Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Campusland” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.73  ·  Rating details ·  700 ratings  ·  226 reviews
A tumultuous and often hilarious first novel about one year of insanity at the Ivy-like Devon University, a blissful bubble of elite students and the adults at their mercy.

Eph Russell is an English professor up for tenure. He may look and sound privileged, but Eph is right out of gun-rack, Bible-thumping rural Alabama. His beloved Devon, though, has become a place of warri
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 15th 2019 by St. Martin's Pres
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  700 ratings  ·  226 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Campusland
Campusland is way over the top satirical. It's witty and funny but so over the top, so in your face constant with the satire, that I'd had enough pretty early in the book and this is with me agreeing with a lot of the messages that the author seemed to be conveying. Despite being over the top and too much for me, some of the fictional characters base their actions on real life happenings. The politics in the book are true to life but there's just so much of it, with no relief in sight.

This book
Greg Watson
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"...demands must always be unreasonable...outrage must be diffuse, impossible to pin down with specifics."

In Campusland, Scott Johnston provides a portrait of current collegiate life. While much of the novel lampoons campus diversity and outrage culture, it is startlingly accurate, not only to life on campus but outside it as well.

Johnston derides the pervasive reach of the campus culture of victimhood. From safe-spaces to trigger warnings to those continually under apparent oppression. The cam
Elyse  Walters
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Audiobook ... narrated by Casey Turner

incoming Freshman, return students and Faculty.
It’s a beautiful September morning here at Devon University, in New Haven....
....where we stand united with African American students and their families against racial injustice and and in pursuit of higher education and inequality in America.

Please join us on Thursday evening, 7pm, for a live Zoom webinar to hear how COVID-19 might impact your on-campus experience.

Here at Devon, ......mos
Mackenzie - PhDiva Books
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I selected Campusland, but I ended up loving this brilliant work of satire focused on the over-the-top and often sanctimonious “woke” culture of the elite Ivy-league campuses. Come for the laugh-out-loud moments and stay for the accurate social commentary on these elite institutions, who may at times go a bit too far for the sake of proving how progressive and socially-conscious they are. I loved it!

I’m shocked this book hasn’t received more attention and accola
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I actually read this book twice, once a couple of months ago with the intention of reviewing it and the second time for the sheer, unmitigated pleasure of it.

If you are looking for a laugh-out-loud summer read that is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining then look no further, this is your book. Scott Johnston has a keen ear for not only dialogue but also for the preening psychobabble so prevalent in the hallowed halls of higher education today.

If you have sent a child to college in recent
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm such a sucker for books set in schools--this one at Devon University. I'm a sucker for a good satire and as a retired English teacher, I'm also a sucker for references to classic literature--as in this novel when Huck Finn is challenged as being racist with no "content warning" (even as it's taught in a nineteenth century English class)! I laughed so hard while reading this brilliant novel; nothing is sacrosanct here! Johnston examines the elite white socialites, trigger warnings, gender ide ...more
Lewis Szymanski
Mar 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2019, giveaways
I received this in a Goodreads giveaway. I feel like Scott Johnston owes me money for finishing this.

Do you think racism is solved, and anyone who complains about it is just too sensitive?
Do you think most rape accusations are false?
Have you ever used a black person as a prop to prove that you aren't racist?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, this may be the "satire" you are looking for.

This supposed satire is conservative propaganda filled with implicit racism and sexism. It's har
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
HEAR YE, HEAR YE, all you who work with or near college students must read this book. Johnston has written a brilliant satire on today’s college politics.

I laughed out loud many times, read portions to colleagues because so much of it touches the truths of campus life and over.zealous political correctness.

I found myself remembering many campus incidents with students who used magic phrases like those echoed in the book to pursue their personal agendas.

It is the story of Eph, a college profes
David Domkoski
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Warning. If you are not the type who enjoys laughing hysterically out loud, then avoid this book. Campusland by Scott Johnston is absolutely hilarious, one of the funniest books I have read in many years. The ARC, courtesy of NetGalley and MacMillan Publishers and in exchange for an honest review is a hoot.. The book follows the adventures of a young, untenured English professor Eph Russell at a beleaguered Ivy League college populated with trust fund brats, campus radicals and would-be radicals ...more
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh, wow! What a breath of fresh air! Not since a Mel Brooks movie have we attempted to laugh at ourselves in order to feel better. Scott Johnston must have made a list of all the recent U.S. news that needed to chill, then wrote this book to address every single one of them. As I read, numerous bits of news jumped up in my memory and yes, it’s something that we need to chill and snicker about today. For example, the rich little college gentleman who was on a “hunger strike” (oh, please), the stu ...more
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just finished this tonight! While it is a work of fiction and meant to be satire, there is also so much truth behind the storylines & characters! This book is narrated by multiple voices: a professor at a prestigious private university, a bright and very privileged freshman girl recently beginning her studies there, a jaded frat brother, the President of the university, a revolutionary who can’t figure out what to fight for, and more.

