Roth Reviews ‘In Defense of a Liberal Education’

Lauren RubensteinApril 18, 20152min

Writing in The Daily BeastPresident Michael Roth reviewed In Defense of a Liberal Education by Fareed Zakaria, a refreshing change from the scores of books published in recent years decrying the state of higher education. Roth writes:

Into this atmosphere of cynicism and spleen, Fareed Zakaria offers a compact, effective essay on the importance of a broad, contextual education. Cheerfully out of step with the strident critics of higher ed, In Defense of a Liberal Education is a reminder that American colleges and universities are a powerful resource that has allowed so many young people to learn about themselves and their ability to have a positive impact on the world. Although he is well aware of the pressures on advanced study in this time of economic anxiety, Zakaria has confidence that the resources for addressing contemporary challenges lie within the very traditions being criticized.

Zakaria writes of his own personal journey through higher education, and “presents a brief sketch of its history in Europe and the United States.” Roth writes, “Most powerful in his personal and general history is his commitment to the idea that flexibility and judgment are enhanced by an education that toggles between deep engagement with specific material and the exploration of possible interconnections across a wide variety of fields.”