Radical Visions: Stringfellow Barr, Scott Buchanan, and Their Efforts on behalf of Education and Politics in the Twentieth Centuryby Charles Nelson, William H. McNeill
Find a college teacher prepared to risk his career because he is convinced that undergraduate elective curricula must be abandoned and ready to lay out a detailed remedy. Add a partner in full agreement, to share the risk. That is the improbable story of Stringfellow Barr and Scott Buchanan and their 1937 creation, at St. John's College of an all-required four-year
Find a college teacher prepared to risk his career because he is convinced that undergraduate elective curricula must be abandoned and ready to lay out a detailed remedy. Add a partner in full agreement, to share the risk. That is the improbable story of Stringfellow Barr and Scott Buchanan and their 1937 creation, at St. John's College of an all-required four-year curriculum based on the great books. Then add their shared convictions in attacking the Cold War, standing together for civil liberties and against McCarthyism. This story of personal courage is based on Nelson's knowledge and access to unpublished manuscripts and hundreds of letters.
Nelson tells the story of a remarkable life-long friendship and collaboration. He describes the 1937 transformation of St. John's College in Annapolis, in which an all-required, four-year program of study built around the great books of the Western tradition, the study of languages, mathematics, and science replaced the conventional elective curriculum. The influences on other institutions, from Oxford's Balliol College to the University of Chicago are traced and related.
Nelson examines the effort of the U.S. Navy, in the closing days of World War II, to acquire the campus of St. John's. This is followed by the unsuccessful efforts of Barr and Buchanan, after leaving St. John's, to start another college. Barr is persuaded to head the Foundation for World Government, in the course of which he and Buchanan redefine the nature of the problem of world law and world peace. The Cold War intervenes, and a new set of complications arises, subjecting Barr to attack from the McCarthyites, and the Foundation to attack from the Internal Revenue Serice. Nelson also reviews Barr's first hand encounter with India and its charismatic leaders.He recounts Buchanan's five month visit to the kibbutzim of Israel. The remainder of the text reviews their extensive writings and their years as Fellows of Robert Hutchins' Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. Based on Charles A. Nelson's knowledge of both men and access to extensive unpublished manuscripts and hundreds of revealing letters, the book will be of interest to scholars, students, and researchers involved with American higher education, the world government movement, and post-World War II civil liberty issues.
- ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
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Meet the Author
CHARLES A, NELSON is an author and editor, newspaper founder and publisher, and retired management consultant./e His books and articles deal with higher education, management of colleges and universities, and business ethics. A graduate of St. John's College, Annapolis, he subsequently became Director of Liberal Arts Programs and Director of Seminars in World Politics at University College, University of Chicago. He has provided consulting advice on organization and finance, planning, executive search, and trusteeship to several hundred colleges and universities in the United States and abroad over a 25-year period, before retiring as a partner in KPMG Peat Marwick. After retirement he founded and published two weekly newspapers in northern Westchester County, New York.
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