I used this book in my Communication & Gender class. Not sure how my students liked it; I should ask. It's not the least expensive book on the mar...moreI used this book in my Communication & Gender class. Not sure how my students liked it; I should ask. It's not the least expensive book on the market, but Julia T. Wood is quite good, and she references a lot of crucial people.(less)
From page 48: "He smiled understandingly--much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with the quality of eternal reassurance in i...moreFrom page 48: "He smiled understandingly--much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with the quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced--or seemed to face--the whole external world for instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it has precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey."(less)
A Table of Contents: Lecture 1: The Judicial Power, and the Ages of the Supreme Court Lecture 2: The Establishment of Judicial Review: Marbury v. Madiso...moreA Table of Contents: Lecture 1: The Judicial Power, and the Ages of the Supreme Court Lecture 2: The Establishment of Judicial Review: Marbury v. Madison (1803) Lecture 3: Privilege and Creative Destruction: Charles River Bridge v Warren Bridge (1837) Lecture 4: Equality, Slavery and the Supreme Court: Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) Lecture 5: Native American Sovereignty and the Constitution: Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock (1903) Lecture 6: Liberty to Contract in the Industrial Age: Lochner v. New York (1905) Lecture 7: Clear and Present Danger, the First Amendment, and Total War: Abrams v. United States (1919) Lecture 8: A Switch in Time?: West Coast Hotel v. Parrish (1937) Lecture 9: Japanese Internment and Total War: Korematsu v. United States (1944) Lecture 10: Simple Justice: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954, 1955) Lecture 11: Abortion, Women, and Equality: Roe v. Wade (1973) Lecture 12: Presidential Immunity and Watergate: United States v. Nixon (1974) Lecture 13: The Boundaries of Discrimination: Regents of the Uni. of CA v. Bakke (1978) Lecture 14: The Ten Greatest Justices in the History of the Supreme Court
I stumbled upon this at the library and thought it might be quite interesting. There's certainly been a lot of hullabaloo regarding the court and choosing judges in the past decade, and in particularly I am interested in how the high court considered DOMA and Proposition 8 from California.
I confess that I honestly did not remember some of the rulings that I really should have. Most of them were completely unknown to me. I went in with little expectation about what I would hear, so half-hour coverage of each case made sense: a brief background regarding where the country was, some bare specifics about the case, the makeup of the court, the ruling, and direct and indirect effects.
One thing that has been interesting: I'm also currently reading Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen, and at this point in the book the author talks about how we occasionally brush over less positive aspects of our history. Hall seems to be fairly objective in this set of lectures, "objective" in the sense that he comments in terms of conservative and liberal vantage points, and I like that he troubles some concepts, aka racism isn't entirely gone, and Brown v. Board of Education didn't solve everything and we're still trying to fix things. He's also unapologetic in regards to some of the personality quirks/biases of the judges (okay maybe he's a little liberal-sounding there). But I feel like I have a better understanding of the history of the USA and our reliance on the Constitution, "for better or for worse."(less)
Debating putting five stars on this book. I think it's returner's remorse, because I brought it back to the library just this afternoon.
But I also thi...moreDebating putting five stars on this book. I think it's returner's remorse, because I brought it back to the library just this afternoon.
But I also think the book is quite phenomenal and am impressed with the author's attention and style of writing. I've read a bit of Jonathan Kozol and Alfie Kohn (both of whom I highly recommend) and am interested in reading more of Loewen's work.
A point of interest, in reading a few of the comments already located some of the reviews I've read here: I don't interpret this as some bloke blubbering on about "white are responsible for everything." That's not his point, and if that's what you're getting out of the book, I feel sincere sorrow that you're missing out on this book and his message. People who write about power and privilege are not in the business of blaming people, because we know it doesn't work. In point of fact, Loewen is excellent in identifying this: we could blame those who are rich and super-privileged, but to place the blame on them is to take it off of ourselves, so we don't fix the system in which we operate and recreate a fairly abysmal system.
Loewen has several messages in this book. Again, if you think he's just being nit-picky about what textbook authors/publishers put into books (or the errors they make), you won't get the full benefit of this book, nor will you properly understand the issue. The consistent patterns he identifies are gold: it has to do with what stuff gets left out. I don't remember reading anything remotely negative about Christopher Columbus until I studied for my master's degree. A society that considers itself to be post-racial is in the business of wishful thinking; it means we have no more work to do. More than ever before, after reading this book, I've noticed how proud people are to be Americans (USA, of course; we don't particularly recognize that Americans includes people in Latin America, South America, and even Canada!). I feel like I've learned more about the United States through sources that look at the raw history, including the mistakes and bad decisions and complex situations, such as former presidents owning slaves. But something about that pride hides the mistakes of the past, which means we don't learn from these really useful missteps.
