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  • Rescuing Socrates

  • How the Great Books Changed My Life and Why They Matter for a New Generation
  • By: Roosevelt Montás
  • Narrated by: Roosevelt Montás
  • Length: 6 hrs and 27 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Rescuing Socrates

By: Roosevelt Montás
Narrated by: Roosevelt Montás
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Summary

This audiobook narrated by Dominican-born scholar Roosevelt Montás tells the story of how the Great Books transformed his life - and why they have the power to speak to people of all backgrounds.

What is the value of a liberal education? Traditionally characterized by a rigorous engagement with the classics of Western thought and literature, this approach to education is all but extinct in American universities, replaced by flexible distribution requirements and ever-narrower academic specialization. Many academics attack the very idea of a Western canon as chauvinistic, while the general public increasingly doubts the value of the humanities. In Rescuing Socrates, Dominican-born American academic Roosevelt Montás tells the story of how a liberal education transformed his life, and offers an intimate account of the relevance of the Great Books today, especially to members of historically marginalized communities.

Montás emigrated from the Dominican Republic to Queens, New York, when he was 12 and encountered the Western classics as an undergraduate in Columbia University’s renowned Core Curriculum, one of America’s last remaining Great Books programs. The experience changed his life and determined his career - he went on to earn a PhD in English and comparative literature, serve as director of Columbia’s Center for the Core Curriculum, and start a Great Books program for low-income high school students who aspire to be the first in their families to attend college.

Weaving together memoir and literary reflection, Rescuing Socrates describes how four authors - Plato, Augustine, Freud, and Gandhi - had a profound impact on Montás’s life. In doing so, the book drives home what it’s like to experience a liberal education - and why it can still remake lives.

©2021 Roosevelt Montás (P)2021 Princeton University Press

Critic reviews

"Roosevelt Montás has written an absorbing and perceptive book about how he, an immigrant from a rural town in the Dominican Republic, came to New York and was engaged and transformed by reading great books. His vibrant account is an autobiography of learning. It should be read by anyone interested in reading and big ideas." (Mitchell Cohen, author of The Politics of Opera: A History from Monteverdi to Mozart)

“In Rescuing Socrates, Roosevelt Montás tells his story of moving as a lost, lonely 12-year-old from the Dominican Republic to New York, then eventually finding himself by studying Aristotle, Augustine, Plato, and many others in the Core Curriculum at Columbia University. Montás takes the reader on an inspiring journey where we come to realize how the power of these texts helped a young immigrant and man of color recreate his heritage and a sense of identity in a foreign land.” (Anika T. Prather, founder of The Living Water School)

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  • Nom de Guerre
  • 24-01-22

Excellent defense of a crucial part of education

I am a survivor of another core program, a professor, and a child of a Columbia art hum instructor. This book is a beautiful discourse on the value of learning the core, and of college as more than vocational training. my closest friends from college became doctors and engineers, but the ones who took core classes have been most successful and most flexible in their thought.

I recommend Fareed Zakaria's In Defense of a Liberal Education to anyone looking to learn more.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-12-21

Simply wonderful and moving book

Rescuing Socrates is a delightful book - a mix of a compelling personal memoir, insightful reflections on some of history’s greatest writers, and advocacy for the type of education that transformed the author’s life. The book’s four chapters are loosely tied to four thinkers (Augustine, Socrates, Freud, and Gandhi) and Montas really goes four-for-four; each chapter is excellent in its own right. I love when personal books are narrated by the author and this is no exception. Strongly recommend this audiobook for anyone who is interested in education and teaching, the immigrant experience, and/or great books. Bravo!!

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  • John
  • 22-12-21

A Powerful Memoir and Manifesto to Great Books

Dr. Montas does a wonderful job of sharing his personal story with the Great Books and how the writing of four geniuses(Socrates, Augustine, Freud and Ghandi) directly impacted his life. It’s an excellent intro and guide to anyone curious about the Great Books/Liberal Education and the promise it holds to change lives. The newest student and most veteran reader can benefit from this book.

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  • Sil A.
  • 08-12-22

Powerful testimonial

Professor Montás’ journey to academia was an unlikely one. A twelve year-old immigrant from the Dominican Republic, living with a single mom who made minimum wages, Montás discovered the liberal arts almost by accident, though it seemed meant to be. In this book, which combines his personal testimonial with powerful summaries of the work of his four favorite thinkers, Professor Montás defends the need for a liberal arts based education for all, as he describes the Columbia University Core program. I was touched by his transparency and sincere approach. Anyone interested in education, philosophy and the future of Western Civilization should enjoy this book.

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  • Mike Parks
  • 14-05-22

Not entirely what I expected, but still good

This book presents a good defense of liberal education. St John's hosted Roosevelt, but I was unable to attend so I decided to read the book. I guess I anticipated a little more interaction with the great books, it was more of an autobiography with the great books intertwined. He has a great story, definitely a life of perseverance.

If anything I was encouraged to pick up a couple first-hand sources along the way. I ended up reading Martin Luther's letters from Birmingham jail and a book from Freud because of this book. then I went back to this one to finish :)