Trin's Reviews > The Children's Story

The Children's Story by James Clavell
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's review
Aug 20, 2008

it was ok
bookshelves: childrens, sci-fi, politics, american-lit

In a conquered U.S., a classroom of young kids is given a new teacher who, in less than an hour, brainwashes them and makes them evil little communists! Or something. I know I’m supposed to find this book “chilling,” but I didn’t really buy it. Though Communism is never explicitly stated to be the Big Bad, this book has the Cold War era in which it was written stamped all over it. Clavell’s New Teacher gets the students to quickly dismiss such symbols as the Pledge of Allegiance and the American flag—which, frankly, are just symbols. She also gets them to question the power of prayer, which as a godless heathen myself, I’m sure you can guess worries me deeply. Sigh. I don’t know. While the idea of “reeducation” is very scary indeed, I think the examples Clavell chose are lame, and the idea that anyone—especially a little kid—would make the leap from “the Pledge of Allegiance is kind of stupid” to “yes, I will betray my parents to our new evil overlords” is ridiculous. And in light of the fact that if anyone’s an evil overlord these days, invading other countries and reeducating their citizens to practice a shared set of beliefs, it’s us, Americans…well. This book doesn’t have a chilling effect on me. I’m already shivering.
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message 1: by Наташа (new)

Наташа Чередниченко Yeah, for a second I thought that he was going to turn it around and have her teach them the pledge as if the US took over :-)
James was spot on about the program though, except that they didn't have to send in the teachers, just rewrote the textbooks and the curriculum. The adults were controlled through the party and the kids through it's youth equivalent- the Pioneers, stole it from Americans :-). They closed down the churches, replaced the local language with Russian, altered native names to sound more Russian, cut up our cultural heritage and threw it out the window just like that. And thus we all became brothers and sisters, so much alike, with the same goals and beliefs. This lie is still alive since many Ukrainians, Georgians, Afganis feel betrayed by thei Russian brothers.

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