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The Library Channel Presents: Books That Changed America with Jay Parini

Library ChannelUCTV is proud to announce the launching of  UC San Diego’s Library Channel. The first spotlighted program is Books That Changed America with Jay Parini — Dinner in the Library.

Renowned author and Middlebury College Professor Jay Parini offers a compelling narrative on the evolution of the American psyche with selections from his “Promised Land: Thirteen Books That Changed America.” Parini was the keynote speaker at the UC San Diego Library’s “Dinner in the Library,” which takes place annually in Geisel Library.


Parini explains, “These thirteen books must be seen as representative, not definitive, works. They are nodal points, places where vast areas of thought and feeling gathered and dispersed, creating a nation as various and vibrant as the United States, which must be considered one of the most successful nation-states in modern history, and a republic built firmly on ideas, which are contained in its major texts. Where we have been must, of course, determine where we are going. My hope is that this book helps to show us where we have been and engenders a lively conversation about our destination, which seems perpetually in dispute.” —from Promised Land

Jay Parini’s 13 books that changed America:

1. “Of Plymouth Plantation,” William Bradford

2. “The Federalist Papers,” Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay

3. “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”

4. “The Journals of Lewis and Clark,” Meriwether Lewis and William Clark

5. “Walden,” Henry David Thoreau

6. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” Harriet Beecher Stowe

7. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” Mark Twain

8. “The Souls of Black Folk,” W.E.B. Du Bois

9. “The Promised Land,” Nicholas Lemann

10. “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Dale Carnegie

11. “The Common Sense Book on Baby and Child Care,” Dr. Benjamin Spock

12. “On the Road,” Jack Kerouac

13. “The Feminine Mystique,” Betty Friedan

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