Beach Books: 2018-2019 Launch Event



Thursday, September 26, 2019.


First Things
9 East 40th Street, 10th Floor, New York, NY, 10016

Event Timeline

6:00 PM - Reception with drinks and hors d’oeuvres

6:30 PM - Discussion and Speeches by David Randall and Keith Whitaker


Keith Whitaker
Chairman, National Association of Scholars

Keith is President of Wise Counsel Research. He has consulted for many years with leaders of enterprising families, helping them plan succession, develop next-generation talent, and communicate around estate planning. Family Wealth Report named Keith the 2015 "outstanding contributor to wealth management thought-leadership."

Keith has served as a Managing Director at Wells Fargo Family Wealth, an adjunct professor of management at Vanderbilt University, an adjunct assistant professor of philosophy at Boston College, and a director of a private foundation. He was also a special assistant to the President of Boston University.

David Randall
Director of Research, National Association of Scholars
Author of
Beach Books

David Randall earned a Ph.D. in history from Rutgers University, an M.F.A. in fiction writing from Columbia University, a master’s degree in library science from the Palmer School at Long Island University, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College. Prior to working at NAS he was the sole librarian at the John McEnroe Library at New York Studio School.

The New York Times and the 1619 Project should not dictate what our students learn. And if the National Association of Scholars has anything to say about it, they won’t.

Full Description

On August 18, 2019, The New York Times began “The 1619 Project.” The goal: “to reframe the country’s history . . . placing the consequences of slavery . . . at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”

The Project reduces American history to a story of the haves and have-nots: a story of power, dominance, privilege, and victimhood.

Why is this narrative successful?

Look no further than the books colleges assign incoming freshmen. Since 2016, the most assigned book for college common reading programs was Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy. Stevenson is a contributor to the 1619 Project, and he opens his piece by proclaiming, "Slavery gave America a fear of black people and a taste for violent punishment."

How did we learn about Stevenson's influence on college freshmen? NAS has, for over a decade, produced a guide to college common readings titled Beach Books. This guide is a near-comprehensive overview of the murky world of college common reading programs. We not only provide a detailed look at what students are reading, but we provide recommendations for better books for colleges to consider.

Media and Contacts

For more event information or for media contacts, please email Chance Layton at or call 917-551-6770.

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