Essential reading for university presidents and all those who hope to influence them.

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THE CREATION OF THE FUTURE

THE ROLE OF THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY

The research university the way it ought to be.

Cornell president emeritus Rhodes offers a sanguine yet tough-minded analysis of the complex problems facing today's major research universities. Their current state has inspired a torrent of jeremiads: students are failing to learn, professors are failing to teach, administrators are failing to lead, etc. Taking aim at this onslaught of academic nay-saying, Rhodes muses over an impressive array of academe’s problems with a critical eye and an optimistic outlook. He begins with a slapdash summary of the creation of five major institutions that profoundly influenced the development of the American research university, aiming to give the reader a historical perspective before proceeding to his considerations of the ills currently bedeviling the system. The heart of Rhodes’s message is that the university, warts and all, plays an essential role in the creation and maintenance of today’s society; it provides an invaluable resource to the American people, he argues, even when those benefits are not readily apparent. After a lifetime in the academy, Rhodes’s perspective is unflinchingly biased, but he deploys his partisanship effectively by taking tough stands on critical issues. He may make no friends at professorial cocktail parties with his belief that tenure should be granted rarely, but this ability to see beyond the constructs of the university to its core provides the true merit of the book. Deep in the academic woodlands, Rhodes can still see the forest. His calls for involved students, committed professors, affordable education, and a socially-minded community of scholars should resonate both with the most jaded of professors counting down the days to retirement and with the most lackluster of freshmen barely caring to get out of bed for class. In sum, Rhodes gives the research university a B+, while he himself earns a solid A.

Essential reading for university presidents and all those who hope to influence them.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8014-3937-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Cornell Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

COLUMBINE

Comprehensive, myth-busting examination of the Colorado high-school massacre.

“We remember Columbine as a pair of outcast Goths from the Trench Coat Mafia snapping and tearing through their high school hunting down jocks to settle a long-running feud. Almost none of that happened,” writes Cullen, a Denver-based journalist who has spent the past ten years investigating the 1999 attack. In fact, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold conceived of their act not as a targeted school shooting but as an elaborate three-part act of terrorism. First, propane bombs planted in the cafeteria would erupt during lunchtime, indiscriminately slaughtering hundreds of students. The killers, positioned outside the school’s main entrance, would then mow down fleeing survivors. Finally, after the media and rescue workers had arrived, timed bombs in the killers’ cars would explode, wiping out hundreds more. It was only when the bombs in the cafeteria failed to detonate that the killers entered the high school with sawed-off shotguns blazing. Drawing on a wealth of journals, videotapes, police reports and personal interviews, Cullen sketches multifaceted portraits of the killers and the surviving community. He portrays Harris as a calculating, egocentric psychopath, someone who labeled his journal “The Book of God” and harbored fantasies of exterminating the entire human race. In contrast, Klebold was a suicidal depressive, prone to fits of rage and extreme self-loathing. Together they forged a combustible and unequal alliance, with Harris channeling Klebold’s frustration and anger into his sadistic plans. The unnerving narrative is too often undermined by the author’s distracting tendency to weave the killers’ expressions into his sentences—for example, “The boys were shooting off their pipe bombs by then, and, man, were those things badass.” Cullen is better at depicting the attack’s aftermath. Poignant sections devoted to the survivors probe the myriad ways that individuals cope with grief and struggle to interpret and make sense of tragedy.

Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

Pub Date: April 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-54693-5

Page Count: 406

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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THE ABOLITION OF MAN

The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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