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Healthy skepticism dealt with a sometimes too-heavy hand, and a useful corrective for those who believe that we’ll somehow...

More righteous technological contrarianism from Morozov (The Net Delusion, 2011, etc.).

Can technology solve social problems? To an extent, perhaps, writes the author. But for every Utopian application of a computer, dystopia awaits: Technology may afford hitherto disenfranchised or at least undercounted people an equal voice, but inside the world of clicks, likes and read-throughs lurk dragons. Morozov, who calls himself a “digital heretic,” doesn’t offer fully fleshed solutions to the problems a detechnologized world poses, but he dislikes the thought of the “frictionless future” all the same, even if its contours are sometimes vague. Having had experience with totalitarianism, Morozov is bothered by the prospect of social engineers having ever brighter and shinier tools at their disposal: “All will be tempted to exploit the power of these new techniques, either individually or in combination, to solve a particular problem, be it obesity, climate change, or congestion.” It’s not that those problems aren’t real; it’s that, by Morozov’s account, what underlies them are things human and not technological, requiring human solutions. Thus it is, he writes, that the brave new world of online education may be exciting to many, but it overlooks a strong component of academic success—namely, the face-to-face (F2F, that is) access students have to their professors. And as for a disintermediating site such as Rate Your Professors? It’s just another avatar, writes Morozov, of the introduction of “the consumerist mentality into education.”

Healthy skepticism dealt with a sometimes too-heavy hand, and a useful corrective for those who believe that we’ll somehow engineer ourselves out of our current mess.

Pub Date: March 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-1610391382

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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