We spent 24 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. The humanities is a vast subject that encompasses those fields of study broadly concerned with our social condition, past and future, and the ways we understand what it means to be human. These textbooks will help you orient yourself in this extensive field, with choices for those who’d like a general overview as well as for those who are looking for something more discipline-specific. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work.

10. The New Reader

You’ll be treated to 25 significant essays that cover today’s global issues in The New Reader, all chosen with the goal of supporting readers as they become informed, aware, and critically competent world citizens. It also comes with an MLA reference card.

  • Updated with 50 percent new material
  • Thought-provoking option
  • Some find essay choices imbalanced

Brand The New Reader
Model pending
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

9. The Norton Anthology of World Literature

Insight into the world’s great writings is a great help in understanding the humanities, making The Norton Anthology of World Literature a sound investment for those who are serious about their studies. This edition features handsome illustrations and new translations.

  • Includes first three volumes of set
  • For students or lovers of world lit
  • Digital resources available

Brand The Norton Anthology of
Model pending
Weight 6 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. Cultural Anthropology: Asking Questions About Humanity

Instead of repeating the same old facts so that students may memorize, and probably forget, them, the creators of Cultural Anthropology: Asking Questions About Humanity take a questions-based approach. This helps to engage readers and make learning more organic.

  • Encourages anthropological thinking
  • Touches on contemporary problems
  • Narrower in focus than many others

Brand Cultural Anthropology:
Model pending
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Lies My Teacher Told Me

It’s been said that the victors write history, but in “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong,” writer James Loewen attempts to provide a more balanced view that upturns common Eurocentric tellings.

  • Treats history as ongoing process
  • Winner of several awards
  • Too liberal for some tastes

Brand New Press
Model pending
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Handbook for the Humanities

Those who are new to their studies might find writing in this sphere to be difficult, an issue that the authors of Handbook for the Humanities seek to address. Readers can expect to gain foundational, essential comprehension, as well.

  • Spiral binding available
  • Identifies people to know about
  • On the dry side for some

Brand Handbook for the Humani
Model pending
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Landmarks in Humanities

If architecture, monuments, and notable buildings are your passion, then you may find Landmarks in Humanities to be an enjoyable read. It’s a chronological journey through global culture as told by the world’s most wonderful edifices.

  • In-depth look at globalism
  • Has both glossary and index
  • On the more expensive side

Brand Landmarks in Humanities
Model pending
Weight 3.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Discovering the Humanities

Anyone looking for a single-volume introduction to this wide area would do well to consider Discovering the Humanities. It manages to cover a lot of ground, from prehistory to modernism, while illuminating religion and cultural interplay.

  • Narrative approach to information
  • Over 500 pages long
  • Some find the vocabulary extravagant

Brand Discovering the Humanit
Model pending
Weight 3.9 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Arts and Culture

Arts and Culture was designed not only to acquaint learners with art but also to help them understand how artistic accomplishments mesh with cultural backgrounds and global viewpoints. With its focus on critical thinking, this work can provide new thoughts and connections.

  • Inspires some readers to travel
  • Full-color edition
  • Addresses asian civilizations

Brand Arts and Culture
Model pending
Weight 4 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Humanities Through the Arts

Packed with beautiful and eye-catching photos and illustrations, Humanities Through the Arts helps students discover this field through various art forms, including painting, photography, sculpture, literature, music, and dance.

  • Elucidates both genres and works
  • Pedagogical boxes enhance knowledge
  • Covers some contemporary television

Brand Humanities Through the
Model pending
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Culture, Continuity and Change

In Culture, Continuity and Change, renowned professor Henry Sayre uses the power of storytelling to encourage readers to make connections for themselves, instead of presenting dry facts for memorization, making the material more interesting and easier to remember.

  • Covers broad swath of history
  • Addresses contemporary findings
  • Volume 2 also available

Brand Culture, Continuity and
Model pending
Weight 4.3 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0