This book was so dreadful that I hardly know where to begin. On the outset, I will disprove the author’s contention that no good deeds can emanate from a publically-schooled person. Given the opportunity to return this book to audible.com for a full refund, I declined so that I may write this review, thus hopefully saving others from wasting their time and money.
John Taylor Gatto does start well by enumerating seven true enough points about school. (I think that most of us can agree that the public school system has problems.) They are:
1. It makes the children confused. It presents an incoherent ensemble of information that the child needs to memorize to stay in school. Apart from the tests and trials that programming is similar to the television, it fills almost all the "free" time of children. One sees and hears something, only to forget it again.
2. It teaches them to accept their class affiliation.
3. It makes them indifferent.
4. It makes them emotionally dependent.
5. It makes them intellectually dependent.
6. It teaches them a kind of self-confidence that requires constant confirmation by experts (provisional self-esteem).
7. It makes it clear to them that they cannot hide, because they are always supervised.
From here, things go way downhill. The next three hours are dedicated to asserting (although not explaining nor backing with statistical evidence) the author’s main argument that school is the root of all evil including, but not limited to, the breakdown of family, community, and society in general. He expresses a longing for the good ole days when kids had mischievous fun – he is proud to have been a juvenile delinquent having been arrested three times – and people didn’t have non-propagatory sex. He is tormented by modern society and has appealed to the reader to do what they can to sabotage schools, as he admits to have done and, one can only assume, continues to do. I contend that Gatto (and society in general) would be better if he joined Glenn Beck and his fellow anarchists in Beck’s planned utopian city of Independence, USA where young’uns would know how to make their own rocking chairs and crossbows and education is strictly home-grown.
Yes, the public education system is broken. A sane and rational approach to the problem is definitely needed, but that is something that this book does not provide.
Societies are judged by how they treat their least fortunate members. But most of us aren't aware of the injustices perpetuated in our own country.
"Just Mercy" gives us a glimpse into the unjust, corrupt and inhumane world of the U.S. criminal justice system and one man's struggle to help its victims.
If you only read one book this year, this should be it.
Have a box of tissues handy.
This an amusing, intelligent, and interesting book about being Aasif Mandvi, well performed by the author.
This is not a book of jokes. Joan Rivers speaks frankly and technically about every kind of cosmetic surgery one can imagine. Her information is well-researched and thorough.
I have little to add to the myriad positive reviews (see Amazon) except to say that, unlike several books I have listened to recently, this one was particularly well edited (with the exception of a couple of obvious glitches). The book flowed quickly – the author provides ample detail yet never lingers too long to make a point, a delicate balance that I especially appreciate in audiobooks. I never found myself wishing to fast-forward or take a break. In fact, I listened to this book almost non-stop.
I was disappointed in this book (and too bored to finish it). Like him or not, Roger Ailes is a fascinating character. This book, however, was too inclusive of every detail of Ailes career to hold my attention. The relevant bits are diluted in a vast dump of information, which is too bad because this is an important and interesting subject.
De Waal’s stories about apes, which were weaved throughout his book, were fascinating and enlightening. De Waal is, after all, an expert on the subject. Not as enlightening, however, were his insights about atheists and atheism. He was dismissive of great thinkers such as Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and the late Christopher Hitchens, often quoting them out of context in order to make a point. Yet, I often had trouble understanding what point he was trying to make as his arguments were contradictory: moral norms exist in primates and other mammals and are in inherent in humans, yet human society requires religion to enforce moral behavior; religion is a man-made concept, yet we should continue to pretend that it’s not because it brings comfort and thus is an essential and necessary part of human existence.
I don’t enjoy this narrator as he comes across as condescending.
This is a cautionary tale about pro-creating beyond one’s means. The author describes the mundane life of raising five young children. It’s mostly boring, at times depressing, and not funny.
Listening to Helter Skelter was like trying to sip water from a fire hydrant. Too much of a good thing. The reader emerges from this book knowing absolutely everything there is to know about the Manson murders. I quit listening about 75% of the way through and I still feel like an expert on the subject. But the book would be more enjoyable – more of a "page-tuner" – if it had been less detailed and repetitive (especially less repetitive).
If you enjoy the typical celebrity memoire, then this book is for you. It’s bursting with antidotes about Billy Crystal’s charmed life, his rise to celebrity, and lots and lots of name dropping. As a bonus, he includes some stand-up sets performed in front of a live audience, which are okay, but contain mostly reheated jokes about growing old.
Fans of Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” may be disappointed (as I was). “Cooked” contains ample material to justify the purchase of this book, but unfortunately the material is overwhelmed by fluff and repetition. Had an editor slashed about 50% of the text - the excess words between the information - I would have given this book 5 stars.
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