Most of you probably remember the list of books that Neil Degrassi Tyson recommended for intelligent people.
If you didn't see the list, you can view it below.
In his commentary, Tyson also said, "If you read all the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the Western World." But there's one interesting thing about this list that you might not have noticed.
In the next paragraphs some important facts will be laid out. While you read, keep these two things in mind:
1) This list of books was posted on Reddit in response to the question, "Which books should be read by every single intelligent person on planet?"
2) Under the list, Tyson states, "If you read all the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the Western World."
Okay, here we go...
6 out of 8 of these books were published between 1728 and 1859. Nothing written after 1859 even makes the cut.
The year 1715, according to most historians, is the year that the Age of Enlightenment started.
For those of you who don't know what the Age of Enlightenment is in our history, it is a time period when people started calling themselves "enlightened" if they valued liberty, progress, and reason. Most important to the Age Of Enlightenment was the separation of church and state.
Although the Age of Enlightenment brought a lot of changes to Western culture, it also portrayed women and every other culture in a negative light. Many intellectuals of the Age of Enlightenment thought that men were superior to women, and Western culture was superior to Eastern culture.
Every single book on this list (with the exception of the bible) is authored by upper class people.
Of the eight books listed, there are no female authors included.
7 of the 8 books on this list were written by white people.
6 of the 8 books on the list were written by Europeans.
This list of books doesn't take anything from the Romantic period / Modernism / Realism/ Postmodernism - none of these trends are seen as intellectual by his standards.
Again, not that there is anything wrong with these books. These books are great! But when it explicitly states that "if you read all the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the Western World," this supports the idea
This entire list supports the idea that the only viewpoints worth learning about are those of upper class, white, European men who looked down upon Eastern culture, women, and religion.
What about stories from women? What about stories from people of varying races? Classes? Religions? To ignore these stories is to ignore a large part of our history.
Obviously, to each their own. But there's some food for thought.
What do you think about Neil Degrasse Tyson's book list?
Let us know in the comments.