Quizbowl Resources

Note: ALL of the material below is sourced from this document. I do NOT claim to be the author of any of this material. I created this page because I found the original page (on Google Docs) too laggy and difficult to navigate. Any modifications or notes of my own are included in a blockquote, such as this note.

This document will always be in progress. Please make suggestions!

Note: Please make suggestions on the original document instead of contacting me (Geoffrey).

I’ve divided this document into four sections. The first consists of “surveys,” textbooks, and similar books that are (1) meant to be read (2) high-quality and (3) useful for quizbowl learning and writing. The second consists of print reference works, lists, anthologies, and other resources that are useful to consult, along with other media like documentaries. The third is a selection of online resources from both categories. Finally, the fourth gives top-quality journals, specialist news websites, and similar resources. The idea is to provide a comprehensive list of resources to help writers and players (primarily college-level and above) move past Wikipedia and whatever (dubious) books they randomly happen to find.

Bolded authors are famous enough to get you quizbowl points from just knowing who they are; even more so with bolded and underlined authors.

Note: Due to the copying over from Google Docs, most of the bolding and underlining is not present on this document. Consult the original document for bolding and/or underlining.

This is a list for secondary sources only (except mythology, where there’s often no point), and restricted to English-language sources. The point is to have a list of “good-for-quizbowl” texts you’re unlikely to encounter through quizbowl questions themselves—it’s not supposed to be an ad-hoc NAQT-style frequency list.

This list skews heavily toward scholarly works, and I’d prefer to keep it that way. “Quizbowl is an academic competition that….”

In general, Oxford Very Short Introductions (what the name says) and Cambridge Companions (more in-depth; individual chapters will often be plenty) are great starting points. Cambridge Histories are the gold standard for humanities reference handbooks, but can often be very dense, and may not always translate well into points.

This list originated as an expansion of lists of science textbooks compiled by Eric Mukherjee and Jerry Vinokurov; it has benefited especially by suggestions from Matt Bollinger, Stephen Eltinge, Joey Goldman, and Taylor Harvey, among many others.

1 Surveys/Textbooks

under construction, suggestions very welcome

General Humanities/Cultural History

  • J.L. Price, Dutch Culture in the Golden Age
    • Longer, more interpretive approach: Simon Schama, The Embarrassment of Riches
  • Peter Gay, The Enlightenment: An Interpretation (2vv, very long) and Modernism: The Lure of Heresy
  • Clive James, Cultural Amnesia (early 20th century, esp. German)
  • T.J Jackson Lears, No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture, 1880–1920
  • Carl Schorske, Fin de Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture
  • Roger Shattuck, The Banquet Years: The Origins of the Avant-Garde in France, 1885 to World War I
  • Peter Watson, The Modern Mind: An Intellectual History of the 20th Century
  • Edward Strickland, Minimalism
  • Amira Bennison, The Great Caliphs: The Golden Age of the ‘Abbasid Empire
  • Wendy Doniger, The Hindus: An Alternative History1
  • Mark Edward Lewis, Writing and Authority in Early China (very, very dense)


  • Cambridge Introductions to Literature (authors, regions, genres, fields)
  • Harvard University Press Reference Library (“New Literary Histories” for America, French, German)
  • Twayne’s Authors Series (hundreds of volumes on huge range of authors; many available through Gale)
  • Steven Moore, The Novel: an Alternative History (2vv; somewhat eccentric emphases)
    • Michael Schmidt, The Novel: a Biography (English-language stuff only)2
  • David Damrosch, How to Read World Literature (covers a wide range of texts and approaches)


  • Richard Gray, A History of American Literature
  • Leslie Fiedler, Love and Death in the American Novel
  • Elaine Showalter, A Jury of Her Peers: American Women Writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx
  • Henry Louis Gates, The Signifying Monkey
  • Hugh Kenner, The Pound Era
  • F.O. Matthiessen, American Renaissance: Art and Expression in the Age of Emerson and Whitman
  • Sacvan Bercovitch, The American Jeremiad
  • Alfred Kazin, On Native Grounds: An Interpretation of Modern American Prose Literature (1900-40)


  • Edward Albert rev. J.A. Stone, A History of English Literature
    • More detailed: David Daiches, A Critical History of English Literature
  • Terry Eagleton, The English Novel
    • Ian Watt, The Rise of the Novel
    • More modern: Michael McKeon, The Origins of the English Novel
  • M.H. Abrams, The Mirror and the Lamp and Natural Supernaturalism
  • Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory
  • Martin Esslin, The Theatre of the Absurd
  • Declan Kiberd, Inventing Ireland


  • Erich Auerbach, Mimesis
  • Gian Biagio Conte, Latin Literature: A History
  • Moses Hadas, A History of Greek Literature
  • E.R. Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages


  • Edmund Wilson, Axel’s Castle: a Study In the Imaginative Literature of 1870–1930 World
  • Stephen Owen and Kang-i Sun Chang, eds. The Cambridge History of Chinese Literature
    • Burton Watson, Early Chinese Literature (including philosophy and history) and Chinese Lyricism: Shih Poetry from the Second to the Twelfth Century
    • Lu Xun, A Brief History of Chinese Fiction
    • C.T. Hsia, A History of Modern Chinese Fiction and The Classic Chinese Novel
  • Donald Keene, A History of Japanese Literature (4vv.)

These books (and authors) are famous enough to come up in their own right and also cover a lot of other texts:

  • Wayne Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction
  • Peter Brooks, Reading for the Plot (also learn about Freud)
  • Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism
  • Henry Louis Gates, The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism
  • F.R. Leavis, The Great Tradition: George Eliot, Henry James, Joseph Conrad


  • Craig, Graham, Kagan, Ozment, Turner, The Heritage of World Civilizations
  • The Times Complete History of the World (atlas)
  • Kinder and Hilgemann, The Penguin Atlas of World History, 2vv. (Eurocentric but excellent)
  • Routledge Historical Atlases
  • Any Short Oxford History or Cambridge Concise History
  • Paul K. Davis, 100 Decisive Battles
  • /r/AskHistorians has a wiki with loads of recommendations for good books on narrower topics
  • Odd Arne Westad, The Cold War: A World History


  • Thomas Bailey et al., The American Pageant

  • The Penguin History of the United States, esp. Alan Taylor on colonial America and Steven Hahn on 1830–1910

    • More in-depth: The Oxford History of the United States, esp. Gordon Wood on the early Republic and James McPherson on the Civil War
  • Jon Butler, Grant Wacker, and Randall Balmer, Religion in American Life

  • Peter Kolchin, American Slavery: 1619–1877

  • Alan Taylor, American Revolutions: A Continental History 1750–1804

    • Older, very different emphases: Gordon Wood, The Rising Glory of America, 1760–1820
  • Richard White, “It’s Your Misfortune and None of My Own”: A New History of the American West and The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650–1815

  • James Wilson, The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America

  • Michael McGerr, A Fierce Discontent: The Rise and Fall of the Progressive Movement in America, 1870–1920

  • Anything by Arthur Schlesinger (e.g. The Age of Roosevelt, 3vv)

  • Anything by Eric Foner (e.g. Reconstruction)

  • Rick Perlstein, Before the Storm and Nixonland and The Invisible Bridge

  • John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History


  • David A. Bell and Anthony Grafton, The West: A New History

  • Palmer, Colton, and Kramer, A History of the Modern World (dry but packed with info)

  • Norman Davies, Vanished Kingdoms

  • The Penguin History of Europe, esp. Chris Wickham on the early Middle Ages

    • [one volume left (1300-1517)]
  • I.B. Tauris History of the Christian Church

    • Eamon Duffy, Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes
  • Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (still!)