The basic premise is to give us a taste of what higher educati
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a woman who graduated from a college not unlike Devon (Beat Yale!), Campusland really struck a familiar chord with me. I found it to be hilariously funny in places, scary as all get out in others, and a great read in general. Johnston has a gift for dialogue, and some of my favorite sections involved "The Mound", a monosyllabic frat brother who was absolutely hilarious. I felt sorry for poor, un-woke Eph, the naive professor who finds himself on the receiving end of the lash of PC culture and ...more
Robert Schade
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book that will make you laugh, cringe then laugh some more. The funniest situations are the ones that start with truth and are then amplified with humor. The Campusland narrative winds through events that would have been farcical 10 years ago, but today have become comically (or sadly) true. The book shows how out of whack our world has become without becoming preachy. Johnston has a keen eye for social commentary and humor - everyone will laugh when they read this book. Campusland is a great ...more
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review of the book.

I don't know exactly what I was expecting when I sat down to read this book, but it definitely wasn't this wildly witty, sassy satirical look at modern campus life.

The story is set at Devon University, an elite college located in New England. The story revolves around four main characters and their exploits through one school year. Lulu is a New York Socialite who doesn't really want to go to college, but she figure
Michael Balay
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Scott Johnston's first novel is special. From the first page, we know that we are in sure hands as Johnston serves up crackling dialog and a succession of closely-observed, comic situations. Characters drive the story; every one of them has a strategy; and very few of them actually are as they might wish to be seen. Lulu Harris, amoral Manhattan debutante, deserves her own novel, and poor fish-out-of-water Professor Ephraim Russell plays the bewildered straight man in a madhouse Ivy League world ...more
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you find yourself shaking your head over the weird and exasperating directions society has been moving recently, this is the book for you. It deals with the some of the ridiculous ways that racial and
sexual injustices are being exploited in a satirical, lighthearted way that conveys the thought that extremism must be curtailed. It is has great characters, snappy dialogue and a thought-provoking message. I especially like the way it recognizes that real problems exist but also manages to lamp
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor
Thank you so much Scott Johnson and St. Martin’s Press for giving me the opportunity to read this irreverent, hysterically funny and controversial parody on college life. Boy did it bring back memories. The characters are well developed and the dialog sharp and witty. Loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who can laugh at themselves and at the bureaucratic red tape that makes up the university system. Campusland is right on point! Thank you St. Martin’s Press for sponsoring a w ...more
Bonnie Brody
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I finished this book in July and can't stop thinking about it. It has captured the spirit and ambience of most colleges and, in my opinion, portrays the holy grail of academia. I am no stranger to academia. I have two master's degrees, have been an adjunct professor, a summer sessions professor, a guest lecturer, an associate director of counseling at a university student health center and am married to a man who taught at a university for 36 years. This novel, believe it or not, knows from when ...more
Joseph Sciuto
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It is satire at its best, and the author Scott Johnston masterfully weaves a story about a fictional University, Devon, and takes on a subject matter that many people would be afraid to touch, especially in this age of sensitivity, and that is progressive policies on the campuses of universities that have gone overboard and instead of enhancing the learning experience have managed to stifle that very experience.

Devon, a fictional Ivy league school, is a university with a long
Ted Berenblum
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Extremely creative and timely yarn about campus life and the current perverted politically correct culture we live in. Having two daughters who recently graduated from an ivy school, very similar in feel to Devon, the events that unfold are very close to home. And the cataclysmic ending brings one back to the unadulterated humor of the Animal House generation! Have fun reading this one!!
May 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
From my review at

Campusland promises to be a hilarious and brutal look at an Ivy League style college. It is set in the fictional college of Devon University over the space of a school year. We see how the time passes for a small group of students and faculty. The book is narrated from the point of view of the well-meaning old Dean, a passionate English professor, a bored freshman social media star, a group of fraternity bros, and a political activist wanting to shake every
Stewart Tame
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fair warning: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

There are several main characters, with focus shifting among them as needed.

Milton Strauss is the president of Devon University, a somewhat prestigious ivy league school. He relates well to the students, and does a fine job of simultaneously keeping both them and Devon’s many alumni donors happy.

