CREAM OF THE CROP

THE IMPACT OF ELITE EDUCATION IN THE DECADE AFTER COLLEGE

Pedestrian profiles dominate this sociological study of a cohort of Stanford graduates' first ten years in the real world. Katchadourian (Psychiatry/Stanford Univ.) and Boli (Sociology/Emory Univ.) here follow up on their previous work, Careerism and Intellectualism Among College Students (not reviewed). In that study, the authors used two tests to sort Stanford students into four groups. Careerists scored high for ambition, but not for curiosity; Intellectuals the reverse; Strivers topped both tests; those with low scores on both were termed Unconnected. This sequel examines the professional lives, as well as personal and spiritual states, of these young men and women in the decade after graduation. As one might expect, the subjects have proven quite successful; even those few not in business or the professions seem to have found vocations. In typical pop sociology fashion, the authors introduce us to many study participants. Most are so focused on climbing career ladders that their reflections on their lives have little interest. Discussions of romance, families, and the life of the mind inevitably return to work issues. Of the less intellectual survey members, only a handful evidence the impact of their education in the form of the continuing influence of a Stanford faculty member. Problems appear with the authors' initial typology. The Unconnected turn out to be among the most accomplished, with the greatest number of publications and even awards (50% of Unconnected women had won awards versus 38% of male Intellectuals). The study ends in 1991, which leaves one wondering how different types have weathered the recent recession. In any case, to truly give a sense of the value of an elite education, the authors might have done well to compare their subjects more directly to graduates of less prestigious schools. In the absence of a broader context, this look at the lifestyles of the well-educated and anonymous raises more questions than it answers.

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 1994

ISBN: 0-465-04343-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1994

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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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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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