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NONE OF THE ABOVE

THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE ATLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS CHEATING SCANDAL, CORPORATE GREED, AND THE CRIMINALIZATION OF EDUCATORS

Robinson claims she didn’t do it, and her book leaves no reason to doubt her.

A former teacher convicted in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal makes a strong case that students have been cheated by corporate profiteers and racist policies that undermine public education.

Writing with journalist Simonton, Robinson offers a personal story of false accusations and a trial gone wrong within a larger story of political machinations and student performance as pawns in a racist game. The narratives don’t quite mesh, as the personal one becomes detailed past the point of repetition and the larger one could justify a longer book of its own. However, both stories will leave readers feeling Robinson’s outrage. She casts herself as a bit player who unfairly found herself cast as a public enemy, facing jail time for a crime that she convincingly claims she didn’t commit. The author was a neophyte who would receive no bonus for higher test scores, and by the time she was charged in a racketeering conspiracy to defraud the school system, she had already left teaching for social work. So what did she do? According to her, it all came down to a forgettable 20 minutes when she was asked to erase “stray marks” from some of her students’ tests, which might interfere with computer scoring. She was not asked to change any answers, though someone else might have, since the teachers later wondered how some students could have scored much higher than their class performances would have indicated. The investigation cast a wide net, and Robinson was charged based on the testimony of others who agreed to a plea bargain, including the supervisor who asked her to erase the marks. She was urged to take a similar deal and refused because she insists she had done nothing wrong. She is now appealing. The author relates her story at length amid decades of context on the privatizing of both public schools and prisons, the connections between real estate and public education, the racism underlying urban renewal, and the other factors that have left the Atlanta schools where they are.

Robinson claims she didn’t do it, and her book leaves no reason to doubt her.

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8070-2220-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Awards & Accolades

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Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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NIGHT

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

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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