Books by Charles J. Sykes

Released: Oct. 3, 2017

"A courageous book destined to make Sykes a target among many of the worst elements that he eviscerates, which will, sadly, just confirm the strength of his thesis."
A "contrarian conservative" tries to come to grips with what his side of the political aisle has become, and he loathes much of what he sees. Read full book review >
FAIL U. by Charles J. Sykes
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"Though Sykes' Limbaugh-esque project scores some good points along the way, his shrill denunciations don't get at the core of the real problem or at a solution."
Ah, college, a time for beer blasts, casual sex, and, ahem, "bizarre cultural intolerances." Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 17, 2012

"A tired argument for Tea Partiers and fans of conservative talk radio."
Curmudgeonly screed that simply echoes rhetoric all too familiar in today's political dialogue. Read full book review >
THE END OF PRIVACY by Charles J. Sykes
Released: Oct. 1, 1999

"While Sykes's reach is wider than it is deep, he poses the questions that we must address if we are to prevent a continued erosion of personal privacy."
In a famous phrase, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once observed that, at least with respect to the government, the right to privacy gave citizens "the right to be let alone." That right is being eroded, says journalist Sykes (Dumbing Down Our Kids, 1995, etc.). Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 12, 1995

A scathing critique that grabs America's educational establishment by the scruff of the neck and shakes it until its trendy goals of building self-esteem, clarifying values, and evaluating feelings rattle hollowly where the three Rs ought to be. Education journalist Sykes (A Nation of Victims, 1992, etc.) gives no quarter to what he calls ``educrats,'' the educational oligarchy that descends from the Department of Education through the hierarchy of the National Education Association to administratively bloated school districts and undereducated teachers. Students and their parents don't fare much better. Despite studies that show American scholastic achievement has dropped by almost every measure in recent years, Americans are complacent about the quality of their education, rating themselves far higher than their employers do or than comparisons with other countries allow. Part of the blame, says Sykes, goes to schools where, in the interests of leveling the playing field, hard grades have been replaced by softer evaluations such as ``area of stregth.'' For the most part, none of Sykes's criticisms of such educational innovations as Outcome-Based Education (students repeat the material and the test until they get the right ``outcome'') or boring and politically correct textbooks are new, but marshalled together, they present a terrifying prospect for American education. He does add historical perspective, tracing the evolution of authoritarian classroom to ``child-centered education'' from Jean-Jacques Rousseau via John Dewey. There's a revolution coming, Sykes predicts, and it should begin with school choicefollowed by, among other things, abolishing the Department of Education and undergraduate schools of education. While not successfully addressing the important question of whether school choice will further ghettoize public schools, he does agree with critics who suggest that not holding poor and minority children to a high standard is racist. A telling attack. Parents and visionary educators, if not educrats, should sit up and take notice. (Author tour) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 30, 1992

In an alternately provocative and cranky jeremiad on the decline of individual responsibility, Sykes (The Hollow Men, 1990) sounds like a latter-day Walt Whitman—except that he hears America whining, not singing. Much of this vitriolic indictment rehashes the ``political correctness'' battles in academe over the last few years—a topic covered with more originality and dexterity by Sykes's fellow conservative Dinesh D'Souza in Illiberal Education (1991). Sykes is after bigger game, though, discussing how the ``squalling howl of grievance'' now also resounds in the courtroom, on the psychiatrist's couch, and on TV panels. He traces the rise of ``victimism'' to several sources, including psychiatry, whose ``therapeutic culture,'' he says, has stigmatized bourgeois family values and encouraged fruitless searches for personal happiness, and the civil-rights movement, which, he contends, switched its agenda from equal opportunity to equal results and spawned a host of other aggrieved interest groups that did the same. Sykes particularly scores in criticizing Theodor Adorno's The Authoritarian Personality for labelling traditional conservative beliefs as psychologically diseased, and he discovers hilarious lawsuits that reveal claimants' astonishing chutzpah (e.g., a worker fired for sexual harassment sued his former employer on the ground that his aberrational conduct qualified him as a handicapped person). But Sykes caricatures the 1960's by making its lunatic fringe representative of the entire culture. Moreover, the vast majority in his crowd of crybabies are liberals: What about Richard Nixon, who blames his troubles on Democrats and the media? Or auto company execs who blame the Japanese for ending their love affair with the American consumer? A lively, if not always balanced, contribution to the unexpected Presidential campaign debate on character and ``family values.'' Read full book review >