  • Chris Wickham, Medieval Europe

    • Cambridge Medieval Textbooks
  • R.W. Southern, The Making of the Middle Ages; Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages

  • Gwyn Jones, A History of the Vikings

  • Jonathan Riley-Smith, The Crusades

    • More detailed: Thomas Asbridge, The Crusades
    • Blow-by-blow, readable, very out of date: Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades (3vv)
  • Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century (bad history, but fun reading)

  • Oxford History of Early Modern Europe, esp. Jonathan Israel on the Netherlands

  • J.H. Parry, The Age of Reconnaissance (dated)

  • Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Reformation

  • Peter H. Wilson, The Thirty Years’ War: Europe’s Tragedy

  • Russell F. Weigley, The Age of Battles: The Quest for Decisive Warfare from Breitenfeld to Waterloo

  • Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolution (1789–1848), The Age of Capital (1848–75), The Age of Empire (1875–1914), The Age of Extremes (1914–91)

  • Barbara Tuchman, The Proud Tower (WWI)

  • Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe after 1945

  • Blackwell History of France (4vv)

    • Georges Duby (987–1460)
    • Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie (1460–1610 and 1610–1774)
    • François Furet (1770–1880)
    • Maurice Agulhon (1879–1992)
  • Jeremy Popkin, A History of Modern France (ca.1700–present)

  • Steven Ozment, A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People

    • Hajo Holborn, A History of Modern Germany (3vv; ca.1450–1945)
    • More recent: Joachim Whaley, Germany and the Holy Roman Empire (2vv; 1493–1806)
    • Christopher Clark, Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600–1947
  • Raymond Carr, ed. Spain: A History

    • Angus MacKay, Spain in the Middle Ages: From Frontier to Empire, 1000–1500
    • J.H. Elliott, Imperial Spain: 1469–1716
    • Carr, ed. Spain, 1808–1975 and Modern Spain: 1875–1980
  • A.R. Disney, A History of Portugal and the Portuguese Empire

    • C.R. Boxer, Portuguese Seaborne Empire, 1415-1825
  • Peter Burke, The Italian Renaissance

  • Thomas Madden, Venice: A New History

  • Dennis Mack Smith, Modern Italy: A Political History

  • Paul Robert Magocsi, Historical Atlas of Central Europe

  • Piotr Wandycz, The Price of Freedom: A History of East Central Europe

  • Nicholas Riasanovsky and Mark Steinberg, A History of Russia

    • In extreme depth: Richard Pipes, Russia Under the Old Regime, The Russian Revolution, and Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime
  • Norman Davies, God’s Playground: A History of Poland (2vv)

  • Mark Mazower, The Balkans: A Short History

  • Charles King, The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus

  • Concise, informative, sometimes dry: Blackwell Classic Histories of England

    • No volumes for 1660–1815 or 1918 onward
  • More leisurely: The Penguin History of Britain (note: “Britain,” not “England”)

    • 18th century volume projected to be a revision of Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation 1707–1837
  • Extremely detailed: The New Oxford History of England

    • Missing volumes for before 1000 (2vv.), 1461–1547, 1603–89 (2vv.), and 1918–51
    • Robert Bartlett’s volume (1075–1225) is stellar history but very quizbowl-unfriendly (Clanchy [Blackwell] and Carpenter [Penguin] are both excellent alternatives)
  • James Campbell et al., The Anglo-Saxons (wonderfully illustrated)

  • G.R. Elton, England Under the Tudors

    • More recent, in-depth: John Guy, Tudor England
  • T.W. Moody, F.X. Martin, Dermot Keogh, eds. The Course of Irish History

    • Same editors have a definitive 10 (!) volume history of Ireland
  • Nora Chadwick, The Celts


  • Blackwell History of the Ancient World, esp. Marc van de Mieroop, A History of Ancient Egypt and A History of the Ancient Near East

  • William H. Stiebing and Susan Helft, Ancient Near Eastern History and Culture

  • Matt Waters, Ancient Persia: A Concise History of the Achaemenid Empire

    • If you want to read 1200 pages about the Achaemenids: Peter Briant, From to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire
  • Robin Lane Fox, The Classical World

  • Sarah Pomeroy et al., Ancient Greece

    • Much more detailed (but dry): J.B. Bury and Russell Meigs, A History of Greece
  • Peter Green, Alexander to Actium: The Historical Evolution of the Hellenistic Age

  • Donald Kagan, The Peloponnesian War (condensed from the 4-volume version)

  • Mary Beard, SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome (fantastic, but only covers 63 B.C.–221 C.E.)

  • Allen M. Ward et al., A History of the Roman People

    • Much more detailed (but dry): M. Cary and H.H. Scullard, A History of Rome
  • Peter Brown, The World of Late Antiquity and The Rise of Western Christendom

  • Judith Herrin, Byzantium


  • Ira Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies

    • More detailed, opinionated: Marshall Hodgson, The Venture of Islam (3 vv)
    • Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples
    • William Cleveland, A History of the Modern Middle East (later Ottomans and after)
    • The Edinburgh History of the Islamic Empires
  • Caroline Finkel, Osman’s Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire

  • Erik Zürcher, Turkey: A Modern History (to 1993)

  • Peter Frankopan, The Silk Roads

    • More detailed: Christopher Beckwith, Empires of the Silk Road (skip all of the bizarre linguistics and aesthetics ranting, e.g. the last chapter and the appendices)
  • Michael Axworthy, Empire of the Mind: A History of Iran

  • Thomas Barfield, Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History

  • David Morgan, The Mongols

  • Sam van Schaik, Tibet: A History

  • John Keay, India: A History

    • Upinder Singh, A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India (to ca. 1200)
      • Satish Chandra, History of Medieval India (647–1526)
    • Catherine Asher and Cynthia Talbot, India Before Europe (ca. 1200–1750)
    • Barbara D. Metcalf and Thomas R. Metcalf, A Concise History of Modern India
      • Bipan Chandra, ed. India’s Struggle for Independence (ca. 1857–1947)
      • Ramachandra Guha, India After Gandhi
  • Charles Holcombe, A History of East Asia and The Genesis of East Asia: 221 B.C.–A.D. 907

