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Racing Odysseus

A College President Becomes a Freshman Again

Roger H. Martin


List Price: 23.95*
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Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (9/2/2008)


The idea of reliving youth is a common fantasy, but who among us is actually courageous enough to try it? After surviving a deadly cancer against tremendous odds, college president Roger H. Martin did just that—he enrolled at St. John's College, the Great Books school in Annapolis, Maryland, as a sixty-one-year-old freshman. This engaging, often humorous memoir of his semester at St. John's tells of his journey of discovery as he falls in love again with Plato, Socrates, and Homer, improbably joins the college crew team, and negotiates friendships across generational divides. Along the way, Martin ponders one of the most pressing questions facing education today: do the liberal arts still have a role to play in a society that seems to value professional, vocational, and career training above all else? Elegantly weaving together the themes of the great works he reads with events that transpire on the water, in the coffee shop, and in the classroom, Martin finds that a liberal arts education may be more vital today than ever before. This is the moving story of a man who faces his fears, fully embraces his second chance, and in turn rediscovers the gifts of life and learning.

Praise For Racing Odysseus: A College President Becomes a Freshman Again

“An extraordinary memoir.”
— Peter Green

“Alternately amusing and poignant, Martin’s personal epic offers a much-needed perspective on cultural dilemmas both ancient and modern.”
— Bryce Christensen

“An engaging memoir.”
— Elizabeth R. Hayford

“An understated, engaging memoir.”
— Luther Spoehr

“Racing Odysseus is not your typical college president’s memoir.”
— Mary Taylor Huber

“An extraordinary memoir. . . . An enthusiastic, breathless and oddly innocent narrative. . . . A welcome reminder of what real Western education . . . is about.”
— The Australian

University of California Press, 9780520265875, 280pp.

Publication Date: January 18, 2010

About the Author

Roger H. Martin is Professor of History Emeritus and past president at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia.