“In Defense of Liberal Education” is a slim volume, only 204 pages, and 29 of those pages (roughly 14 percent of the book) are dedicated to endnotes that detail Zakaria’s source material. This is a greater proportion than in Zakaria’s 2008 bestseller “The Post-American World,” which featured seven pages of endnotes out of 292 total pages (about two percent), or his 2003 book, “The Future of Freedom,” which included 11 pages of endnotes out of 286 pages (just under four percent). Zakaria declined to comment on whether the more expansive sourcing was related to the controversy.
Zakaria introduces the endnotes to “In Defense of a Liberal Education” with this explanation:
Liberal education is a topic on which many excellent books have been written. I have used a few footnotes in the text to highlight particular works on which I relied for some historical background. The rest of my sources are acknowledged in these endnotes.— Fareed Zakaria, “In Defense of a Liberal Education” (2015)
In “The Future of Freedom,” Zakaria also illuminated his thinking behind the book’s endnotes:
This is not a work of historical scholarship. The book’s contribution to the debate, if any, is in its ideas and argument. Thus the endnotes are mostly meant to identify a striking piece of information, or provide the reference for an unusual quote. The rule of thumb I used was, if I thought a general reader might wonder, “Where did that come from?” I’ve provided the answer. If I have relied on a secondary source for general insights I have usually mentioned it in the text, but I may have also cited it here.— Fareed Zakaria, “The Future of Freedom” (2003)
“In Defense of a Liberal Education” will be published March 30 by W.W. Norton & Co.
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