  • Jacques Gernet, A History of Chinese Civilization

    • John S. Major and Constance A. Cook, Ancient China: A History (goes through 3 Kingdoms)
      • More advanced: Li Feng, Early China (through end of Han)
    • Mark Edward Lewis, The Early Chinese Empires and China Between Empires and China’s Cosmopolitan Empire: The Tang Dynasty
    • F.W. Mote, Imperial China, 900–1800 (over 1000pp.)
    • Jonathan Spence, The Search for Modern China
  • R.H.P. Mason and J.G. Caiger, A History of Japan

    • Karl F. Friday, Japan Emerging: Premodern History to 1850
    • Andrew Gordon, A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present
  • Carter Eckert et al., eds. Korea Old and New: A History

  • David Chandler, A History of Cambodia

  • M.C. Ricklefs, A History of Modern Indonesia Since c.1200

  • Peter and Sanda Simms, The Kingdom of Laos

  • Barbara Watson Andaya and Leonard Y. Andaya, A History of Malaysia

  • Michael Aung-Thwin and Maitrii Aung-Thwin, A History of Myanmar since Ancient Times

  • Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit, A History of Thailand

  • Ben Kiernan, Viet Nam: A History from Earliest Times to the Present

  • John Iliffe, Africans: The History of a Continent

  • Ali Mazrui, The Africans: A Triple Heritage

  • Basil Davidson, The Lost Cities of Africa, The African Genius, Africa In History and other books

  • Nehemia Levtzion and Randall L. Pouwels, eds. The History of Islam in Africa

  • Christopher Ehret, The Civilizations of Africa: A History to 1800

  • Davidson, Modern Africa

    • More-in depth but strong neoliberal bias: Martin Meredith, The Fate of Africa: A History of the Continent Since Independence
    • Paul Nugent, Africa Since Independence
  • Michael A. Gomez, African Dominion: A New History of Empire in Early and Medieval West Africa

  • Toby Green, A Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution

  • Toyin Falola, A History of Nigeria

  • Phillip C. Naylor, North Africa: A History from Antiquity to the Present

  • Richard Pankhurst, The Ethiopians: A History

  • Charles Mann, 1491 and 1493

  • Brian M. Fagan, Ancient North America and The First North Americans

  • John Charles Chasteen, Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise History of Latin America

    • More detailed: Edwin Williamson, The Penguin History of Latin America
    • Mark A. Burkholder and Lyman L. Johnson, Colonial Latin America
    • Thomas E. Skidmore et al., Modern Latin America
  • Greg Grandin, Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism

  • Alan Knight, Mexico (2vv up to the colonial era; 2vv history of the Revolution)

    • Michael Coe, Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs
  • Margaret R. Conrad and James K. Hiller, Atlantic Canada: A History

  • Mark Peel and Christina Twomey, A History of Australia

  • Matt K. Matsuda, Pacific Worlds: A History of Seas, Peoples, and Cultures



  • Campbell Biology

  • Lodish et al., Molecular Cell Biology3

  • Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry

  • Lewin’s Genes or James Watson et al. Molecular Biology of the Gene

  • First Aid for the USMLE Step 1

  • Vander’s Human Physiology4

    • More in-depth: Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology
  • Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine

  • Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple

  • Janeway’s Immunobiology

  • Purves et al., Principles of Cognitive Neuroscience

    • Much more in-depth: Eric Kandel et al., Principles of Neural Science
  • Wolpert, Principles of Development

  • Brock Biology of Microorganisms

  • Herron and Freeman, Evolutionary Analysis

  • Raven Biology of Plants

  • Begon et al., Ecology


  • Zumdahl and Zumdahl, Chemistry

    • More advanced (requires calculus): Oxtoby et al., Principles of Modern Chemistry
  • Linus Pauling, General Chemistry (good if you know some physics)

  • Atkins and De Paula, Physical Chemistry (most of this material is better learned as physics)

    • More math-y but better: McQuarrie and Simon, Physical Chemistry
  • Clayden5 et al., Organic Chemistry (online-only chapters that were cut from second edition)

  • Weller et al., Inorganic Chemistry

  • Skoog et al., Principles of Instrumental Analysis

  • E.J. Corey and Cheng, The Logic of Chemical Synthesis

  • March’s Advanced Organic Chemistry

  • Cotton and Wilkinson, Advanced Inorganic Chemistry

Physics 6

  • Halliday, Resnick, and Walker, Fundamentals of Physics (need calculus)

  • Feynman, Lectures on Physics

  • Krane, Modern Physics

  • Griffiths, Introduction to Electrodynamics

  • Griffiths, Introduction to Elementary Particles

  • Griffiths, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics

    • More conceptual: McIntyre, Quantum Mechanics: A Paradigms Approach
    • Slightly more advanced: Shankar, Principles of Quantum Mechanics
  • Thorne and Blandford, Modern Classical Physics: Optics, Fluids, Plasmas, Elasticity, Relativity, and Statistical Physics

  • Carroll, Spacetime and Geometry (General Relativity)

    • More advanced: Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler, Gravitation
    • More math-y: Wald, General Relativity
  • Hecht, Optics

  • Jackson, Classical Electrodynamics (very difficult, but covers far more than its title suggests)

  • Kardar, Statistical Physics of Particles (2vv)

  • Kittel, Introduction to Solid State Physics

    • More in-depth (but “less coherently organized”): Ashcroft and Mermin, Solid State Physics
  • Kittel and Kroemer, Thermal Physics

  • Kundu and Cohen, Fluid Mechanics

  • McQuarrie, Statistical Mechanics

  • Nilsson and Riedel, Electric Circuits

  • Peatross and Ware, Physics of Light and OpticsPeskin and Schroeder, An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory

  • Sakurai and Napolitano, Modern Quantum Mechanics

  • Taylor, Classical Mechanics

  • Taylor and Wheeler, Spacetime Physics (Special Relativity; “red” edition has worked-out problems)

  • Landau and Lifshitz, Course of Theoretical Physics (10vv; “if you like feeling far stupider than the author”)


  • D’Angelo and West, Mathematical Thinking

  • Halmos, Naive Set Theory

  • Rosen, Discrete Math and its Applications

  • Bollobas, Modern Graph Theory

  • Michael Artin, Algebra 7

    • More introductory: Gallian, Contemporary Abstract Algebra
    • More advanced: Dummit and Foote, Abstract Algebra
  • Axler, Linear Algebra Done Right

    • More in-depth: Strang, Linear Algebra and its Applications
  • Stewart, Calculus: Early Transcendentals

    • More advanced: Spivak, Calculus
    • Even more advanced: Courant and John, Introduction to Calculus and Analysis (3vv)
  • Hubbard and Hubbard, Vector Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Differential Forms

    • Less conversational (but nicer notation): Shifrin, Multivariable Mathematics
  • Rudin, Principles of Mathematical Analysis

  • Stein and Shakarchi, Princeton Lectures in Analysis (4vv)

    • More difficult and compressed: Rudin, Real and Complex Analysis
    • Ahlfors, Complex Analysis
  • Munkres, Topology

  • Ireland and Rosen, A Classical Introduction to Modern Number Theory

  • Lee, Introduction to Smooth Manifolds and Riemannian Manifolds

    • Crazy-detailed: Spivak, A Comprehensive Introduction to Differential Geometry
  • Rotman, An Introduction to Algebraic Topology

    • More advanced: Hatcher, Algebraic Topology (free!)
  • Atiyah and Macdonald, Commutative Algebra

    • Much longer, with a lot of algebraic geometry: Eisenbud, Commutative Algebra
  • Fulton and Harris, Representation Theory

  • Borrelli and Coleman, Differential Equations: A Modelling Approach

    • Much more advanced: Hirsch and Smale, Differential Equations, Dynamical Systems, and an Introduction to Chaos8
    • Arnold, Ordinary Differential Equations
  • Kiefer, Introduction to Statistical Inference

    • Casella and Berger, Statistical Inference
  • Ross, A First Course in Probability

    • Much more advanced: Feller, An Introduction to Probability Theory and Its Applications


  • Donald Knuth, The Art of Computer Programming

  • Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest, and Stein, Introduction to Algorithms

  • Sipser, Introduction to the Theory of Computation

    • More advanced: Hopcroft et al., Introduction to Automata Theory, Languages and Computation
  • Abelson and Sussman, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

  • Anything by Robert Sedgewick or Andy Tanenbaum

  • Russel, Norvig, Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach

  • Steven Halim, Competitive Programming

  • Kernighan and Ritchie, The C Programming Language

  • Grotzinger and Jordan et al., Understanding Earth

  • Fossen, Structural Geology

  • Turcotte and Schubert, Geodynamics

  • Wallace and Hobbs, Atmospheric Science

    • Holton, An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology
  • Chaisson and McMillan, Astronomy Today

  • Carroll and Ostlie, Introduction to Modern Astrophysics

  • Schneider, Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology

  • Binney and Tremaine, Galactic Dynamics



  • Gardner’s Art Through the Ages (2vv) [Recent editions of Stokstad and Janson are extremely similar]

    • Broader coverage: Honour and Fleming, A World History of Art (=The Visual Arts: A History)
  • The Yale Pelican History of Art (start here if you’re looking for a book on a more specific topic like “French art, 1500–1700,” “Egyptian art,” “Mesoamerican art,” etc.)

  • For many art movements, Phaidon’s Art and Ideas series has the best concise overview

    • Thames & Hudson’s World of Art volumes are usually more compact (best for non-Western)
    • Oxford History of Art volumes usually cover more ground in less detail (more context)
  • Christopher S. Wood, A History of Art History (ends ca.1970)

  • Mary Beard and John Henderson, Classical Art: From Greece to Rome

  • Richard Neer, Greek Art and Archaeology

    • More in-depth: World of Art volumes by John Boardman
  • Steven Tuck, A History of Roman Art

  • Henrik Luttikhuizen and Dorothy Verkerk, eds. Snyder’s Medieval Art

    • Whitney Stoddard, Art and Architecture in Medieval France
  • James Snyder and Larry Silver, Northern Renaissance Art

  • Frederick Hartt and David Wilkins, History of Italian Renaissance Art

    • In-depth on just the High Renaissance: Heinrich Wölfflin, Classic Art
    • Bruce Cole, Sienese Painting in the Age of the Renaissance; Giotto and Florentine Painting; Titian and Venetian Painting
    • John Shearman, Mannerism
  • Michael Levey, Painting in Eighteenth Century Venice

  • Hugh Honour, Neoclassicism and Romanticism

  • Robert Rosenblum and H.W. Janson, 19th-Century Art

  • Linda Nochlin, Realism

  • John Rewald, The History of Impressionism; Post-Impressionism

  • Robert Hughes, The Shock of the New

    • More information-dense, comprehensive (drier): H.H. Arnason, History of Modern Art
    • More difficult/Theoretical: Hal Foster, Rosalind Krauss, et al. Art Since 1900 (2vv)
  • Jonathan Fineberg, Art Since 1940

  • Peter Kalb, Art Since 1980

  • Oxford History of Art is particularly good for recent and “world” art. Same, naturally, for World of Art

  • Janeth Catherine Berlio and Ruth B. Philips, Native North American Art

  • Visona, Poyner, et al. A History of Art in Africa

    • Robert Farris Thompson, Flash of the Spirit: African & Afro-American Art & Philosophy
  • B.N. Goswamy, Masters of Indian Painting, The Spirit of Indian Painting, etc.

  • William Sullivan, The Arts of China

    • Very good volumes on silks, ceramics, etc. in the series The Culture & Civilization of China
  • Penelope Mason, History of Japanese Art

  • John Pope-Hennessy, Introduction to Italian Sculpture (3vv, Gothic through Baroque)

  • Beaumont Newhall, The History of Photography (Western stuff up to 1982)

    • Naomi Rosenblum, A World History of Photography


  • Harold Schonberg, Lives of the Great Composers

  • Michael Steinberg, The Symphony, The Concerto, and Choral Masterworks

  • Melvin Berger, Guide to Chamber Music

  • Donald Francis Tovey, Essays in Musical Analysis (the Dover reprints omit all the really obscure stuff)

  • Routledge Studies in Musical Genres (good surveys of narrower topics like “19th-century piano music”)

  • More advanced, for individual pieces: Cambridge Music Handbooks

  • Steven Laitz, The Complete Musician

    • More advanced: Aldwell and Schachter, Harmony and Voice Leading
    • Joseph N. Straus, Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory
  • Grout, Palisca, and Burkholder, A History of Western Music

    • Longer, more opinionated: Richard Taruskin, Oxford History of Western Music (gets good starting around 1700; best available survey history for 1800–onwards)
  • Jeremy Yudkin, Music in Medieval Europe

  • Allan Atlas, Renaissance Music

  • John Walter Hill, Baroque Music

  • John Rice, Music in the Eighteenth Century

    • More in-depth: Philip Downs, Classical Music
    • More in-depth for Haydn/Mozart/Beethoven: Charles Rosen, The Classical Style
  • Carl Dahlhaus, Nineteenth Century Music

    • More in-depth: Leon Plantinga, Romantic Music
    • 1800–1850ish: Charles Rosen, The Romantic Generation
  • Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century

    • More in-depth: Robert Morgan, Twentieth Century Music
  • Paul Griffiths, Modern Music and After (starts in 1945)

  • Alyn Shipton, A New History of Jazz

    • Gunther Schuller, Early Jazz and The Swing Era
    • Scott DeVeaux, The Birth of Bebop
  • John Covach and Andrew Flory, What’s That Sound? An Introduction to Rock and Its History

  • Bruno Nettl et al., Excursions in World Music

  • Oxford Global Music series (“Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture”; start here for good, very short introductions to music in a given country)

    • Routledge Focus on World Music series (more in-depth; often on less “core” topics)
  • Habib Hassan Touma, The Music of the Arabs

