Parents of college students are already in financial pain from the spiraling costs of tuition. They'll flinch further after reading this telling critique of why undergraduates aren't getting their educational money's worth. Writing with grace and good humor, Huber (a former administrator at Hunter College) begins, as good educators often do, by posing the right questions. Why are the costs of higher education outstripping inflation by two to one? Why is a student at a community college more likely to be taught by a professor with a doctorate than is a student at a prestigious university, who probably has to settle for a teaching assistant? Who's in charge here? The multiple-choice answer most likely to be correct: The faculty. Here is no malicious villain, but groups caught in a game whose rules have fossilized. The faculty sets the curriculum. The faculty determines who receives tenure. Hired as teachers, professors are evaluated and rewarded on their output of research, not their teaching skills. Popular teachers are suspect, just as popular art is judged less worthy. Administrators, boards of trustees, government bureaucracy, and, yes, parents in search of elite schools to upgrade their own social status are guilty as well. In addition to providing a clear discussion of the several pros and cons of multicultural programs, Huber offers seven thoughtful recommendations—common sense, really—to return universities to their teaching ideals. Are his ideas likely to be realized? Not without the whip of outside forces. Earlier, it was the prod of national security; in this decade, perhaps it will be the global marketplace. A witty and erudite read, only slightly marred by repetition, that measures sacrosanct academia against the decade's new high standards of quality and productivity.

Pub Date: July 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-913969-43-5

Page Count: 207

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1992

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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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