Saturday, July 10, 2010

Week 28: The Bird in the Tree and Road to Serfdom

The Bird in the Tree, by Elizabeth Goudge

I discovered Elizabeth Goudge last year, and this is the 4th or 5th book of hers I have read. I really enjoy them, and if you like somewhat old-fashioned (30's-50's) books set in England which evince a deep faith, you will probably enjoy them as well. Many of her books are out of print, but they are worth hunting down, and she also wrote several well-regarded children's books that I wish I could find.

This book turned out to be the first in a family-saga type of trilogy (which I do not usually go for), and I had already read the second one without realizing there were others. In order, they are: The Bird in the Tree, Pilgrim's Inn, and The Heart of the Family. The drama revolves around three generations of the Eliot family; the grandmother, Lucilla, establishes a home in the country that she intends as a haven of peace for all of her descendants.




The Road to Serfdom, by F. A. Hayek


This one took me quite a while; it's the kind of book you need to read in a quiet library with no distractions, and of course that isn't easy to come by. I kept trying to read it while the kids had kung fu.

The Road to Serfdom was written during World War II and is addressed to the British people. Hayek, an economist, was concerned at all the political talk in the UK (and the rest of Western Europe) about the need for planning and collectivism. He believed that socialism and economic planning would lead directly to totalitarianism, and in this book he explains exactly why. In his view only classical liberalism and individualism could lead to freedom, and all talk of better freedom under planning was an illusion.

It's a very interesting (and often prescient) book, and it's considered a classic in the field of economics, so I'm counting it as a classic. Hayek is certainly worth reading, but it's not easy going.

6 comments:

Henry Cate said...

I love "The Road to Serfdom." He makes so many great books. I'm having both my 16-year-old and my 13-year-old read it this summer.

Jean said...

If your teens can wrap their brains around Hayek's writing, then I take my hat off to them. Hope homeschooling will do the same for my girls!

Henry Cate said...

It will be interesting to see. I expect that they'll a lot. We talk about politics frequently at home. All of our daughters picked up on reading the comics as they learned to read. Our older two started reading the front section, fairly regularly.

Right now my oldest is working through "The Tipping Point." And my second daughter is going through "Parkinson's Law." Both of them commented about how slow it takes them to read these books. They are use to blasting through a Harry Potter book in five to ten hours. I agreed that it took longer, but was worth it.

Jean said...

Yes, my older girl, who just turned 10, is very used to blasting through books at top speed. Last year we were doing SOTW4 and we had to talk a lot about reading differently when the text is densely packed. I have to remind her a lot about slowing down and making sure that she comprehends all the text.

I had a pretty rotten education myself, so I'm hoping to do better this way.

Henry Cate said...

I'm sure you'll do fine. One of the things that my wife noticed is in teaching our children how much she's learning now that she never learned in public schools.

Jean said...

Oh yes, that is certainly happening to me too!