  • Bonnie Wade, Music in India: The Classical Traditions

  • Kofi Agawu, The African Imagination in Music (sub-Saharan only, as is Nketia’s The Music of Africa)

  • Peter Manuel et al., Caribbean Currents: Caribbean Music from Rumba to Reggae

  • Robin Moore ed., Musics of Latin America


  • Nikolaus Pevsner, An Outline of European Architecture

  • Sir Banister Fletcher’s Global History of Architecture (~1700pp)

  • Yale Pelican History of Art is your best starting point again for books on more specific topics

  • Jean Bony, French Gothic Architecture of the 12th and 1

  • 3th Centuries

  • Nikolaus Pevsner, Pioneers of Modern Design

  • Charles Jencks, Modern Movements in Architecture and The Story of Post-Modernism

  • Robert Sklar, Film: An International History of the Medium (a.k.a. A World History of Film)

    • More up-to-date: Douglas Gomery and Clara Pafort-Overduin, Movie History
  • Milton Cross, Complete Stories of the Great Operas

    • Ernest Newman’s Great Operas is better but has fewer operas in it
  • Donald Grout, A Short History of Opera

    • More modern approach: Carolyn Abbate and Roger Parker, A History of Opera
  • Ethan Mordden, Anything Goes: A History of American Musical Theatre and other books

  • Jennifer Thomas, Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet

  • Nancy Reynolds and Malcolm McCormick, No Fixed Points: Dance in the Twentieth Century

  • Phyllis G. Tortora and Sara B. Marcketti, Survey of Historic Costume



  • Jeffrey Brodd et al., Invitation to World Religions

  • Cambridge Introduction to Religion

  • Routledge Library of Religious Beliefs and Practices, esp. Andre Rippin, Muslims and Paul Dundas, Jains

  • Patrick Hartin and Robert Kugler, An Introduction to the Bible

  • Frank Mead et al., Handbook of Denominations in the United States

  • Morris Kertzer, What is a Jew?

    • Joseph Telushkin, Jewish Literacy
  • Diarmaid MacCulloch, A History of Christianity

    • J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines
    • John Anthony McGuckin, The Eastern Orthodox Church: A New History
    • Extremely detailed: Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition (5vv)
  • Catholic bias: Benedict XVI, Introduction to Christianity

    • Lawrence S. Cunningham, An Introduction to Catholicism
    • Timothy Ware, The Orthodox Church
    • Mark Noll, American Evangelical Christianity: An Introduction
  • Rupert Gethin, The Foundations of Buddhism

    • Andrew Skilton, Concise History of Buddhism
  • Klaus Klostermaier, A Survey of Hinduism


  • Oxford Myths and Legends
  • Edith Hamilton, Mythology (Greco-Roman and Norse)
    • More scholarly: Morford and Lenardon, Classical Mythology
    • Timothy Gantz, Early Greek Myth (2vv.)
  • Roberta and Peter Markman, The Flayed God: The Mesoamerican Mythological Tradition
  • H.A. Guerber, Myths of the Norsemen
  • Carolina Lopez-Ruiz, Gods, Heroes, and Monsters (esp. for Ancient Near Eastern)
  • Anne M. Birrell, Chinese Mythology
  • Thomas Bulfinch, Bulfinch’s Mythology
  • Sarah Bartlett, The Mythology Bible
  • David M. Jones & Brian L. Molyneaux, Mythology of the American Nations
  • Gustav Schwab, Gods and Heroes of Ancient Greece
  • Edward Tripp, The Meridian Handbook of Classical Mythology
  • Devdutt Pattanaik, Jaya, Sita, and Mithya for accessible introduction to Indian myth

The following primary texts are worth reading in full:

  • Enuma Elish
  • Epic of Gilgamesh
  • Homer, Iliad and Odyssey
  • Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautika
  • Virgil, Aeneid
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses
  • Poetic Edda, Prose Edda
  • Mabinogion
  • Kalevala
  • Popol Vuh
  • D.T. Niane, Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali (one of many versions)



  • Anthony Kenny, A New History of Western Philosophy

  • Detailed overviews for select narrow periods: The Oxford History of Philosophy

  • Not recommended: Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy (extremely partial, many misreadings)

  • Terence Irwin, Classical Thought

    • Jonathan Barnes, The Presocratic Philosophers (Arguments of the Philosophers)
    • A.A. Long, Hellenistic Philosophy: Stoics, Epicureans, and Sceptics
    • In super-depth: W.K.C. Guthrie, History of Greek Philosophy (6vv)
  • Marcia L. Colish, Medieval Foundations of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 400–1400

  • John Marenbon, Medieval Philosophy

  • James Hankins, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Philosophy

    • Paul O. Kristeller, Renaissance Thought and Its Sources and Renaissance Thought and the Arts
  • Quentin Skinner, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought (2vv)

  • Steven Ozment, The Age of Reform, 1250–1550

  • William J. Bouwsma, The Waning of the Renaissance, 1550–1640

  • Paul Hazard, The Crisis of the European Mind, 1680–1715 and European Thought in the Eighteenth Century

  • Anthony Pagden, The Enlightenment

    • Ernst Cassirer, The Philosophy of Enlightenment (difficult reading)
  • Terry Pinkard, German Philosophy 1760-1860: The Legacy of Idealism

    • More advanced: Dieter Henrich, Between Kant and Hegel
  • Karl Löwith, From Hegel to Nietzsche

  • Leszek Kołakowski, Main Currents of Marxism

  • Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club (Pragmatism)

  • J.B. Schneewind, The Invention of Autonomy: A History of Modern Moral Philosophy

  • Michael Lowy, Redemption and Utopia (“Jewish libertarian thought,” inc. Frankfurt School)

  • Bryan van Norden, Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy

    • More advanced: A.C. Graham, Disputers of the Tao (all ancient schools, not just Daoism)
    • Benjamin Schwartz, The World of Thought in Ancient China (more on “non-philosophy” Confucian texts)
    • Michael Nylan, The Five Confucian Classics
  • For Imperial China and after, the best survey is still (!) Fung Yu-Lan, A History of Chinese Philosophy

    • Also see Wing-tsit Chan, A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy
    • Ge Zhaoguang, An Intellectual History of China (religion and cultural history as well)
  • Oliver Leaman, An Introduction to Classical Islamic Philosophy

    • More advanced: Majid Fakhry, A History of Islamic Philosophy
  • Satishchandra Chatterjee and Dhirendramohan Datta: An Introduction to Indian Philosophy

    • More modern but less quizbowl-friendly: Roy W. Perrett, An Introduction to Indian Philosophy
    • Jan Westerhoff, The Golden Age of Indian Buddhist Philosophy
  • In more detail: Routledge History of World Philosophies

These books or their authors are famous enough to come up by themselves and also cover a large swath of historical ground in philosophy:

  • Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment
  • Jürgen Habermas, The Theory of Communicative Action (2vv; covers a ton of sociology, but is intensely difficult to read) and The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity (French theory; much easier)
  • Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue (Aristotle, Nietzsche, Aquinas)
  • Martha Nussbaum, The Fragility of Goodness (Plato, Aristotle, Greek Tragedy)
  • Richard Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (covers, among others, the reaction to Logical Positivism, e.g. Quine, Sellars, Davidson)
  • Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self (covers a huge range, including 20th century meta-ethics)


  • Samuelson/Nordhaus, Economics
  • Robert Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers
    • Much more in-depth: E.K. Hunt and Mark Lautzenheiser, History of Economic Thought
  • Mankiw (sorry), Macroeconomics
    • Romer, Advanced Macroeconomics
  • Varian, Intermediate Microeconomics
    • Mas-Colell et al., Microeconomic Theory


  • Myers, Psychology
  • Hergenhahn and Henley, An Introduction to the History of Psychology
  • Purves et al., Principles of Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Aronson et al., Social Psychology
  • Crain, Theories of Development
  • Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow covers a wide range of studies


  • Conrad Kottak, Anthropology
    • Eriksen and Nielsen, A History of Anthropology
    • For older material, in a lot of detail: Marvin Harris, The Rise of Anthropological Theory


  • George Ritzer, Sociological Theory
    • Less textbook-y: Donald Levine, Visions of the Sociological Tradition


  • Fromkin et al., An Introduction to Language
  • Bach, Informal Lectures on Formal Semantics
    • More detailed: Carnes, Semantics
  • Carnie, Syntax: A Generative Introduction (chapters on non-generative approaches free online)
  • Haspelmath and Sims, Understanding Morphology
  • Hayes, Introductory Phonology
  • Hock and Joseph, Language History, Language Change, and Language Relationship
  • Ladefoged and Johnson, A Course in Phonetics
  • Levinson, Pragmatics
  • Lyovin et al., An Introduction to the Languages of the World
  • Wardhaugh, An Introduction to Sociolinguistics Law
  • University Casebook Series
  • Kermit L. Hall et al., American Legal History: Cases and Materials

2 Other/Reference


  • Paul Knox, Atlas of Cities
  • The Penguin State of the World Atlas
  • Political Atlas of the Modern World


  • Columbia
    • Introduction to Asian Civilizations: “Sources of” Chinese, East Asian, Indian, Japanese, Korean, and Tibetan “Tradition” (mostly 2vv)
    • Translations from the Asian Classics
      • The Columbia Anthology of Yuan Drama
      • Traditional Japanese Literature: an Anthology (2vv)
      • Traditional Japanese Theater
      • The Columbia Anthology of Traditional Chinese Literature
      • The Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry (2vv)
    • Historical Sourcebooks in Classical Indian Thought: to date covers aesthetics, law, and linguistics
  • Hackett
    • Chinese Philosophy (Classical, Han, “Later,” Zhu Xi, Lu-Wang school, Zen)
    • Jon McGinnis & David C. Reisman, eds. Classical Arabic Philosophy
    • Thomas Williams, Arthur Hyman, and James J. Walsh, eds. Philosophy in the Middle Ages
  • Johns Hopkins
    • Michael McKeon, ed. Theory of the Novel
    • Virginia Jackson and Yopie Prins, eds. The Lyric Theory Reader
  • Library of America
    • The American Revolution: Writings from the War of Independence 1775–1783
    • American Poetry: The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, The Nineteenth Century (2vv), The Twentieth Century (2vv)
    • Crime Novels (2vv)
    • American Speeches (2vv)
    • Harlem Renaissance Novels (2vv)
  • Norton Anthologies
    • English Literature, World Literature, American Literature, African-American Literature, Literature by Women, Drama, Poetry, Theory and Criticism, World Religions
    • Stephen Owen, trans. An Anthology of Chinese Literature (to 1911; includes some philosophy and history as well as just “literature”)
    • Also many good anthologies in the Norton Critical Editions series
  • Oxford
    • Louis Pojman and Lewis Vaughn, eds. Classics of Philosophy
    • David Chalmers, ed. Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings
    • Roger S. Gottlieb, ed. An Anthology of Western Marxism
    • Oxford Books of Prose and Verse (English verse by century; poetry by country; short stories; essays)
    • Oxford World’s Classics
      • Blackmore and Blackmore, Six Nineteenth Century French Poets
      • Paul Salzman, ed. An Anthology of Elizabethan Prose Fiction
      • Tim Kendall, ed. Poetry of the First World War
    • Paul Hammond, ed. Restoration Literature
    • Russell Noyes, ed. English Romantic Poetry and Prose
    • Keith Tuma, ed. Anthology of Twentieth-Century British and Irish Poetry
    • M.L. West, ed. Greek Lyric Poetry
    • Peter E. Knox and J. C. McKeown, eds. The Oxford Anthology of Roman Literature
    • Nicolás Kanellos, ed. Herencia: The Anthology of Hispanic Literature of the United States
    • A. Walton Litz, ed. Major American Short Stories
      • Also Joyce Carol Oates, ed. The Oxford Book of American Short Stories
  • Routledge
    • Adam Budd, ed. The Modern Historiography Reader: Western Sources
    • Simon During, ed. The Cultural Studies Reader
  • Viking Portable Library (editors included people like Auden)
  • Wiley Blackwell Anthologies
    • Gyula Klima et al., eds. Medieval Philosophy
  • Other
    • 300 Tang Poems (Penguin has a complete translation; don’t use the Bynner one that’s online)
    • Eric Bentley, ed. The Classic Theatre (4vv) and The Modern Theatre (6vv)
    • Michael Hofmann, ed. Twentieth-Century German Poetry
    • Paul Rabinow, ed. Interpretive Social Science: A Second Look
    • Russell Fraser and Norman Rabkin, eds. Drama of the English Renaissance (2vv; practically every important Elizabethan and Jacobean play not by Shakespeare)
    • Sue Thornham, Caroline Bassett, and Paul Marris, eds. Media Studies: A Reader
    • The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry
    • The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry
    • Venetria K. Patton and Maureen Honey, eds. Double-Take: A Revisionist Harlem Renaissance Anthology
    • Stephen Tapscott, ed. Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry: A Bilingual Anthology

Book Series (primary sources)

under construction, suggestions very welcome

  • Anthony Grafton, Glenn W. Most, and Salvatore Settis, eds. The Classical Tradition (available from Credo Reference online)
  • Endymion Wilkinson, Chinese History: A New Manual
  • The Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature
  • The Columbia Companion to Modern Chinese Literature (on EBSCOHost)
  • M.A. Orthofer, ed. The Complete Review Guide to Contemporary World Fiction
  • The New Kobbé’s Opera Book
  • David Thomson, The New Biographical Dictionary of Film and Have You Seen…?
  • Magill’s Surveys (older film; may be available through Gale via your library)
  • Edward Tripp, The Meridian Handbook of Classical Mythology

Documentary films/TV series

under construction, suggestions very welcome

  • Mark Cousins, The Story of Film
  • Ken Burns, The Civil War (very iffy politics)
  • Ken Burns, Jazz (useless after 1960, heavy Swing bias)
  • The Fifty Years War: Israel & the Arabs

3 Online Resources

It would be absolutely impossible for this section to be even close to comprehensive, although the massive commercial reference databases will meet practically anyone’s needs. For more free online resources, check out the IPL, Open Culture or (ugh) Best of the Web and feel free to suggest anything good you find. Please leave a note when a URL breaks!

