I mentioned this column in my presentation today, so the least I can do is link to it. Alex User describes a number of the books he read this year, but lands on Emily J Levine’s Allies and Rivals: German-American Exchange and the Rise of the Modern Research University, which he says "may be the best history of higher education of any type in the last decade." What caught my eye was a comment near the end of the article: "Research Universities – in Germany as in America – were always a negotiated compromise between academics and society. At the broadest level, institutions do cool stuff for the benefit of society, and in return they get money to do cool stuff and suffer minimal outside interference in so doing." That's an important observation and should not be forgotten.