The Shadow Scholar: How I Made a Living Helping College Kids Cheat

( 8 )

Overview

Last fall, a writer using the pseudonym Ed Dante wrote an explosive article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, confessing to writing term papers for a living. Technically, they are "study guides," and the companies that sell them-there are quite a few-are completely legal and easily found with Google. For about $10-20 a page, Dante's former employers will give you a custom essay, written to your specifications. During Dante's career, he wrote made-to-order papers for everything from introductory college ...

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The Shadow Scholar: How I Made a Living Helping College Kids Cheat

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Overview

Last fall, a writer using the pseudonym Ed Dante wrote an explosive article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, confessing to writing term papers for a living. Technically, they are "study guides," and the companies that sell them-there are quite a few-are completely legal and easily found with Google. For about $10-20 a page, Dante's former employers will give you a custom essay, written to your specifications. During Dante's career, he wrote made-to-order papers for everything from introductory college courses to Ph.D. dissertations. There was never a shortage of demand.

The Shadow Scholar is Dante's account of this dubious but all-too-relevant career. In stories embarrassing, absurd, hilarious, and ultimately sobering, he explores not merely his own misdeeds but the bureaucratic and cash-hungry colleges, lazy students, and even misguided parents who helped make it all possible.

With unemployment pushing 10 percent and many college grads living with their parents, the need for this book has never been more urgent. As this bitingly funny memoir reveals, colleges and graduate schools are victims not merely of tough economic times but of a profound sense of entitlement and apathy. Here is a searing, often maddening indictment of the big business of college.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A fascinating exposé of the remarkably robust industry of academic ghostwriting. [A] harrowing indictment of the modern American university's current shortcomings as a meritocratic, credentializing institution, much less a home for mental and moral growth."—Wall Street Journal

"[A] stunning tale of academic fraud…shocking and compelling."—Washington Post

“A cautionary tale worth pressing upon any freshman.”—The Onion AV Club

“What could have been a depressing tale becomes, in Tomar’s hands, a funny and charming read. It’s a light romp through what one might ordinarily think of as one of the world’s worst jobs. Despite this lightness, The Shadow Scholar is ultimately an indictment not just of the paper mill industry but of the contemporary higher education system, which allows the industry to flourish.”–Washington Monthly

“Not only does the book offer a rather startling behind-the-scenes look at what is a surprisingly big business, it also delivers a highly personal, highly savage indictment of the American higher-education system.”—Booklist.com

"Don't tell, but I would gladly pay Dave Tomar $10 a page to write my next book."—Anya Kamenetz, author of DIY U and Generation Debt

"Important and utterly engrossing. What do we expect from colleges, and what are we really getting? Can we still put our faith—and massive quantities of money—in higher education? Dave Tomar may distract us with great bar-room storytelling, but while we're laughing at the punchlines, he's snuck in some profound questions we've all got to answer."—Howard Megdal, writer-at-large for Capital New York, author of Taking the Field and Wilpon's Folly

"Hunter Thompson has been reborn as Dave Tomar, the Shadow Scholar, and he's writing college term papers for money, and telling us how and why.  He may be bad news, but he's very good company.  Read it and weep.  Read it and gnash your teeth.  But read it."—Mark Edmundson, author of Why Read? and The Death of Sigmund Freud

