Battle of the Books: The Curriculum Debate in America by James Atlas, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Battle of the Books: The Curriculum Debate in America

Battle of the Books: The Curriculum Debate in America

by James Atlas
     
 
Does it matter which books college students read? Indeed it does, contends the author. Atlas presents a trenchant assessment of America at its educational crossroads, and asserts that whatr in shaping Buyer's Choice

Overview

Does it matter which books college students read? Indeed it does, contends the author. Atlas presents a trenchant assessment of America at its educational crossroads, and asserts that whatr in shaping Buyer's Choice

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Since the 1987 publication of Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind , the question of whether that body of works referred to as either the Classics or Great Books should be required reading for college students has divided academia. Journalist and biographer Atlas ( Delmore Schwartz ), who covered the debates as waged between traditionalists and multiculturalists for the New York Times , here revises an overview of curriculum controversies at major universities that he wrote for Whittle Communications' Larger Agenda series in 1990per BIP . He traveled to Duke, Harvard and Chicago to interview professors and examine course catalogues in search of ``our educational mandate.'' He contributes a refreshing voice to a discussion dominated by academics, evincing a ``spirit of curiosity'' where dry polemics are the rule. But he offers little in the way of original thought, nor is his argument in favor of the ``canon of Great Books'' unified. Denser, more closely reasoned new books on the subject include David Bromwich's Politics by Other Means: Higher Education and Group Thinking (Forecasts, Aug. 10) and Beyond the Culture Wars by Gerald Graff (Forecasts, Sept. 7). (Oct.)
Hazel Rochman
What is taste? Who decides what's in and what's out? Will multiculturalism bring anarchy? Should there be books that are required reading in schools and colleges? The best thing about this book is that "New York Times" writer Atlas translates the politically correct jargon, from all sides, into plain words. He tries hard to be fair ("Yes, but . . ." is a welcome qualifier throughout). But though he gives a nod to books by women and minorities, he begins and ends with the old Western civ. classics, and finally it all becomes a tired repeat of the melting pot argument. By the last chapter he's adopted the sneering tone of the insider beset by the barbarians at the gate. His models are the early European immigrants who embraced American culture in the glorious public library, looking not for their own ethnicity in the great books they read, but for universals. Yes, but . . . why are those universals only to be found in the fixed Western classics? Whether weary or indignant, people who read and who believe that books matter will enjoy this airing of a topic that relates to our view of who we are.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393034134
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
10/01/1992
Edition description:
1st Norton ed
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 5.79(h) x 0.74(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >