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If You Could Add One Book to the High School Curriculum, What Would It Be?

Obedience to Authority, by Stanley Milgram (Harper & row 1974)

The New York Times asked a group of writers: What books would you add to the curriculum? Andrew Solomon responds:

Two years ago, I’d have had a different answer, but now I’d ask them to read Stanley Milgram’s electrifying Obedience to Authority. When a startlingly docile population is succumbing to the often treacherous locutions of a so-called strongman, this study of our essential moral pliability takes on a fresh urgency. Lord of the Flies, which is already on many schools’ lists, narrates how easily children become savages, but Obedience to Authority relates how easily adults abdicate responsibility, and illuminates the horror that ensues when we placidly do as we are told.

(For curriculum suggestions from John Green, Tara Westover, Yaa Gyasi, Thomas Mallon, Julia Alvarez, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Sabaa Tahir, Jedediah Purdy, and Elaine Welteroth, please visit the New York Times.)