Library Journal
This memoir is the sequel to Tomar's article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, published under the pseudonym Ed Dante and the most-read article in the publication's history. Fueled by resentment toward an educational system that he feels defrauded him, Tomar became a ghostwriter for undergraduate-, masters-, and doctoral-level students. Because they were willing to pay and he was willing to do the work, Tomar thought of himself as a pragmatic, albeit unethical, opportunist. He explains how he came to write college papers for cash, why students cheat, and what he thinks is broken about the system. Much of what Tomar has to say about American education may be true, but two things make one wonder how much of his story is fabrication and exaggeration: his propensity for emotionally charged ranting and his questionable character. VERDICT The result is that Tomar's account of higher education asks more questions than it answers. If you read the article "The Shadow Scholar" and want to know more about Tomar's motivations and opinions, this book is for you.—Julia A. Watson, Marywood Univ. Lib., Scranton, PA
Kirkus Reviews
Expanding on his 2010 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, written under the name "Ed Dante," Tomar offers a book-length account of his decade writing research papers for college students on any topic and at any length. For the most part, the author blames the system for his misdeeds. His overpriced degree from Rutgers never got him further than "fluid bottler" at a shady cleaning company. "As it turned out," he writes, "helping students cheat on papers was the only available job for which my college had prepared me." Besides, he reasons, there would be no need for his service if the current generation of entitled, Facebook-addicted, subliterate brats hadn't been raised to think they could buy their way through anything. Also, he was good at it, routinely burning through sleepless, frantic weeks spewing out lightning-speed papers, sometimes as many as seven per day. His work became impressively ambitious. Sure Samuel Johnson could write Rasselas in a week, but could he have churned out a 160-page paper with 50 sources on "international financial reporting standards" in a mere five days? Although his book suffers from some obvious padding, as he wanders in and out of stories involving his love life, poker buddies and psychotic road trips, Tomar is a funny guy who writes with slangy, over-the top verve, veering between self-justification and self-hatred. He also provides some genuine inside dirt on the business practices of sleazy for-profit colleges, who provide some of his steadiest clients. A cynical, guilt-obsessed, intermittently page-turning account of a first-class bullshit artist and his never-ending search for redemption.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608197231
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 9/18/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,023,617
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Dave Tomar is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer and a graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. In 2010, Tomar authored an article entitled "The Shadow Scholar" under the pseudonym Ed Dante. The article, detailing his decade of experience as an academic ghostwriter, highlighted the issues of cheating and the need for reform in higher education. "The Shadow Scholar" became the most read article in the history of The Chronicle of Higher Education and received special citation from The Education Writers Association. Dave Tomar has also been a regular contributor to The Perpetual Post.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 On the Banks of the Old Raritan… 1

2 Rich Kid Sid 9

3 The RU Screw 22

4 The Quarter-Life Crisis 40

5 Twenty Years of Schooling and They Put You on a Day Shift… 52

6 Use Me 68

7 Thanksgiving and the Great Depression 90

8 Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City 108

9 Degree Mill University 121

10 The Bends 139

11 Tunneling Out 159

12 Death and Taxes 173

13 Portrait of the Scumbag as a Young Man 186

14 Fear of Flying 197

15 Graduation 216

Acknowledgments 227

Notes 231

Bibliography 235

Index 241

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2013

    Go somewhere else to complain

    Why are you writing a "review" if you haven't read the book? Just because you don't like the title, doesn't mean the book isn't good. Or that you even know what it is about. I'm so tired of people who just want to complain in the review section. If you have a complaint, use the barns and noble website people! Simple as that. You're doing nothing because NOBODY moniters these reviews unless they're reported, which is exactly what I'm going to do. It's pathetic that people use this space to complain. Get a life! The book was pretty interesting to say the least , so if you want to bi$@h, go somewhere else!

    13 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2013

    Its bad

    This book wasnt too interesting. I honestly didnt lke it. BTW people are complaining about other people complaining and they didn teven write reviews. Stop telling other people what to do and stop being a hypocrite. I am complaining right now but I actually read the book and wrote a small review. I didnt like it... so everyone should just shut up already. Write your review and leave


    Bottom line: not my favorite. Would not recommend

    6 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2013

    Having just graduated from college at age 50, doing it in 4 1/2

    Having just graduated from college at age 50, doing it in 4 1/2 years while working FT, what this guy did makes me sick.  It adds to the over all laziness and stupidity of people.  I haven't read the book and refuse to help support the writer.

    5 out of 48 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2013

    SHUT UP

    Yall need to stop fighting about petty things and tell me about the book

    4 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    Luv

    Likeit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2013

    Bad

    Tgis book was a total waste of money. Wish i could ask for a refund. It was a waste of the poor tree that gave its life for the paper it was written on. This so called author is a bad joke.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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