Overview

It is startling and it is shaming: in a country that prides itself on being among the most enlightened in the world, 25 million American adults cannot read the poison warnings on a can of pesticide, a letter from their child’s teacher, or the front page of a newspaper. An additional 35 million read below the level needed to function successfully in our society. The United States ranks forty-ninth among 158 member nations of the UN in literacy, and wastes over $100 billion annually as a result. The problem is not ...
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Illiterate America

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Overview

It is startling and it is shaming: in a country that prides itself on being among the most enlightened in the world, 25 million American adults cannot read the poison warnings on a can of pesticide, a letter from their child’s teacher, or the front page of a newspaper. An additional 35 million read below the level needed to function successfully in our society. The United States ranks forty-ninth among 158 member nations of the UN in literacy, and wastes over $100 billion annually as a result. The problem is not merely an embarrassment, it is a social and economic disaster.
 
In Illiterate America, Jonathan Kozol, author of National Book Award-winning Death at an Early Age, addresses this national disgrace. Combining hard statistics and heartrending stories, he describes the economic and the human costs of illiteracy. Kozol analyses and condemns previous government action—and inaction—and, in a passionate call for reform, he proposes a specific program to conquer illiteracy.
 
One out of every three American adults cannot read this book—which is why everyone else must.

Defining literacy in human terms rather than as job-readiness, Kozol discusses the high cost of illiteracy on an individual and societal level.

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Editorial Reviews

Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
. . . whoever Mr. Kozol is mad at, the kernel of his message is worth rescuing from the tide of his vehemence. One might do both well and good to read selectively in the first dozen chapters of ''Illiterate America.'' If ever there was a cause to engage even the mildly compassionate! For once, the simplest facts and a little common sense are enough to leave any reader feeling all too fatly overprivileged. Even despite Mr. Kozol's excesses, one is left by ''Illiterate America'' feeling inclined to pitch in and lend a word. -- New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307800572
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/2/2011
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 270
  • Sales rank: 1,268,169
  • File size: 3 MB

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