THE HARVARD MYSTIQUE by Enrique Hank Lopez


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The Harvard ""mystique"" is obviously so ineffable as to defy description. Granted, a Harvard diploma opens many doors; some Harvard faculty members are heavyweights in their fields; and Harvard has long been used in books and movies ""to connote power, wealth, super intelligence, and snobbery."" But Enrique Hank Lopez--first Chicano graduate of Harvard Law School and author of My Brother Lyndon (with Sam Houston Johnson)--has written nothing more analytical than an extended press release. He describes ""an all-encompassing power that radiates from Harvard"" covering much of the world ""like an invisible blanket,"" and says that to understand this power, he will begin with ""the most powerful and controversial man ever to graduate,"" Franklin D. Roosevelt. Not only is the title disputable, but since Lopez does not discuss FDR at all, his introduction is left hanging. He devotes a chapter to each branch of the university--the School of Education is low in prestige but high in influence via its role in ""Sesame Street""; he mentions powerful alumni (Kissinger, Kennedy, Bundy) and faculty stars (economist Paul Samuelson, psychologist B. F. Skinner, psychoanalyst Erik Erikson), a number of whom are either dead or near retirement. But despite the rampant name-dropping, Lopez simply does not overwhelm us with any sense of mystique. Actually, he may be his own best argument: this book would never have seen daylight if it weren't about Harvard.

Pub Date: April 30th, 1979
Publisher: Macmillan