Bolded sources are particularly recommended

  • starred items are commercial products; you should be able to access them with a VPN through the library of any major research university

eBook/Primary Sources

  • Academic eBooks*
    • OAPEN access academic books

  • Open Textbook Library

  • ACLS Humanities eBooks

  • Alexander Street Press (some great random stuff, esp. religion)

  • Cambridge Core (e.g. Cambridge Companions, Cambridge Histories)

  • eBook Central (ProQuest)

  • EBSCOhost*

  • Academic Search Premier: Periodicals and journals indices/digests, abstracts

  • eBooks: Yale University Press

  • Gale Primary Sources

  • Hathitrust

  • Project MUSE

  • SpringerLink (mostly math and science)

  • University Press Scholarship Online (Oxford)

  • General eBooks

  • Internet Archive

  • OpenLibrary

  • Perseus (Classics, Germanic, 19c American)

  • Project Gutenberg (most pre-1925 texts you’ve heard of)

  • Area studies

  • Chinese Text Project (huge range, esp. Ancient texts; many earlier texts have translations)

  • Europeana

  • Loeb Classical Library online* (literally every Classical Greco/Roman text, with translation, introduction, notes etc.)

  • Literature

  • Columbia Granger’s World of Poetry Online* (also includes major secondary sources)

  • Digital Theatre Plus*

  • Drama Online*

  • Library of Chinese Humanities (mostly classical poetry for now)

  • Literature Online (ProQuest)* (has a ridiculous amount of 20c stuff)

  • Oxford Scholarly Editions Online* (mostly older stuff)

  • William Blake Archive (text AND illustrations)

  • History

  • Electronic Tools and Ancient Near East Archives

  • Hein Online* (law and similar materials)

  • Science

  • Science Direct*

  • Arts

  • Alexander Street Press*

  • Scores and recordings, esp of 20c music

  • Some films, esp. silent films

  • Film scripts

  • Dance Online (video)

  • Garland Encyclopedia of World Music

  • Ancient Americas

  • Artcyclopedia (many links broken, but still extremely useful)

  • Artstor (a pain to navigate)

  • Center for Creative Photography

  • Classical Art Research Center

  • CLAROS (Classical art, world decorative, sculpture)

  • East Asian Scroll Paintings

  • Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

  • Huntington Archive (Asian art)

  • New York Public Library Image Collection

  • Smithsonian Collections

  • UbuWeb (avant-garde)

  • [Most major museums have good websites with reproductions at this point]

  • DRAM (out-of-the-way recordings)

  • IMSLP (scores and books on music from before 1925; some recordings)

  • LiederNet Archive (art song lyrics)

  •* (classical music performances in video)

  • Archnet (Islamicate architecture)

  • (3D architecture tours; defunct but archived)

  • Digital Imaging Project (architecture)

  • Asian Historical Architecture

  • Medieval Architecture

  • Spanish Islamic Architecture

  • Aria Database

  • Digital Theatre Plus*

  • Met Opera On Demand*

  • Thought

  • (very wide range of texts, not “just Marxism”)

  • Monoskop (not all items are out of copyright; use at your own risk)

  • Online Library of Liberty (nice formatting, sadly Libertarian framing)

  • Past Masters* (philosophy, also some random novels and letters)

  • Many (e.g. Foucault) only available in original language

  • Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing*

  • Religion

  • Internet Sacred Texts Archive (translations not always reliable)

  • IntraText Digital Library

  • Early Jewish Writings

  • Serafia (Bible, Talmud, Jewish prayers, philosophy, etc. with detailed notes)

  • Bible Gateway (compare versions and many translations in a variety of languages)

  • Christian Classics Ethereal Library (inc. old but useful translations of most early writings)

  • Access to Insight (Theravada texts)

  • Digital Library and Museum of Buddhist Studies

  • Jain eLibrary


  • Reference databases

  • Most of these are gigantic. I’ve indicated their strengths, not their limits.

  • Brepolis*

  • Medieval and ancient Europe

  • Brill Online Reference Works*

  • Religious studies, area studies esp. Ancient and Asia.

  • Britannica (somewhat*; vastly superior to Wikipedia as an intro to core non-science topics)

  • Columbia Gazetteer of the World Online*

  • Credo Reference*

  • More general-consumption sources: dictionaries (language and topic) from American Heritage, Collins, Macmillan, Penguin, Webster’s, etc; atlases, glossaries/A-Z.

  • Subject references from National Geographic and Thames & Hudson. Scholarly reference sources from Bloomsbury, Cambridge, Routledge, etc.

  • Gale Virtual Reference Library*

  • Fashion, film, history (mostly European and U.S.), religion, science biography

  • Oxford Index* (in beta; will hopefully replace all of the separate Oxford portals!)

  • Oxford Bibliographies Online*

  • Oxford Handbooks Online* (be careful, these aren’t always well-vetted)

  • Oxford Reference* (start here, esp. for non-science topics)

  • Full title list (.xls)

  • Oxford Research Encyclopedias*

  • Routledge Handbooks Online*

  • Esp. good for history, “theory”

  • Wiley Online Library*

  • “Life Sciences,” specialized biology and chemistry topics, specialized literature topics, Greco-Roman history topics, social theory, American film, many more specialized topics

  • Area studies

  • Oxford African-American Studies Center*

  • Oxford Biblical Studies Online*

  • Oxford Islamic Studies Online*

  • South Asia Archive

  • Women’s/Gender Studies

  • Literature

  • Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism*

  • Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism*

  • History

  • Ancient History Encyclopedia (run by informed amateurs, not scholars)

  • Science

  • Science Direct*

  • Encyclopedias of practically every major scientific subfield

  • Wolfram MathWorld (some idiosyncratic terminology; be careful using it for clues)

  • Arts

  • Bloomsbury Fashion Central*

  • Oxford Music Online* (formerly Grove’s dictionary)

  • Oxford Art Online*

  • UbuWeb (avant-garde)

  • Thought9

  • Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy*

  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

  • Religion

  • ATLA*

  • Boston Encyclopedia of Western Theology



  • Columbia Orals Reading Lists
  • Danteworlds
  • Dramatists Play Service (thumbnail summaries of the many plays in their catalog)
  • Modern Library 100
  • Words on Plays


  • (book recommendations by historians)
  • Building the American Republic (free, high-quality AP-level U.S. history textbook)
  • Digital History (American)
  • Geacron (historical atlas)
  • Internet History Sourcebooks


