Inspired, breath-of-fresh-air reading, especially for those who have ever questioned what the public school system can do...

WORLD PEACE AND OTHER 4TH-GRADE ACHIEVEMENTS

A veteran educator's uplifting account of how he introduced schoolchildren to global problems through a visionary game that charged them with saving the world.

In 1978, Hunter decided that he wanted to teach his inner-city students about global issues in such a way that "they could experience the feeling of learning through their bodies." So he developed the “World Peace Game” and used a three-dimensional structure to represent the entire planet "in four layers: undersea, ground and sea, airspace, and outer space." Hunter plunged children into a complex matrix of problems and forced them to face such crises as nuclear proliferation; ethnic, religious and political tensions; and climate change and environmental disasters. His goals were twofold: He wanted to get his students to learn how to think in meaningful ways about difficult issues, and he hoped they could overcome petty hostilities and ego and organize themselves into a larger collective. Every class discovered a unique way to save the world, and no game ever ended without at least a few students walking away more aware of their own hidden strengths and weaknesses. Hunter also examines what the World Peace Game taught him. Creative entities, such as the collectives his students forged, moved through identifiable stages, some of which he admits have caused him profound anxiety. But as a teacher, he learned that his duty was to work in harmony with the group rather than seek to control either the participants or their responses, knowing that, “like adults in the real world, they might fail.”

Inspired, breath-of-fresh-air reading, especially for those who have ever questioned what the public school system can do for American children.

Pub Date: April 2, 2013

ISBN: 978-0547905594

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 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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