Reviews etc..
Publisher’s Weekly December 4 2006
“ From Queen Elizabeth I and William Shakespeare to Philip Larkin and
Winston Churchill, this gathers work from England's most notable
writers, poets, philosophers and leaders to create a detailed literary
history. Drawn from the most well known works produced during the
roughly 350-year period between Queen Elizabeth's "Speech on the eve of
facing the Spanish Armada" to Winston Churchill's two "Speeches to the
House of Commons" in June 1940, selections include such standards as
Hamlet's soliloquy, Satan's lament from Milton's Paradise Lost and the
entirety of T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. A few
lesser known gems dot the roundup, such as Ben Johnson's Oak and Lily,
as well as lyrics known more for their tunes than their writers
("Greensleeves" and "Amazing Grace" among them). The mother-and-son
editorial team behind this volume has created a collection that is
readily accessible to the everyday reader, but will also work well in a
classroom setting.”
Seattle Times December 11 2006
    “A shortcut to being Lit Savvy. This greatest-hits package is a mix of excerpts from longer works and complete short pieces (poems, essays, speeches) that distills the essence of great literature.”
                           ADVANCE PRAISE
“The English Reader is a remarkable resource for scholars and readers of all
stripes. Whether we lean toward canon-building or canon-breaking, we English
language readers have a literary history in common. This book makes the high
points (and even some of the low points) of that history accessible and
provides an education for us all.”
                                            Henry Louis Gates Jr, Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University
“This unique collection offers the best that has been thought and said, not just in our unmatched literature, but also in the evolution of democratic ideas. It is a book to teach, inspire, and delight all who can read the English language.”
                                            E.D. Hirsch Jr, founder and chairman of the Core Knowledge Foundation and author of The Schools We Deserve and Why We Don’t Have Them
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Picked as a Main Selection by the Reader’s Subscription Book Club
The Oklahoman
 December 24 2006
“Speeches, songs, essays and poems so beautiful and powerful that they can pierce the human soul....The 486-page book is the kind of treasure that seldom comes along.”
January 20, 2007
“Although its aim is mildly didactic, “The English Reader” is by no means an ordinary textbook. In point of fact, it isn’t a textbook at all. More than anything else, it serves to entertain, putting at hand the serendipitous pleasures of a good used-book store... The curious browser... is rewarded with one discovery or reacquaintance after another... As editors, the Ravitches have brought together many powerful works of literary art...  Suitably, their introduction is eloquent and their notes brief, telling and to the point.”
Charleston Post & Courier
“The enduring impression is of ideas. Big, serious, complex ideas requiring attention spans not fed on sound bites and 15-second commercials. It's enough to tempt one to buy a booster seat and a doorstop, then take the book off the shelf to rediscover the pleasures of language and thought.”
The Hindu February 10 2007
“This unique collection offers the best that has been thought and said.”
While the thought that students should bother with the poetry of the Romantics, the prose of Darwin, the philosophy of Mill, or the speeches of Churchill is anathema to many, even the greatest critics of Western culture must concede that the English language that still unites us (though not as strongly as it should) has never been used more effectively than by those in the land of its birth--England. "The language has been shaped by those who have used it best," write the Ravitches in their introduction to this exquisite anthology. "Everyone who writes in English inherits this legacy, from Chinua Achebe to Saul Bellow, Salman Rushdie to Toni Morrison, Derek Wolcott to Seamus Heaney. These great contemporary writers transform the literary tradition in their own distinct ways, but their guideposts are the monumental achievements of English literature." We may choose to deny our students the history of Western civilization, and still survive. But deny our students English literature, and we excise the very font from which the versatility and beauty of the language we speak flows. Diane and Michael have given us the best argument for why English literature should never "go gentle into that good night"--the words of the language's masters themselves.