  • 3blue1brown (YouTube channel with great courses in linear algebra, calculus, and much else)
  • Expository Papers by Keith Conrad (mostly algebra)
  • Organic Chemistry Portal
  • Paul’s Online Math Notes (single- and multivariable calculus, and differential equations)
  • Expository Posts on Terence Tao’s blog
  • Online Textbooks from MIT
  • Notes and materials for Harvard’s CS50
  • Ben Eater (YouTube; computer hardware and networks)
  • Mycodeschool (YouTube)
  • Medicosis Perfectionalis (YouTube; anatomy, medicine, biochem)
  • Most Cited Papers



  • Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall*

  • Operabase

  • Outlines of A History of Western Music (under “resources”)

  • The Art Story (mostly modern/contemporary)

  • SmartHistory (formerly affiliated with KhanAcademy; may want to check both)

  • Most major museums have good YouTube channels now; see esp. The Met

  • Drew’s Script-o-rama

  • Internet Movie Scripts Database

  • Script City (includes TV)

  • Script Fly (some analysis)

  • Simply Scripts


  • Anthropology Citations Ranking (citations from 2005–2010)

  • International Sociology Association Books of the 20th Century

  • Most-cited psychologists of the 20th century (follow-up)

  • Most-cited philosophy texts (scroll to bottom)

  • Bryan van Norden (resources on mostly Chinese but some other philosophy)

  • Robert Eno (traditional Chinese thought and other resources)

  • Dave Harris’s notes on Theory

  • Great Philosophers (‘70s and ‘80s interviews with major English-language thinkers; YT)

  • J.M. Bernstein’s lectures on Hegel (audio)

  • Reading Marx’s Capital with David Harvey (YT)

Summaries/Study Guides

  • These are mostly produced in haste by undergrads—use at your own risk
  • eNotes
  • GradeSaver
  • Khan Academy (art in particular can be quite good)
  • LitCharts
  • Shmoop
  • Sparknotes

Podcasts/Radio Shows

  • New Books Network (academic book reviews/interviews)
  • In Our Time (panels featuring leading experts. Science episodes are less clue-dense.)
  • Aria Code (Rhiannon Giddens w/Met Opera stars and other experts)
  • Film Comment Podcast (on indefinite hiatus)
  • History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps (by an actual historian of philosophy)
  • Philosophy Bites (interviews by philosophers with leading philosophers)
  • Beware: most “History of” podcasts are basically History Channel-style shows about funny anecdotes, warfare, and elite politics. They are also, for the most part, full of errors and misleading narratives. Use with caution.
  • The British History Podcast
  • History of China (not good)10
  • History of Japan
  • History of Rome (better than most)
  • History of Byzantium
  • History of the Crusades
  • History of England
  • Russian Rulers
  • Revolutions (better than most)

Open Education

  • Much more reliable than most podcasts!
  • Asia for Educators (Columbia)
  • HarvardX
  • MIT OpenCourseWare
  • Oxford
  • Open Yale Courses


  • China Knowledge (by Germans with a poor grasp of English—check against other sources)
  • edX
  • Open Syllabus Project
  • VIAF (for finding standard name spellings, nationalities, and dates)

4 Journals, News Sites, Magazines, etc.

Bolded sources are particularly recommended for quizbowl purposes *starred items are commercial products; you should be able to access them with a VPN through the library of any major research university

Scholarly Journals

General Humanities

  • Critical Inquiry
  • Journal of the History of Ideas
  • JHI Blog
  • Representations


  • Essays in Criticism
  • Modern Language Quarterly
  • Modern Philology
  • New Literary History


  • American Historical Review

  • English Historical Review

  • Journal of Modern History

  • Journal of Social History

  • Past & Present (social history)

  • European History Quarterly

  • Speculum (Medieval)

  • Renaissance Quarterly

  • Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies

  • Journal of the American Oriental Society

  • T’oung Pao


  • Nature (also many specialized journals; Reviews journals especially useful for quizbowl)

  • Science

  • Annual Reviews journals

  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (best for life sciences)

  • Cell

  • Journal of the American Medical Association

  • The Lancet

  • New England Journal of Medicine

  • Journal of the American Chemical Society


  • The Art Bulletin

  • Art History

  • The Burlington Magazine

  • October

  • Oxford Art Journal

  • Source: Notes in the History of Art (short articles, mainly about older works)

  • Music and Letters

  • Music Theory Online (open-access)

  • The Musical Quarterly

  • The Musical Times

  • Senses of Cinema


  • Sociology of Religion


  • Journal of the History of Philosophy
  • Mind
  • Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (open access)
  • Philosopher’s Annual
  • Philosophical Quarterly
  • Philosophy East and West

Social Sciences

  • Annual Reviews journals
  • American Journal of Sociology
  • Current Anthropology

Other Journals/Magazines

  • Aeon
  • London Review of Books* (3 free articles per month; or use the “view cached” function from Google)
  • New Left Review
  • New York Review of Books*
  • Times Literary Supplement* (best articles are free)
  • Poetry Magazine

General News

  • BBC

  • Financial Times*

  • New York Times*


  • Open Culture

  • Smithsonian Magazine

Subject-Specific News/Blogs

  • Eidolon (Classics)

  • Chemistry World

  • Quanta (emphasis on math and physics)

  • Apollo

  • Artforum

  • Frieze

  • Architectural Record

  • The Current (film)

  • Film Comment

  • Sight and Sound

Trivia/Broader Quizzing Culture

  • Wikiquiz
  • Quiz Revision Notes
  • J! Archive (Jeopardy questions)

And many more…


I cannot guarantee that every website linked from this document has vetted their content, nor that their content is necessarily free to use under United States copyright law. Use at your own risk. A good rule of thumb is that all content published more than 95 years ago is public domain. In 2020, that means that anything published in or before 1924 is guaranteed to be free to use.


  1. Wendy Doniger is not somebody you’d want to have as a resource for Hinduism. The inaccuracies in her work have been exposed on multiple occasions. ↩︎

  2. could add Schmidt’s Lives of the Poets, a really great biographical introduction basically every English poet that comes up in quiz bowl, and then some ↩︎

  3. Would Alberts’ Cell Biology be better? It’s more comprehensive with better diagrams ↩︎

  4. Vander’s is too wordy; Fox Physiology is more bang for your buck if you read it ↩︎

  5. Add Klein’s? “a decent introduction to organic chemistry, very good if you’re learning for the first time” - Chemistry Olympiad Discord Server ↩︎

  6. u chicago undergrads made two booklists awhile ago for physics and math: (math) and (physics) ↩︎

  7. Gallian, and Dummit and Foote are very good but for beginners I would recommend either Fraleigh and Katz or Saracino ↩︎

  8. I think a good addition to this list would an introductory textbook on dynamical systems. ↩︎

  9. IEP should probably be listed here too, it’s arguably better than SEP in some regards ↩︎

  10. why is it here then? ↩︎