Furthermore, Loewen gets to the idea that high school students find history and social science boring. I certainly felt the same, but I feel this has more to do with testing than the content itself. There's no time or room for context, and that's hard to test. Furthermore, the emphasis on things that happened so long ago and the detachment between then and now is upsetting. Yes, the past is important in a history class. But it's the connection between what happened then and how it turned into what's happening now that's important. That's why history is important, right? If that's why taking history is important, why don't books and teachers help students see that connection? It's no wonder students don't remember what they learned in history class: we didn't emphasize the importance and relevance to their lives.
Surely there are exceptions. Loewen also complicates the issue by looking not only at teachers, but also at publishers, communities, and authors, so the major heading title is slightly misleading in isolating teachers (perhaps why I started at the 4 stars mark). It's eye-catching, no doubt, and also I think students are apt to blame their teachers for "misleading" them. Overall, I found this book to be a fascinating read, and I would shove this book into any high schooler's hands.
"Cultures do not evolve in a vacuum; diffusion of ideas is perhaps the most important cause of cultural development. Contact with other culture often triggers a cultural flowering" (p. 39).
Gosh there was also this part where Loewen talks about school boards accepting textbooks and how some of them in Texas and other southern states won't accept books that talk too explicitly about the Confederacy, and how an author sued and the school board argued "well that was in the past," to which the judge replies "well, it's a history book for a history course, isn't it?" Amazing.
"At first Confederates tried to maintain prewar conditions through new laws, modeled after their slave codes and antebellum restrictions on free blacks. Mississippi was the first state to pass these draconian "Black Code." They did not work, however. The Civil War had changed American ideology. The new antiracism forged in its flames would dominate Northern thinking for a decade. The Chicago Tribune, the most important organ of the Republican Party in the Midwest, responded angrily: "We tell the white men of Mississippi that the men of the North will convert the state of Mississippi into a frog pond before they allow any such laws to disgrace one foot of soil in which the bones of our soldiers sleep and over which the flag of freedom waves" (p. 197).(less)
This is one of those books where I am commenting a bit less on the style of the author than I am the idea behind the book. I myself haven't seen Tony...moreThis is one of those books where I am commenting a bit less on the style of the author than I am the idea behind the book. I myself haven't seen Tony Danza's Teach, but I'd be interested, even after reading the book and having an idea about what happens. The idea is sort of presumptive: Tony Danza decides to teach an English public high school class (most was rather decided for him) and at first there was also a production team. Administrators and teachers alike are understandably wary of an actor coming into their profession. Danza himself seems respectful and knowledgeable about his position: he's going in with an open heart to really see what education is like, and he knows he won't be working as hard as the other teachers who have five classes instead of his one.
Danza makes a lot of the typical teacher errors (though drinking alcohol at a field trip when he was away from the kids for a few minutes isn't typical, and I sucked in my breath a bit when I heard it). He gets quite emotionally attached to his kids. I wasn't sure about a lot of the assignments and things he did with the kids (sometimes painting a bit of a rosier picture than I would have thought) but I don't know much about teaching high school.
Overall I appreciated Danza's honesty and his pretty tough reflections on his own actions and assumptions. (And he cries a lot.) His epilogue is interesting: it contains some things about his kids and a strong call for more emphasis on education and teachers. This can often be quite cliche, and it sort of was, but I appreciate the sense of earnestness that flows through the book, so it feels authentic in the epilogue as well. After all, it's his book. The call to action was appropriate, and overall I did enjoy reading/listening to this book.(less)
This is a book that most writing instructors use in their classes. Thus, I followed suit and used it in my own writing class with college students, an...moreThis is a book that most writing instructors use in their classes. Thus, I followed suit and used it in my own writing class with college students, and I will certainly do so in the next semester. Trimble uses a lot of examples within each chapter, and the chapters themselves are short and not condescending. One thing I like is that Trimble didn't spend a lot of time on basic grammar and the like. The assumption is that students are mostly past that stage, and that's a fair estimation for the content that each chapter covers.(less)
I'm continually impressed by The Great Courses and the topics they cover. I was pleasantly surprised to see something about C.S. Lewis. I knew very li...moreI'm continually impressed by The Great Courses and the topics they cover. I was pleasantly surprised to see something about C.S. Lewis. I knew very little about him: I'd read The Chronicles of Narnia and had checked out several other works of his (The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain, and Mere Christianity) and knew a few things through his works of non-fiction.
The history of C.S. Lewis was a bit brushed over, but for good reason: Markos did include a good portion of Lewis' life and pointed out that there are other biographies to read, but that Lewis himself would have rather had a conversation about his writings. I loved the emphasis on The Chronicles of Narnia and explanations involving faith, logic, and Christianity (without using Calvin).
Overall, this was really engaging to hear. I wasn't always terribly fond of Markos as narrator (even of his own lectures) but he was nothing if not passionate about his area of specialization.(less)