Best-known for his exposÃ‰s of conditions in inner-city schools, Kohl pursues educational reform at a different level with this dictionary of important terms in the arts, philosophy, logic, critical thinking, linguistics, and the social sciences. Noticing that his high-school and college students lacked the vocabulary to express their ideas clearly, Kohl offers brief explanatory essays to help them understand and use terms like ""deconstruction"" and ""heuristic,"" as well as the oft-misunderstood ""conservative"" and ""liberal."" Almost all the ideas come from the Western European tradition, though Kohl takes pains to mention women and influences from other civilizations. His definitions are models of evenhanded clarity, but will challenge readers to think rigorously and cannot be skimmed. Some examples betray a alight liberal bias--e.g, he prefers ""sexual orientation"" (used by gay activists) to ""sexual preference"" (used by the media). Without the context of an overall history or outline of ""Western Civilization,"" and unlikely to appeal to general readers, but very useful, nonetheless, for serious students who really want to know what those twenty-dollar words mean.