John Moser’s post below, "What’s up with Universities and Ehrenreich?" leads me to this: For years the incoming Ashbrook Scholars have been sent a book to read over the Summer. They receive Winston Churchill’s My Early Life in June (as they are graduating high school), read it by early August, write an essay on education (the real subject of the book) and have two separate two-hour seminars (one on Saturday on the book, and one on Sunday on the writing); classes start Monday. I have always thought--and the students think--that this is a very good way to get into the college mode. It is a serious book that allows itself to be questioned; we end up having very good conversations as a result. The substance is just fine, and the conversational tone (so unlike high school) sets the stage nicely for their future learning. It is all high minded, slightly removed from the present, slightly foreign, but entirely interesting. They wonder at the man and his world and the good writing. They are struck by his vivacity and courage, note his sweet love for his nanny, marvel at his ambition, watch the man educate himself as he envies the young pups at universities who have teachers to help them navigate uncharted waters. And they note his exhortations to go out into the world and make a mark. These students don’t even know who Barbara Ehrenreich is. They have missed nothing.