RETHINKING AMERICA

A Pulitzer Prizewinning veteran journalist repackages old news to argue for an overhauled America. Smith, a longtime student of Soviet society (The New Russians, 1990, etc.), here turns his attention to his homeland, contrasting our educational and economic systems—and especially the points where they intersect—with those of Japan and Germany. He finds America wanting, and for good reason. Noting, as many others have, that Japanese and German workers are much better trained than are their American counterparts, he takes a close look at the interplay of solid, year-round education and apprenticeship programs with economies that can roll with the punches rather than ``downsize,'' jettisoning workers and destroying lives in their retreat. Along the way Smith turns up surprises; he notes, for instance, that Japan's supposedly rigid public-school curriculum is remarkably flexible, with ``a baffling lack of stress on academic achievement'' and a more emphasis on ``stimulating [students'] delight in the process of learning than...on their getting the right answers.'' His arguments are sharp and telling, and Smith is not afraid to steer into controversy, stating baldly that ``by focusing its resources on the college-bound, America's public school system has unintentionally become undemocratic, elitist.'' Smith's mistrust of received wisdom is a refreshing plus. The book is occasionally marred by business-book clichÇs: the abundant use of terms like ``benchmarking'' and of metaphors from professional sports, the peppered quotes from that old mainstay, Machiavelli. It is also too long by half. Still, his sharply pointed case studies and eye for telling details keep Rethinking America on track to a hard conclusion: We must change our ways or be lost in the future. Smith's timely arguments for redesigning our educational system to prepare students for life to come bears much discussion.

Pub Date: June 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-679-43551-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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