The author, a true believer, does not spend much time on counterarguments and outlines a future that some will find...




Carey, who directs the Education Policy Program at the New America Foundation, a Washington, D.C., think tank, discusses his belief that the computer and the cloud are the future of higher education.

The author begins with a brief account of a course he took at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “Introduction to Biology—The Secret of Life,” which he initially conceals is online. He revisits this experience throughout the book, advocating for its design and opportunities for students: The course is available to anyone with an Internet connection; students can help one another; students can rewind and redo difficult portions. Later, Carey chronicles his visit to the actual class and tells us that the online lectures were much better than the live one. The author also discusses his trips to key institutions that are moving resolutely toward a major online presence (Stanford, MIT—which has partnered with Harvard University), describes interviews with significant players in the technological revolution (he spent lots of time in Silicon Valley), and lets us know that the old way—the “hybrid university,” he calls it—is in its death throes. Tuition is soaring; many students aren’t graduating; many aren’t learning much of anything (too much partying). Carey believes that large universities, especially, are trying to do too much, with simultaneous emphases on the liberal arts, research and vocational training. Much of this, he believes, has deleterious aspects. Most professors interested principally in their own work, for example, don’t teach very well, and Harvard and a host of other top traditional universities are, well, elitist. Writing about his walk through Harvard’s campus: “The gates were open and anyone could walk through them, but they were barriers nonetheless, architectural messages that were not hard to understand.”

The author, a true believer, does not spend much time on counterarguments and outlines a future that some will find exhilarating, others depressing.

Pub Date: March 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59463-205-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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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.


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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