Those in the field (or in the know) in education associate John Rice with Black Mountain College experiment in progressive education, so this title seems on the face of it, a contradiction. However, its significance is that out of the 18th century traditions, came one of the sensational innovators of modern education. The first two thirds of the book deals with his early life, and merits the comparison made by the publisher with Life With Father, in its echo of a period, rather than in the form it takes. From the cotton plantation through the succession of parsonages his parents occupied, on then to Columbia Female College of which his father became President, then to life on a rice plantation -- this is a chronicle of family, relatives, homes, education -- North and South Carolina backgrounds, livened with well done family portraits, incidents and sympathetic recapturing of childhood and youth. His educational career was, for the times, advanced -- the Webb School, Tulane, a Rhodes Scholarship and Oxford -- and always new friends, new discoveries. His own teaching career, culminating in the explosions which followed the inauguration of Black Mountain College, eventually ended his career in the educational world. This part of the book occupies the last third, and explains a private civil war against existing dogma. Thoughtful reading.