Twenty short nonfiction works chosen by the readers. Eucken's "The Failure of Speculative Philosophy," is one of several essays devoted to timeless questions. Others are by James Howell on man, nature and the universe, Samuel Johnson on procrastination and the flight of time, Schleiemacher on the social element in religion, Ambrose Bierce on immortality, and Thomas Paine and Jonathan Swift with their famous essays, "The Age of Reason" and "A Modest Proposal" .
Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Pearl Harbor "Day of Infamy" speech is one of various commentaries on war, politics and the polity. Others are Bierce's moving description of a solitary Civil War hero, Woodrow Wilson speaking to capitalism's spiritual crisis, Rev. Jee Gam presenting a Chinese Christian's thoughts on the Boxer Rebellion, and a partisan, Eugene Weeks, eulogizing Calvin Coolidge.
Intuitive self-direction is the theme of Lafcadio Hearn's essay "A Mystery of Crowds." Other selections that touch on personal development are Robert Louis Stevenson on literary style, Gelett Burgess on creativity and the art of play, Brann on the relative worth of the sexes, and Mary Wood-Allen on what a woman should know in picking a husband. For the musically inclined, Lawton Mackall has an amusing look at pianos, while sports enthusiasts will enjoy Benjamin Richardson's treatise on what to avoid in cycling. Artists should be interested in the biography of designer William Kilburn, who, in the late 1700s, was the first artist to seek copyright for his original textile designs. Summary by Sue Anderson
William Tudor Jones translated "The Failure of Speculative Philosophy."
George Ripley translated "On the Social Element in Religion."