A seminal analysis promising hope for the future through small wonders in the classroom.




Furthering the awareness campaign on the benefits of “collaborative, hands-on, interdisciplinary” schooling.

In the face of the current global recession, Harvard fellow and former Gates Foundation senior advisor Wagner (The Global Achievement Gap, 2008) believes one of the solutions is redirecting classroom emphasis toward more “college-ready” curriculums. The author, a father of three, advocates for more progressive skill building to better prepare students for life beyond the classroom. Wagner’s thesis derives its strength from expertly structured content. He focuses less on the problem (America’s lack of innovators) and more on a remedy supported by testimonials from an impressive array of young minds gainfully employed in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) or civic-minded entrepreneurships. Parents, academics and business leaders voice experiences as well. The story of Kirk Phelps, a high-school and college dropout who became part of the first iPhone team at Apple, is bolstered by his parents’ narration of their motivational child-rearing style. Wagner’s prognostications translate to solid advice on how early educational coaching and motivational mentorship can facilitate success in today’s competitive marketplace. The outcome, he writes, is a generation of young adults who feel passionate, empowered and motivated to excel beyond their own expectations. Though his tone remains mostly optimistic, Wagner admits that cultivating innovative, intellectual leaders isn’t a universal panacea, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. The author also includes a multimedia experience: Quick Response (“QR”) codes, which, when captured by smart-phone technology, open links to web-based videos and material procured by collaborator Robert A. Compton.

A seminal analysis promising hope for the future through small wonders in the classroom.

Pub Date: April 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-1149-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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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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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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