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Well-researched but with limited appeal.

An educational policy expert examines the trials, tribulations, and triumphs that marked the early years of the Yale University experiment in coeducation.

Until 1969, Yale was “a village of men.” But as Perkins, the first woman editor-in-chief of the Yale Daily News, shows, Yale faced cultural currents from within and without that forced it to change. Coeducation had been the norm at Harvard, Yale’s closest Ivy peer, since 1943. By 1968, Yale students were demanding an end to the “stifling social environment” that forced them to seek female company in women bused in from all-women colleges like Vassar. In the end, the students got their wish, but the early years of the transition to a coeducational campus were tumultuous. Behind-the-scenes administrative power struggles emerged between Yale President Kingman Brewster and Elga Wasserman, the assistant dean who spearheaded coeducation efforts. Kingman favored a slow transition that would still leave female students far outnumbered by males. By contrast, Wasserman, a perpetually embattled female administrator in a system controlled by men, favored greater parity sooner rather than later. The “threadbare budget” Yale provided Wasserman also proved problematic, especially in her efforts to create a safer campus for female undergraduates, who dealt with sexual harassment from both their professors and male peers. Perkins’ interviews with some of the 575 young women undergraduates who came to Yale in 1969 reveal that many felt alienated and alone. Despite the challenges they faced—such as housing and health care facilities that did not take their needs into account—the first women students at Yale found strength in the bonds they created with each other and through the nascent feminist movement, and they went on to open doors to other women in all-male domains such as the Yale athletics and marching band programs. As it celebrates female achievement, the author’s focus on a single university also narrows the readership to scholars of higher education and a Yale-affiliated audience.

Well-researched but with limited appeal.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8774-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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