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  • 8
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  • Weapons of Mass Instruction

  • A Schoolteacher's Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling
  • By: John Taylor Gatto
  • Narrated by: Michael Puttonen
  • Length: 8 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 261
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 232
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 234

John Taylor Gatto's Weapons of Mass Instruction focuses on mechanisms of traditional education which cripple imagination, discourage critical thinking, and create a false view of learning as a byproduct of rote-memorization drills. Gatto's earlier book, Dumbing Us Down, introduced the now-famous expression of the title into the common vernacular. Weapons of Mass Instruction adds another chilling metaphor to the brief against conventional schooling.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I will never see school the same

  • By Nicole on 05-21-15

This book changed my life

5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-10-15

What an amazing case against the school system. I live in China, where the testing regime is even worse in many ways. I agree with the author. Inasmuch as learning happens in schools, it does so in spite of the system, not because of it. Education has to be better than this, and I'll do everything in my power as a teacher and father to improve it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Shadow of the Torturer

  • The Book of the New Sun, Book 1
  • By: Gene Wolfe
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 12 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,775
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,416
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,419

The Shadow of the Torturer is the first volume in the four-volume epic, the tale of a young Severian, an apprentice to the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession - showing mercy towards his victim.

Gene Wolfe's "The Book of the New Sun" is one of speculative fiction's most-honored series. In a 1998 poll, Locus Magazine rated the series behind only "The Lord of the Rings" and The Hobbit as the greatest fantasy work of all time.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • "All of you are torturers, one way or another"

  • By Jefferson on 10-21-12

Strangely Ambivalent

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-02-10

I have mixed feelings about this book. It's one of the few books that has left me feeling as though I wouldn't mind listening to more, but without any strong urge to do so.

The story moves along at a very measured pace, so much that it feels to me like a leisurely stroll in the woods, but there are a few exciting moments. Things happen in the beginning story that only become important at the end, so sometimes the plot seems a bit random. Even at the very end, I felt the climax wrapped up some of the lesser problems that the protagonist got involved in, but left me guessing as to why all of that mattered to him in the long run.

Some of the characters are vividly portrayed, but they tend not to play a huge role in the story, while others (especially the female characters) feel rather predicable to me. The narrator does a good job at creating memorable impressions of each character, but he presents the main character as a very mellow and logical sort of fellow. It makes sense, from the writing, that the protagonist wouldn't jump up and down with emotions all the time, but it means that much of the story happens in basically the same emotional range. Even huge changes in the character's life feel dampened by this.

I've finished this book and I'm still not sure whether I want to read the next one or not. No other book has ever left me feeling this way.

If you're looking for an book that will knock you off your feet, I'd say let this one pass, but if you're looking to enjoy a book the same way you might just enjoy going for a walk in a nice garden, then you might like this one a lot.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful