know who we are.
Culture is passed on by parents and grandparents to the next generations. When I was small, there were only 4 chanels on t.v., thus more of a shared viewing experience. There was also more of a shared reading experience between the generations. Shared experiences build and pass on culture.
This list is not meant to be exhaustive. Only a small number of books that we can pass on to our children, families, and thus out to American culture as a whole. The idea is to have this as a common baseline - a shared experience bridging generations. Enjoy!"