Eph teaches English at Devon, and has been dating Milton’s secretary. He enjoys teaching, and the students generally seem to like him
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Laugh out loud! Campusland draws you in immediately, and remains a page-turner through it's climactic finale. The characters are wildly entertaining. Johnston's adroit sendup of the absurdity of present day college culture is hilarious. As a parent of soon-to-be college students, I found the book captivating, eye-opening, and perfectly timely. Gave it to my 17 y/o daughter who became engrossed as well (a first!), and it sparked some great conversations. Heady and riveting, but somehow still feel ...more
Charles Manuel
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Campusland is a very entertaining look at the low-hanging fruit of today's "Woke" college campuses.

The book skewers many of the asinine cultural shibboleths of the Academy, such as celebration and admiration of victim-hood, social justice warriors vigorously attacking anyone that dare deviate from the leftist orthodoxy, and the crucially important pecking order of the college's progressive heirarchy.

The author Scott Johnston applies his gimlet eye and wry sense of humor as a much needed take-do
William Miles
Jan 28, 2020 rated it did not like it
DNF. I read about 30 pages of this terrible novel at the library, deciding whether it would be worth checking out. Although it is a library book, and thus “free,” it’s not worth the price. Certainly not worth carrying around in my backpack.

Nothing funny at all in the “satire” here.

I’ve moved on. Too many other good books out there, with important things to say. And to be truly funny about!
Bob Potter
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
CAMPUSLAND is a great airplane, beach, anywhere, anytime read. Smart, fast-moving with contentious charismatic characters, it is part BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES, part Animal House, for anyone w/ college memories 1970 forward, this is a must, fun, in the moment read that will not disappoint. God Bless Tom Wolfe who is looking down smiling at CAMPUSLAND
Jay Ryan
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well written, funny, and timely satire. Most adults look back on their own college years nostalgically and dismiss as hyperbole the reports about how free speech and thought are under attack by faculty and student social justice warriors. The problem is real and Johnston sheds some welcome light on it.
Max Toczydlowski
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found this to be an amazing read and I easily give it five stars! Regardless if you agree or disagree with Scott’s politics it is still an amazing book. I highly recommend this book!
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A well written and creative look at modern college life, though with a decidedly partisan tilt. The first time novelist has done an impressive job turning out a page turner, but also accomplishes his apparent goal of turning the spotlight on the tough-to-navigate journey that is life on a university campus today. Humorous, cynical, sometimes uncaring and disrespectful, the author pulls no punches and makes it clear which side he's on. But definitely worth the read regardless of your politics. ...more
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a laugh out loud read on an interesting and timely topic. The college admission scandal has been a very public reminder of how messed up things have become in the college world. Campusland is a wonderful satire that reminds us that there is a lot more dysfunction on college campuses than we realize.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Carnegie Hill
  • The Expectations
  • Rival's Break (Sharpe & Donovan #9)
  • Secrets of the Chocolate House (Found Things, #2)
  • The Perfect Date
  • Supper Club
  • Everything My Mother Taught Me
  • The Long Call (Two Rivers, #1)
  • The Swallows
  • Seven Letters
  • And Then They Were Doomed
  • The Topeka School
  • Janis: Her Life and Music
  • Time After Time
  • The Other People
  • Long Way Home
  • The Second Chance Supper Club
  • The Beautiful Ones
See similar books…
Author of St. Martin's Press novel Campusland, Johnston grew up in Manhattan and went to Yale. From there, Wall Street (Salomon Brothers of Liar's Poker fame) and a stint in Hong Kong. On the side, he opened a couple of nightclubs in NYC. One, called the Baja, had a great run. After that, he started and ran a quant hedge fund for about a decade, taking some time to teach as an adjunct at Yale. Som ...more

News & Interviews

“I'm in a weird place because the book is about to come out. So I'm basically just walking around like a raw nerve and I'm not sure that I...
41 likes · 8 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“The art show at the new branch of the Whitney met Eph’s exceedingly low expectations. One artist made small Lucite cubes filled with garbage purloined right from New York City trash bins. There were cigarette butts and fast-food wrappers and even blobs of moldy food. Eph could hear one nearby aesthete gush about the artist’s “urban truthfulness.” Another artist featured a painting of a rose done entirely in menstrual blood. The flaw, Eph thought, was that blood dried brown, not red, but nobody seemed to be pointing that out. He also wondered what it had to do with the “New Urban.” “There are no words,” said Eph, sotto voce in case the artist was lurking among the people nearby. “Art is meant to provoke,” said D’Arcy. “If you have a reaction, even a negative one, then the artist has succeeded” 1 likes
More quotes…