An Incomplete Education
3,684 Things You Should Have Learned but Probably Didn't
Publication Date: April 25, 2006
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When it was originally published in 1987, An Incomplete Education became a surprise bestseller. Now this instant classic has been completely updated, outfitted with a whole new arsenal of indispensable knowledge on global affairs, popular culture, economic trends, scientific principles, and modern arts. Here’s your chance to brush up on all those subjects you slept through in school, reacquaint yourself with all the facts you once knew (then promptly forgot), catch up on major developments in the world today, and become the Renaissance man or woman you always knew you could be!
How do you tell the Balkans from the Caucasus? What’s the difference between fission and fusion? Whigs and Tories? Shiites and Sunnis? Deduction and induction? Why aren’t all Shakespearean comedies necessarily thigh-slappers? What are transcendental numbers and what are they good for? What really happened in Plato’s cave? Is postmodernism dead or just having a bad hair day? And for extra credit, when should you use the adjective continual and when should you use continuous?
An Incomplete Education answers these and thousands of other questions with incomparable wit, style, and clarity. American Studies, Art History, Economics, Film, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Science, and World History: Here’s the bottom line on each of these major disciplines, distilled to its essence and served up with consummate flair.
In this revised edition you’ll find a vitally expanded treatment of international issues, reflecting the seismic geopolitical upheavals of the past decade, from economic free-fall in South America to Central Africa’s world war, and from violent radicalization in the Muslim world to the crucial trade agreements that are defining globalization for the twenty-first century. And don’t forget to read the section A Nervous American’s Guide to Living and Loving on Five Continents before you answer a personal ad in the International Herald Tribune.
As delightful as it is illuminating, An Incomplete Education packs ten thousand years of culture into a single superbly readable volume. This is a book to celebrate, to share, to give and receive, to pore over and browse through, and to return to again and again.
Judy Jones is a freelance writer who lives in Princeton, New Jersey. William Wilson was also a freelance writer. Wilson went to Yale and Jones to Smith, but both have maintained that they got their real educations in the process of writing this book. William Wilson died in 1999.
Praise for An Incomplete Education
“AN ASTONISHING AMOUNT OF INFORMATION.”
–The New York Times
“IT IS PRECISELY THE BOOK THAT I’VE ALWAYS WANTED WITHOUT KNOWING THAT I ALWAYS WANTED IT. . . . It’s for people who have huge gaps in their knowledge of specific areas of culture and intellectual history. . . . Cheerfully, subversively anti-academic.”
–Jon Carrol, San Francisco Chronicle
“MEMORIZE THIS BOOK AND YOU CAN DROP NAMES, ALLUSIONS, AND ARCANE TERMS WITH THE BEST OF THEM, whether you (or they) know what they’re talking about. . . . The book will rekindle warm memories of your favorite courses, favorite professors, favorite books, favorite theories, favorite philosophical paradoxes.”
“RUSH TO YOUR NEAREST BOOKSTORE AND BUY An Incomplete Education. . . . [It] brings you 10,000 years of information. Imagine the power of knowing where Watteau went when the lights went out!”
–New York Daily News
“ARTICULATE AND IRREVERENT, crammed with facts, figures, drawings, definitions, and historic information sufficient to fill your every gap. . . . Judy Jones and William Wilson . . . tell you everything you should’ve learned but didn’t.
“THIS BOOK GETS AN A+.”
–The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org