Professor explains how the Great Books changed his life

In picking up the beginning of his liberal education on the street, Montás literally recovered a cornerstone of the Western cultural inheritance that our educational elites have all but thrown away. 

Roosevelt Montás, senior lecturer in American studies and English at Columbia University, emigrated as a boy from the Dominican Republic to Queens, New York. There, his curiosity and love of learning led him to seek out novel educational opportunities – even salvaging a 2,400-year-old philosophy classic out of a pile of trash.

Montás told this story from his new book, “Rescuing Socrates: How the Great Books Changed My Life and Why They Matter for a New Generation,” in a recent discussion with Benjamin Storey and Jenna Silber Storey of the American Enterprise Institute.

As a new American still learning English, Montás said, “I struggl[ed] as many poor immigrants have done and do, and I came across a book that my next-door neighbors had thrown out…a volume of Plato’s “Dialogues,” surrounding the trial and death of Socrates. I started reading it with a kind of earnestness, a kind of intensity.”


Complete text linked here.

Comments are closed.