A gritty and candid exposé of inner-city teaching.

"WHY DO ONLY WHITE PEOPLE GET ABDUCTED BY ALIENS?"

TEACHING LESSONS FROM THE BRONX

Behind the scenes in the life of a teacher in the Bronx.

With honesty and refreshing straightforwardness, Garon delivers true stories of her time spent in high school classrooms in the Bronx through accounts of her students and personal emails. She places readers on the front lines with her pupils as they navigate rough moments and face difficult decisions in their lives. Some students considered joining gangs, some girls were pressured into sex and then needed to deal with unplanned pregnancies, some struggled to deal with the death of a loved one—through it all, Garon was there to offer advice, support and friendship on whatever terms were accepted by each individual student. She battled the need to teach English with insufficient books while trying to maintain discipline in the crowded classrooms; meanwhile, mice and cockroaches ran all over the school. Fights broke out constantly between gang members and because of rivalries over girls; gun scares were a common issue; and some kids didn’t have the required shoes, so they didn't bother to show up for gym. Along the way, Garon discovered that if you learn to relate to kids on their level, gain an understanding of their backgrounds and tie that to a classroom lesson, then kids are going to learn. Due to poverty and a lack of sufficient, helpful parenting, "students come to school emotionally and physically unprepared to learn…to expect that the students who endure these crises can regularly come to school, quietly sit down at their desks, and turn in their homework without incident…is absurd; the only thing more shocking is that sometimes they actually do manage this herculean task."

A gritty and candid exposé of inner-city teaching.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-62636-113-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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